Crystal Segments T/a Event Domain (eventdomain.co.uk) and Clear Debt Solutions Ltd (CDS) – scammers or terminally stupid?

Unlike most things I write this doesn’t really have much relevance to the same day courier industry but these scamming fools have annoyed me so much that I’ve got to write about them somewhere – and this is as good a place as any.

Back in March 2009 I added a free listing for my business on the eventdomain.co.uk website – “Web Directory for the Conference, Hospitality and Event industry”. Almost three years later these scammers are pursuing my company for an alleged debt for advertising on their site. I’m not the sort of person to be taken in by scams like this, so they won’t be getting a penny from us. Hopefully anybody else who’s being harassed for non-existent debts by this shower of conmen will find this article and be armed with the information they need to avoid being harassed into paying up.

At the time we registered on their site it displayed a clickable ad: “Add your company for FREE – Register Today”. Clicking the ad led to another page containing the following text:

Standard Listing

Drive targeted Event-sector visitors to your business

A standard entry with Eventdomain gets you the following:

It provides the first stage in advertising and gives you basic internet presence
It’s a low cost way for you to be found
It will help in ranking you in the search engines

It also mentions an enhanced ‘Sponsored Listing’ at a cost of £40 for 13 months.

Being a cheapskate and not being the sort of person who would ever pay to advertise on some tinpot directory site with a very limited presence I entered our details for the Standard Listing. I received Read More…

Posted under Advertising, Courier Scams, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 6:13 pm, February 2, 2012

The Growing Dangers of Late Payment for Businesses that Pay Late

In the current business climate most same day courier companies are more concerned with how quick they can collect the money due from their customers than they are with whether they pay their suppliers late. Quite often all the money coming in goes straight out to the ‘important’ creditors – fuel card company, van hire, landlord, drivers’ wages etc, leaving the ‘less important’ suppliers to wait for their overdue payments.

I’ve warned many times of the dangers of running businesses like this and it seems from anecdotal evidence that some companies are finally having to count the cost of paying their suppliers late.

With the soaring cost of fuel and the general slowdown in the economy it seems that some transport company owners have decided that it will be more profitable to cease their transport operations and concentrate on collecting the outstanding debts accumulated under the late payment legislation.

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (see http://www.payontime.co.uk for further information) gives businesses a statutory right to claim daily interest from other businesses for the late payment of commercial debt. In addition businesses have the right to a compensation payment of between £40 and £100 for each invoice which is paid later than agreed terms. If no terms are agreed then the terms default to the later of 30 days from the day the service is performed (for pre-agreed amounts) or 30 days from the date the cost is confirmed.

Both the interest and the compensation payments are chargeable on each invoice paid late, are payable on demand and are claimable up to six years after the date they become payable – i.e. up to six years after the payment becomes late. They are payable even after the initial debt has been paid in full.

Companies are potentially storing up a time bomb by paying their customers late. As an example, a courier company which carries out 5 local jobs per week for a customer over a 6 year period, each one of which is invoiced on a separate invoice and each one of which is paid late, could potentially issue a claim after 6 years for £62,400 against that one customer in late payment compensation charges alone.

If a company issues just 25 invoices each week which are paid late Read More…

Posted under Courier Business, Courier Financial Issues, Late Payment, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 2:34 pm, August 16, 2008

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Statutory Interest and Late Payment Charges

www.payontime.co.uk

www.payontime.co.uk/doctor/doctor_main.html

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 gives you the right to claim interest and compensation for late payments.

This is a statutory right – your customer doesn’t have to agree to it, you don’t have to inform them in advance that you intend to charge them if they pay late and you are not permitted to agree in advance to waive late payment fees unless a suitable alternative form of late payment penalty is agreed.

For invoices up to £999.99 you can charge £40 PER LATE INVOICE. For invoices of between £1,000.00 and £9,999.99 you can charge £70 PER INVOICE. You can also charge interest on a daily basis, currently at a rate of 13% per annum.

You don’t charge VAT on the late payment or the interest and you don’t charge the late payment fee on a recurring basis.

You don’t HAVE to charge the late payment fee but unless you’ve specifically agreed to waive the fee the late payer still owes it to you EVEN AFTER THEY’VE PAID THE ORIGINAL DEBT. The Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Courier Business, Courier Financial Issues, Late Payment, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 5:19 pm, August 2, 2008

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VOSA using ANPR technology to target overloaded vehicles

This really is old news now but it’s surprising how many commercial vehicle drivers, particularly same day couriers and other drivers of vans below 3500kg GVW, aren’t aware of this system and how much it affects their chances of being caught if they take a risk and overload their vehicle.

The system, known as VIPER, involves weight sensors actually embedded within the road surface (known as WIMS – Weigh-In Motion System) which measure the weight of each axle going over them to within 5% accuracy. The vehicle details are checked using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and the VOSA operative in front of his computer immediately takes the decision whether to request that the vehicle’s stopped and brought in for accurate weighing at the VOSA weighbridge.

During the trials of the system from June 2004 to December 2005 VOSA reported a 700% improvement in the accuracy of their vehicle stops for suspected overloading. Out of Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Legal Issues, Vans, Weight Limits for Vans

Posted by Alec at 2:09 pm, July 26, 2008

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How many hours am I allowed to drive my van for?

For most same day couriers within the UK the only legal restrictions on driving and working time will be the domestic drivers’ hours rules and some aspects of the Working Time Directive.

The GB Domestic Drivers’ Hours Rules apply to all drivers of goods vehicles, however small, driven in Great Britain (Northern Ireland has its own rules) in connection with a business, where EU drivers’ hours rules (tacho regulations) don’t apply.

The rules are quite straightforward. In any day (defined as 24 hours from the start of duty) you’re allowed to drive for a maximum of 10 hours. Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 4:19 pm, July 24, 2008

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Karoshi – Occupational Sudden Death

Karoshi is a Japanese word which is literally translated as “death from overwork”. It generally refers to sudden deaths by stroke or heart attack caused by work-related stress.

In 2006 a 45-year-old Toyota employee died, apparently from working less than 20 hours overtime per week in the run up to launching a new product.

His death has now been classed as an industrial injury, meaning that his family can claim against his employers’ insurances.

60 hours per week is classed as a short week by many in the UK same day courier industry. While HGV drivers are limited by law to 48 hours work a week and any employed workers can insist on working a maximum of 48 hours per week with 5 weeks holiday per year, many courier owner-drivers and courier company owner-managers work in excess of 70 hours per week with few if any holidays.

For the working man, doing his best to provide for his family, is it not better to have a few more years to spend with the family, rather than a few extra quid each year and an early death? Life is apparently a journey, not a destination.

(Written by me, working at 1837 on a Saturday evening)

Posted under Courier Basics, Courier Business, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 6:37 pm, July 19, 2008

The Working Time Directive and Road Transport Directive for Couriers

I won’t go into the full details of the Road Transport Directive (RTD) here since most companies affected by it are haulage companies rather than same day couriers and should have a CPC holder with knowledge of such matters. I’ll cover it in full in a future posting. Since the RTD has much stricter rules than the Working Time Directive it’s important to know whether you’re covered by it.

Does the RTD apply?

The RTD applies only to mobile workers who work in vehicles to which EU drivers’ hours rules apply – that is vehicles with a tachograph fitted. THIS WILL INCLUDE MOST DRIVERS OF TRANSIT OR SPRINTER VANS USED TO TOW TRAILERS.

‘Working in’ would include driving, shunting, navigating, training, loading etc and would include driver’s mates.

It applies to some self-employed drivers under limited circumstances but looks set to include all self-employed drivers (of vehicles with tachos) from March 2009.

Workers who only occasionally drive or work in vehicles to which EU drivers’ hours rules apply are still subject to the RTD even when not driving if they work in vehicles with tachos for 11 days or more during a reference period that is shorter than 26 weeks or 16 days or more where the reference period is 26 weeks or longer.

For example a warehouseman who takes a 7.5 tonner out to refuel it now and again would be covered by the RTD during all his working time if he drove the 7.5 on 11 separate days during the reference period, even if it was for just ten minutes each time.

A worker who is covered by the RTD because of work carried out for one employer would also be covered by the RTD if he carries out any other work for other employers – weekend work for example.

A mobile worker who isn’t covered by the RTD is still covered by the Working Time Directive (WTD)

What does the WTD mean to couriers?

The Working Time Directive does not apply Read More…

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 3:27 pm, July 19, 2008

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What is CMR, CMR Insurance and the CMR Note

What is CMR?

CMR stands for “Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route” which translates as “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road”. It was devised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and was brought into UK law by the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965.

When does CMR apply?

It applies to every contract for the carriage of goods by road in vehicles for reward, when the place of taking over of the goods and the place designated for delivery, as specified in the contract, are situated in two different countries, of which at least one is a contracting party to CMR.

The current contracting countries are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

It doesn’t apply:

(a) To movements between the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, The Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Insurance for Couriers, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 3:06 pm, July 12, 2008