Diary of a High Street Conveyancer; 22nd November 2021
The issue with the Simplify group continued this week. There is still no clarity as to what has happened, but the effect on the lives of many is clear. One only needs to look on Twitter, Trust pilot and a Facebook group which has been set up to see what is happening and importantly, what the public are being told and the rollercoaster they are experiencing.
I think that moving house is a stressful experience and always tell my clients that they do need to prepare themselves for an element of stress, principally being caused by a process over which they have no control. I also point out to them that I also have no control over what happens and when, and all I can do is hope that others involved in the process work together to achieve the goal of a successful house move.
Out of all of the posts I have read, there is one which exemplifies one thing for me
The issue of referral fees.
A post on Twitter stated that a large online estate agency would not allow the house mover to change lawyers without paying an additional fee for doing so. This is because the estate agency would lose the referral fee.
What the public now seem to be realising is that the reasons they were pointed in the direction of a particular lawyers’ firm was not for the reasons they were given; it will go smoothly, we have access to those who can push your house move quickly, your seller is using them so it keeps everything in the same place and will help you to move more quickly; but for a referral fee.
There is some vitriol regarding this and the public affected by this are hurt as many say that they were not made aware of such a fee being paid.
The public need educating in what is involved not only in the actual house moving process but also in how the interests of others can distort the market and the experience. If an agent tells a client that they cannot swap lawyers following a cyber attack, then, in my view, this is wrong.
A client should be able to instruct whichever lawyer they wish, and in such a situation as now, where clients just want to move house, there should be no financial bar on them doing so, indeed Simplify have confirmed that they will not be charging for the work they have completed on matters to date should people choose to switch conveyancer.
This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.