We searched for a conveyancer via Conveyancing Calculator (CC). Having found one, we contacted the conveyancer directly and were then instructed we need to wait for CC to contact us first. The conveyancer was excellent and in all fairness CC contacted us within an hour to discuss the details. Although the conveyancer had a 'no move no fee' policy we were told that CC require an upfront payment of a referral fee (£150) and the search pack cost (£235) - these are not hidden costs but are just taken off the quotation. I asked what happens with these costs if the sale falls through prior to exchange and was told they would be kept on my account for 6 months and can be transferred to the next property purchase. I was then asked to make the payment of £385 after which they will forward my details to the conveyancer and the process can start. I received a secure payment link via email and made the payment. Within minutes of doing so the estate agent left us a voicemail informing us of bad news regarding the property we were buying. There was no further information but we called back instantly and the agent was not available, so we had to wait to find out. We realised that bad news most likely meant we lost the property, so I immediately called CC to let them know. I explained I have no further details but asked them not to proceed in any way and that I'll call them back as soon as we have more information. Note that this was less than 30 minutes after making the payment. We finally managed to get through to the agent and were told that we've been gazumped. We called CC again to inform them of this and request our money back, which we thought would not be a problem considering it's only been about an hour since we first got in touch with them. As it took us 9 months to finally get an offer accepted, we were not optimistic that we would find a house within the 6 months time that CC allowed, and the concept of losing £385 without receiving the service we paid for did not sit well with us. We also understood that UK laws on distance selling allow up to 14 days cooling-off period for any services purchased online. The lady who was dealing with our case suggested that we keep the payment on our account, but I asked for a refund instead, and informed her I'm happy to use them again but worry it'll take us more than 6 months to find a new house. She then gave the phone to her male colleague who proceeded to argue that since they told us the fees are non-refundable and they have a recording of this conversation, we can't get a refund. This is incorrect as far as we know; the 14-day cooling-off period is mandatory, and they could only keep the money on the basis of it being 'non-refundable' after that 14-day period. When I mentioned distance selling regulations, the employee then instead informed me that they can't make the refund since they will suffer card fees on the transaction. Understanding that the bank fees on this kind of transaction would be very small, we finally agreed that they may keep £5 to cover their costs and they refunded the £380. Overall I am not satisfied with the way we've been treated. It seems to me that if I did not know about the 14-day cooling off period, or if I was not prepared to argue my case with CC, they would just keep our money indefinitely, even though our sale fell through on the same day we initially contacted them. From the moment it became clear that we want our money back, we started being treated with what felt like hostility. Although the website is useful as a comparison tool, to us the service provided is not worth the £150 'referral fee' included in the quote. Next time, we will find a conveyancer ourselves and contact them directly instead.
7 months ago
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Conveyancing Calculator has a 4.54 average rating from 198 reviews

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