With a month now passed since the new transparency rules came into play, the conveyancing industry has had time to digest the changes and decide the measures they need to implement.
At the outset, there was an understandable degree of uncertainty. Initial conversations with our customers revealed that conveyancers’ main worries were around the amount of work involved, how the new regulations will be policed and the risk of having to take their website down if not compliant. The good news is that some of these concerns have started to be alleviated. The CLC (Council for Licenced Conveyancers) and SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) have confirmed that they are treating this post-regulation period as transitional and, that they are currently collaborating with the conveyancers rather than strict policing of the new regime
If you’re still working towards compliancy, keep in mind that there is no need to panic nor do you need to carry out a complete overhaul of your systems. Instead, spend some time looking at the information and assets you already have, and work out how they can be adapted to meet the new requirements.
Do check that you are clear on the key essential actions that you need to take:
- Price of services. It is crucial that details about what your prices do and do not include are displayed as clearly as possible on a prominent page on your website. If you don’t have a website, make sure clear pricing details are included in any marketing materials you give to clients.
- Complaints handling. Provide a clear explanation of how potential complaints will be handled so users know what to expect.
- Personal details. The new rules state that customers should no longer have to provide their personal details to get a quote. If you’re using an online estimate generator which requires personal details for a result, please be aware that this now makes your company non-compliant. According to the new regulation, you also have to display cost information on your site in a different format. These details should be accessible without providing personal details, for instance sample prices based on a variety of property values.
The regulators strongly believe that conveyancers should view more transparency in the industry as an opportunity rather than a burden. Greater clarity will help you set expectations and improve your interactions with customers. Conveyancers can build further competitive advantage by demonstrating the skills and experience of their staff on their website. As a result, customers benefit from an increased understanding of the value for money they are getting and they can make it part of their decision-making process when choosing a law firm.
In a nutshell, start with the resources you already have and work your way up from there, rather than worrying about additional software. It’s also key to be ready to ask for help when needed. Quick and useful support can come from multiple sources, whether it’s the SRA and CLC or your conveyancing provider.