A consumer panel has criticised the unpredictable nature of UK solicitors’ fees, calling for increased price transparency across the legal services sector.
According to The Legal Services Consumer Panel, unpredictable fees are increasingly deterring consumers and diminishing public faith in the sector.
Panel chair Elisabeth Davies has called for improvements to communication and client “estimation processes,” to ensure that any “wild variations between estimates and actuals are well understood” among consumers.
Ms Davies pointed towards fixed-fee pricing as “what consumers want”.
“Our tracker survey continues to show that fixed fees are on the increase, because this is what consumers want,” she said.
“Regulators and businesses must do more to understand consumers. They must research which information consumers prioritise and concerted effort must be applied to presenting this information in the most effective way,” she said.
However, Ms Davies added that The Legal Services Consumer Panel was “not blind to the challenges of increased price transparency”
She said: “We know fixed fees cannot be offered in all cases, but shouldn’t providers of services be able to give clients a range of prices, using previous experience and professional expertise to cost appropriately?”
According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), 26 per cent of all complaints regarding the legal services sector typically relate to cost and pricing issues.