Some conveyancers must publish some price and service information on their websites and in other media from December 6, according to a trade body.
The requirements will be for convincing firms licensed by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and is part of what the organisation calls “a cross-industry push to empower consumers and foster innovation and competition across the legal services market.”
In the past some in the agency profession have criticised the quality and speed of work undertaken by some conveyancers.
The CLC has also published templates and examples of displaying cost information for both conveyancing and probate work.
Firms are able to decide the best way to display cost information, such as examples of fixed fees based on specific values or a range of values of properties, hourly rates of members of staff with indicative timescales for transactions, or through instant estimate generators.
However, the CLC cautions that any estimate generator should produce an instant result directly to the consumer. “A consumer shouldn’t have to provide contact details to receive a call-back or email for an estimate” the guidance says.
Service information on firms’ websites must include a description of the services they provide, key stages of the services, indicative timescales, and the staff mix, their experience and qualifications.
“The new rules are due to come into force on December 6 and those we regulate need to start working now to help potential clients make a better-informed choice of lawyer. We have been consulting and talking about these changes for two years now and we do not believe that this will cause firms undue difficulty” insists CLC chief executive Sheila Kumar.
“I hope those we regulate will see these new rules as an opportunity to really differentiate themselves in what is a highly competitive market and so better appeal to clients on grounds other than just price. Helping consumers understand the value of the service they offer, the benefits of how they offer that service and the experience the client should expect will help the consumer make a more informed choice.”