Legal providers to publish prices online to help people moving house

MOVING house requires specialist advice- now the CMA is making it easier for you to find a suitable legal provider.

Relocating or buying for the first time are some of the most stressful times in life, so it’s essential that you have the right legal advice to rely on when you need it most.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has conducted a market study into legal services and found that home buyers and those moving house often don’t have the information they need at hand to make the right decision.

Many rely on recommendations via word-of- mouth without doing further research on what the market has to offer.

This doesn’t guarantee value for money or a good service for the buyer.

A lack of clear and comparable information limits the ability of consumers to shop around and compare legal providers which, in turn, provides little incentive for legal providers to compete on price, innovate or improve their services.

Following the market study, the CMA has made a number of recommendations to help consumers have the right information available to them when they need it.

These include:

  • Working with regulators to require legal providers to advertise their prices directly on their websites so that pricing is transparent.
  • Encouraging legal providers to engage with reviews and ratings online.
  • Helping to develop online legal price comparison tools by getting regulators to make data available.
  • Asking regulators to work with consumer and small business groups in delivering improved information standards on price, service, quality and general guidance on purchasing legal services.

This will also include revamping the current ‘Legal Choices’ website so it becomes a go–to tool for would-be home hunters. The changes to this website will enable consumers to identify their legal needs better– before they start the process of buying or renting and to help them understand the choices available to them to  choose a legal provider.

Further information about the market study are available on the case page.

Acting Executive Director for the legal services market study, Rachel Merelie said:

“You might not require a legal service very often but when you do it will often be at a crucial point in your life – whether it is buying a property, resolving disputes or getting expert advice on financial and employment matters.

“Better informed consumers who are more equipped to assess and make choices will increase competition, not just on price – where currently a similar service can cost twice as much depending on the provider – but also on quality and innovation. It will also mean fewer consumers are discouraged from seeking the help they need.

“We will be working very closely with regulators in delivering the changes and keeping a close eye on the progress they make. We also think that the regulatory system will need to change to make it fit for the future and have recommended that the Ministry of Justice conduct a review of the current framework.”

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