Furniture Stores Accused Of Misleading Customers

It was proved that High Street retailers of furniture and carpets were trying to deceive their clients offering them goods with false prices.

The results from the inspection of the stores of Carpetright, Dreams, DFS, SCS Upholstery, Furniture Village, Harveys and Benson Beds showed that these used different tricks in order to make people believe they saved money. You can buy a Contract for the Sale of Goods from  The Legal Stop.

The OFT criticized the deals claiming to sell goods at half price. It found out that often before the reduction of a certain article no items of the sort have been sold.

The opinion of OFT is that the previously high prices of the goods were not quite legitimate and this is in fact the main reason why such big sales were now possible.

Usually customers are easily duped to buy something when they see its price is reduced so much.

The final decision of OFT on this matter was that this was an “endemic” problem within the industry.

Gaucho Rasmussen of the OFT said: “Reference pricing can mislead consumers into thinking the item they have bought is of higher value and quality”.

This week Tesco was fined because it claimed it was selling strawberries at half-price.

The danger which threatens stores which continue to mislead their customers is a fine of up to 30% of their turnover.

After these news shares in Carpetright fell as much as 3%.

The executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd commented that the special prices should really be special otherwise OFT would resort to serious penalties.

No comment came last night from both DFS or Dreams.

Financial Firms To Appoint More Women To Boards Under New EU Directive

The year 2014 will mark the need for more women working in large financial organizations in their boards of directors. Well-known banks, investment companies and building societies will be asked by the European Union to register the number of women they intend to appoint to their boards of directors and also mention how exactly they think they would manage to do it. Download our Equal Opportunities Policy

According to the EU’s Capital Requirements Directive IV large financial companies will have to set up a nomination committee, the aim of which will be to set out the “target for the representation of the underrepresented gender on the management body and how to meet it”.

Consultation papers were published by the UK’s financial regulators, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. These revealed the expectations of the EU that the equality on the board of directors will be improved.

These changes are now necessary after the April report from Cranfield University which pointed out that women held only 17% of board positions in FTSE 100 firms.

Linda Jones of law firm Pinsent Masons said that gender targets on UK businesses had to be set long ago.

However, Helena Morrissey, founder of the Thirty Per Cent Club, expressed her discontent with the directive.

“The UK is already making strong progress and to some extent any regulatory measures emanating from EU might seem academic as large banks already have stated targets,” she said.

She added that there needn’t be specially created quotas for women but they in fact had to demonstrate their skills and just then join boards.

Poll Suggests Public Favour Government Press Regulation Plans

Due to a poll of YouGov the public likes more the idea about the government’s royal charter on press regulation compared to the alternative plan put forward by the industry.

About a half of those asked, answered they would give their support for the parliament-backed charter. The percentage of those who claimed they would rather back up the press’s proposals was only 13%.

The decision on press regulation is still not taken but 68% of people shared that in case newspaper publishers establish the new press regulation they would definitely not trust them.

Almost half of the people have said that if the press were able to implement their own model it would probably repeat the old cases with the well-documented unethical and illegal practices that took place.

People were also discontented with the time taken to put any system in place.

There were many hearings in 2011 and 2012 after the Leveson Inquiry was conducted through a series of public hearings in.

According to Lord Leveson the Press Complaints Commission needed to be replaced by a new body with fresh powers.

Certain sectors of the press did not like the recommendation, thinking it would have a chilling effect on free speech.By the way do you know about our free legal documents?

Director of the Media Standards Trust Martin Moore said: “This poll shows that the public are in favour of tougher press regulation and have little faith in the system being proposed by publishers. They back the parliamentary charter, and want it to be implemented as soon as possible.”

 

David Cameron ‘warned he cannot stop pay rise for MPs’

BBC found out that the Prime Minister David Cameron will most probably not succeed to block plans for a big pay rise for MPs.

The salaries of the backbench MPs’ are expected to increase from £66,000 to more than £70,000.

PM did not agree with these plans but he could do nothing to stop these.

In the words of the BBC’s political editor the recommendation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s (Ipsa) would make voters angry because the time was such of pay restraints in the public as well as in the private sectors.

Later this month Ipsa is going to announce its initial recommendations. Before it publishes them. MPs and members of the public would be given the possibility to participate in a consultation and right after it finishes the final plans would come into force.

Several newspapers published that the expected increase of backbench MPs salaries is of 15%. Obviously many business documents will be signed before we see it working, but let`s see what the PM thinks.

Speaking in Pakistan, Mr Cameron said:

“Anything would be unthinkable unless the cost of politics was frozen and cut, so I’ll wait and see what Ipsa have to say. What I said to Ipsa was that restraint is necessary.”

Nick Robinson said that in case the government decided to ignore Ipsa’s recommendations MPs would not support its decision.

Last year the Commons agreed to extend the pay freeze into 2013.

However, due to an anonymous online survey 69% of the MPs who were asked were underpaid. They suggested an average salary of £86,250.

Former Labour minister and chairman of the Home Affairs select committee Keith Vaz said: “The last thing on earth MPs should be talking about is their own pay.”

 

UK Courtrooms Will Go Completely Digital By 2016

By 2016 nobody in the UK courtrooms will use papers anymore as this is considered outdated. The plan of the government is to make everything digital. The Legal Stop favours the idea and provides legal documents online, which you can simply download to your computer and use in digital format.

Courts will have their own secure wi-fi networks so that they may easily find any document they need. Evidence and documents used during trials will be displayed on digital monitors.

Police officers will also stop bringing notebooks with them as they will get mobile devices.

The amount the government will spend on these changes is £160 million.

The first court which has now been trying this new concept is the Birmingham Magistrates Court. From March until now it has dealt with 80 cases.

The changes should soon start functioning throughout whole England and Wales. The expected results are that this would improve the work of different courts.

Justice minister Damien Green has to announce the plans today in a speech at the Policy Exchange.

He started his speech mentioning that each year courts use 160 million sheets of paper.

“Stacked up this would be the same as 15 Mount Snowdons – literally mountains of paper. If we are to win in the global race this must change,” said Mr Green. “It is time we move the court system into the 21st Century.”

In his opinion courts would function in a qualitative way only when they got rid of the old system and became more modern.

On the other hand, many lawyers are uneasy with this new system saying that if an eventual system crash happens they would not lose a single file but all the documents of the court may disappear.

 

Fraud Sentences Could Focus on Harm

The Sentencing Council has prepared new guidelines related to the sentences for some of the financial crimes in England and Wales. According to these, the final sentences on such crimes could be based on the harm to victims.

What is considered as important nowadays is not the impact on victims but the amount of money involved in the crime.

The offenses, which the proposals cover, range from fraud and insurance scams to money laundering and bribery. Don`t forget to check our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy Template.

The council does not have any legislative power- this is a matter for Parliament. What it can do is only issue new guidelines.

In the opinion of BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman it would not be an easy task for courts to measure how harmful the crime had been to victims.

“For instance, a rogue trader who scammed a pensioner for £2,000 of roof repairs, severely damaging her confidence, would have faced a sentence ranging from a community order to 26 weeks in prison under existing guidelines,” he said.

Such rating is difficult because there are lots of cases in which victims’ loss is not that big but it has a great impact on them.

Only in 2012, the UK economy has lost £73 billion from fraud. This sum is bigger than the entire budget for state education.

Due to data of the Sentencing Council, employees and suppliers often claim false expenses which cost companies £45.5bn in 2011.

When talking about fraud we include many offences in this conception- offences like fake car crashes, complex VAT frauds and many others.

 

David Cameron: Intelligence Agencies Work within Law

According to PM David Cameron intelligence agencies operate within the law.

There are allegations that certain agencies have gathered and shared phone records and internet data.

It is still not confirmed or denied if GCHQ had been given access to a US spy programme called Prism but America’s National Security Agency and the FBI are expected to get access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Skype, Microsoft and some other of the world’s top internet companies. They all said they would not give the US government access to their servers.

Mr. Cameron stated that UK’s intelligence agencies kept people safe as at the same time operated within the law. The Legal Stop also keeps their clients safe and helps them find a wide variety of business documents, corporate documents, employment documents and HR documents.

In the words of Conservative MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind due to the British law such agencies need to get ministerial authority so that they get the opportunity to look at the content of the emails of British citizens.

An increase of 137% was registered for the intelligent reports GCHQ did in the 12 months to May 2012.

However, the minister with responsibility for GCHQ announced that UK citizens had nothing to worry about.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told Today: “These agencies do vital work for us week in and week out. But it’s also vital that the public have confidence that they are operating in a framework of legality.”

Conservative MP Dominic Raab shared his opinion that the happening changes influenced seriously the view of the people so public confidence would erode.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protects the content of people’s phone conversations.

Government officials may scoop up information on duration and timing of certain calls.

Mr. Obama announced surveillance programmes would protect the US from terrorist attacks

 

Legal aid plans: Defendants ‘will lose right to choose’

Figures show that taxpayers give about £2bn every year on legal aid as more than half of it is spend on criminal defence. Recently ministers announced that due to their latest plans the annual criminal legal aid budget in England and Wales would be cut with £220m.

The defendants will no longer have the right to choose a solicitor and this would reflect to those people who needed lawyers with specialist expertise. It is not the same with people, who need document drafting.

Ministers stated that the right to a fair trial would not be affected and called for bigger organisations to stop providing legal aid.

When the changes do happen providers of legal aid would have to bid for contracts; defendants whose income is larger than £37,500 would not have automatic access to legal aid; prisoners will have difficulties when trying to complain against the prison system.

Sir Anthony, who retired as a Court of Appeal judge last year, said the plans had serious lapses mentioning that for the future a defendant would be “allocated a firm of solicitors, a lawyer or a corporate provider like Eddie Stobart, or whoever it may be”, not being able to choose such a lawyer who would be well-aware of their cases and needs.

The Ministry of Justice received a response of 150 pages from the Bar Council.

Maura McGowan QC, chairperson of the Bar Council, expressed her opinion claiming that nowadays the whole world admired the current justice system and for the future money would mean everything.

“PCT may look as though it achieves short-term savings, but it is a blunt instrument that will leave deep scars on our justice system for far longer.”

The Association of Prison Lawyers added that many important matters such as the separation of mothers and babies for example, would not receive any funding.

Soon the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act removed legal aid from many areas of civil law were removed.

 

MPs Want Tougher Regulation of Payday Loans

MPs announced that in their view Office of Fair Trading does not do enough in order to protect consumers from unscrupulous payday loan companies, which do not have proper loan agreements.

According to the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee due to the wrong policy of OFT borrowers lose £450m a year.

In her words, the regulator had to use more often its powers to revoke the credit licenses of misbehaving lenders.

She said: “It passively waits for complaints from consumers before acting.”

And added that none of the 72,000 firms currently in the market had ever been fined.

In the cases in which the license of a certain director( who is supposed to have a directors service contract) had been withdrawn the same person does not stop their business but just starts it up under a different name.

The OFT said there were tight constraints that stopped them to a certain extent but they were doing their best in order to cope with the situation.

A spokesman said: “In the last financial year alone the OFT has revoked the licences of some of the UK’s largest credit brokers and debt management firms, and taken formal action in more than 85 other cases.”

As the Financial Conduct Authority will receive the regulatory duties next year the committee decided to give some suggestions which in their view would be helpful for the future.

One of the proposals said that not only the annual percentage rate had to be displayed but also the total amount repayable on a loan. Another of the proposed changes was related to the number of times short-term loans could be “rolled over” by lenders.

 

 

HMRC to Miss Tax Credit Fraud Target, says PAC

In 2010 the government challenged HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cut fraud and error by £8bn by 2015. The predictions of the Public Accounts Committee point out that the sum will be reduced by £3bn. Can you imagine how many legal documents you can buy with this amount of money?

A new point in the tax credit system proposes that parents returning to work should get financial support.

There will be a complex system taking into account age, income, hours worked, number and age of children, childcare costs and disabilities, which will allow low-income families, apply for tax credits. HMRC has to be aware of the changes in family circumstances.

It turns out that the claimant cannot totally understand the system and HMRC has many problems with its administration.

The results from the latest figures show that one in five awards featured an error or fraud; £1.7bn of these overpayments was written off because claimants did not intend to pay it; in 2010-11- £2.3bn was lost to fraud and error; the 2015 target will be missed by £5bn.

The committee advised HMRC to improve the information it gives to claimants in letters and through its helpline, and also check more carefully the information received back.

This increased the number of checks made by HMRC and respectively the number of appeals after payments were reduced or cancelled.

Many experienced financial hardship due to delays of six to eight months.

A spokesman for HMRC said that extra checks had saved £390m and helped the accurate usage of information.

“We are also getting tougher with claimants about the proof they need to support their claims; for example on childcare costs and on school leavers,” he said.