COUNTRYWIDE CONVEYANCING -
AND CATCHPENNY, SCROOGE AND SQUEERS
We had problems with Countrywide Conveyancing (CWC) from the start. They were recommended to us by our Estate Agent - Wilson Peacock - and we assumed they were the same company. That was our first mistake. It seems that Wilson Peacock just get a backhander for pushing CWC. Service was slow, and the guarantee that we would be kept informed of progress seemed to add up to about 20 emails spread over the period stating 'purchaser's solicitor has raised questions about your property - being dealt with by CWC' without any further explanation! Contacting CWC by phone (they are based in Cardiff) is often a nightmare of listening to repetitive musak - before discovering that your named contact is not available. They are not above sharp practice, either. Check the small print before you buy into their sales pitch of a £200 discount on fees if they transact your purchase. They are well aware of the chaos caused in any house move, and if you delay your claim by more than one month, they will (discreetly) withdraw that offer. Remember that behind the sales-pitch the Estate Agent will give you CWC are solicitors in the end, and they have the old-fashioned solicitors mindset of catching you for every penny they can lay their hands on whilst providing the minimum of service. 'Catchpenny, Scrooge and Squeers' would be a far more accurate and descriptive name for them than CountryWide Conveyancing!
Countrywide Conveyancing is just a nightmare. you paid a premium price far higher than average conveyancing price with the hope of getting a premium and good service but you only get a mediocre service, bad communication, slow response, slow turnaround........ you don't have direct access to the person managing you conveyancing just a person over the phone reading note from a computer about your update. sometimes you even have a more current update than them and you have to push them really hard before they can act for the service you paid for. terrible.
CWPL are in the middle of a three property chain and have proven themselves to be useless.My solicitor gets no sense and the advice they seem to give their clients is non-existent.You can never speak to the case handler and end up speaking to some pleasant person on their help desk who can tell you nothing.These guys will slow down your sale and cause you no end of headaches.If you are selling a property and your purchaser wants to use CWPL I would make the acceptance on the offer conditional that they don't and to direct them to websites such as this
I was convinced by Palmer Snell (part of the Countrywide Group) to use CPL for my House Sale/Purchase and during the process they were fine BUT about 4 to 6 weeks after everything was concluded, i received a letter from them demanding around £800 because they hadn't taken enough from my substantial equity to pay Palmer Snells commission for selling my house.
The problem was that my equity had been divided out and the money spent so I had no immediate way to pay these additional fees which were legitimately owed. This put me in a very embarrassing situation financially and Countrywide were initially not interested in taking any responsibility for a screw up which was of their own making.
At one point they even had the nerve to blame me saying that it was my job to check their statement of expenses, however not being an accountant, I would strongly suggest that its the customers job to audit accounts (if it is I want to see quotations and receipts for all incurred costs) and if I it is, us customers should be paid the going hourly rate for such services.
The staff that I talked to were quite hostile and abrupt and not at all apologetic for the oversight and after many threats, graciously (not!) took off £200 from the amount owing, leaving me in a situation where I had to pay them back the balance over a period of many months.
Avoid at all costs!
I am in a 4 property chain and though the chain was fully established five months ago and that there have been no changes in that chain since then we are still waiting to exchange. I am not using Countrywide Property Lawyers myself but my vendors are and that seems enough for all these months without reliable information and conclusion. As reported elsewhere it is a call centre and no one that picks up the file has a handle on what is going on and even the estate agent Bairstow Eves who I believe are part of the same group struggle to talk to their key contact and find out what is going on. So would recommend that you don't get persuaded into using them yourself and just as important that you make it a condition of your offer on a property that your vendor is also not using them.
Good luck with your property transaction.
Buying my first property, so asked the estate agent for a recommendation. Naieve I know! Gave countrywide the criteria the mortgage provider specified the solicitor must meet to act for them. Countrywide then promptly picked one that didn't meet the criteria. Moved solicitors with extra delay.My advice to anyone is never to ask an estate agent for a recommnedation, they are either owned by countrywide or are on comission and duty bound to recommend them. Contact your mortgage provider and ask them for a solicitor on their panel and go with them.Again zero star review and I'd rather shoot myself than use them for anything again.
This is the worse conveyancing provider I have ever had the displeasure to use. Their charge is £500 higher then 2 other quotes... But choose them instead because I was assured they were super fast (which is important because the property I am in the process to purchase is quite desirable (10 viewings in 1 day) and the longer the purchase takes more at risk of gazumping! 2 weeks in and they haven't request the searches (despite of already taking payment for them when I 1st called them) , no enquires have been sent to the vendors solicitors, left a message for them to call me back BUT had no reply... Called them again and they said they have been waiting for the memorandum of sale from the estate agents... Countrywide Property Lawyers had then the audacity to ask me to chase this document from the estate agents (I thought I was paying them to do theses things).
Its now been 15 days since I started the purchase and 4 days since I contacted them to ask them to please start making enquires so that contracts exchange ASAP but nothing has been done!
Do not use them!!! They are unprofessional, unreliable, expensive and a complete waist of time!!! Buying a home it's stressful I know that BUT using Countrywide Property Lawyers makes it 100 times worse!
Avoid them at all cost. We bought a property in the late 90s, using CWPL as recommended by a local estate agent (part of the same group!). We put the property up on the market after 12 years, found a buyer straightaway and all was well until the buyer's solicitor found out that our property had a history of subsidence!This came as a shock to us as well, as we knew NOTHING about it - it had happened a few years before we bought it and CWPL failed to tell us. As a result, sale of our house fell through. The process of selling/buying through CWPL was traumatic enough - after so many years they still came back to haunt us.House move stressful enough as it is, and you really don't need these lot adding stress on top.
My sale has recently fall through due to very poor conveyancing service from CCS. It costs you fortune. I have selected them based on my estate agent's advise.
However later I have found out that, they are only suggesting to get healthy commission out of it. When you call to CCS, everytime you will find different person and they would have no or little knowledge of the case. They will always promise a call back from solicitor, which would never happen. They have managed to send wrong paperwork, land registery form and exchange of contract at least six times and later admitting them wrong over the phone! They ignores all your e-mail and posts.
They advertise no win no fees and ask for £400 deposit to start conveyancing. However, they will not provide even penny back compare to their advertisement, if sell will fall through.
Plz avoid contrywide conveyancing service at any cost.
We were not using Countrywide ourselves thank goodness - our purchasers were using them at the suggestion of our Agents. (who were otherwise very good) The experience of dealing with Countrywide one removed was never the less no less than ghastly - totally inefficient, actually gave false information about progress of conveyancing. We had to go to our Agents and sit in their office a couple of days until they were able to get some straight answers and actions from Countrywide. If we hadn't done this then we would still be waiting and in fact the whole chain would have collapsed. I cannot believe that this lack of professionalism can exist and be charged for! If you value your sanity and actually want to move DO NOT USE COUNTRYWIDE CONVEYANCING SERVICES.
even if you life depends on it do not use country wide property lawers, 4.5 months on and ive still not swaped contract because of constantly correcting there errors, they sent me my house plans the first time and asked me to sign as correct but my garage wasnt on the plans, second time the sent me the floor plan for a differant house then they tryed to over charge me agent fee's by £1500, they didnt even start the local athorety searches for 2 months , you cant even speak to the person whos working for you just a receptionest who emails them your problems, 3 times i asked thekm in writing to explain the questions so i could understand what they wanted and where to get the info, and 3 times i got a reply of insefitiont answer and they copy and pasted the same questions. dont bother!
Can only echo what others have said regarding CWPL. Absolute incompetance from the get-go. My mum almost lost the dream property she fell in love with thanks to the constant ineptitude of everyone she had to deal with. From letters being lost, to promised-but-never-delivered phone calls, to money not being transferred when they said it would... My mum's simple sales/buying process has taken 5 months to finally complete. After being assured it would be completed and exchanged last week, she has now been forced to complete and exchange on a Wednesday afternoon (only just and only because of the competance of the dream home's seller's solicitors) and move at 7.30am on the Thursday! And they wouldn't have even had this confirmed had the other solicitor not been in touch to let them know all was well. Absolutely awful.If I could give minus-stars, I would.
My father is 86 years old and the buyers of his property are using CPL. They are an absolute nightmare, you can try to phone them but it can take upto 30 mins to speak to someone who knows about the case. They play the game by numbers, i.e. do we have this paperwork ? no then do not progress to the next stage until you have got it. Conveyancing in a straight forward case should take about 6-8 weeks, we are now at the 10 week stage and they are still covering their backs with self generated paperwork. God help the buyers who are paying them. Keep with high street conveyancing lawyers, that way you have a person that is dealing with your case and you get a 1:1. CPL are absolute CRAP. Mail me id you disagree. I am sure there will be no replies.
Having just moved house, I have never in my whole life come across such an appalling company as Countrywide - DO NOT USE!
The company was recommended to us by our Mortgage Advisor (who turned out to be equally as useless!), and initially, it seemed very good. It promised a website where you could check up on how your sale / purchase were progressing, in addition to text message and e-mail updates at important stages.
Well, all this turned out to be a lot of rubbish.
Surprisingly, the company does have an office, though you don't visit it, as all is done over the telephone or by post. This is the first problem - you can't look anyone in the eye - it's just a faceless service. All I can do is to list just a few of the problems we had:
1. The promised website for keeping you informed of the progress of your sale / purchase didn't work until the day before completion;
2. The promised text messages and e-mails to inform you of important developments didn't work until the completion day itself;
3. It was virtually impossible to speak to anyone who knew anything about your case; when you ring up, you just get someone answering the telephone who can only tell you what is on their computer screen;
4. They do not open their post until 3pm, so often, nothing gets done;
5. Nobody knows what anyone else is doing - one says one thing, another says something completely different - one week, one told us all the enquiries raised of the seller's solicitor had been satisfactorily answered and there were no more to be asked: two weeks later, someone else starts asking the same questions again, and more;
6. They provided the wrong contact details to our seller's solicitor, so a month was spent in stalemate with one saying they'd sent things, and the other saying they hadn't received them;
7. Things they said they sent out to us were supposedly 'lost in the post' as they never arrived;
8. The day before we were due to complete, they rang us to tell us how sorry they were that we'd pulled out of the purchase - a computer error on their part;
9. In the end, we had to make a 120 mile round trip to their office to sign things, just to make sure it had been done;
..need I go on...! (and I could!)
A truly appalling service on all levels - DO NOT USE!
Having worked as a conveyancer previously, I have had many dealing with Countrywide Lawyers, who deal with residential conveyancing within England and Wales.
CPL are a subsidiary of Countrywide Plc and Countrywide Plc also own estate agents, lettings agents, surveyor and mortgage advisory firms.
The first time I called CPL I needed to discuss an issue with a Lease with the case handler. Unortunately, when calling CPL you are initially put through to a call centre where the people on the other end of the phone appear to be young, without any conveyancing knowledge and are simply reading updates from the computer.
After getting nowhere with the call centre I was told they would need to put my call through to the legal department. I find it mind boggling that I wasn't able to talk to the legal department in the first place! Grr!
Upon speaking to the case handler (after advising the call centre that I would stay on the phone until I could speak to the case handler) it soon became apparent that they knew nothing of the case and even if they did they were too busy to deal with it in the next 2 weeks, even though exchange was required by the chain imminently.
I was in the unfortunate position of having to deal with CPL on a regular basis as one of the agents who recommended me to clients had to also recommend CPL (it was a sackable offence in his firm not to). Very frustrating!
In my experience, CPL were at their worst when they took 4 months to reply to some enquiries which I had raised. My clients (the buyers) thankfully realised that I was not at fault and even the agents hated recommending CPL but it was compulsory for them to do so.
About a year ago a friend of mine used CPL to buy his house. I advised him not to but he was of the opinion that as they were the cheapest quote, they would also be the best. I dread to think how he will get on when he comes to sell his house but unfortunately he wouldnt listen to my advice.
I can only hope that now that conveyancers are not so over worked as they once were, perhaps CPL have upped their game... but I doubt it!
If you are looking for a conveyancer, do NOT look to CPL!