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URGENT HELP writing complaint letter to solicitors

  • Shlluis
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19 Nov 14 #449591 by Shlluis
Topic started by Shlluis
PLEASE I''m looking for someone that will be able to help me write a letter of complaint about high charges to a solicitor.
Back in June I appointed a firm to deal with my divorce.
I''m quite distressed and vulnerable and feel I have been abused with high charges.
I paid them a bill of £3300 in July and later on in August they invoiced me for another £1500. I paid the first one (thinking I was paying for the full divorce process). Their work so far included drafting 3 letters and the divorce petition.
When my husband heard about the divorce he asked me to contact them telling them I didn''t require their services no longer (and that we will do it ourselves.... little I knew he was also lying to me)...
They called me once asking about the money and I explained I had no income, no benefits and no way to pay them. This week I received a further email stating they will take matters to court if they haven''t heard from me by 8th Dec (with payment or suitable arrangements to pay).
In the meantime I''m packing my kids and my stuff ready to go to a women''s refuge.
I''m desperate to resolve this situation and (even knowing I have the capacity to do it) I''m in such a state mentally, physically and emotionally that can''t face the task. - don''t know where to start!
I would be most grateful if there is any individual out there that would be kind enough to help me address this complaint as soon as possible.

  • Fiona
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19 Nov 14 #449601 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
DO you have a letter from the solicitor setting out the terms of engagement and an itemised bill?

  • Pipsqueakthefirst
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19 Nov 14 #449605 by Pipsqueakthefirst
Reply from Pipsqueakthefirst
You could try contacting citizens advice. They should be able to guide you through the process of contesting a bill including querying an itemised bill.

What ever you do don''t ignore the threat of court. Find out your legal requirements which I think includes proving your income and assets and making reasonable offers to settle even if it is only a few pounds a month.

There are also other charities who advice people who are in debt such as step change and their details can also be found on the net. Some of the charities will ring you back once you''ve contacted them to help your telephone bill from increasing whilst getting advice.

You could also ring your solicitor and ask them for their dispute procedure in the meantime and explain that you want to come to an agreement and avoid court.

  • Gillian48
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19 Nov 14 #449614 by Gillian48
Reply from Gillian48
You should have had an agreement from the solicitors when you first went to see them which listed their hourly rates etc... Generally you are asked to sign the agreement before they start to represent you - did this not happen?
Until they had a signed agreement from you they shouldn''t really have agreed to represent you. If you have a complaint with a solicitor there is a process to go through - initially put your complaint in writing to the firm and ask for response within 7-10 days.
You can contact the legal ombudsman they are really helpful and will give you good advice - and the best way to solve the problem - I used them when I had some issues with a solicitor.
Did the bills you received explain what it was for - hours listed with fees, emails etc... Bills should be itemised and they should explain what the fees were for.
If you''re uncertain of what to do contact the legal ombudsman it''s a free service.

  • Keijen
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23 Nov 14 #449901 by Keijen
Reply from Keijen
It is likely that you received details of the Solicitor''s terms and conditions as well as a cost estimate when you engaged with them as this is standard practice in my experience. That being the case you are unlikely to be in a strong position to argue for a reduction.
If you were unsure how much work the Solicitor undertook, you feel they took unnecessary steps during the process or they haven''t explained their invoice properly then you may have a case.
Your safest move at the moment is to write back to the solicitor stating that the level of their invoice has taken you by surprise and you will have trouble paying it. Ask them for time to come up with a method of paying the invoice, that will at least give you some time to consider how to proceed.

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