Co-operative Legal Services warn consumers of hidden legal charges in conveyancing quotes

Co-operative Legal Services have warned consumers that cheap conveyancing quotes may be too good to be true.  They argue that it is very easy for consumers to find themselves buying what looks like a cheap conveyancing service when the price will actually end up being inflated by hidden charges.  
Part of the statement released by CLS advises consumers that a conveyancing quote should be made up of two parts.  These are the solicitor’s basic fee and disbursement costs.  
CLS states that the solicitor’s basic fee covers the time spent dealing with the transaction.  It can be formed either of a fixed fee which is calculated from the value of the property forming the transaction, or it can be an hourly rate.  It is warned that this figure should include some company overheads like insurance, phone calls and postage.  It warns consumers that they should avoid firms who show items like this on their conveyancing quotes.
The disbursements part of the quote should include Land Registry fees, searches and Stamp Duty.  These should be itemised on any quote so that a consumer can see the total amount they will have to pay.  CLS suggests that if these services are not itemised then a consumer should avoid using this firm.
Some abbreviations are explained by the statement put out by CLS, which it suggests are sometimes used to conceal extra charges.  These include ‘PI contribution’ which is an overhead and should be included in the solicitor’s basic fee.  Another example which is given is ‘TTF’, telegraphic transfer fee.  This fee only applies for amounts of over £60,000 as funds under this can be moved using the BACS system free of charge.  
The Co-operative advises:
‘Moving house is stressful enough without the worry of unexpected extra conveyancing costs.  That’s why it’s important to use a reputable and reliable service that offers free advice and a “No Move, No Fee” guarantee.’
This statement shows a push by Co-operative Legal Services in the wake of the announcement in May that it plans to recruit 3,000 new staff and provide legal services in all branches of The Co-operative Bank and Britannia.  
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