SLC calls for market study specifically on conveyancing

Ryan Bembridge

March 24, 2017

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers has called on the Competition and Markets Authority to carry out a market study on conveyancing specifically.

In December the CMA made demands on UK legal services as a whole, saying it needs to provide greater transparency about pricing and quality.

Simon Law, chairman of the SLC, said: “it is of concern to the members of the SLC that the CMA appears to believe that conveyancing is a commoditised market.

“We are concerned that a ‘one size fits all’ approach would not provide consumers with the breadth of information required to make an informed buying decision.

“It also has the potential to act as a barrier to innovation and growth, by the conveyancing profession.

“It must be noted that all licensed conveyancers are required by their regulator (the Council for Licensed Conveyancers) to provide clients with fixed quotation prior to instruction, ensuring there is a complete transparency for their clients.”

He added: “As conveyancers, we are constantly informed from third party research and surveys that consumers do not pick their conveyancer on price alone.

“In this context, the use of websites that are primarily based on price comparison would not appear to be fit for purpose.

“Conveyancing is a very competitive market place and if simple price transparency was fundamental to increasing market share then such comparison websites would have been introduced a long time ago.”

The conveyancing market has three regulators – and the SLC said unless they all adopt the same approach there will be an uneven competitive playing field for solicitors, licensed conveyancers and legal rxecutives.

Law added: “There are many firms that offer a personalised faced to face service but also a large number of firms who offer a technology based service.

“Any publication of customer satisfaction results would need to take this in to account.

“Of particular concern, would be the publishing of complaints.

“Whilst we would broadly support the publishing of LEO complaints as a percentage of the number of cases completed, more detailed reporting of complaints would add unnecessary burdens upon conveyancers and ultimately drive up costs for consumers. “

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