The news broke on 24 July 2023 that following consumer complaints about providers offering quick online divorces, will writing and pre-paid probate, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into the unregulated sector to look at potential consumer law breaches.
The Society of Will Writers (SWW) welcomes meaningful investigation and Members will be pleased to know we are already involved in the project. SWW Director Anthony Belcher met with the CMA in June to discuss the issues raised and provide perspective on the protections that the SWW provides — backed up with information about the requirements placed on Members, including insurance, mandatory CPD and the Code of Practice, with expressions of the excellent work and services Members provide to consumers and extremely low numbers of complaints against Members, the meeting overall proved worthwhile.
On the announcement of the investigation, Anthony comments:
In such great volume SWW Members provide a direct alternative to regulated services that for almost 30 years have been meeting consumer needs. SWW Members are trained, insured, and adhere to a strict Code of Practice to ensure that their clients receive the best possible services that meet the standards the SWW expects. In addition, the SWW has introduced many other supporting mechanisms for both professionals and consumers over the years, such as our bespoke technical advice and Public Indemnity Fund, and as an organisation we continue to champion our member’s efforts with the likes of government, regulators and other key industry stakeholders.
The SWW has specifically outlawed the introduction and sale of pre-paid probate plans, something which is written directly into its Code. We welcome meaningful investigations into the unregulated sector and continue to be involved in such to ensure that our member’s voices are heard, their needs and concerns are met and above all, they receive the recognition they deserve for the excellent work they do.
The SWW will continue to be involved in the investigation and will prepare its own response ahead of the 4 September 2023 deadline. We invite Members to contribute to our response and ask that they send any comments to [email protected] for us to collate before the end of business on Friday 25 August 2023.
It should be noted that the project is at an early stage and the CMA has not yet formed a view on these issues. For more information, please click here.