Simplify remain tight lipped

UPDATED 22/11/2021

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers have provided a brief update on progress at Simplify since it confirmed on 17th November it had moved to exchange contracts on files that are ready to exchange and complete and started work on new cases nearing exchange.

The group has indicated that it is continuing a staged recovery from the cyber attack it suffered 2 weeks ago but staff are now able to work on the “core operating systems” although acknowledge that there will inevitably be further delays to transactions.

The statement on the CLC website on the 17th November, which has since been updated, said that no client funds were compromised and it had complied with all responsibilities to report the incident to the relevant authorities as soon as possible.

The CLC have also said that Simplify have now completed on all completions which had been due to take place since the incident began and continue to monitor the situation closely. The statement advises that Simplify are now contacting clients in order of when they are due to exchange and complete.

“If you have exchanged contracts, Simplify says that your conveyancer will be able to complete the transaction and should be in touch with you soon if they have not been already. If you prefer to move to a different conveyancer you are free to do so, but please be aware that this could result in the transaction taking a longer period.”

Advising clients who have not yet exchanged with their seller or buyer, Simplify add

“(Clients must) consider whether to wait to progress their transactions when Simplify’s systems are running again or whether to instruct a different conveyancer. The limited access Simplify currently has to transaction files means that they cannot currently provide files to another conveyancer. We are pressing Simplify to address this. This could mean that you would need to start from the beginning, and this may result in your transaction taking longer. You should consider how far advanced your transaction is – how much work has already been done on it – when you make your decision. The CLC expects Simplify’s conveyancers to set this out clearly for each client.

Simplify have also confirmed that it will not charged for work completed to date by Simplify should clients wish to move to another conveyancer and have committed to passing on searches to the new conveyancer as and when they are returned.

On Friday The Gazette revealed that the outage is subject to a criminal investigation. It approached Simplify to query whether the attack was a denial or service attack, a process which effectively overloads the website and associated systems. Simplify responded saying

“Our initial investigations have confirmed that some IT systems were subject of a security incident. This is now the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, so it would not be appropriate to comment further regarding the type of incident.”

The CLC continue to

“closely monitor the operations of the involved firms and have outlined our expectations that Simplify ensures its clients’ interests are being protected and any disruption to individual clients and chains of house sales and purchases is being contained as far as possible.”

Many home movers have taken to social media to vent their frustrations with the Simplify/ Premier Property Lawyers/ My Home Move Twitter and Trustpilot accounts the focus of home mover ire.

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