Late Exchange. Have you got a `LEG` to stand on?

Late exchange of contracts is probably the most frustrating part of moving house, for both customer and removal company- The whole home removal process takes months of planning, involves a huge amount of stress and yet in the final week and even the last few days there often seems to be a delay in contracts being exchanged. There is no point trying to work out why this happens but it does seem to happen on an all too often basis.

For the removal company they usually need to confirm provisional bookings seven days before moving day by taking full payment. This enables them to plan the resources they require for the week ahead in an efficient and professional way.

The danger of paying in full without having exchanged is running the risk of losing all or a percentage of the costs, if the date was to change or the move were to collapse. Some removal companies offer a postponement/cancellation waiver should something change in the last few days but only if the move has exchanged, we offer this service, along with other customer protection schemes.

The customer needs to plan and arrange a whole host of things for moving day, so when the removal company calls for confirmation and payment the week before removal, if exchange hasn`t happened the stress levels are about to soar. So what happens next?

The remover in this event will either offer to wait an agreed period of time to give a chance to exchange contracts. Or offer a Late Exchange Guarantee `LEG`. (if they have it available) Without the `LEG` there is always a proviso that being- if another client that requires the same resources on the same day were to call and have exchanged contracts, then they would call their provisional client and give them the option to confirm by paying or to lose the date. This whole process benefits no-one, is messy and very stressful and so for that reason we have come up with the `LEG` this is how it works.

Subject to availability a ‘LEG’ will be offered from the date of payment due, to an agreed date and time and will be subject to a charge of between 4%-5% of the removal fees plus VAT per day. Once agreed and accepted the payment would be taken for the `LEG` and a confirmation certificate would be sent by email to confirm the arrangement. See a typical example below:

Mrs. Smith is due to pay for her £800 + VAT removal & packing service but has not exchanged contracts. She was told by her solicitor that exchange would happen the next day at about 11am. She doesn’t want to pay for her move in full just in case she loses some or all of this money should she not exchange contracts. A `LEG` is agreed for 1 day to expire at 12noon the following day, this costs her £38.40 inc VAT and buys her time and more importantly removes the stress of potentially losing the date to someone else.

The risk for the remover is that if after the `LEG` is issued another booking comes in for that day that has exchanged contracts and needs to know immediately if it can be done. The remover would have to say that that slot is held and may only become available when the `LEG` has expired. This may not be acceptable to them and they may go elsewhere. In the meantime the client with the `LEG` may come back the next day and say the exchange has not happened and the move needs to go back a week. The remover will end up with nothing.

Unless legislation can be improved to lengthen the exchange and completion gap the `LEG` seems to be for now the best alternative.