"Buying a house is probably the most expensive purchase you'll ever make. If you're not careful, it can also be the most stressful. And nothing that Premier Property Lawyers does will reduce that stress in any way (check them out online - they trade under a host of different names....including my home move and Ezie)
They're said to be Britain's largest conveyancer. It might be that your estate agent recommends them - they earn commission for doing so. When bought through your estate agent they seem to 'adopt' the estate agents name....hence PPL were always referred to as Andrew Grant Conveyancing in my dealings, as they were my estate agent
Let me be clear: PPL are a sick joke. Frankly, if you read all the one star reviews from genuine customers and go on to use this company, then, put simply, you're part of the problem
This company has mastered the art of indifference. They don't care. To be fair to them, they don't pretend that they care. If you don't complete on your purchase they don't charge you for your legal fees. You might think that's a great reason to sign up with them, but I understand - do your own research - that they claim off an insurance company to cover the loss - so there's NO incentive for them to be professional, to succeed, to get the job done.....to complete
You cant escape the feeling that you're dealing with a call centre. You'll actually get through to your named conveyancer once in a blue moon. Even then, they appear so snowed under with work that they don't know who you are, don't care about your issues and have no idea what stage your purchase or sale is at.
If you're lucky you'll find your conveyancer has two gears - neutral and first. If you're unlucky, you'll just be stuck in neutral
Their standard turnaround time for enquiries appears to be 11 days. Send them anything. Wait 11 days. Raise a buyer enquiry. 11 days. Bounce it back. Another 11 days. Ask for a financial update - 11 days. Send an email enquiry - 11 days. You get the picture
It should not take over a year to complete the sale of one house and simultaneous purchase of another. And that might not be the average, but that's how long ours took
Come up against a legal issue? Don't expect them to come up with the solution. You do the research. You solve the problem. You just get them to implement it
Their legal expertise for any issue rarely goes beyond: 'We'll get an indemnity for that' (ours typically cost £290 - we wonder how much goes to them....)
No right of way to your new house...
Tree preservation order, but no actual tree...
No HETAS certificate for your woodburner? indemnify
Loft conversion with no planning permission, even though it only needed building regs...
PPL's motto should be: 'If in doubt, get an indemnity out'
It's quite possible you'll pay more in indemnities than the rest of your conveyancing fees in total...so much for their much-vaunted 'fixed fee conveyancing'
As for 'contact counting', forget it. Your phone calls, emails and other attempts at contact will prove frustratingly futile. You cant escape the feeling that you're on a money-making conveyer belt
It seems that anything they can do to complicate matters they will and it'll result in an indemnity, the cost of which you will be paying
Good luck on day of exchange. Ours was interesting. 1st day, they failed to exchange because in a working day they couldn't contact all the parties. On the 2nd day, they stopped exchange and advised us not to buy!? Why you ask? Because we weren't actually ready to exchange as they had forgotten to do some of the conveyancing work!
Post completion update:
With the purchase complete, all that remained for PPL to do was to electronically upload the change of ownership and to register a right of way with the Land Registry. All the paperwork had already been completed as a condition of exchange, so it was ready to go - just press a button
Several weeks after completion I enquired and was told it was a 'WIP' - the paperwork had been submitted. Eight weeks post-completion, same message. 11 weeks post-completion I spoke to the Land Registry who informed me the paperwork had NEVER been submitted to them by PPL
An enraged call to PPL drew the response that the paperwork was 'complicated' and 'WIP', yet within an hour of complaining, Land Registry informed me that PPL had finally been in touch
Unfortunately, two weeks later, despite repeated assurances that the paperwork had been submitted, Land Registry confirmed it still hadn't
Within an hour of making a formal complaint...the paperwork was finally submitted
A week later, we finally legally owned our new home. You might ask about the right of way, shame PPL didn't. Instead they asked Land Registry to register the existence of some telegraph poles dating back to 1931? When Land Registry queried this, PPL sent them a marriage certificate by way of explanation!?!?
Subsequently, after further chasing, our right of way WAS finally registered. Following a formal complaint we received a letter (sent to our OLD address, I kid you not) and compensation for £100, but with a cheque for just £50 attached
Our request for the original legal paperwork that we bought and paid for had STILL not been actioned 16 weeks after completion. As a result we served a legal 'letter before action' on PPL and the next day received a bundle of papers via recorded delivery
One of the documents was 'a certified copy' of a document, the original of which we had paid for and needed. The 'certified copy' wasn't even dated, so had no legal standing as far as I could see. And we were advised the original was 'in storage' and 'being retrieved'
Having escalated our complaint, we received a letter stating 'for the avoidance of doubt, we have updated our records with your new address'...yes, you guessed it, the letter was mis-addressed AGAIN
The final resolution letter admitted all their mistakes, but accepted no liability for any loss. £100 was paid directly into my bank account, presumably so it couldn't be refused, and they considered the matter closed. The missing original paperwork? Destoyed by the Land Registry or just MIA, they didn't seem to know which
Even as I typed my response, a phonecall came through declaring they had found all the missing paperwork, which was finally delivered next day, ending the saga
Suffice to say that if PPL were the only conveyancers left on planet earth, I'd never move house again. Simple as. If I could award zero stars I would. You have been warned"