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Free legals threaten client relationship


November was a month of regulatory revelations and industry ’calls to action’. But although the issue of free legals on remortgaging conveyancing continues to stick around it is not discussed as fully as it should be.

Looking through the remortgage products coming to market, the free legal offering always figures high on the list of incentives to take the product, regardless of the benefits for clients in doing so.

Brokers are too quick to accept free legals especially when there is often enough cashback on offer to cover using a conveyancing firm of their choice that would work on behalf of the client.

The word free seems to transform the mindset of all those involved regardless of whether it is in anyone’s best interests.

We must move away from this or we are inviting damage to the client-broker relationship and storing up trouble for the future.

For the most part there is still a veil of silence between lenders offering free legals and brokers recommending them to clients.

Borrowers should be made aware of what they are potentially letting themselves in for in terms of a lack of legal representation and protection.

Brokers must realise they are also ceding control by opting for a free legal recommendation, while there is no provision at completion for the deduction and payment of their fee. And if the service does not go to plan it is they who will bear the brunt of clients’ ire.



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