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    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 9th Sep 09, 2:27 PM
    • 282Posts
    • 203Thanks
    portlandboy
    ITC Legal Services - Avoid Them
    • #1
    • 9th Sep 09, 2:27 PM
    ITC Legal Services - Avoid Them 9th Sep 09 at 2:27 PM
    Hi All,
    Please see this as a warning...
    I think (or used to think) that I am of average intelligence and would know if I was being caught out by a dodgy company. Well I've been caught by these - ITC Legal Services.
    My father died in April '08 and the local registrar gave me a leaflet regarding the probate service among other bereavement booklets. It was advertising ITC Legal Services who would visit me in my home, talk me through the probate system and give me the options of either applying by myself or getting them to do it.
    I was down (obviously) and had just left hospital (and waiting to go back in again) so I opted for them to take the load off me. They were to be cheaper than solicitors or banks and stated that the "industry average for the service was 6-9 months". I gave them power to work on my behalf. That meant that I had no power to change anything they did.
    They have sent me personal letters belonging to other clients, had other clients papers in my file, called me asking why I had questioned valuations (which I never had done) and have taken, to date 17 months to do the work they said should take 6-9 months to complete.
    During the home visit their rep asked me what I estimated the value of his property was to check that there was sufficient funds available for them to carry out the work. I guessed at a figure of £150,000, not knowing that a property next door was for sale for £139,000.
    Following this, about 6 months later they sent 3 estate agents to value the property. They all put in values of £95,000 to £100,000. ITC have now stated that they have to use my (unprofessional, untrained) guess of £150,000 as it was at the time of death!! So they get more money out of it.
    They are not cheap, they give you minutes, not days, to decide whether to use them or not, they don't give you the info you need to do the process yourself, they are not professional in their work and they do rip you off.
    Please be warned. They carry out many types of legal work, but I've only experienced this one, thankfully.

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
Page 1
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 9th Sep 09, 6:05 PM
    • 9,624 Posts
    • 7,616 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #2
    • 9th Sep 09, 6:05 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Sep 09, 6:05 PM
    If the registrar gave you a leaflet advertising this company, then I would inform the registrar of your experiences with the company.
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 9th Sep 09, 7:09 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    • #3
    • 9th Sep 09, 7:09 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Sep 09, 7:09 PM
    I contacted the registrar's office earlier today and, guess what? The've stopped issuing the leaflets due to having received "so many complaints". This company, ITC Legal, seems to financially support the non-profit making Bereavement Advice Centre (across the country) and in doing so gets a mention as "the biggest probate company in the country".
    A Google search found that back in June '09, solicitors had concerns over the way that ITC is publicised by local authorities and many have now stopped handing out the leaflets. The local authorities are clearly dubious about ITC.

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
  • woderwick
    • #4
    • 17th Sep 09, 4:11 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Sep 09, 4:11 PM
    omg! I am about to use ITC for my mothers estate, i had never heard of them but the bereavement centre at Barclay bank recomended them as they only charge 1% of the estate
    I have had the home visit from them last Monday 14th Sept, the cooling off period expires Monday 21st.
    Will have to make a decision very soon, can anyone else give me feedback on them.

    Thanks.
  • Troubled_Joe
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 09, 4:34 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 09, 4:34 PM
    Firstly I'll disclose an interest in this as a solicitor but this really does show the problem of dealing with unregulated providers of legal services.
  • muskoka
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 09, 4:46 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 09, 4:46 PM
    You can do probate yourself. If the estate is fairly straightforward, probate is cheap & easy to effect. Phone your local probate office who can advise and I found them very helpful. I had probate granted when my mum passed away. There was a will and property. Probate took 5 weeks to be granted.
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 17th Sep 09, 6:16 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    • #7
    • 17th Sep 09, 6:16 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Sep 09, 6:16 PM
    omg! I am about to use ITC for my mothers estate, i had never heard of them but the bereavement centre at Barclay bank recomended them as they only charge 1% of the estate
    I have had the home visit from them last Monday 14th Sept, the cooling off period expires Monday 21st.
    Will have to make a decision very soon, can anyone else give me feedback on them.

    Thanks.
    Originally posted by woderwick
    Hi Again,
    Please, please don't even consider keeping these people on. They have since told me that my figure is the one they are using and that's that, no arguing! A local solicitor (who kindly gave me advice on the phone) tells me that they should involve the District Valuer if a value is questioned, but that they should have asked for estate agents values anyway.
    The 1% you mention is plus "disbursements". They seem to pile a fair old whack on to those too. They are trying to charge a total of just short of £4,000 for the probate and transfer of property. The total value of all assets was about £117,000 x 1.25%. This should be £1460 + transfer fees and disbursements. Clearly their maths is as good as their service.
    My father left a will and I was the sole beneficiary, so this case is as simple as it gets...like me, they must think!. [TEXT DELETED BY ABUSE TEAM].
    Cancel while you can, you won't regret it.
    Last edited by MSE Investigator; 19-04-2010 at 3:32 PM. Reason: Pending investigation

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 18th Sep 09, 2:08 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    • #8
    • 18th Sep 09, 2:08 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Sep 09, 2:08 PM
    Further to above...
    Been to CAB today. Seems that ITC can get away with using my valuation because (as stated above by Troubled_Joe) there are no regulations covering the way they work. The advisor thinks that the charges are "not unexpected" but the time they have taken to deal with the case is "completely unbelievable and highly excessive". She stated that there is no point contesting the valuation of the property, as ITC are most likely to charge me extra to have the property revalued because this would cause them extra work. No regulations = no grounds for complaint. After all, I DID sign up and agree to their terms and conditions at the start. So be warned, if you sign up you have no comeback. Their rules, their game, their gain.

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
  • woderwick
    • #9
    • 19th Sep 09, 5:57 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Sep 09, 5:57 PM
    I sent the canellation letter to ITC ON Friday registered post, they will get it by Monday which is the deadline, but I am told that they will still charge a fee, is that correct?
    They have in their possession now 6 death certificates and various other documents but thankfully not my mothers will.
    Can they hold them to ransom!
    Any more feedback will be much appreciated.
    Thanks.......
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 19th Sep 09, 8:47 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    I sent the canellation letter to ITC ON Friday registered post, they will get it by Monday which is the deadline, but I am told that they will still charge a fee, is that correct?
    They have in their possession now 6 death certificates and various other documents but thankfully not my mothers will.
    Can they hold them to ransom!
    Any more feedback will be much appreciated.
    Thanks.......
    Originally posted by woderwick
    Hi Woderwick,
    Logically, the "cooling off" period should be a time in which ITC do nothing on your case, incase you do indeed cancel your contract with them. There is good news and bad here. The good being the fact that they don't do anything very quickly, the bad being that they also don't seem to have to work logically. So my suggestion would be to contact them as soon as possible on Monday morning, using the free phone number (0800 013
    2014) to tell them not to proceed as your letter is on it's way. Get the call log number and operator's name too. The call should be recorded by them but, if you have a speaker on your phone and a camcorder, record it yourself just as a precaution. As you might imagine from these tips, I don't trust them very much. And I'm still waiting for their customer complaints section to call me back...they say this will always be within 2 days of making a complaint! Good luck.

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
  • tizhimi
    I'd threaten them with the small claims court if they are insisting on the 150k valuation.
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 20th Sep 09, 4:15 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    I'd threaten them with the small claims court if they are insisting on the 150k valuation.
    Originally posted by tizhimi
    That was really what I hoped to hear from the CAB advisor but, after she spoke with their lawyer they just returned to the fact that as they are unregulated they have not done anything wrong "legally". But morally, well that's another thing completely. The only "rule" that they had to follow was to get a valuation at the time of death. Their rep asked me and foolishly, I gave a guess and that is their date of death valuation. I should have said a fiver!!

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
  • woderwick
    Hi Woderwick,
    Logically, the "cooling off" period should be a time in which ITC do nothing on your case, incase you do indeed cancel your contract with them. There is good news and bad here. The good being the fact that they don't do anything very quickly, the bad being that they also don't seem to have to work logically. So my suggestion would be to contact them as soon as possible on Monday morning, using the free phone number (0800 013
    2014) to tell them not to proceed as your letter is on it's way. Get the call log number and operator's name too. The call should be recorded by them but, if you have a speaker on your phone and a camcorder, record it yourself just as a precaution. As you might imagine from these tips, I don't trust them very much. And I'm still waiting for their customer complaints section to call me back...they say this will always be within 2 days of making a complaint! Good luck.
    Originally posted by portlandboy
    I sent the cancellation letter by registered post (it cost me £10) on the Friday 18th to arrive and be signed for on the Monday21st the deadline, I phoned them today (Wednesday) and although they did not say that they had not received it they said that it was not on their system yet.
    I will keep you all posted on the outcome......
    As always, if anyone else has any dealings with ITC please contribute
    Thanks.
  • woderwick
    Sorry portlandboy if I am repeating myself
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 23rd Sep 09, 8:31 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    Woderwick,
    When you posted this "As always, if anyone else has any dealings with ITC please contribute" it made me wonder:
    If ITC really are "the largest firm of probate solicitors in the UK" then why has nobody else posted anything about them here, good or bad?
    I have a vision of tumbleweed blowing across an open prarie, followed by the odd sheet of paper. How about you?

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 25th Sep 09, 1:50 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    I guess that makes sense!!!

    lawgazette.co.uk/news/probate-services-company-itc-signs-deal-barclays
    Originally posted by PezUK
    That piece includes the words that reflect exactly the way I feel about being used by ITC, such as "vulnerable", "under pressure", "questionable price competitiveness", etc. And how odd that the "largest firm of probate solicitors in the UK" has only got 4 real solicitors! My local solicitor has more than that, so what actually makes ITC the largest? The value of the estates they manage to keep hold of for a year longer than they state is normal?

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
  • never-in-doubt
    Can I just ask why you don't consider litigation and challenge the contract, being you were in an unfit mind at the time, and thus pressurised into signing with them not realising the full potential/disadvantages of the contract.

    Quote Unfair Contract Terms Act (1977).... a brief overview is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Contract_Terms_Act_1977

    Good Luck whatever happens
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 29th Sep 09, 12:12 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    Well, well, well...Pigs really do fly!
    I can hardly believe it but I just had a call from the CEO of ITC Legal Services (maybe he's read this thread?), as a result of the customer satisfaction survey that they carry out at the end of every case. He was a very pleasent chap and appeared to be genuinely concerned about the way in which my case had been conducted by his company. He had full details of what had gone wrong and did not hand out wooly excuses for the mistakes. He had no excuse for the extreme duration of my case. The details of this conversation must now be kept private (though cached and sbsequently "quoted" MSE forum posts may have my original post on still and I have no control over that).
    The bottom line is that I am expecting over £1,800 off their charges to cover my losses and a goodwill gesture. (Though this really only makes the bill about what I originally expected).
    I told him that I had actively tried to put people off of using ITC and that I would now let them all know what the outcome has been, so here it is.
    Just seems a shame that no-one at ITC noticed there was a problem in the 17 months they were on the case.
    Last edited by portlandboy; 03-10-2009 at 12:10 PM. Reason: CEO of ITC requested that conversation details and his name were removed from post.

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
  • never-in-doubt
    Well, well, well...Pigs really do fly!
    I can hardly believe it but I just had a call from Mr Martin Trees, the CEO of ITC Legal Services (maybe he's read this thread?), as a result of the customer satisfaction survey that they carry out at the end of every case. He was a very pleasent chap and appeared to be genuinely concerned about the way in which my case had been conducted by his company. He had full details of what had gone wrong and did not hand out wooly excuses for the mistakes. He told me that he contacts every customer who has given a "disapointed or very disapointed" response to ITC's conduct (about 2 per month out of 2000 cases per year, or 1.2%, so I'll let you decide if that's good or bad!). He had no excuse for the extreme duration of my case, but assured me that since he took over, many practices have been altered. The property over-valuation was due to them trying to keep within taxation rules when house prices were rising but as they fell so quickly at the time my father died this practice worked against me.
    The bottom line is that he, without any request from me, took £1800 off their charges to cover my losses and a goodwill gesture. (Though this really only makes the bill about what I originally expected).
    I told him that I had actively tried to put people off of using ITC and that I would now let them all know what the outcome has been, so here it is.
    Just seems a shame that no-one at ITC noticed there was a problem in the 17 months they were on the case.
    Originally posted by portlandboy

    Result mate - but still, you want the contract amending to the original amount and then you ask for a gesture of goodwill..... really they have only provided what they said, for the cost they said, but its taken nearly 2yrs! Therefore you're still out of pocket and should be compensated.

    I'd even go as far as small claims, this is a clear breach of contract
    • portlandboy
    • By portlandboy 29th Sep 09, 2:10 PM
    • 282 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    portlandboy
    Thanks Never-in-Doubt. I'm going to think carefully about what you said. I've never done the S/C bit before so it might be worth it even if it only passes the time. After all, now the probate is done I'll have to find another hobby!!
    On the other hand, he did give me his "private" phone number, so maybe I'll call back and tell him I've taken advice and want more money...

    PS. Like your stats at the bottom. Perhaps you should use the name Never-in-Debt
    Last edited by portlandboy; 29-09-2009 at 2:14 PM. Reason: added text

    Portlandboy ...likes chocolate, hates rabb...

    Note to Self: When posting, remember to keep within "forum rules" to avoid upsetting other "interested parties"
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