Cut-price online conveyancers may breach legal code

MTA Solicitors has hit out at cut-price conveyancers, arguing that many are in breach of the Law Society’s Code of Conduct.

The firm says it’s concerned that consumers are being drawn into too-good-to-be-true offers only to discover them laden with hidden extras.

The online market has seen a wave of new entrants to this market with some quoting fixed-fees as low as £99.

But having enticed house hunters with the initial fee, MTA claims that the online application will then pile on the extras such as shared ownership fees, mortgage fees and Stamp Duty fees.

The quote could escalate way beyond the initial £99 to anything in excess of £500.

Rule 7 of the Law Society’s Code of Conduct says that solicitors and firms representing them who advertise their services must comply with the British Code of Advertising Practice and more importantly that
solicitors must be clear and up front with fees.

Failure to do so could result in a breach of rules.

David Green, CEO of MTA Solicitors says: “Customers need to be savvy in this competitive market, and make a decision based on quality of service as well as price. Realistically, fees should be around £500 for an average house in order to secure the services of a top quality conveyancer.

“As services like this can speed up your transaction reduce the chance of a deal falling through and make sure the process is as stress-free as possible it is important that the consumer knows what to expect, how the service will be delivered and by who.”

The Law Society states that where legal fees‚ or similar expressions are used, the fees quoted should be the fees to be charge by the solicitor, its should not conceal a commission or referral fee to be paid to a third party. Any such commission or referral fee should be shown separately.