Consumers need help to choose legal services
Consumers struggle to make informed decisions about their choice of legal services provider, says consumer panel
Consumers are struggling to make informed decisions about their choice of legal services provider, according to the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
The panel commissioned research that found that there were too few, or no, quality indicators available to help consumers make an informed choice about which provider to use.
As a result, consumers are more likely to turn to less reliable indicators of quality, such as longevity of service, customer service, and website design to make decisions.
The research found that consumers would like to see customer reviews or testimonials to help them navigate the ever-fragmenting market.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel has called on regulators to begin to build a common quality indicator framework and a mechanism to ensure that it is used across the sector.
The panel argues that this would improve transparency, the ability for consumers to shop around and a fairer competitive marketplace.
Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel Sarah Chambers said: “There has been a patent lack of strategic direction and a sluggish pace in addressing consumers’ need for reliable, comparable quality indicators, almost four years after the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) finding that lack of information on price and quality hampered competition.”
She added: “The CMA is scheduled to reassess the sector at the end of the year. If they find that little to no progress has been made on this issue, this could create a reputational risk for regulators as it might suggest that consumers are not at the heart of regulation. And of course, consumers will continue to be left without the basic information they need to choose a lawyer.”