Unregulated will-writers ripping off customers


The Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales has called for action to be taken as thousands of people are found to be 'ripped off' by unregulated will writing companies.

Chief Ombudsman for England and Wales, Adam Sampson has revealed that the majority of complaints received since he took up the post concern wills, conveyancing and family law.

Contrary to popular belief, only a small proportion of legal services are provided by a qualified and regulated lawyer - leaving consumers vulnerable by those who pose as such but have in reality got nothing to do with a law firm.

Get your will done by a regulated solicitor and don't get ripped off by unregulated will writers

The Head of Wills and Probate at law firm Simpson Millar LLP, says: "Will writing can be done by unqualified and unregulated providers which, it would appear, has left consumers out of pocket and stuck with a product that isn't worth the paper it is written on."

Should a will have been poorly drafted by a non-lawyer there is very little consumers can do by way of redress. The legal ombudsman can only help when services have been provided by qualified lawyers.

The introduction of the Legal Services Act this October will open up the door for new entrants into legal services and greater consumer protection measures are now being called for. "As it stands there is no clear route for consumers to take when they have received a poor quality service from non-lawyers".

The chief executive of the Law Society for England and Wales, Des Hudson said: "The gap in regulation which allows unregulated cowboys to operate in areas like will writing does not just cause unfair competition to solicitors, who provide a regulated, professional service. It is also damaging to consumers because the unregulated providers are not insured, do not provide a compensation fund and are not covered by the Legal Ombudsman's scheme for consumer redress."

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