Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Good News Journal (3) -- localisms

I think this is a great example of localism, entrepreneurship in general and how, in particular, many mums start their businesses. We see an unmet need that our child/ren can benefit from our taking the plunge.

Mother desperate to make sure her children and their classmates eat healthy lunches after canteen closed launches her own catering firm and becomes school's new cook

Localism: The problem with big business is they can only take profit if they trade on a big scale. With the scale usually comes a drop in care and quality.

I now do some work locally. I walk to work. I am not paid a lot of money. But I do good work (at least I think so). Fellow human beings benefit from what I do. I don't mind the low wage too much.

Entrepreneurship: I meet too many clients who say they or their children are highly qualified 'but there are no jobs'. So they get on to JobSeekers Allowance and wait for an employer to come calling. Even if this means subjecting themselves to the fortnightly humiliation of 'signing on' at the local job centre.

Why not start their own business? Not enough capital? Group together with mates and start a business. There are also start-up loans available for people on benefits. Or used to.

Combining the two means that people who need work can meet the unmet needs of the local community, which this mother and her friends have done.

What is there not to like?

The only thing is IF she or her co-workers are or have been on Child Tax Credit and/or Income Support, they would have to make sure that they have declared this 'change of circumstances' to the authorities.

Monday, December 01, 2014

No win, no fee: What's the catch?

Based on what my numerous clients at the advice agency have told me, it appears that one mode of operation goes like this (note: there are other ways they make money):

'Conditional solicitors' advertise their 'expertise'. Ninety-year-old happily watching her day-time TV sees an advert. O yes, she was injured in a public place, why not give these people a call. Nothing to lose, she thought.

Wrong!

Solicitors assure her that they will look after her. She's likely to get £x000 in compensation. She signs a piece of paper giving them exclusive rights to act on her behalf. No-win, no-fee. Happy, she hobbled off.

About nine months later she comes to me. Her solicitors do not seem to be doing anything. When she chases them up they make unhappy noises and are rude. They won't let her deal directly with the people she is complaining against. They keep telling her she has to wait.

Crucial question this: "Can I sack these lawyers?"

I check my 'rule book'. Of course she is fully entitled to sack them. But what she is likely to have to deal with is a demand for payment for "work that has already been done". At perhaps £250 an hour.

Poor lady, "I'm 90 years old. Who knows where I would be in another nine months' time?"

Perhaps that is what these lawyers are banking on: the lack of time (not patience, mind you) of older clients.

Other clients have told of how these lawyers would only try to get a derisory sum in compensation which means that the client gets next to nowt. If they complain and asked to switch lawyers, again that signature that has transferred rights to the lawyers is waved in their faces.

"Work had already been done" on their behalf. Someone has to pay for this time. Switching lawyers will mean a bill that can be quite arbitrarily set. It is a licence to print money.

So, beware. Tell your friends, and especially older relatives, not to be tempted by those daytime TV commercials. These solicitors NEVER lose.

If they win your case, they get your money. If they do not win your case, they can still have a claim over your own personal money.

For redress, go to: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/

And more horror stories about what these lawyers could do to vulnerable clients, such as withdrawing their services when the 'evidence has changed':
 http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/Complaints-in-focus-cfa-report-final-140103.pdf