Area of law: Family law
Complaint reason(s): Costs information deficient
Remedy: To apologise
Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision rejected by complainant
Mr K instructed the firm to represent him regarding a family law matter. When he instructed the firm, he made an upfront payment
He later asked for an invoice detailing the work that had been carried out. When Mr K received it, it said that he owed the firm over £500. He was unhappy about this because it did not include the amount he had originally paid. When he queried this with the firm they said that the amount was not included because it was made on account and therefore not included in the final bill. Mr K continued to chase the firm for a breakdown of costs. An updated invoice showed that he owed less than £100.
The following day, Mr K received a debt recovery letter from the firm. He complained that following the dispute over the bill there was little communication from his solicitors. When he tried to contact them on one occasion, there was no reply for nine days. When the firm eventually replied he was told that his solicitor would not be available for another two weeks. He wanted to be reimbursed because he felt that they did nothing on his case.
When we investigated, we found that the firm had sent out the debt recovery letter too soon but the evidence showed that otherwise their service had been. The ombudsman decided that the firm should apologise for this. Mr K rejected the decision.