I was recently asked to provide a conveyancing quote for a financial adviser who later produced for me a copy of the quote that his client had received via the estate agents.

Our quotes were very similar, but on reading their terms and conditions there were very substantial additional expenses: telegraphic transfer fee £50 plus VAT; electronic identification; building insurance administration fee of a further £85 plus VAT; and a substantial fee to complete the stamp duty land tax return, as presumably this was not part of the conveyancing practice.

The additional fees were not immediately apparent from the quotation and virtually doubled the amount of the quotation. It would certainly not have been clear to an uninitiated first-time buyer that the amount ultimately to be paid would be double the initial estimate. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is seeking transparency in our costs estimates, but unknown costs are hidden elsewhere in the terms and conditions. It must surely be necessary to prevent the public being misled by practices of this nature.

BK Watkinson, Sheltons Solicitors, Nottingham