By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


CMA to make conveyancers publish home-moving charges online

Conveyancers are to be told to publish the charges for their house-moving services in a bid to help consumers and to encourage competition.

The Competition and Markets Authority says that a market study conducted into legal services found that house movers often did not have the appropriate information to make a genuine choice of which conveyancer best suits them. 

“Many rely on recommendations via word-of-mouth without doing further research on what the market has to offer. This doesn’t guarantee value for money or a good service for the buyer” says the CMA which describes the current situation as involving “a lack of clear and comparable information [which] limits the ability of consumers to shop around and compare legal providers.”


Now the CMA says it is going to work with legal industry regulators “to require legal providers to advertise their prices directly on their websites so that pricing is transparent” and “encourage legal providers to engage with reviews and ratings online.”

The CMA says it will also help to develop online legal price comparison tools by getting regulators to make data available to the public.

The authority is also pledging to revamp the existing Legal Choices website “so it becomes a go–to tool for would-be home hunters.” 

The changes to this website will enable consumers to identify their legal needs better, before they start the process of buying or renting and to help them understand the choices available to them to choose a legal provider. 

“Better informed consumers who are more equipped to assess and make choices will increase competition, not just on price – where currently a similar service can cost twice as much depending on the provider – but also on quality and innovation” says CMA legal market study supervisor Rachel Merelie.

  • Rob Hailstone

    The problem isn't about not publishing online, the problem is getting a like for like quote.

    One firm may advertise conveyancing at £99.00 then add on numerous extras, another may advertise £650.00 and add nothing on. The £99.00 quote could turn out more expensive.

    Others may mark up their CHAPS/BACS fees and carry out fewer searches than their competitors.

    On a mystery shop exercise I recently carried out, I obtained six written (conveyancing) quotes. It took me (with decades of experience) well over an hour to work out which was the cheapest and which was the dearest. I am not suggesting that either of those would provide the best or worst service.

    Their should be a standard quote template so that the public can compare apples with apples and not apples with oranges.

  • Martin Manning

    Absolutely agree with Robs comments, too many conveyancing firms hide additional fees and the standards can also vary considerably.

    There is also the question of quality vs price with a very high number (over half I believe) of abortive transactions due to poor conveyancing (including delays due to this).

    This may well represent a step in the right direction but I suspect much more may be required to have the desired impact.

  • icon

    I have one local high street solicitor who, like us agents' is prepared to state that he will only charge upon a successful completion (apart from aborted purchase disbursements). He provides written quotes (through us) broken down in detail for sale and purchase, with references to whatever the current stamp duty might be, and to an extra £100 + VAT if the property is leasehold and/or has unregistered title and/or the oppo solicitor has a team number rather than a real name & direct contact. He gets lots of business this way, 65% of what he could realistically possibly get through our sales.

  • Paul Singleton

    What are they trying to create here, look at Purple Bricks, cheap as chips but I wouldn't use them if they were free. If we were on a league table purely based on fees we look like criminals compared to them but we're 'NOT SALE - NO FEE' but that wouldn't show on the table. It's far too simplistic simply showing costs, many other factors MATTER.

  • icon

    CMA have it badly wrong here, and it makes me wonder where else they have it wrong, past and present. They immediately fuel the belief that conveyancing is a good, rather than a service.

    Service providers do not publish their charges, unless the service is absolutely routine (e.g an eye test, haircut, etc) as there are simply too many variables. If any conveyancer published their price, they are putting a square peg into a round hole and I question the respect that conveyancer has for their clients.

    Conveyancing transactions range wildly in their details and difficulty. And conveyancers range wildly in terms of quality - ranging from those who should be fired to those who are seriously good lawyers.

    We all start at a certain level of fee, then depending on the questions we have answered by the client, it may be lower fee, or a lot higher. What is the price, is it a new build, is it leasehold, how many mortgages, is there help to buy, are there currently legal defects, are there absent Council consents because the client did not realise they would need any for their building works, is there missing legal access to and from the property in some way, is some of the property used as domestic when it should be agricultural etc etc?

    We may also increase our fees if an estate agent or conveyancer from a list of shoddy ones are involved.

    Every conveyancer's regulatory body should resist the CMA as they have it wrong on this - badly wrong.
    The public will think that price is relevant to securing a good conveyancer, and it will surely cause law firms to compete on price reducing price and therefore quality to absolute rock bottom. Look at what is happening with estate agents. Their prices are dropping, and so is the quality the public are now receiving. We deliberately recommend the best estate agents and we pay no attention to their fee.

    Yet, the quality of conveyancers is already the lowest I have seen within the conveyancing market since I first started as one.

    CMA needs to abandon this idea as I feel it will hurt the public.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up