Saturday, July 13, 2024

Cause for Complaints? | Expert Advice

Fortunately, most property transactions run smoothly with no issues, but if things don’t go to plan, it’s always good to know that help is at hand. Stephen Ward, Director of Strategy and External Relations at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, explains what to do.

In our experience, most problems are likely to be related to communication, advice, behavior, or costs. So, if you find yourself unhappy with certain aspects of the service you get from your conveyancer, don’t suffer in silence. There are steps that you can take to resolve the matter.

If you wish to make a complaint about the professional handling of your transaction, in the first instance, we would always advise that you raise the matter with your conveyancer, and at the earliest opportunity rather than waiting until the issue gets any worse. For clarity, and to put on record how and when you raised concerns, it’s best to do this in writing either via email or post.

If you haven’t heard from your conveyancer in a time frame you consider reasonable, or if you have and aren’t satisfied, the next step is to write to the practice. Every firm should have its own procedure for dealing with complaints, and larger organisations may even have a dedicated person or team. Firms must give you details of how to complain and these are usually included in your initial correspondence. You should also be able to find them on their website.

When writing, you should request confirmation that your complaint has been received and of how long you should expect to wait before receiving a response. This may vary, but the industry standard is a week in which to receive an acknowledgment and 28 days for a response/resolution.

Taking It Further

If you are still unhappy, you can escalate your complaint to a governing body, which in this case will be either the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) or the regulator, likely to be the CLC or the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA).

LeO deals with complaints about poor service, examples of which may include delays, failing to advise you of significant issues, not responding to emails, letters, or calls, giving you unclear advice, or charging you an amount you are not happy with. It is important to note that, usually, you must have first made a complaint to the conveyancer or practice in question and received a response before escalating matters to LeO. Before doing this, you should also make sure you have all the relevant details such as names, dates, and any/all correspondence that clarifies your instructions, details of the allegation being made, and any losses you have incurred as a result.

The CLC deals with complaints you have about the honesty or ethics of your conveyancer, which may breach our Code of Conduct. These could include them losing your money, acting dishonestly in giving you advice, continuing to act for you despite a conflict of interests, or discriminating against you because of age, disability, gender, sexuality, or any other protected characteristic.

While we can’t deal with disputes about service, we do however have a modest compensation fund for specific rare cases such as, in certain situations, if we have closed a practice and you believe that practice owes you money. We will always acknowledge the initial receipt of your concern and aim to formally respond within 28 days.

The CLC supports its regulated conveyancers to ensure that issues like the above are kept to a minimum, but if you do have to complain then we want to make it as fair and straightforward as possible. For further information, please visit the dedicated pages on our website:

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Kay Hill

Kay has been a professional journalist since her teens, working for local and regional newspapers, magazines and now websites as well. Kay work across a number of fields, including architecture, design, personal finance and the housing market – Kay enjoys making the complicated things in life a little easier to understand.As a consultant for PR company Building Relations, Kay has written for developers including Barratt London, Dandara, MTVH and Annington.  

Kay enjoys the beauty of language, the structure of grammar and the process of condensing thousands of words of research and interviews into 1,200 carefully chosen words that will leave the reader a little more informed than when they started. 

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