Whether you’re buying a home or selling it, it’s essential that you hone a deep knowledge of conveyancing costs. Working with an efficient and reasonably-priced conveyancing solicitor is one thing, but you may occasionally find yourself needing to file a complaint or troubleshoot common conveyancing-related issues. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the motions of making complaints and working towards resolving them.
What is a Conveyancing Fee?
This fee is the cost associated with the legal services provided by a conveyancer or solicitor when purchasing, selling, or remortgaging a home. You can directly compare quotes and prices with Conveyancing Calculator and link up with the right conveyancing solicitor for you.
The Difference Between a Solicitor and Licensed Conveyancer
Though you may be well within your rights to file a complaint, being able to differentiate between a solicitor and licensed conveyancer can help you make a more informed report.
Qualified professionals with a more expansive knowledge of the law, solicitors can specialise in family law, personal injury, litigations, and personal transactions. They are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Unlike solicitors, licensed conveyancers can only practice property law and are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
Filing a Complaint
Filing a complaint can be a nerve-wracking process, especially because conveyancers and solicitors have a better grasp of the law by default. However, if you know your rights and understand the standards and codes of practice that conveyancers have to abide by, you may be fairly compensated if your complaint is upheld.
Independent organisations will enforce certain codes that apply specifically to those in conveyance. Thus, it’s important to study the following before filing your complaint.
Solicitors Regulatory Authority Code of Practice
Council of Licensed Conveyancers Code of Conduct
Council of Licensed Conveyancers Code for Handling Complaints
Consumer Protection Regulation in Conveyancing
Then, follow these steps.
Complain directly to the firm - Your initial complaint should always be made directly to the company itself as they will have their own internal complaints procedure in place and can potentially resolve the problem without any further action. A partner of the firm will normally be in charge of handling complaints and their contact information should immediately be provided to you. If a firm can settle your complaint without having to outsource a third-party, ensure that you are satisfied with the solution. Remember to always go on the record when filing a complaint.
Keep in mind that conveyancing firms should be able to receive your complaint within 2 to 7 days upon filing and provide you with an acknowledgement that they have. If you aren’t satisfied with the solution they provide or have not responded to you within 8 weeks, you’ll need to move onto step 2.
Escalate your complaint to a larger governing body - Knowing whether you’re dealing with a solicitor or licensed conveyancer can dictate the next steps that you take and who you should file your complaint to. Ensure that your complaint is clear by indicating whether it is a customer service or billing issue, or if they violated any codes of conduct or legal principles.
To escalate a complaint, you’ll need to provide the name of the person appointed to carry out your legal work and which company they belong to, your specific instructions to the person or company, important dates (such as when the company was designated to carry out work for you), and detailed information about the problem at hand.
Escalating a problem regarding customer service or billing - If you’ve received poor customer service or aren’t satisfied with the solutions provided by your conveyancer’s in-house crisis team, it’s time to escalate your concern to the Legal Ombudsman. They are also responsible for tending to bill issues and problems regarding conveyancing fees such as whether you may have been charged incorrectly or if the charges weren’t explained to you well enough.
Who Are the Legal Ombudsman?
Operating in England and Wales, independently of any legal professions and government, the Legal Ombudsman caters to your concerns free of charge. This is because they are paid for by legal and claims management companies.
The Legal Ombudsman’s role is to deal with complaints fairly and independently, making sure not to take sides by instead using their knowledge and expertise to consider the matter. They perform evidence-based evaluations and assess whether the solutions provided fell below reasonable expectations. They also assess the negative impact an unsatisfactory solution may have had on your experience and consider what a fair compensation may be.
- Escalating a problem regarding dishonesty or a breach of rules regarding a solicitor - For complaints of the latter nature, you should directly escalate your concert to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This secondary body sets out rules and regulations for legal firms within England and Wales. They work to ensure that set standards are adhered to and that complaints are resolved, learnt from, and not repeated
Role of the Solicitors Regulation Authority
Regardless of whether your solicitor is an independent worker or part of a larger firm, they will belong to the SRA. The SRA is responsible for:
Monitoring legal firms and investigating whether they’ve breached SRA rules.
Closing down legal companies that have committed a serious breach.
Referring solicitors in breach to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Ensuring that funds and papers from your casework are returned to you in a timely fashion.
Escalating a problem regarding dishonesty or a breach of rules regarding a licensed conveyancer - In the first instance, your complaint should be directed to the Legal Ombudsman, who will then pass on your complaint to the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.
Role of the Council of Licensed Conveyancers
This legal body is responsible for regulating specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers. They provide accessible legal services and set entry standards for licensed conveyancers. To ensure that conveyancers adhere to the latest laws, the CLC determines the education and ongoing training that they must undergo. They also check that conveyancers demonstrate the right level fo professional indemnity and investigate any allegations of misconduct. If necessary, the CLC also refers individuals to discipline firms.
To avoid financial issues regarding conveyancing services, it’s important that you have access to fully transparent quotes and are able to accurately calculate your conveyancing fees.
To get a better grasp of your conveyancing costs, avail of our quick and easy tools on Conveyancing Calculator! Our quotes are fully detailed and itemised with a complete breakdown of legal fees, making it that much easier for you to come to a final decision. You can receive up to 5 fixed conveyancing fees with every use of our system!