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AIBU- to expect more for £309?(16 Posts)
We have instructed a solicitor to help get my father discharged to live with us from hospital (long story). It’s quite a challenging time so I don’t know if I am being unreasonable because of emotion and I haven’t had much dealings with solicitors before so not sure whether this is usual. However I have been really disappointed with the quality of work. Draft letters (for which they charge £309) contain typos/ inaccurate and missing information/ the name of the client (me) is wrong etc. I am having to redraft everything. On conference calls the lawyer isn’t speaking and when we are seeking advice they are just very unclear, confused and not very firm. I don’t know if this is normal but I feel as though we are just being left to do it all ourselves but still have to pay out lots of money. Is that normal with solicitors? If not what can you do? I looked on the website to see if there was a manager or complaints procedure but nothing. I did ask the solicitor if they wanted to work on the case (they were so difficult to engage with) they said yes but I just feel they aren’t bothered. Not sure whether I am being unreasonable or if this is the norm?
You should have got an engagement letter, that should have the complaints procedure on it.
I wouldn’t be happy to pay for letters with mistakes & the rest sounds awful. You need to complain to them initially then the law society if you still aren’t happy. Can you find another solicitor?
(Pressed send too soon) it's most certainly not the norm and needs to be raised. If you can't find the complaints procedure email the firm (should be a generic email on the site somewhere) and ask for the complaints procedure and the details of the complaints manager.
That’s not remotely normal, and not what you should expect.
You should raise the issue with the CRP - details will be on the letter of engagement they sent out. If they didn’t send a letter of engagement that’s a serious breach of practice rules.
Solicitors are regulated by a very detailed code of conduct and are all required to have a complaints procedure. This would be on your letter of engagement. If you feel very strongly about it you can complain direct to the Law society.
However in terms of costs £300 seems very little for advice and letter(s) although the quality of yours sounds low.
Anyone who's ever tried complaining to the Law Society or the Legal Ombudsman will know that it's hardly worth the bother. I've done it. The ombudsman agreed that I'd received appalling service and I got a token 10% back from a bill of £8,000.
OP, I'd follow their complaints procedure and meanwhile refuse to pay them for the work done so far saying that it falls below professional standards. With a bit of luck they're forget it as it seems quite a small sum. They can take you to the Small Claims Court for breach of contract of course, but if you can can show that the work wasn't up to standard you should be okay.
Meanwhile I'd look for a better solicitor. There's an organisation called Solicitors for the Elderly
which seems to regulate members carefully and may be able to offer the kid of specialist you need. I just tried to get onto their website and it wouldn't open for me, don't know why.
These costs sound low if you are also having “conferences” with them. Is it definitely a solicitors form (not just a bunch of paralegals)?
Anyway he’s complain
Definitely find a new solicitor via SFE. Members are tightly vetted and have a genuine interest in helping elderly clients. And make a formal complaint to the current ones - if they haven't given you the info about how to do so then they probably haven't provided full terms and conditions and I think that might bar them from being able to charge you at all
I read it as the charge of £309 is for the letter alone, presumably conferences are billed separately?
YANBU I would expect letters to be sanity checked as a bare minimum. I work in customer service, so customers are not being billed per letter, and we still sanity check each other’s letters for typos, missing words, that it makes sense etc. I would expect a letter I was paying £300 for to be correct!
Agree they must have a complaints procedure, so if you can’t find details of it ask them for it, they should provide it. Just mentioning it might give them a bit of a kick up the arse.
The cost doesn’t seem ridiculous but you want to be getting clear advice that moves you forward however much you’re paying. Are they a specialist court of protection solicitors (in health matters, not just finance)? One good way to tell is to see if they have a legal aid contract covering that kind of work. The law society find a solicitor service will help too.
For a consultation and a letter rate sounds about right but as for the letter it doesn't cost to put a spell and grammar check on - I would be kicking it back and telling them that they need to pull their socks up on detail - after all that's where the devil is.
Having said that I think I would want to move on from that firm if that is the attention they pay to something as simple as a letter what is their handle on the actual law involved
Why do you need a solicitor to get your Dad out of hospital? If you have to engage the law he almost certainly isn't ready for discharge. Hospitals are very keen to get rid of people when they are ready to go.
Ok - firstly you should have a letter of engagement which sets out the responsible partner for your work and the firm’s complaints procedure (along with charging procedures). This letter must be sent out, so you should have one. If not, speak to your solicitor and ask, check the website or phone and ask reception for details of the complaints partner.
You must firstly follow the firm’s procedure. If you don’t, you’ll not get very far with other organisations.
If that gets you nowhere, the correct body is the SRA, not the Law Society which ceased dealing with complaints a while ago now. It is the SRA responsible for regulating solicitors.
In terms of costs / quality, your OP is not entirely clear. Are you being charged £309 per letter, or does that include all the work that goes into preparing the letter (including calls/meetings to take your instructions, revising drafts etc) I used to charge £350 + vat an hour in private practice (just for an idea). Whether the costs you’ve quoted are reasonable depends on the nature of the letter, the instructions you‘ve given (was there missing information for example), the level of person writing it and the level of firm (ie high street, specialist or major commercial firm).
Can you give a bit more info ?
I’d send it back, corrected in red pen, with a bill for £400. My costs for correcting the English.
Letter writing is a basic, learnt in the GCSE curriculum.
Sorry, forgot to say though I would not expect to see typos, spelling errors or incorrect information such as client name in a letter from any firm / solicitor (although an odd one might slip through as people are human).
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