Area of law: Residential conveyancing
Complaint reason(s): Delay, failure to advise
Remedy: No remedy
Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected by complainant
Mr H went to the firm to help him buy a house. Things started well, and the firm gave an estimate of costs and explained how much it would cost if they were asked to do extra work. Mr H was running to a very strict deadline because the seller wanted exchange to take place on a designated date. The firm kept requesting information from the seller, so they could prepare for the purchase.
The firm upgraded the matter from a standard process to an urgent process, but were doubtful whether the purchase would go ahead on time because there had been problems on the previous occasions they had dealt with the seller. They finally received the information they needed from the seller, but it was a hefty bundle and they informed Mr H that to stick to the deadline the solicitor would need to work over time, at an additional cost. Mr H agreed to go ahead but was unhappy and felt pressured. He raised a complaint with the firm and, while they felt they had acted reasonably, they offered to reduce their fees by £100. Mr H remained unhappy and brought his complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
When we investigated, we could see that there had been a rush leading up to the exchange of contracts, but could not see that this was the fault of the firm. There had been a hold up with the seller sending over the information and the firm had gone out of their way to stick to the deadline. They had also outlined at the beginning what their costs would be if they were required to do extra work. For this reason we felt the firm had acted reasonably, and awarded no remedy to Mr H. Mr H rejected the decision.