Online legal services are becoming increasingly popular as more and more couples file for divorce after the Covid-19 lockdown. Making promises of ‘quickie’ divorces, will drafting and probate services, these firms have been seen as a more convenient, cheaper alternative to consulting a lawyer. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has received numerous reports about many of these digital firms, with complaints of misleading costs, clients being sold unnecessary services, and in some cases, coercion.
These essential legal services are often needed at vulnerable times in people’s lives when they are already facing instability. Unregulated legal services exploit these insecurities, attracting their customers with small initial fees and promises of simplicity, only to surprise clients with unforeseen charges and problems. These companies have also been accused of having submitted incorrect, incomplete, or late documentation further complicating already sensitive issues.
Additionally, it is possible to manage many of these legal matters without the assistance of a lawyer, such as drafting wills. Many have been persuaded to seek unnecessary and often questionable legal advice from unlicenced and underqualified digital firms by misleading claims that these services require legal aid to be valid.
During a discussion of the investigation, CMA managing director Sarah Cardell stressed “It’s so important that we investigate so that people can select the right legal service for them – for divorce or probate or will writing – with confidence. It’s essential that firms get the basics right, including complying with general consumer law which applies to all traders. Customers must get a fair deal.”
We at Baron Grey are committed to providing a high standard of qualified and trusted legal support with clear costs, processes, and advice. If you need support with your divorce, drafting a will or probate services, please call us today on 020 8891 4044 for a free no obligation consultation.
If you, or a loved one, has been in touch with one of these online firms, please contact the CMA Watchdog before 4th September 2023 so they can investigate and, if they are found to have breached consumer law, can take necessary action against them.
Read more about the investigation here.