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.