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Gizmo
06-Jul-07, 16:41
Just sold my house through this lot and was charged 2300 pounds on the sale of a 55500 house, on many occasions i asked for an estimate of what the sale would cost...which i never received, then i get hit with this massive bill for what in the first place was a pretty shoddy service, I'm taking legal advice on Monday over this, so to anyone planning on using this lot...be warned...make sure you get a full estimate before you commit yourself to them.

MISS K
06-Jul-07, 18:07
[disgust]sorry to hear that Gizmo, i had phoned Highland Law Practice twice to view a property i am still waiting to get an appointment, this was 2 months ago i decided that if they were that lax at this stage in the process then i would take my business elsewhere.

nippy
06-Jul-07, 22:41
I couldn't agree more, we had terrible service with them and would Never use them again!

j4bberw0ck
06-Jul-07, 23:23
make sure you get a full estimate....

Estimates are no good at all. What you need is a firm quotation, in writing, and you get one from several firms and let them all know you're getting several of them.

Gizmo, you might want to dig out the Terms of Business letter they should have given you. If they didn't, you may have a case of sorts. If they did your only real chance is to ask the Law Society of Scotland to "tax" their bill (which means to assess it for fairness).

I'd have to say they seem to have charged you 4% which is somewhat on the high side.

Gizmo
07-Jul-07, 00:29
Thanks for the advice j4bberw0ck, i will look into it, i should mention that 200 of that amount was paid to the council for a "letter of comfort" that was needed so 2100 is the total paid to HLP for their services....(cough), a buyer also pulled out at the last minute and they have charged 640 extra for that happening.

Also i requested that the transfer of money should be done by digital transfer, i have that in writing in the missives, but on the day of completion (31/06) i was told that they were to receive a cheque from the buyers agent and it would be today (06/07) before it cleared, now as i understand it you cant buy a house without cleared funds so the buyers agent would have received cleared funds into their account but they give HLP a cheque for money that is mine and it lies in an account for a week gaining interest, and i have not received this interest, they also charged me 125 for advertising, which consisted of 1 month in the Caithness Property Journal, a picture in their window and a picture on their website...and i had to chase them up to get it on the website

Here is a breakdown of what they charged me....does this seem excessive?, btw.... forget that it's a $ sign, something has gone screwy with my keyboard and it wont display the pound sign

Estate Agency Fee $555
Vat $97.12
Advertising $125
Aborted Sale Fee $545.68
Vat $95.49
Fees on actual Sale $430.08
Vat $75.26
Recording discharge dues $30
search dues $70.50
property clearance report $75
Letter Of Comfort $200

Total $2299.13

Now i am all for paying a fair price for good quality services and i kinda expected the bill to be around $1300, i really feel ripped off over this, when i bought the house 4 years ago the legal fees were only $750, i have an appointment with a solicitor on monday...i suppose i will just have to wait till then to see if i can do anything about this rip off merchant

Solus
07-Jul-07, 01:43
When you first approached them they should have issued you with a sales terms of engagement letter, which stipulatesthe service they provide together with an estimate of fee's, vat and outlays.

You should query what their estate agency fee's are, normally these are around 1 % to 1 1/2 %, there would be vat on that. Going by Aberdeen estate agencys its 210 to insert the property in property register for sale, so would imagine it would about the same. There would also be photograph fee's, normally around 50. With regards to the conveyancing normal fee's are around 400 plus vat, although some companys offer discounts because they are getting the estate agency work.

Other outlays would be a property enquiry certificate and a form 10 or 12 report, these can be obtained for 85 dependant on who they use but no more than 150. If you have a mortgage that has to be discharged this would be another 30.

Roughly, if it was my partners firm handling your house sale the bill would have been roughly 1300.

Go and speak to the firms complaints manager , if no joy start to the law society of scotland, they are well out of line !! If you have proof that you asked for an estimate ( a letter) then you have a very good case.



As for the person who never got a call back to view propertys, if it was me selling and i heard of folk wanting to view and not getting appointments i would be in there kicking up a stink, thats what they are being paid to do, advertise my property and get as many viewings as possible.

Tristan
07-Jul-07, 03:32
Here is a breakdown of what they charged me....does this seem excessive?,

Estate Agency Fee $555
Vat $97.12
Advertising $125
Aborted Sale Fee $545.68
Vat $95.49
Fees on actual Sale $430.08
Vat $75.26
Recording discharge dues $30
search dues $70.50
property clearance report $75
Letter Of Comfort $200

Total $2299.13



If you take away the aborted sale fees and the letter of comfort it seems to in-line with what others have said you should pay and I think you would pay that anywhere in Caithness
It does seem odd that the aborted sale fee is is higher than the fee of the actual sale but it would probably cost you more to fight it than you would get back.

burstbucker
07-Jul-07, 18:28
I have spoken to the solicitor who runs HLP a couple of times. I'm still trying to work out what he was trying to tell me.

Solus
07-Jul-07, 18:31
Also i requested that the transfer of money should be done by digital transfer, i have that in writing in the missives, but on the day of completion (31/06) i was told that they were to receive a cheque from the buyers agent and it would be today (06/07) before it cleared


This is a error on the buyers side, the solicitors acting on his behalf to purchase have not gone by what the missives stated !

98elite
07-Jul-07, 18:32
We have used their services in the past and have always found them to be 1st class.

BRIE
08-Jul-07, 11:06
I have used them in the past took them over a year to deal with something very simple!
When it came to buying my house I was advised by my financial advisor not to touch them with a barge pole!

katarina
08-Jul-07, 16:47
We have used their services in the past and have always found them to be 1st class.

Can't say I've any complaints either except for the time things take, but after having used another lawyer in the town who shall be nameless and made them look like quicksilver, i've realised this is a common problem.
Tell me, what exactly is a 'letter of comfort'? And it seems unfair that you should have to pay if the other party pulled out, the errant party should have paid - but there are so many times when the law just isn't fair.

burstbucker
08-Jul-07, 17:47
Letter of comfort is from Highland Councils Building Standards, where someone has carried out works that were required to have building warrant approval. The buyer should be provided with this letter from the seller so that the new owners will not be threatened with legal action by the council for carrying out unapproved building works that were originally carried out by the previous owner.

katarina
10-Jul-07, 10:56
Letter of comfort is from Highland Councils Building Standards, where someone has carried out works that were required to have building warrant approval. The buyer should be provided with this letter from the seller so that the new owners will not be threatened with legal action by the council for carrying out unapproved building works that were originally carried out by the previous owner.

So - help me on this on - if they already have a building warrant, why do they need a letter?

WeeBurd
10-Jul-07, 16:09
Deleted post

Bill Fernie
11-Jul-07, 20:34
"Highland Law Practice aim to provide a quality legal service to its clients. As part of this our General Terms of Business are also available on our own website at www.highlandlaw.co.uk/Services/TermsOfBusiness.html or on
request prior to instructing us: also EVERY client receives a copy of Terms
of Business (either General or specific to their own transaction) when we
start work for them.

We will in certain cases provide either a Fixed Fee agreement, which guarantees the final fee, or an estimate indicating what we expect the fee
to be. Our Terms of Business lay out how our fee will be calculated (if we
have not entered into a Fixed Fee contract), and provide that if a client is
not happy with the fee this may be referred to the Auditor of Court who will
independently calculate a fee (which may be higher or lower than our original invoice).

We also have a formal complaints procedure, available from us on request or
at www.highlandlaw.co.uk/Services/complaints.html, which allows anyone who is not satisfied with the work of this firm to have this examined in detail
according to the timescales and procedures specified.

As we wish every client to be satisfied with our service, we also encourage
any client who is not entirely happy at any stage to contact us informally
before reaching the stage of requiring a formal complaint, to discuss matters with us to reach an amicable solution.

Under the rules of Client Confidentiality, we will not discuss the specifics of any clients business with us unless that client has first waived this right of confidentiality.

However, as full procedures exist within this firm (and if this fails with the court and Law Society of Scotland) to deal with any dissatisfaction or complaint, we will take the full steps available at law against any person
who is unduly abusive, aggressive or defamatory against this firm or any
member of staff."

P Stephen A Copinger
Solicitor

Gizmo
12-Jul-07, 00:35
So - help me on this on - if they already have a building warrant, why do they need a letter?

I did not have a building warrant and was actually told by HLP that letters of comfort were no longer available from the council and had no legal merit anymore...so we tried to proceed with the 1st sale without it, this caused the first buyers to pull out at the last moment, we tried to proceed with the 2nd sale without it but on the eve of completion HLP inform me that they can get a "letter of comfort" from the council....and the sale went through.

So in my opinion the first sale fell through because of inaccurate information given by HLP about letters of comfort, had one been obtained at that time the first sale would have completed and saved all parties a lot of hassle.

I have taken legal advice today over this shambles and have been told i have a good case and that if i cannot have it resolved between myself and HLP then to take my complaints to the Law Society.