Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The importance of ‘terms and conditions’ in business

Many small businesses and startups feel that setting out good terms and conditions is not a priority. However, getting it right can ensure that your businesses cash flow stays healthy. When starting a business, the never-ending list of things to do can seem daunting, leaving many elements to go unnoticed. Many startups focus on ensuring that their product is market ready, sourcing customers and marketing the product. Sorting out terms and conditions is definitely not at the top of the to-do list.

However neglecting this vital step in your to-do list can impact your cash flow through delayed payments as well as having to pay for materials before you have even taken any payments. The long-term effect of this could lead to unnecessary money and time being spent on debt collections.

Late payments within small business are now a common occurrence as customers often deprioritise bills from smaller companies. However with the right terms and conditions in place, your business can be assured that it gets paid first. Getting your terms and conditions right equals no more excuses!

Protecting your business is essential. Terms and conditions should be specific and never vague to avoid uncertainty and any misunderstandings. Covering yourself will help to ensure that clients have no opportunity to go back on their word.  Putting your terms and conditions in writing is an absolute must! Without any written agreement, there is no proof and without proof late payments can occur.

The founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones has argued that “essentially, having terms and conditions protects you as a business. Terms and conditions certainly have an important role to play when it comes to two parties (customer/supplier, joint venture partners) understanding their duties, rights, roles and responsibilities."

So what should terms and conditions include?

Emma Jones also goes on to state that terms and conditions can also save a lot of money by addressing all issues at the outset. This in turn avoids disputes later on about what might or might not have been agreed." Points which should be included in your businesses terms and condition vary depending on your type of business, however you should consider including:

·         Clear description of products/services provided

·         Setting out late payment terms (deadlines)

·         Guarantees/warranties offered

·         Delivery times

·         Queries?

·         What happens if either party fail to deliver, pay or terminate contract

·         Terms of the agreement

·         Notice required

·         Law governing the contract

It is important to note that there is no legal requirement to include terms and conditions on your company’s invoices. However many print their terms on the back to avoid any potential disputes or late payments.

If you have an existing business or are a startup, LawStore Business can help you! LawStore Business provides legal packages for businesses at affordable prices. Our cost effective, fixed fee solutions enable business to focus on their marketing and customers while we do the rest.
Our packages can also be bespoke and tailored to your business’s needs. Our services include:

·         Terms and conditions
·         Privacy policy
·         Contract of sale
·         Company formation
·         Legal advice

If you are a medium, large sized or fast growth company that needs more extensive assistance, our team can work with you to put together a bespoke, fixed fee package tailored to you and your business. To find out more about making a tailor made package for you and your business simply call us on 0845 603 6544 or contact us online today!

If you would prefer to use one of our existing packages simply click here.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Compensation: Airlines threatened with legal action

Three of some of the biggest airlines could end up in court if they fail to 'shape up' over flight delay claims. Legal action could soon be taken against the airlines Jet2, Wizz Air and Aer Lingus who are not abiding by consumer law. This threat comes as the above airlines fail in the handling of passengers affected by flight disruption. As well as failing to alter their policies despite extensive discussions, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The CAA, has claimed that both Jet2 and Wizz Air have "failed to satisfy the regulator that they are consistently paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults, despite a Court of Appeal ruling clarifying that airlines must do so."

In addition to this, the CAA has also claimed that the same two airlines are also imposing a 2 year time limit on passengers who wish to take a compensation claim to court. This is despite the Court of Appeal ruling that passengers should receive up to 6 years in order to make a claim in court.

Further failures also exist with Jet2 and Aer Lingus who have failed to give satisfactory evidence that they 'proactively' provide passengers with information regarding their rights when disruption occurs. The information provided to customers regarding flight disruption should be in line with the requirements set out in the European regulation.

If these airlines fail to comply, the CAA will launch enforcement action and will seek a court order against them. However, Jet2 have suggested that these claims are 'materially inaccurate' and that "Jet.com is paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults in line with the landmark Huzar ruling and have already confirmed this to the CAA." Compensation received by passengers is up to 400 euros (£289) per a person, with the average fare equating to £80.

In addition to this a spokeswoman added, "Airlines are entitled to limit to two years the period in which claims can be made by contractual limitations and these have been upheld by the court on a number of occasions. Jet2.com strictly abides by court decisions and is acting in accordance with the law, not contrary to it. No enforcement action has been taken. The CAA is obligated to consult with Jet2.com before considering enforcement action. This process has not started. Given the misapprehensions of the CAA, Jet2.com expects that following the mandatory consultation process the CAA will not wish to take the matter any further."

This failure to comply with consumer law comes as passengers who suffer with long delays bare witness to airlines employing various tactics in order to avoid paying out compensation. Rather than airlines admitting to a technical fault, many passengers will receive a letter stating that the delay was caused by a 'hidden manufacturing defect'. Others have argued that they are simply ignored by airlines who fail to give a response.

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to £465 in compensation if their flights lands more than 3 hours late. However, claims cannot be made due to 'extraordinary circumstances' such as bad weather or crew strikes.

Prior to this change, airlines would refuse to pay out for delays caused by a technical fault. However last year, 2 Supreme Court rulings and a 6 year legal battles opened the floodgates to 2 million holidaymakers to make claims. As a result, the court declared that airlines should pay out when a delay is caused by a technical fault. This change could see airlines fitting a bill of around £3.89 billion for cases dating back 6 years.

If your thinking of making a claim for a delayed or cancelled flight, MTA Solicitors can help you! At MTA Solicitors we have experts in travel compensation who can help put things in motion for you. Know your rights and get refunded. We work on a No Win No Fee basis for flight compensation claims.

To find out more simply visit us online today or call us on 0208 313 7804 to speak with a member of our civil litigation team.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

MTA Solicitors launches new Debt Recovery site

debtrecovery.mtasolicitors.com is a mico site of MTA Solicitors and has been designed with a specific focus on debt recovery and how MTA Solicitors can help you and your business. This debt recovery site focuses on:

  • commercial debt
  • credit control
  • personal debt
  • mortgage repossession

MTA Solicitors works with Positive Collections, who offer both individuals and businesses the opportunity to manage their own invoices through a FREE online credit control system. Positive Collections also provides an innovative online debt recovery system and has a 98% success rate in recovering debts they chase.

debtrecovery.mtasolicitors.com is great way to find further information and advice regarding personal debt, commercial debt and mortgage repossession.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Extending the lease on your property

Extending the lease on your property can be a costly and complicated process, so seeking the appropriate legal advice from a property solicitor is important. The lease on a property can be extended providing you have owned the leasehold property for at least 2 years. In most cases, an owner does not need to start the process of extending the lease until there is less than 95 years remaining. If you are planning on selling your property, it is often advised that you extend the lease. Increasing the lease can also add value to the price of the property.

It is usually worth extending the lease if the lease length falls below 80 years, as you will need to pay marriage values. Marriage values come into force once the lease falls below 80 years. This is due to the leaseholder having to pay marriage fees. The marriage value is calculated based on the properties market value with its current lease against the market value of the property with the extended lease. The marriage fee payable is half of the difference.

It is important to be aware that if the lease length falls below 70 years, it will be a challenge for the new buyer to secure a new mortgage on the property. Properties however, can still be bought regardless of the lease length, but the majority of mortgage lenders will not give you a mortgage if the lease is lower than 60 years.

So whats the process of extending a lease?

Once you have decided to extend the lease, you should contact the freeholder to informally negotiate and offer a price for the lease. By coming to an informal agreement with the freeholder, it can save you both time and money.

The next step is to instruct a valuation surveyor and a lease extension solicitor. It is best to go with a solicitor who has experience in the lease extension process. Once this is done, a formal offer will then be made and rest will be dealt with by your chosen solicitor.

The final steps of this process will be agreeing on a final price and paying the deposit required. Please note that the lease extension process can take up to a year.

If you are looking to extend your leasehold, the LawStore can help you! The LawStore uses a panel firm of solicitors who will adopt the best course of action, tailored to suit you and ensure your lease extension process runs as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

For further information or advice simply call the LawStore on 0845 603 6544 or visit us online to find out more.

Friday, 13 March 2015

UK Parliament votes YES to ban on cigarette branding

As of 2016, branding on cigarette packaging will be banned in the UK. With legislation approved on the 11th March 2015, Britain's parliament has voted in favour of banning branding on cigarette packs by 367 votes to 113. However, the tobacco industry which is worth an estimated £19.43 billion in the UK, is threatening legal action as a result.

This dramatic change to the law comes as a way of helping to improve public health and reduce the amount of child smokers. This change is also set to decrease the amount of profit made by tobacco companies. Coming into force by May 2016, Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison  has argued that "we want all children in our country to grow up free from the burden of disease that tobacco brings".

However, final approval has still not been granted as this proposal must still be debated and passed by the upper house of parliament before becoming law.

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco is responsible for 6 million deaths a year globally with an estimated rise to 8 million by 2030. A recent opinion poll carried out in February by YouGov has revealed that 72% of the British public supported plain packaging, with only 15% against the change.

However, in stark contrast, tabacco companies have fiercely resisted this new legislation suggesting it will infringed upon their intellectual property rights. This comes as product names will have to be printed in standardised fonts. In addition to this this they have also argued that it will lead to increase in both counterfeit goods and smuggling.

But what do you think?

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LawStore Conveyancing based in Bromley, Kent offers straightforward and jargon free advice when it comes to buying a property or selling your home. LawStore Conveyancing uses a panel firm of solicitors who are all members of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), ensuring that they meet the high standards set by the Law Society. Our property law solicitors will adopt the best course of action tailored to suit you, ensuring that your transaction runs as quickly and efficiently as possible.

LawStore Conveyancing also offers peace of mind with a NO SALE NO FEE policy. They also understand house stressful buying a selling a property can be. So whether you are a first time buyer, a property developer, a landlord or a business trying to secure a commercial property LawStore Conveyancing can help you!

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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Don't have a Will? Neither does 73% of the UK.

With January and February gone and March passing us by, its time to ensure that your Will is set up and says exactly what you want it to say for when you pass away. And for those of you who have a Will, when was it last updated and is it actually valid?

Latest statistics from the Law Society has revealed that the majority of people in the UK do not a have a Will. Results showed that a staggering 73% of 16-54 year olds do not have a Will, whilst 64% of over 55 year olds do. In addition to this, men are also more likely to make a Will than women.

The main reason given for not making a Will, is that they believe they have nothing of any value to leave. However, many people forget to account for their property when adding up the value of their estate.

Out of those who have a Will set in place, 47.2% stated that their reason for making a Will was due to the fact that they were now old enough or realised the negative impact by not having one. Many people were also revealed to have made a Will as a result of a divorce.

Divorces are often a common reason behind people creating a new Will or changing a Will through a Codicil.

Dying intestate (without leaving a Will), can often be a nightmare for the family members involved. As many as 23% of those surveyed believed that if they passed away without making a Will, their estate would automatically go to their family. This however is incorrect as in some cases intestacy rules will determine who inherits what. In some cases, the state may be entitled to the estate. In 2014, around £8m was received by the government due to those passing away without an estate.

So what are the Intestacy rules?

If you pass away without leaving a Will in both England and Wales, your property will be divided and distributed under the intestacy rules in the Administration of Estates Act. These rules were updated after new regulations came into force on 1st October.

If you are married or are in a civil partnership and you have children, the surviving spouse/partner will receive everything including personal possessions up to the value of £250,000. Anything above this value is then divided equally between the children when they reach 18 years of age and the spouse/partner.

If you are married or are in a civil partnership and you have no children, the surviving spouse/partner will receive everything.

If you are unmarried and have children, your children will receive everything once they reach 18 years of age. If you are cohabitating, your surviving partner will get nothing.

If you are unmarried and have no children, your estate will go to your relatives in the following order:
  • parents
  • brothers and sisters (if parents have passed away)
  • grandparents (no brothers or sisters)
  • aunts and uncles (no grandparents)
  • the crown (no living relatives)

Inheritance Tax?

Making a professional valid Will can also reduce the amount of inheritance tax you will have to pay. Inheritance tax, is the tax payable on a property once you pass away. However, some can be passed on tax-free via the 'nil rate band'. The nil rate band for 2015 is £325,000.

Married couples and civil partners can pass on their property to each other tax-free. As from 2007, the surviving partner  can use both tax-free allowances, providing one was not used at the first death. This means that the amount the surviving partner can leave behind is tax free up to £650,000.

If you're thinking of making a Will, the LawStore can help you! The LawStore offers a wide range of affordable and easy to use legal documents regarding your Will. For further information simply click here. If you would like to speak to an expert in regards to making or changing a Will call us on 0845 603 6544, for further information and advice.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Storing your Will online with My Online Vault

The newly launched website MY ONLINE VAULT, is an online platform which securely stores all your personal and important documents in just one place. My Online Vault is a protected, secure and interactive document management service which allows you to upload and store any document you wish in your very own online vault.

My Online Vault offers a wide range of features which makes it unique in its market. Both our living and end of life vault enable you to easily upload your valuable documents for keep safe, ensuring that they are always protected and secure. Your vault can be accessed from all over the world 24/7 via your iPad, iPhone, computer and any other internet enabled device. As well as storing your personal documents, My Online Vault also features additional services such as debt recovery, online documents and legal cover and more.

My Online Vault is a great place to store critical documents such as your Will. Don't have a Will? With every new account, they offer a FREE WILL. My Online Vault features two types of vaults, the Living Vault and the End of Life Vault. Our Living Vault allows you to effectively store and manage various types of documents such as birth certificates, divorce papers, wills, financial statements, tax bills and more. Our End of Life Vault has been designed to store critical documents such as Wills, funeral plans, life insurance details and much more, so that everything is covered.

In addition to this, our online document service allows you to set up any legal documents which you may be missing or you may require for the future.

My Online Vault is a fully protective, secure and interactive document management service which allows you to store and manage all your essential and critical documents online. Our vaults contain the tightest online security which requires both passwords and security questions for easy access. Your documents can be reached from anywhere across world 24/7 for added convenience and accessibility.

My Online Vault is your solution to storing invaluable documents such as Wills, deeds, plans, bills, photos and much more at just a click of a button.

At My Online Vault, our affiliates ensure that we cover all your needs from legal documents to legal cover. These additional services are all linked to our partners MTA Solicitors, a nationwide law practice which offers both expert and affordable legal services.

To find out more or to register for a vault account simply click here.

Ten-minute parking leeway comes into force

Expected to come into force at the end of March 2015, council-owned car parks in England will now have to provide a 10 minute grace period before issuing a fine. This new leeway is to apply to free and paid-for parking spaces on both streets and in off-street car parks. Britain is estimated to 30 million drivers.

This change is just one of several which also includes new restrictions on the use of CCTV cars issuing automatic fines. This change comes as more and more drivers begin to complain about being hit with a penalty just as their ticket expires.

The changes include:
  • guidance for councils to highlight that they are not permitted to use parking in order to generate a profit.
  • rights given to both residents and businesses to demand parking reviews in the area via petition to the council.
  • powers given to parking adjudicators to hold councils responsible.
  • protection to prevent drivers from being fined for parking at out-of-order meters.
  • ban on CCTV 'spy cars' (excluding no-parking areas such as bus lanes and near schools)

Many have argued that the current parking rules have caused enormous damage to shops and businesses. In addition to this argument, the AA president Edmund King has suggested that "this is a common sense move. All too often there are discrepancies between the car clock, the civic clock, the pay-and-display clock, the parking attendant's clock and the driver's watch, which all result in disputed tickets."

According to figures from the RAC Foundation, councils in England made a combined surplus of £667 million from their on and off-street parking operations in 2013-14. By law, an surplus made by councils must be ploughed back into transport projects such as road improvements.