Do you bother to read the ‘Terms and Conditions’ when buying a product or service online? I am willing to bet that most people don’t, they just assume that everything will be OK when they click on the ‘confirm’ or ‘accept’ button.
Many buyers and sellers who get Online Conveyancing Quotes from Solicitors then find that their final bill includes all sorts of ‘extras’, and totals up to much more than the amount they were quoted. Extra costs are added for work such as acting for the lender on a mortgage or redemption, or completing the stamp duty return. Some firms make an additional charge if you want completion to take place within a week of exchange of contracts, which is now a common practice.
When challenged about these extras, Solicitors will point out that they are entitled to add these charges because they were mentioned in their Terms and Conditions, and that the client should have read these before accepting the quotation.
The problem for many clients is that they only find out about the additional charges when they receive a completion statement and bill; this is often on the day of completion or a day or two before (sometimes not even then – some clients do not see the figures until after completion has taken place). Most people are too busy at that time to check everything in detail, and even if they realise that additional items are included in the bill they will not be inclined to start an argument with their Solicitor when they are more concerned with the purchase being completed. When getting a quote for any Conveyancing work don’t be mislead by ‘come-on’ figures on Google searches – ‘Conveyancing from £99’ – it is not likely that your final bill will be as little as that (and if it is, what sort of service will you get?).
Check carefully exactly what is included in any Online Conveyacing Quote.
Make sure that you get a figure in writing – print and save a copy of any online quote. If it is unclear what is included, then phone or email the Solicitors and ask them to confirm whether they will add on any additional charges for work which they would normally have to do as part of any Conveyancing transaction.
It is not unreasonable for solicitors to make extra charges for work that couldn’t be anticipated, such as preparing a trust deed which may be required when two or more people are buying. If additional work is required, the solicitors should agree any additional costs with you of before carrying out that additional work.
When giving quotes Conveyancing Solicitors will usually notify you of the amount of any fees and charges that they anticipate will have to paid out during a conveyancing transaction. Common examples are stamp duty, land registry fees, and search fees.
You should remember that these items are paid to the government or to local authorities, solicitors do not pocket them nor do they receive a commission. However, like any taxes, the government can change rates without notice, so you will have to pay the amount chargeable at the date of completion even if that is more than the figure included in the Online Conveyancing Quote.
If you have any doubts about a Conveyancing Quote you have received online, our team can discuss the details with you on 0800 038 6446.