Monday, July 12, 2004

House moving and solicitors...

I realised the other day that it's been quite a while since I wrote anything and it's all because I'm trying to move house.

DBF and I found this fantastic house about 3 months ago and put in an offer for it. Our offer was accepted and everything was great. My house had yet to go on the market at that time but that didn't matter as the people whose house we're buying didn't mind a long completion as long as we could exchange within a normal time. Since then it feels like nothing has gone right and most of it is to do with our solicitor.

They did pretty much nothing for the first 6 weeks after we contracted them. They never returned my calls, they were very rarely available to take my calls and when I did manage to get hold of one of the two people dealing with the case I was told that the other person was dealing with it at the moment and I would need to speak to them instead, "oh but they're not here at the moment"

We were supposed to have exchanged 2 weeks ago, needless to say that didn't happen. Last week I finally managed to get hold of the person I needed to talk to and was told that they would be reviewing the paperwork that day and putting it in the post to me for signature the following morning. This after having had the paperwork from the sellers solicitor for over a week. I told them that I (and DBF) would be in their office that afternoon and the paperwork had better be ready.

The solicitor took us through the results of the searches and only at that point did he raise two issues that could prevent exchange and make a note to pursue them! It was almost as if he hadn't read through the stuff himself. He said that they should get the answers needed by the beginning of this week and then, all being well, we could exchange.

Since I am on a course until Thursday this week I asked DBF to call the solicitors this morning to find out what's going on. He was told that the solicitor was now on holiday until Thursday! (this was news to us) and his assistant is on holiday for two weeks!!! someone else was supposed to call my DBF back but true to form they didn't.

Now you could say that this is an isolated case, I must have got a 'bad one'. However several of my colleagues are also moving house at the moment (obviously the season for it) and most of them are having problems of one sort or another with their solicitors or the other peoples' solicitors, or, in one case, both.

It seems to me that most solicitors have forgotten that they work in a service industry and they have become arrogant about the fact that they have all this esoteric knowledge about the law. Fine, I accept that there are many years of training involved in becoming a solicitor or a lawyer, but they are still there to provide a service, and they still charge large fees for doing so and yet they continue to get away with treating their customers badly and wasting their time.
At the moment I am very tempted to present my solicitor with a bill for all the time I have wasted trying to call them and the cost of each phone call I have had to make simply to get in touch with them and see what they say.

Moving house should be fun and exciting and an adventure, not something that leaves you stressed, angry and unable to sleep :(