Legal Services Board calls on review websites to be included in new review by the Competitions and Markets Authority

By Sascia Elliott In Legal News

The chief executive of the Legal Services Board (LSB), Neil Buckley, has this month called on the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) to include customer review sites in their upcoming cross-sector study of digital comparison tools – or DCTs.

The CMA, which recently released its interim report into the legal profession, documented a number of issues in the legal market. Among these was the absence of digital comparison tools, which have until now acted “as a barrier to comparison and search”.

With the arrival of The Law Superstore in August, consumers are now able to benefit from the kind of platform previously only available in sectors such as finance, insurance and utilities. But with some law firms still resistant to the type of transparency and competition created by DCTs, the LSB is keen for more work to be done on the potential benefits of such websites, the reluctance of consumers and the importance of comparison tools to consumers.

Mr Buckley said:

Some of the DCTs that are attempting to operate in the sector have submitted to the CMA that ‘many legal service providers do not see transparency in pricing or consumer feedback as in their best interest’.”

Mr Buckley identified the current weighting of risk towards consumers and other “embedded features” of the legal services market as factors in limiting the growth of comparison websites. But he stated that it would be of benefit to the future of the legal sector for the CMA to consider how competition and consumer protection issues differ in relation to legal services.

With expertise and reputation considered to be “as important as price (and sometimes more so) as factors which determine consumers’ choice of providers” in the legal services market, Mr Buckley claims that the role of published customer reviews was “particularly important”.

The current focus of the CMA’s investigations into DCTs is expected to be the energy banking and motor insurance sectors, but legal services will also be included alongside payday lending and hotel booking. Under the CMA’s intended plans, review or feedback-driven websites will be excluded.

Is your firm ready to embrace the benefits of the only genuine comparison website currently available for legal services? Register your interest with The Law Superstore today.


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