Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Now that Christmas is like a distant memory its time to look forward to what the new year will bring.
The legislators often introduce new rules and regulations at the start of a new year and 2016 is no exception as online dispute resolution was set to take effect from 9th January.
However the good news is that this has been postponed until Monday 15th February as it seems the online ODR platform was not ready. Actually the Government has said they will not change the implementation date but promise not to prosecute for breaches before the new date.
Please remember that if you sell consumer goods or services online or conduct business with consumers by email this will affect you so please take a look at our legal update for more information.
This month 'Reputation Matters' is about 'Late Payments'. I think its fair to say that everybody in business has, at some time, had a bad payer, someone who won't or can't pay. It can destroy an otherwise healthy and profitable business, and this in turn further damages the UK economy.
Ultimately late payers just end up damaging their reputation and suppliers start to avoid them. Also there is another hidden risk to late payments of commercial debts but you will need to read Reputation Matters to find out.
We have teamed up with the Business First Network to offer 20% off the pre VAT membership fee to all Reputation Advocates. Please follow this link for further information.
Clive Loseby from Access-By Design is offering all Reputation Advocates a review of their website to provide feedback on how Google is likely to respond to it. This free technical assessment looks at coding and accessibility, not design. If you are serious about getting recognised by Google then this is for you, read more and get your review.
To find more about joining the ever growing band of Reputation Advocates please follow this link.
It just remains for us to wish you a very happy and prosperous 2016 from Crimson Crab.
Online Trading Law
The European Commission has proposed full harmonisation of consumer rules on the sale of digital content and online sales of goods, in maximum harmonisation draft directives. This means that if they are passed, no member state can give consumers greater or lesser protection.
The goal is to give consumers confidence to buy from other member states and allow businesses to use a single set of terms and conditions throughout the EU.
The effect in the UK is that the consumers short term right of rejection for faulty goods given under the Consumer Rights Act would be removed. In addition in relation to digital content sales, statutory rights and remedies would be introduced for digital content supplied in exchange for non-monetary consideration e.g. in exchange for personal data.
On-line Dispute Resolution (ODR)
If you sell on-line to consumers, then you should be providing a link to the European Commissions ODR platform on your website (along with your e-mail address). plus in email offers and in your terms and conditions. For more information see our Crab Sheets.
BIS has announced that the date has been postponed from 9 January 2016 to 15 February 2016. Whilst the government is not proposing to amend the commencement date set out in the Regulations, BIS has confirmed that there will be no enforcement action in respect of breaches before 15 February 2015.
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act
From 6 April 2016 a requirement for companies to keep a register of people who have significant control over the company come into force.
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has published draft statutory guidance on determining whether a person is a person with significant control. The draft guidance notes that, if a person has control of a company or of the activities of a trust or firm, they have the power to direct its policies and activities and that significant influence enables the person exercising the significant influence to ensure that the company or trust adopts those policies or activities that are desired by the holder of the significant influence. So now you know!
The European Parliament and the Council have reached agreement on the EU data protection reform package.
This paves the way for the formal adopted in early 2016 and to become applicable two years later.
Two items of proposed legislation are involved:
Amongst other new measures, the introduction of a potential sanction of up to 4% of global turnover for breaches of data protection law is likely to have a significant effect on how seriously data protection compliance is taken in the future.
- the General Data Protection Regulation and
- the Data Protection Directive for police and judicial cooperation on criminal matters
What we are being asked about
In the last Crab Insight there was an article on Auto Enrolment by Reputation Advocate Jane Holland of Total Bookkeeping Services which stated that a qualifying scheme may be required even if there are no eligible workers. Could you give a little more information and explain the circumstances in which this may occur?
Reply from Reputation Advocate Jane Holland
The words used in last month's article were chosen very carefully. In Automatic Enrolment terms there are three categories of employee;
EJs are the only category of employee who will be automatically enrolled at the Employer's staging date so, if an Employer has any EJs, a qualifying pension scheme MUST be in place.
- Eligible Jobholder (EJ),
- Non-Eligible Jobholder (NEJ) and
- Entitled Worker (EW).
My article stated that without any EJs, a 'qualifying scheme may still be required'. An Employer is obliged to provide a qualifying pension scheme, that can be used for automatic enrolment, and pay regular contributions, for NEJs, if they wish to 'opt in'.
EWs also have a right to join a pension scheme, so the employer must provide one for them if needed, but the employer doesn’t have to pay contributions into it for them.
For full details please go the Pension Regulator website
Agreements and Contracts
We have been negotiating with a suppler and have now received the contract produced by their solicitor. This does not reflect what we discussed and is more favourable to the supplier. What can we do?
You need to go back to the supplier and discuss your issues with the agreement to ensure that you are happy with the terms.
In a business to business agreement it is down to the parties to agree the terms. The solicitor should produce an agreement to reflect those terms, however they may have just used a standard agreement without taking full instructions from their client.
Please do not sign the agreement until you have read, understood the implications of and are happy to accept all of the terms.
We have been supplied with a logo design incorporating typeface fonts by our graphic designer. Someone has told us that we cannot Trade Mark the logo, is this true?
There is absolutely no reason why this should be a barrier to obtaining a Trade Mark as long as designer:
You are not seeking to Trade Mark the font (the designer of the font has probably already done this) you are seeking to Trade Mark the logo incorporating the font.
- holds the correct license from the typeface font owner for the use to which you want to put the logo and
- has been provided the logo incorporating the typeface font to you in a non scalable format
I supply services to other businesses and I have not been paid for the work I have done, what can I do?
We cover this topic in this months Reputation Matters - I hope it helps. Alternatively we can help with a bespoke solution for your business >Read more...
Do you believe that paying on time is the right way to do business?
If yes you may want to join us as a registered Pay On Time Supporter.
This means that we always agree payment terms at the outset and pay bills in accordance with any contract agreed with the supplier or as required by law.
We also tell suppliers without delay when an invoice is contested, and settle disputes quickly.
|One of the main causes of failed companies is cash flow problems caused by late payment.
Some businesses think it is good practice to pay people as late as possible for goods or services delivered under a commercial contract or agreement. This results in time and effort being invested to chase payments which should have been made as a matter of course. Many pay late because they are paid late and this makes matters worse.
Whenever you buy something you are entering in to a contract with the supplier. Essentially the supplier provides the goods or services agreed and you have to pay them. The contract will either directly, or by implication, contain a time frame in which you have to pay. If you don't pay within that time then you are breaking the contract. Paying on time should be normal, just as sticking to any other aspect of the contract.
In relation to business to business contracts in the UK and the rest of Europe, the law dictates that there are penalties and compensation which has to be paid if goods or services are not paid for on time.
The penalties and compensation
A fixed fee
- £40 for debts under £1000,
- £70 for debts under £10,000,
- £100 for debts over £10,000.
- 8% above Bank of England base rate.
Debt recovery costs
- Reasonable debt recovery costs
Many businesses owners fear antagonising their clients by using the law. However it is a statutory right and its primary aim is to stop companies paying their bills late.
Rather than using it as a last resort when faced with an overdue invoice, the late payment legislation is designed to be used as a deterrent against late payment, and as part of standard business practices and credit management techniques.
In much the same way as a supplier reminds purchasers that payment is due within a specified time limit, the supplier should also remind them that interest and compensation for debt recovery costs will be charged on overdue invoices.
Of course businesses do not have to use the legislation and if they include contractual interest in the agreement, this is payable instead.
Risks for Late Payers
Beside acquiring a reputation as a late or non-payer, claims for interest on late payment do not have to be made straight away (a supplier has six years in which to make a claim, five years in Scotland) as long as trading terms were agreed and the customer was duly notified when interest began to accumulate.
Businesses may still make claims for interest after they have stopped supplying goods or services to a particular purchaser.
The only way for purchasers to be sure of avoiding future claims is to pay bills on time.
Crab Alert - Liquidators and receivers acting in connection with a business can and often do pursue ex-customers for interest on late payments, going back up to six years.
How can Crimson Crab help?
We can help businesses implement a procedure for managing late payments and help with recovery. Please get in touch to find out more.
We also provide a Crab Sheet on Late Payments this is just £10 or free to Reputation Advocates.
“When you need a reliable and dependable expert"
As ever we are delighted to introduce our Reputation Advocates if you need expert help for your business.
✔ They have been audited by Crimson Crab against our Membership Criteria
✔ They have signed a contractual undertaking to comply with our Code of Conduct and
✔ They meet the standards in our Ethical Trading Policy
This means that we know they have a great approach to business which reflects the core principles that Crimson Crab stands for. In addition we are confident that they put their clients at the heart of everything they do to provide the best possible service, and will rectify things quickly if they do go wrong.
You can find a Reputation Advocate by following this link.
If you think that your business would benefit from becoming a Reputation Advocate please follow this link.
Crimson Crab's mission is to provide friendly and confidential support to businesses and help develop sensible strategies, tactics and processes to minimise and manage the risks to reputation, time and profitability from trading law.
To find out more please follow this link.
Tenders & Procurement Workshop
Special Event - Tendering (Introduction)
10 am to 1 pm, Tuesday 4th February, Waterlooville Basepoint
Tuesday 26th January 2016
In conjunction with Southern Entrepreneurs
Find out more about Southern Entrepreneurs events
Are you wondering if tendering is an option for your business but are unsure about what is involved? Then this is a great event for you. Read more and book your place...
Special Event - Tendering (Advanced)
10 am to 1 pm, Wednesday 23rd February, Waterlooville Basepoint.
This workshop is aimed at businesses that already have some experience of the tendering process or have completed our ‘How to Tender I (An Introduction)’ Read more and book your place...
Special Event - Business Continuity
10 am to 1 pm,Monday 7th March 2016, Waterlooville Basepoint.
Would your business survive a flood or power cut that lasts for days or weeks? Any incident large or small can cause major disruption to your business. This event is for anyone who wants to ensure that if the unthinkable happened to their business they have looked at the risks and know they can be managed. Read more and book a place...
If there are any issues raised in this issue that you would like to talk to us about in more detail, please don't hesitate to get in touch by following this link.
As always we would love to receive your feedback:
Drop us an email using this link or call us on 023 9263 7190 or you can use this form.
- What would you like to see more of or less of in Crab Insight?
- Are there any reputational risks that you would like to see covered?
- Would you like a Special Event on any particular issue?
Please could we ask you to forward this copy of Crab Insight on to anyone that you think would benefit from the information.
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Until next month
Take care of your reputation
Wendy and Rob