Crab Insight
Vol 2 Issue 2
November 2014




 

In This Issue

Legal Update
What we are being asked about
Top Tip
Reputation Matters
Reputation Advocates
Reputation Academy
Forthcoming Events
In closing

Dates for your diary:

E-bay, E-xciting or E-xacting 
A Southern Entrepreneurs event
18th November 2014
Southampton
Public Sector Tendering
A Southern Entrepreneurs event
8th December 2014
Winchester
Kick Start the New Year
9th January 2015
Hayling Island

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello and welcome to the November edition of Crab Insight.

We have another jam packed Insight for you this month which includes a look at the Late Payment Regulations which can have a huge impact on your business. We also have an interview with our Reputation Advocate Peter Lamb of Westminster Wills who has a fantastic offer for Platinum Reputation Advocates and our Reputation Academy members.


It gives us us great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to our new Reputation Advocates this month: 

  • Access-By Design  - A website design agency, offering the latest fresh and contemporary web designs (who joined us last month and are now on the website)
  • Advanced and Get Noticed - PR and Marketing Consultant
  • Bizzy Bodyz - Cleaning, Ironing, Laundry & Dry Cleaning Services
  • Yes Creative- An integrated creative agency
  • Empowered for Growth (details to follow shortly)
We do hope you enjoy this edition of Crab Insight.

Legal Update

Consumer rights. 
BIS has published its plan for providing guidance to businesses and consumers on the changes to be introduced by the Consumer Rights Bill, which will clarify and simplify consumer rights. Subject to going through Parliament, the bill is expected to come into force on 1st October 2015. It will:

  • clarify the standards a consumer can expect when they buy something
  • set out what to do when goods, services or digital content don’t meet those standards
  • clarify when terms and conditions can be considered unfair
  • simplify enforcement powers
  • make it easier to deal with rogue traders
  • make it easier for small businesses to take legal action against bigger companies breaking competition laws

Amendments to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 mean that if a customer claims to have been pressured into paying money or making a contract, a business has potential liability. There are alternative claims for undue influence, duress, harassment, intimidation, unjust enrichment or an aggressive practice contrary to the regulations.

Data protection.
The government has issued guidance on risk management of allowing employees to work using personally-owned devices such as mobile phones and tablets, "bring your own device" (BYOD). 

The Information Commissioner's Office has published an updated code of practice for CCTV and other types of surveillance cameras. It provides best practice advice on how to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, for those involved in operating CCTV and surveillance cameras that view or record individuals' information.

Without prejudice privilege.
The High Court has said that certain correspondence between a business and their solicitors should be admissible as evidence even though it was headed "without prejudice and subject to contract". The court made it clear that communications made when there is no dispute cannot retrospectively be made subject to the without prejudice privilege by subsequently raising a dispute. 

What we are being asked about

Is there a business risk in paying suppliers late?

The simple answer is - yes absolutely! 
At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs when someone buys goods or services a contract is formed. This is just an agreement between the two parties to the transaction. If one of the terms of the agreement is not met then there is a breach of contract. 

One potential area of agreement could be when payment should be made and penalties if it is late  i.e. a pre-agreed sum due if the terms are broken by paying late. Without this it is ultimately for the Courts to decide the penalty. Pre-agreement simplifies the process and as a consequence reduces potential costs.

If there is no written agreement, or nothing in it about late payments, many businesses think this is the end of the matter. In fact the law implies statutory late payment penalty clauses into commercial contracts. The parties are unable to exclude the terms and they set out a fixed penalty and an interest element 

So where is the risk? Well these penalties can be pursued for up to six years. Many businesses are completely unaware of the legislation or suppliers chose to preserve goodwill with their clients by holding back. However if a supplier gains insight or has a change of management, there is a strong possibility that this could change. Worse still, if the supplier goes bust, it would be slap dash for a receiver to ignore the potential assets that 6 years of uncollected late payment penalties represents. So to pay invoices late on a regular basis is to build up a potential future debt.


I know there are new food labelling requirements which will be applied in December 2014 but what will it mean for me as a food producer?

The new legislation is the Food Information for Consumers Regulations and will come into force on 13 December 2014.

It will change the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is pre-packed, sold loose or served when eating out. 

If any of 14 listed allergens are used as ingredients in a pre-packaged food, they will need to be emphasised on the label. Businesses can choose the method of emphasis e.g. by listing them in bold, italics, highlighted or underlined. The information about allergenic ingredients must be located in a single place, i.e. the ingredients list on pre-packed food. This means that the voluntary use of the current types of allergy boxes (such as: ‘Contains nuts’), will no longer be allowed.

If any of the 14 allergens are used as ingredients in loose foods (those that can be bought without packaging) for example in supermarkets, delicatessens, cafes and restaurants the information will also need to be provided.

Food producers will need to comply and if they wholesale products make sure they facilitate the compliance of their clients.

Which allergens are covered?

  • eggs
  • milk
  • fish
  • crustaceans (for example crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, prawn)
  • molluscs (for example mussels, oysters, squid)
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazils, pistachios, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts)
  • sesame seeds
  • cereals containing gluten (wheat (such as spelt, Khorasan wheat/Kamut), rye, barley, oats, or their hybridised strains).
  • soya
  • celery and celeriac
  • mustard
  • lupin
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentration of more than ten parts per million)

Top Tip
It can be awkward having conversations with your clients about unpaid invoices so make sure your customers know your invoicing terms. 

We suggest before you send your first invoice to a client, highlight to them what your terms are and if there are any penalties for unpaid invoices. Then if they don’t pay on time, you’re simply reminding them of the terms.

If you need any help remember All you Have To Do Is Ask

Reputation Matters
Interview with Reputation Advocate, Peter Lamb of Westminster Wills 

Wendy: Hello Peter, thank you for agreeing to take part in our Reputation interview this month. Most people know that it is important to have an up to date Will but could you please explain why it is so important for a business owner?

Peter: Hello Wendy, without a Will your entire estate including your business assets pass under the rules of intestacy. These rules are unlikely to reflect what you would really want. One example is that it’s highly unlikely that your spouse would inherit everything.

With a Will your Executors can be given powers to enable them to carry on your business. The law directs that any business owned by the deceased (other than limited companies) should be sold within 12 months. It would be an additional loss to the family if the business had to be sold at a knock down price just because during these 12 months trading conditions were tough e.g. in a recession. And what if you don’t want it sold?

Also most businesses are owed money. Your executors need the power to be able to collect that money. Without a Will they only get that power when probate is obtained, which could be many months after the business owner’s death, by which time the debtor could have disappeared.

Wendy: Are there any tax advantages involved with writing a Will?

Peter: Yes, by using a Trust created by the Will it is possible to massively reduce Inheritance Tax, and to protect the business. This especially applies to businesses whose value is likely to increase. But Trusts can also be used to ensure that the income from the business is protected for dependants such as children.

Wendy: Is there anything else important that a business owner should do?

Peter: Powers of Attorney go hand in hand with a Will nowadays when planning for the future. If you lose mental capacity through an accident or illness your family will have to apply to the Court of Protection to get control of your assets – this process will take about 9 months and cost several thousand pounds, by which time there may be nothing left of your business. A Lasting Power of Attorney solves this problem by appointing trusted people to manage your affairs if needed, before you lose capacity.

Wendy: That is great, thank you Peter. I know that at the moment you have an offer for our Reputation Academy and Platinum Reputation Advocates, could you tell us more please?

Peter: As you know I think the Crimson Crab offering is a fantastic concept for like-minded business people, and I would like to take mutual cooperation with other members forward by offering them a free standard will or wills (either a single will, or a pair of wills for couples). Every business owner must have an up to date will and I hope my Reputation Academy and Platinum Reputation Advocate colleagues will take advantage of this to ensure their affairs are in order.

Wendy: Thank you Peter for the great offer and some very useful advice it was lovely to talk to you today.

Reputation Advocates


We are delighted to introduce our Reputation Advocates if you need expert help for your business.

Reputation Advocates, have been audited by Crimson Crab. They have also signed a contractual undertaking to comply with our Code of Conduct and 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. 

If you think that your business would benefit from becoming a Reputation Advocate please get in touch.

Reputation Academy

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 click here.

Forthcoming Events

E-bay - E-xciting or E-xacting
For Southern Entrepreneurs
Date: 18th November 2014
Time: 10.00 am - 1 pm
Venue: Basepoint Southampton
More details

Winning Government Tenders
For Southern Entrepreneurs
Date: 8th December 2014
Time: 10.00 am - 1 pm
Venue: Discovery Centre Winchester
More details

 
Kick Start The New Year 
An opportunity to formulate your plans for 2015 and really get off to a good start. 
Date: Friday 9th January 2015
Time: 10.00 am - 4 pm
Venue: Northney Farm Tea Rooms Hayling Island.
Cost: £60 per person to include light lunch and refreshments. 1 free place for Reputation Academy, including Platinum Reputation Advocates members (with a small charge for refreshments).
More Details

In closing

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. 

As always we would love to receive your feedback:
  • What would you like to see more of or less of?
  • Are there any reputational risks that you would like to see covered? 
  • Would you like a Special Event on any particular issue?
You can complete an on-line form, drop us an email or give us a call directly on 023 9263 7190
 
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Until next month
 

Don't worry, be Crabby savvy!!
 

and take care of your reputation.

 

Best wishes

 

Wendy and Rob

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