Online conveyancing- rip-off

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    Online conveyancing- rip-off

    I'm in the process of selling my house and (unwisely, I now know) chose an online firm offering a low fee.

    What appears to be a good deal soon changes when you read the small print. For example:

    1/The quote included £50 for dealing with my mortgage company. £40 for CHAPS payment. When the contract came through it stated that each CHAPS payment was £40, and that they don't make payments any other way. So if they know they have a mortgage company to pay as well as me the quote should have been £80. Misleading.

    2/ They go on to state that they are legally obliged to keep my records for 7 years. There is an additional 'archive fee' of £39 + VAT for this. If this was legally required; they should have included it in the original quote, to not do so was misleading.

    3/ When I received their information pack there was a note stating that I'd already entered into a contract and that if I didn't go ahead I'd be charged £35 + VAT for production of 'bespoke papers'. Distance selling cooling off period?

    And many other hidden charges...

    I can see a lengthy exchange of letters when this is over with, probably ending up with the ombudsman, or trading standards, or both.

    Beware!

    #2
    Difficult to comment fully without swing the whole quote.the storage fees are very wrong and also the bespoke papers fee unless of course you agreed them in advance what you were told when you accepted the quote is very important I would be surprised if this was not on the quote.

    If you are paying less than £400 all in you are getting a good deal, what are you paying and how did you find them did your agent reccend them.

    Comment


      #3
      I used an online conveyancer last year, and had similar issues to you. Once everything was over, I raised a complaint querying many items on their bill. It then had to go through their formal procedures, a senior partner took up the case, and very quickly I was offered a large amount off the bill. I'm sure a similar approach will work for you; it sounds like you are going to try this anyway.

      One of the areas where I was not totally reimbursed was the 'additional queries' raised, for which they charge an hourly rate, and their seemed to be a large number of these in which I was frankly either not interested in the answer (I would have bought the house for the same price either way) or which duplicated questions already asked in the standard questionnaire they already sent out.

      It may be worth an email or letter to them requiring that they can only raise questions that you have approved. Otherwise, this seems to be the way they pad their bill to reach the figure they actually wanted to charge you in the first place, rather than the misleading online quote.

      Make sure you keep all the documentation, especially the first quote. I successfully got all items refunded which were not on the online quote, but should have been given the information I provided.

      Comment


        #4
        Sorry to hear about your troubles Ricco.
        I'm currently looking for a decent (recommended) solicitor to deal with my house sale. I've seen several negative comments about using on-line firms.
        The solicitor that the EA recommended is quoting £780 (£650 + VAT) conveyancing fee and with the other charges the (estimated) total cost is at £838.
        Does this sound horribly expensive to anyone else?? What would you expect to pay?
        Other quotes I have received have ranged from £270 to £480.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by alexgreen View Post
          I used an online conveyancer last year, and had similar issues to you. Once everything was over, I raised a complaint querying many items on their bill. It then had to go through their formal procedures, a senior partner took up the case, and very quickly I was offered a large amount off the bill. I'm sure a similar approach will work for you; it sounds like you are going to try this anyway.

          One of the areas where I was not totally reimbursed was the 'additional queries' raised, for which they charge an hourly rate, and their seemed to be a large number of these in which I was frankly either not interested in the answer (I would have bought the house for the same price either way) or which duplicated questions already asked in the standard questionnaire they already sent out.

          It may be worth an email or letter to them requiring that they can only raise questions that you have approved. Otherwise, this seems to be the way they pad their bill to reach the figure they actually wanted to charge you in the first place, rather than the misleading online quote.

          Make sure you keep all the documentation, especially the first quote. I successfully got all items refunded which were not on the online quote, but should have been given the information I provided.
          Thanks for that. I too am being charged for 'additional items' (£15 each, minimum of £50 extra charge) 4 items were listed in a recent letter from my conveyancer following receipt of queries from the other party's solicitor. One of the items was confirmation of the other party's names (assume a spelling mistake was made). The other items were not unusual, things you would expect in any house sale/ purchase.

          I've already checked the firm's complaints procedure, it too requires that you go through a process that begins with the conveyancer, ends with a partner, before the option of the omdudsman. I'll go through this process, when the sale is complete.

          An irony about this firm is that they make a statement "we endeavour to keep our professional fees to a minimum at all times". Slightly more apt might be: We endeavour to mislead unwary customers into choosing our service on the basis of misleading quotes, and then endeavour to make our additional professional fees as high as possible.

          Comment


            #6
            Haha. Sounds like we used the same firm, unless they are pinching wording from each other and using the same charging scale. Don't mention the name though - I think it's against forum rules. I got £200+ off the bill, which knocked the bill down to around £600, although mine was a purchase; I missed that yours was a sale, and therefore no questions should be raised by your solicitor, only answers.

            Following that debacle, I decided to do my own conveyancing on the sale, since it was straightforward. So far we are at the point of exchange, and I have had to write five letters, most one paragraph each; total time a couple of hours, and cost around £40 for various things.

            @NIL, you judge whether £830 is reasonable for that amount of work ;-)

            Comment


              #7
              I paid £700 for my solicitor and it was well worth it. He picked up on many small items as was able to exchange and complete in a day. Having someone to speak to is essential. When you are investing a lot of money, it is important that things are done correctly.

              Comment


                #8
                I should add that the latest letter from them states that if exchange and completion is within 5 days there will be another charge of £50 or £100 "for extra work to complete within these tight time frames". My understanding is that this amount of time is pretty normal. They also wanted £20 to pay my estate agent (I've instructed them not to) and who knows, maybe another CHAPS fee.

                They advertise 'no move no fee' but it turns out they charge £35 + VAT for this 'insurance'. There are many conditions to this as well for example: if a survey reveals work needed and the seller reduces their offer, you are only covered if that offer is more than 10% below the originally agreed sale price.

                Clearly a firm that operates on the edge of the law if not beyond it, Trading Standards will be the judge of this, after the sale is completed.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Sounds like the same people I used :-)

                  There is a cancellation period for this 'insurance', although despite me cancelling within this period they 'forgot' and tried to add it to the bill. They also agreed not to charge the £100 for exchange and completion within 5 working days...but forgot and tried to add that to the bill.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    First letter of first word of name C, last letter of second word W by any chance?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Haha. I PMed my answer, just so we don't get into trouble.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        That may be the case but all businesses are answerable to trading standards. If a firm chooses to attempt to deceive, in order to get more business, then ramp the price up, they need to be taken to task.

                        To not include an archive fee in a quotation, and only mention the fact that there is one after a contract has been formed, when archiving is required by law, is like selling a car for £10,000 then saying later on that it's an extra £500 for the wheels.

                        There's a certain irony about solicitors being dishonest in this way

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