Why we do not pay referral fees
The Solicitors Regulation Authority allows solicitors to pay referral fees to mortgage brokers, estate agents and others who recommend clients to their firm. For example, an estate agent may offer to send clients to a solicitor if the solicitor agrees to pay the estate agent £100 for every such client.
We do not think this is in your interests for a number of reasons:
- The solicitor recommended by the broker or estate agent may be in a distant part of the country, making it difficult for you to see your solicitor when you want to discuss the transaction. Many of the firms recommended operate through call centres, meaning that you may not be able to speak to the same person every time you ring up about your case.
- The solicitor will not want to upset the estate agent because the estate agent may not send him any more clients. Sometimes we have to advise a client to negotiate a reduction in the price – the estate agent may not be happy with this because he will earn less commission. Will your solicitor still give you that advice if he wants to keep in with the estate agent?
- Somebody has to pay the fee and in most cases it will be you, the client. The solicitor is likely to pass the fee on to you either as a separate item in his bill (perhaps shown as an ‘administration charge’) or by simply increasing his firm’s fee to allow for the additional overhead. If you are selling a house, you already pay the estate agent commission – do you really want to pay the agent another fee?
It is therefore our policy not to pay introduction fees to estate agents, mortgage brokers and others for referring clients to us.