The solicitors carry the can

May I reply to Guinness Mahon & Co's defence of its scheme (The Lawyer, 7 January)? It is trite to say any solicitor is liable for the advice he gives a client. This includes advice on whether one loan is better than another.

Secured loans are on offer at less than 8 per cent. The Yorkshire Bank offers unsecured loans at 14.6 per cent. The best credit card rate is 14 per cent.

Guinness Mahon is charging 14 per cent for what is, in effect, a secured loan because the solicitor is guaranteeing it.

Guinness Mahon boasts about the "fast and simple service, with no personal interviews or form filling". And why should it bother with tedious formalities when the solicitor will carry the can if anything goes wrong?

Guinness Mahon asks how my firm funds disbursements. The short answer is that we direct the client to his bank or ours. Usually the bank can assist. Where it won't, it is because it considers the client a poor risk. The Guinness Mahon scheme is only of any use to poor risk clients. Poor risk to the solicitor, that is, not Guinness Mahon.

Martin Mears,

Mears Hobbs & Durrant.