‘Unregulated Will writers ‘ripping off’ thousands’ says Legal Ombudsman
The findings of a report from the Legal Ombudsman have been published today in which it is said that thousands of people are being ‘ripped off’ by companies providing unregulated services such as will writing.
According to Adam Sampson, Chief Ombudsman for England and Wales, action needs to be taken ‘to ensure consumers were not left vulnerable by unregulated services.’
Warning of the risks of buying services from unregulated providers he said: “One service which crops up a lot is will writing. It’s a service carried out often by will-writing firms who aren’t regulated. Because of this, customers are left with little means of redress when things go wrong.”
“We’ve seen similar confusion about claims management companies, with lots of consumers believing they’re getting a legal service even though most of the work is carried out by a non-authorised person. Again, we can’t help.”
Sue Cash, Head of Private Client Services at Ridley & Hall Solicitors said “I welcome the BBC’s article. It follows the Legal Services Consumer Panel’s recent report on regulating will-writing services.”
“Currently, there are no restrictions on who may draft wills for consumers for payment. The report uncovers evidence of poor quality wills, sharp sales practices and lost wills where companies disappear without trace. At Ridley & Hall, we frequently have to help families who are affected by these issues. The Legal Services Consumer Panel’s report recommends that will-writing services should be regulated.”
Her comments echo those of Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society for England and Wales, who 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.”