Alas, I have been busy, as I’m sure any person reading this and working anywhere near the domestic moving market would understand, especially in the run-up to Christmas, which is when this response was penned.
Quite understandably, however, EAT has a schedule and this was the earliest it could be published.
Thank you for responding, Rob. To cut to it, I shall ignore the completely pointless digs at me personally and deal with what little substance there is left, before again attempting to discuss where the problems really are for home movers with regards key release times.
Firstly, I draw a distinction between solicitors who practice conveyancing and licensed conveyancers, and I won’t be corrected nor apologise for it. There is a difference, and really, you should know that. So my language is/was deliberate.
You stated that ‘all monies should be transferred.....by 2pm’. This just does not match reality. A reality witnessed and understood by thousands of employees on a weekly basis.
You are skipping past the point, without even seeing the point, and then blindly hurling yourself at the horizon to get as far from the point as possible. The time in the contract is almost immaterial once we’re talking about key release and funds transfer later than the stated time.
In fact, for many, the time set out in the contract turns out to be a ‘best guess – let’s hope’; the date too became fiction for four of our customers in the last 6 weeks, as they were left homeless and us with loaded vehicles.
At this point I will make clear – what is being railed at primarily by me is a system that sees home buyers/movers – in the 21st Century no less – fail to move in before dark (yes, sometimes even in summer) after having sat in their car for hours on end.
This problem does not just relate to ‘conveyancers’ (happy now, Rob?). It relates to every party in a position to have an effect. Hell, on Wednesday recently one of my crews waited two hours for a locksmith because the estate agent lost the house keys.
I digress, though. The point here was funds transfer, and more accurately the human part of this process, and the daily actions of all those for whom you have defended in such tub-thumping style.
See the truth of this, is that if a conveyancer acting for first in chain chooses to send funds at 11:30am the outcome all the way along can be horrendous. All too frequently we find position four, five or six not getting key release until 4:30pm, or even later. Yet in those instances where first funds have been sent first thing, say 09:00am, there is much less likelihood of a late time further along.
Would anybody reading this want to deny that it is highly likely they have known of a conveyancer who was in receipt of funds before midday, yet didn’t know, went to lunch at 1pm, came back at 2pm and only then had the client account checked?
Come on, this happens a lot. In fact, and I promise this is true, I had a customer just before Christmas who at around 4pm had no key release, and no idea what was going on. His solicitor wouldn’t return his calls...again, sorry, but this isn’t uncommon.
You chose solely to highlight the time taken for CHAPS transfer. Yes, fine, sometimes it’s a while, but sometimes it’s four minutes flat but another 60 minutes before the receiving party checks the client's account.
And then another 35 minutes in total for a call to the estate agent and call to customer, and then 30 minutes to go and get the keys and get back...now we’re on for more than two dead hours for the home mover (and removal co.), and for what? Why?
Bear in mind, Rob, that the BAR (www.bar.co.uk) had this to say:
“This regrettable change is, in our view, ill-advised and does nothing to alleviate the problems that have existed for many years; rather it only serves to exacerbate those issues. It is also regrettable that we were not consulted as a key stakeholder in this process and we are making contact with the authorities to express our disappointment and concerns and in the strongest terms.”
The instances where we get to find that funds were sent two hours ago, and the receiving solicitor is ‘on lunch’ and nobody has a clue what is going on, is not in the tens it is in the thousands.
We operate in an industry where approximately half of all firms charge an hourly waiting time fee from 2pm onwards, and have done for years – why do you think this is?
I could levy some charges against estate agents too, very easily. I can think of numerous instances where 40 minutes passes between them being told to release keys and actually ringing their customer. So this is not all in the hands of conveyancers.
Rob, your response downplays the suffering many people go through. Recently we had an elderly couple wait three hours before getting into their new apartment. They were knackered, exhausted.
How is this fair? You want to tell me that in the 21st Century this system cannot be modified, changed and/or adjusted? It can be. Very easily, it takes desire, and willing.
Instead, when offered a chance to really come out and lead by example, the voice your side of this process presents is one that ignores the problem in full and denies it ever exists!
Our customer, right now,(actually as I write this in last week of Dec @4pm) the one stood in an estate agent's office without key release because no funds are in, you want to ring him and give him the good news on CHAPS extension?
The crew moving him, the crew who have been sat outside the new home for the last 4.5 hours, all with young children, and a life. You want to give them the good news, that the next time a conveyancer wants a longer lunch, they can?
Your response could have taken the lead on this, and made me repent for the language I used. Your response could have proven me wrong.
P.S. The problem with exchange and completion timeframes that you raised is also exceptionally easily fixed – and the fault here does not in the main lie with conveyancers.
*Matt Faizey is managing director of Midlands-based removal and storage company M & G Transport and is a former board member of the British Association of Removers