A website which claims to have published 10,000 reviews from clients of independent financial advisers (IFAs) and mortgage brokers is seeking to move on to solicitors.
Barney Jones, head of sales and marketing at VouchedFor.co.uk, said that with legal services, as with financial advice, the most important thing was trust.
“How do you know who to trust?” Mr Jones asked. “It’s a great if you know a solicitor, but young people often rent and don’t have any experience of using them, or their parents live on the other side of the country.
“People often use a directory, but not all solicitors are good. Some are average or poor. This is a way of trying to find out who are the best ones. VouchedFor gives people confidence in advisers by showing what other people thought about them.”
Mr Jones said two dozen solicitors had already signed up on the website to take part in a pilot based on a test site. He said VouchedFor aimed to launch its solicitor section to consumers in the autumn.
“By that time, we should have hundreds of solicitors signed up and some element of geographical coverage,” he said. “This is a chance for solicitors to put themselves on display and show people they can trust them.”
Mr Jones added that, if IFAs complained about a review, the website checked that the reviewer is or was a client, just as it checked that professionals were approved by their regulator.
VouchedFor was founded by Adam Price, former head of digital proposition at Barclays Wealth, in 2011. It has a team of 14 staff, based in Teddington, Middlesex.
“While I was working for Barclays, numerous friends and family members would ask me for financial advice,” Mr Price said.
“I wasn’t an adviser and despite working in the finance sector I didn’t know any advisers that could do what they wanted. It made me realise that good advice was hard to find and applying the consumer ratings model to the problem was a logical way to fill the void.”
Mr Price said consumers were usually reluctant to part with important and sensitive information to strangers, even respected and qualified professionals, and VouchedFor could “help bridge that trust gap for lawyers”.