Negative Reviews, Abuse of Conveyancers, Libel & Misrepresentation

Updated: May 24

You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Inevitably someone will be unhappy and express this via a review.

Let’s not forget that buying a house is one of the most stressful things you can do and despite the best of intentions things can take longer than you would like. It is frustrating but it’s not necessarily your Conveyancer’s fault.

Buying your home is huge. It is a life changing transaction but it is not instantaneous. It takes time to do it properly. This could be anywhere from 10 weeks to 10 months. It is dependent on the complexity of each property’s title and the number of parties involved in the chain.

But would you really want it rushed through?

What happens when you need to remortgage or sell? Will you be happy then to wait while defects are resolved or to suffer a drop in property value? Remember that Conveyancers are looking after your best interests.

We live in a “Now” culture where the public expect snappy results. You put an offer in and it was accepted - so why can’t this be wrapped up in a week?

It’s not like popping to the shops for your groceries! Ordering a sofa involves a wait of at least 20 weeks. This is a house! Huge sums of money are involved and a 25 year mortgage commitment.

Conveyancers are heavily regulated to crack down on fraud and crime and lenders have stringent requirements to protect their security.

Is it any wonder it takes time!

Why would you want it any other way?!

So when it is not moving as quickly as you would like you may feel aggrieved and it is easy to lash out. Conveyancers take the brunt of this and many receive devastating reviews.

Please be kind and remember that Conveyancers are not personally responsible for the inevitable delays. Searches, Valuations, Surveys and Mortgage Offers take time to issue.

In addition, Conveyancers have no choice but to follow regulations which the Government implemented to protect YOU and crack down on crime.

It is grossly unfair to leave a negative review because a Conveyancer could not complete on an arbitrary date which you and the other side picked out with no reference to the legal process. You cannot expect to agree dates and bend the legal process to your will.

The UK Conveyancing process is what it is. It is not perfect and it is not quick. However, Conveyancers do not set the rules and regulations. They follow legislation set by the UK Government.

On a personal note:-

I have been subject to a negative review on occasion. Usually where a client felt the process was too long winded. Unfortunately there are instances where it is NOT possible to manage client expectations.

In one memorable instance a client complained about progress a week after paying monies on account and instructing me.

He repeatedly telephoned and emailed to berate the lack of progress despite being fully updated and having the entire process and likely timescale explained.

He wanted daily updates regardless of any changes. This is impossible for a Conveyancer to adhere to due to sheer volume of work and completions underway. If we updated all clients, estate agents and chains daily we would never get any actual work done. As it is the high volume of telephone calls and emails to action delay us from getting to files.

I advised my client that searches were on order and I could not control the time taken to obtain the search results as actioned by a third party.

One working day later he telephoned to inform me he had contacted the local authority, who had no record of my ordering his searches and I was lying to him.

Upon being advised that we used a search company there was no apology but a demand for details of the search company so that he could check his searches were on order.

He then proceeded to berate the search company into dealing with his searches quicker. He also made a GDPR request to them and to me.

There followed approximately a fortnight of daily harassment as to progress, cross examination and accusations that I was not being truthful. Again attempts were made to manage expectations as constant ringing is not going to make the matter progress any quicker when awaiting third parties.

As he was incredibly rude and difficult I decided to disinstruct myself. This is the only time in my career that I have ever taken this step.

There was little point in acting for someone who had no faith in me.

The response was a full formal complaint to my firm that I had delayed his transaction by disinstructing myself.

He was unable to grasp the concept that I should be able to defend myself and say NO to being harassed and abused on a daily basis.

Thankfully his complaint was found to be without grounds. Although there was no support from my employers who felt I should have acted for him and accepted the abuse which forms part and parcel of being a Conveyancer.

I personally disagree. Abuse is not acceptable.

My ex-client then approached another firm, who acted for him, but were concerned enough that they contacted me to clarify why I had disinstructed myself. Finally he left a scathing review online which completely misrepresented what had occurred.

Six months later I joined a new firm and after a few months it was brought to my attention that, despite not having acted for him whilst at that firm, he had placed an online review naming me and stating how appalling I was as a Conveyancer.

He recommended that no one should ever use me or my current firm.

As someone who prides themselves on being proactive and has a reputation for excellent customer care this was upsetting to say the least.

I had no choice but to contact the review platform and advise that I would be taking legal action as the review was factually incorrect, was affecting my professional reputation and was losing me work.

I requested that the Conveyancer acting for my ex-client let his client know that if the review was not taken down I would be taking action as it was libellous. It was eventually taken down.

The whole experience was incredibly distressing. I felt powerless as everything was geared in the ex-clients favour. The system allowed him the power to victimise me.

Today it seems to be getting worse and I am reading daily reports of clients threatening Conveyancers with physical harm. Or law firms having to report people for harassment or taking libel actions for comments and misrepresentations uploaded in negative reviews.

Any review which is NOT a truthful representation of what occurred can get you into hot water. Verbal threats to your Conveyancer are not acceptable and you could be sued for damages or prosecuted if reported.

Please think before you post.

This is someone’s professional reputation and their livelihood.

They are simply doing their job and they are trying to help you.

Are you being fair in your review or are you lashing out in the heat of disappointment?

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