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Any other bad experiences of CountryWide Property lawyers.

(27 Posts)
yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 17:47:20

They have nearly lost us our house sale and purchase.

whoops Mon 13-Aug-07 17:52:44

I work for Solicitors and I know that the solicitors usually have to be on hold for ages to get through to someone there

yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 17:55:58

my dh has been on the phone trying to speak to someone all day today and we have had every excuse under the sun. They have not written or telephoned us once over the last four months. We are not even in a chain and luckily our buyer hasn't pulled out.

whoops Mon 13-Aug-07 17:59:56

I'd ditch them and find someone else!

whoops Mon 13-Aug-07 18:00:15

The solicitors that is!

pucca Mon 13-Aug-07 18:00:21

Yogimum, we almost used these, but thankfully i had the thought of it is better to use a local solicitor who you can actually go into the office to stamp feet at than use one that is based god knows where who can ignore the phone or fob you off!

Our buyers have used a company similar called Get moving online and they have been absolute pants! because of the reasons above.

yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 18:01:35

we are just about to exchange and complete but if I had known how bad they were I would have changed solicters by now. They are affiliated with our estate agents so it was them who recommended them.

whoops Mon 13-Aug-07 18:01:52

The trouble with big firms like that is that they have a different department for each part of the transaction where a local firm usually has one person dealing with it from start to finish

fridayschild Mon 13-Aug-07 18:05:19

Sack them and go somewhere else if it's that bad. Get the agent to check if your buyer's solicitors are hacked off, then beg the buyer for a period of grace while you instruct someone decent. Just write to them to tell them the instruction has come to an end, and they are fired.

If you are a freehold house there should be very little in the way of title deeds etc a new solicitor cannot get a minimal cost - or if your buyer's solicitor is relieved to be shot of them, they might help your new improved super lawyer by supplying copies of anything that Countrywide have produced.

I know nothing about them by the way, but it sounds like you have grounds to complain to the Law Society about them. Sorry but I cannot remember what the complaints body is called now. You might have to pay a proportion of countrywide's costs - when the bill comes there will be text (usually small print on the back) about getting a renumeration certificate. Go for this option. It means you only have to pay a fair charge for the work done, which sounds like not much.

LIZS Mon 13-Aug-07 18:07:39

Don't they work via EA's. I seem to remember we had a quote from them cold calling on suggestion of our EA, more expensive than the local, recommended one ,and they were persistent in calling again on the basis of cr@p info being passed on.

yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 18:11:28

well we told them we need to complete by the end of this week as our bank said our mortgage proposal is about to run out. Its difficult as dh has been away for the last 4 months. However I will take your advice and make a complaint.

fridayschild Mon 13-Aug-07 19:25:24

You should address the letter to the Complaints Partner. Make it clear that the bank's mortgage offer will expire this week, and that if you re-apply and get another mortgage offer the interest rate will be higher (if that's the case, which I guess it will be). You consider that any additional costs of borrowing will have been caused solely by their failure to perform the services you engaged them to perform with the required skill, timeliness or level of service, and if you do not complete this week, you reserve the right to proceed against them subsequently in respect of any loss you may suffer as a result of their failure to act with due diligence.

Essentially this is making it clear that any higher mortgage payments are their fault, and you reckon you could sue them for the amount of any increase later. This should focus their attention on your case.

yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 20:23:51

thanks fridayschild. The bank has extended our mortgage proposal until the end of the month though we haven't told the lawyers this. Will definitely be writing a letter of complaint though. DH has been overseas and his mobile phone bills have been extortionate ringing this bloody company.

jodee Mon 13-Aug-07 20:29:55

sorry you have had such a time of it. These type of 'solicitors' are like warehouses with one 'team' or another for each aspect of the transaction and you can never get hold of them. Annoys me very much when agents try and steer customers towards their favoured lawyers. Thankful I work for a one-man-band who is always available to his clients.

yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 20:34:51

Its DH's first house which he bought new so has not much experience in this. I sold my house years ago, and it took only 3 weeks so maybe we were a bit naive. We have a cash buyer and we are buying a new build so no real chain. I know we won't be moving again until we have too!

CrookshanksinJimmyChoos Mon 13-Aug-07 20:34:53

Yup, we have and not impressed at all! Caused us delays when we were changing mortgage to another fixed rate one as our current fixed rate term was up and as a result, we ended up reverting to the variable rate while it was all being sorted out. I wrote a stonking letter of complaint and got a refund for the majority of the extra costs incurred but I wouldn't use them again. We also had insurances with them - when you are a first time buyer, you panic and buy everything they recommend but their prices aren't good and have now switched to another company!

tyeanddye Mon 13-Aug-07 21:11:13

great....after everything else...these are my solicitors and they are a nightmare!!!quite poetic really,i am selling my house...no chain whatsoever,and they keep losing everything and its taken months,,,and im living out of suitcases and going bust in the meantime...wonderful...

CrookshanksinJimmyChoos Mon 13-Aug-07 21:13:37

The best way forward would be to start photocopying everything you are sending and post it recorded delivery - you can check the delivery on Royal Mail on line and make a note of when it was delivered etc so if they start losing things, you have a lot of evidence to say well this is what I posted and Royal Mail said it was signed for on such and such a date. Then, if in the future you want compensation, you have a clear case for doing so iyswim?

yogimum Mon 13-Aug-07 21:18:16

I knew we couldn't be the only people having a problem with them. They have blatently lied to us on several occasions and today DH was fobbed off on the telephone. He is extremely patient but even he is getting annoyed (which takes a lot). I'm tempted to protest outside their offices.

flipflopper Wed 15-Aug-07 21:42:27

We started off using them, last year, but the house sale fell through, so didnt proceed too far.
We were using the office in Manchester, and cant remember having too much trouble getting through on the phone.
I do remember that they did some searches on the wrong house though!
Are you using rentons EA? I def do not reccomend them! Bit late for you now though.

Hope you have given them a kick up the bum and they have sorted themselves out now.

paddingtonbear1 Thu 16-Aug-07 12:22:31

we used them for our first house purchase. never again! They should have obtained documents with the landlord's permission for an extension, as the property was leasehold. we didn't know to ask for this at the time. When we came to sell, it nearly caused our sale to fall through as we didn't have the documents, and our then solicitors couldn't get anything out of Countrywide - they'd lost all our old files!

crokky Thu 16-Aug-07 12:30:31

Yogimum - have only read OP, but my mum and step dad used these solicitors last year. It was a shocking nightmare, they were uncontactable, nearly lost both sale and purchase and everything was a battle with the call centre. They lie, they just want you off the phone. It was horrendous and they really need shutting down.

I would advise you to complain. Their complaints procedure is a nuisance, you have to complain to depts in order. My mum was first offered £250, refused it as it was insulting for what had taken place. She finally accepted £600 (letter to MD). If you don't get the money you are after, report them to their regulatory body.

Don't let them get away with it, they are doing this to loads of people.

I asked my own solicitor for advice for my mum on how to complain and his words were "I hate dealing with CWPL".

crokky Thu 16-Aug-07 12:33:53

Oh I forgot to say, CWPL sent the money to my mum's vendor's solicitor on completion day and it was £26k short!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Therefore, my mum was not allowed the key. Well she was a refugee in a lorry full of furniture in Tesco's car park for a long time! She is a 60 year old woman FGS!

yogimum Thu 16-Aug-07 13:10:02

crocky thats terrible. I do intend to complain. We hopefully complete tomorrow so fingers crossed. They should be exposed on Watchdog or something.

tyeanddye Thu 16-Aug-07 13:48:56

they have just lost all my paperwork i sent in 3 weeks ago,put back exchange god knows how long...

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