Home buyers are being hit with unexpected bills when their purchase is complete because solicitors aren't up front about their costs.
That's the finding of a review by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that raised concerns about hidden costs.
Failed to include charges
This is an issue that will be of no concern to Homeward Legal customers because we are transparent about all fees and charges involved in every transaction from the start.
However, the SRA review revealed that in a third (34 percent) of cases, initial quotes did not include fees that are an essential part of any conveyancing service, misleading buyers into anticipating a lower final bill.
Those additional fees include bank transfers, electronic ID checks and mortgage administration fees, none of which can be avoided when buying a property.
Keeping clients fully informed
Significantly, more than a third (37 percent) of firms did not inform their clients that they added additional costs to the charge made by a bank for a telegraphic transfer of funds. Remarkably, some clients were charged 10 times the fee set by the bank when they received their final bill.
Again, Homeward Legal's complete transparency about fees puts the control in the hands of our clients, who are always fully informed when additional fees and charges can be expected AND of the actual cost of those fees and charges.
Solicitors need to be open
Anna Bradley, chair of the SRA, said: "It is disappointing to see examples of poor practice in conveyancing, which is so important to so many people.
"While many law firms and solicitors provide a good service and act in their clients' best interests, those who don't are letting down not only their clients but also the profession as a whole.
"People should be able to rely on their solicitors to be open about what their services will cost and to explain the potential financial and legal implications of any transaction."