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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I have recently moved house and the solicitors provided me

Resolved Question:

I have recently moved house and the solicitors provided me with the final purchase completion statement on 15.5.14. I moved (on 16.5.14) and thought all was well until an email on 21.5.14 from the solicitor telling me that the stamp duty was not included on the completion statement and I needed to pay an additional £1,325. I am devastated as I have made purchases for the new house that I would not have made if I knew that there was still outstanding monies to pay. This week they have sent me a letter asking for payment and pointing out that if I do not pay soon HMRC will charge an additional £100 and I will not be registered at the Land Registry. I think this is unfair and they should pay for their mistake but am unsure of my position in law. Help!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 3 years ago.

Matt Jones :

Hi

Matt Jones :

I will try and help

Matt Jones :

did the solicitor include the details of the stamp duty in the original quotation to you?

Customer:

No I knew it would be 1% of the cost of the house. I looked at the bot***** *****ne when I received the statement thinking the solicitor would have included everything.

Customer:

Actually yes originally the stamp duty was included however that was some time ago and days before moving I was quoted various figures via telephone (which was very confusing!) when I received the final completion statement I was happy to see that the solicitor owed me £700! As I was extremely busy I did not check that everything was included as I thought the solicitor did that.

Matt Jones :

Hi sorry for the delay

Matt Jones :

is the Solicitor part of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS)

Matt Jones :

if you are able to reply to this I'll pick it up firs thing tomorrow

Customer:

I don't know, but they are a company recommended by the local estate agent who I dealt with and are based in Southport.

Expert:  Matt Jones replied 3 years ago.
HI well you can check if the company has CQS accreditation by looking at the bottom of their letterheads.

If they do then they should comply to a certain minimum degree of customer service on compliance with CQS protocol. Part of this is that they should provide you with an accurate financial statement in "good time" before completion requesting the monies. This they seems to have failed to do

Whether they are or are not accredited however this largely comes down to a mistake on the part of the Solicitor. The general principle with mistakes (in contract law at least) is that because everyone is human and can make them, if they are noticed early enough they can be reversed.

In your case as you were aware of the need to pay stamp duty in the early stage you of course cant argue that this was an unknown amount that you hadn't accounted for overall. Although I appreciate when you mistakenly believed you have more disposal money you used this to buy furniture, but I am not sure that is relevant. It is a bit like walking out of a shop with more change than you were due. The shop keeper is perfectly entitled to stop you and ask for the money back, despite the fact that you had spent it right outside the shop.

The question is then, not really one of law, but whether the level of service has dropped below that expected from a competent solicitor. I would suggest that if you believe this is the case then you are entitled to go firstly through firms complaint procedure. If this is not satisfactorily well handled then you are entitled to take the matter to the legal services ombudsman. see here:- http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/

Bear in mind there are certain time scales involved here, and so please read the requirements carefully.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello, I cannot find CQS but they are with the Council for Licenced Conveyancers is this a similar thing?

Expert:  Matt Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ah, right I see.

No these are not Solicitors, they are Licensed Conveyancers, a completely different animal.

They are not governed by the same legislation as Solicitors, and are not governed by the Solicitor Regulation Authority.

They should still have an internal complaints policy which you can follows, or if you are going to complain you need to go via the licensed conveyancers council. see here:- http://www.conveyancer.org.uk/
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