Area of law: Residential conveyancing
Complaint reason(s): Failure to progress
Remedy: None (apart from an apology suggested for failing to respond to an email)
Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision rejected by the complainant
When Mr A used a firm of solicitors to deal with his purchase of a house back in 1999, he assumed the new build insurance policy that went with it was all in order and had been registered by them. But when he came to making a claim on the policy some years later, he couldn’t find a copy, so he asked the firm to get hold of one for him. Eventually it turned out they couldn’t track it down either and, indeed, hadn’t registered the original. In the meantime, they also failed to reply to Mr A’s email asking them for a copy of the policy. All this meant that there was no paperwork to justify the claim, so Mr A was left feeling seriously out of pocket and out of sorts.
Mr A thought the firm had let him down badly and so complained to us. We concluded that there simply wasn’t enough evidence – especially after the passage of more than ten years – to prove that the firm had acted unreasonably in not registering the policy. In addition, Mr A undoubtedly knew of its existence back when he bought the house and so could (and should) have taken responsibility for its whereabouts himself.
The Ombudsman decided that the firm should apologise for their failure to respond to Mr A’s email and nothing more.