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Making solicitor stop work!(12 Posts)
Hi, I have a rather odd problem, and could do with advice on how best to handle problems with a solicitor who isn't taking any notice of me.
Some months ago my DP and I instructed a solicitor to handle the purchase of a house.
About a month ago, after an email exchange about various problems with the sellers paperwork for the property, we rang him, and, following a bit more discussion, said that we did not want to continue any further with the purchase. I checked that there were no legal issues with pulling out, and he said no, he just needed to inform the sellers solicitor. I also asked if I should follow up the conversation with an email, and he said it wasn't necessary, he would do what was needed.
We heard nothing for a month, then suddenly a letter from him enclosing further papers in connection with the house, as if we had never had that conversation! I emailed him immediately, reminding him of the conversation, asking him to stop all work on the purchase, and to confirm receipt of the email.
I'd hoped it was a momentary lapse, but the estate agent has since confirmed that he had not told the sellers solicitor (and that she has now done that for us).
2 days later, he has not acknowledged my email.
I need him to stop this - should I send a letter signed for delivery? Should I send a copy to the partners in the form also, to make sure? The letter would be proof that I told him, but I don't want to find in a few weeks that he has ignored that too, and continued anyway, and end up in dispute with them about fees for all this!
Advice would be much appreciated!
Yes, send a special delivery letter to him and ask him to confirm immediately by email that he stopped work after the phone call on XYZ date. Also ask him for details of charges up to that date. Explain briefly why you think he did more work after that date. Also enclose a copy of your email a month later confirming the phone call.
As he might dispute the phone call if you took any note even handwritten on the day of the call for your own file or you have proof you at least made a call eg phone records I would include that too and a statement that your husband also remembers the call.
it is alll rather strange. I always stop work immediately someone asks me too (as I do not want to risk not getting paid so am only too happy to stop right away).
Thanks, thats very useful - a couple of things there that I hadn't thought of. We called on a Friday, so I guess he just forgot about it!
It is possible he wanted the extra money from working the extra month I suppose but it is a bit of a risk for him to continue after the call. He should have taken some sort of note of the call. i tend to type a very short note when people call just for my file with name date time and a phrase or two eg said stop working on this although he might not have taken any note and just forgotten but if you asked him to stop work he should have right away in this sort of matter.
You phoned a conveyancer on a Friday?
Friday is peak completion day for conveyancers.
He was in the middle of finalising God knows how many chains, chasing bank transfers up and down, yelling at estate agents and getting yelled at by other estate agents, and the same with other conveyancers. With a sprinkling of stressed out clients going nuts, and the rest of the firm arsing about because it's Friday and wahey, who really works hard on Friday except those losers in conveyancing.
If you want to communicate something important to a lawyer, you put it in writing. Email it in. Then if he forgets, it's there on file to remind him.
How many transactions do you think your average conveyancer has in hand on any given day? Hundreds. They can't possibly remember them all, especially on Fridays!
I very much doubt his office was anything like the picture you paint!
Its a very small sleepy town, and he was available immediately to chat (and seemed in no rush on the phone).
I think that's beside the point though anyway; if I forgot something significant at which a customer rang and changed, because I was quite busy, and had said there was no need to put it in writing, I know that no one there would blame the customer for calling when I happened to be busy, it would be seen as entirely my responsibility.
Yes, as i said, i wish i'd emailed as well after the call, but that doesnt make it my fault - this is a highly paid professional, its not ok for him to just forget stuff.
With respect, however busy the solicitor was he should have remembered a conversation like that since we are supposed to make attendance notes of all conversations. "I forgot" is a rubbish excuse. I'm sure he won't charge you and if he does then you ought to complain.
I had exactly this though I did send an email confirming it. They carried on working and I re-sent the email reminding them I’d told them to stop proceeding and not to charge me for continuing.
It certanily helps to have the written record of an email. Even os however busy I am I take a note of the call - even if it's just 3 words - X called. Stop work or Y called add ABC clause in.
Look at your initial engagement letter. It will have a procedure as to who you should direct complaints.
Did you tell the estate agent you weren't proceeding too.
No, I didn't tell the estate agent, my kind solicitor said he'd do that too! But I did when I got his letter last week, by email, and they confirmed receipt of it.
He has since stated that he misunderstood the phone conversation, and while I know it was clear, its his recollection against mine.
I don't think he had actually done much in the last month, as I know he had initiated the searches before we spoke to him in Sept, so I will probably let it go, and just use a different firm next time.
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