A true story: Regulation Matters, when you find there is none!

Regulated firms, self-regulated firms, unregulated firms, regulated individuals, unregulated individuals. Sometimes it can be difficult for the public to work out who is who and what legal service models and their regulated status might mean to them. David Pope reports.

Then, imagine, you get a call that makes you realise why we must all work hard to ensure that consumers are clear who they are dealing with and that they are protected.

I had one of those calls a little while ago. A firm was dealing with a deceased’s estate, which included the sale of a property. The firm had been appointed under the will as executor, which meant they were able to ensure that they dealt with the estate, and the family member was not happy with how they were dealing with it: could we help?

It was not a name we recognised and quickly it became clear that the firm and its owners were not members of CILEx. And, unfortunately, they did not appear to be members of any other regulator or professional body.

This meant that there was now a problem for my caller because:

  • The firm had a nice website professing to be able to deal with estates and property sales: but regulation matters here.
  • The firm were holding money belonging to the deceased (and giving no sign of releasing it): and regulation matters.
  • The firm did not believe in sending a letter setting out how they would deal with the estate and the costs: and regulation matters.
  • The firm were not providing a complaints procedure: and regulation matters.
  • The firm were not providing client redress – and regulation matters here.

I was left with directing the caller to Trading Standards and the Police. I felt really annoyed about that. Because – as far as we are concerned – Regulation really Matters.

If you are think you might have a legal problem and may need to use legal services, you can find information to help you make a choice on the Legal Choices website.



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