SortRefer backs Nationwide’s move to scrap free legals

Ryan Bembridge

July 19, 2017

SortRefer has praised Nationwide for scrapping free legals in favour of increased cashback from £250 to £500.

Kevin Tunnicliffe, the conveyancing portal’s chief executive, reckoned conveyancing firms that are linked to lenders fail to represent clients’ interests.

He said: “At SortRefer we have campaigned to persuade intermediaries to consider cashback rather than free legals for some time.

“The recent horrendous service issues that have been widely reported as a result of lender chosen free legals conveyancing firms being overwhelmed, seems to have concentrated minds.

“We therefore welcome Nationwide’s move to withdraw free legals in favour of bolstering their cashback offering. This is a signal that we will see more lenders following suit.”

He added: “Apart from the obvious and very visible service issues, we have always felt that customers are not best served where, with a free legals package, the conveyancer chosen by the lender only represents the lender and not the client.

“This can be dangerous for the client by not having representation and many brokers have found that communication on case progress can be poor or non-existent.

“With a cashback, brokers are able to give clients the choice of using the cashback as a means to ensure their client is properly represented and that they have more control over the progress of the case.

“I, for one, will not mourn the passing of ‘free legals’ which have proved the old adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch!”

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