Consumers want “easy to understand charges”

Results from a recently published consumer research project carried out by GfK NOP Social Research, aimed at gauging how aware consumers are about the profession is regulated, are said to be assisting the SRA in bringing about major transformations to the regulations.
Top of consumer’s wish list was an easy to understand fee scale while “hidden extras” were deemed to be “certain to cause complaints”.  While most consumers appeared to have a high level of trust for legal professionals many were not sure how to make a complaint if something went wrong.
Many of the consumers interviewed said that a word of mouth recommendation was key when choosing a solicitor but knowledge of the legal market appeared to be low.    
The SRA are now looking to fund further research centred around consumer protection issues and they hope the results will help to “smooth the way” for the introduction of ABS, set to launch in October.
The results could also strengthen the SRA’s argument against the scrapping of the “separate business rule” which prevents firms offering non-reserved legal services through a separate, unregulated business.
Richard Silver, SRA Policy Officer, currently involved in the programme said:
“Consumers have strong views about what they expect from a solicitor.  They don’t want to be bothered with jargon and detail, they want value, fair treatment and a result with which they are satisfied.
Solicitors should also give clients opportunities to complain if they are not happy with the service they receive and provide good information about how to complain.
We now want to use this research to help solicitors meet those requirements.”
If you want to see copies of the research summaries they can be found here.
I have found many firms that offer full details on complaints procedures within their terms of business — where do you keep yours?
Today’s Conveyancer, bringing you the latest conveyancing news and updates.
Today's Conveyancer