Is this the end of solicitor slagging website?

August 16th, 2011 3 Comments By Len Dastard

Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured2 Is this the end of solicitor slagging website? Hola amigos. It is I, Len Dastard, retired (and imaginary) Mexican lucha libre turned full time litigation executive who loves to right for you, my hermanos y hermanas. You know the drill by now. I talk, you listen. Got that?  Good. Let us not waste anymore of my time…

We first brought you news of solicitor slagging website “Solicitors from Hell” here. Briefly, the website allows disgruntled clients to leave a review of their solicitor if they believe that they have been shoddy in any aspect of their work.

Last week the Law Society sent a Letter of Claim (setting out their claim and providing evidence) to website owner Rick Cordowski insisting that he must close his site down or face legal action for defamation, harassment and breach of the Data Protection Act.  The action is being brought by the Law Society on behalf of 300 individual solicitors. A spokeman for the Law Society has said “Not all solicitors defamed on the website can afford the time and trouble to bring a case themselves, and the Law Society is taking every possible step to protect our members and the public interest”.

This is not the first case that has been brought against Rick Cordowski in relation to his website. He has already been sued 16 times for libel and has an outstanding damages award against him for roughly £150,000. Rick Cordowski appealed two of these decisions last week and both of these applications were lost.

The actual concept of the website is a good one. However, one of the major problem faced by solicitors is client confidentiality. How can a solicitor address a review on a website if the review centred around a “bad result” from their case? From experience, you cannot please every single client and some cases will have an unhappy ending. However, no doubt some of these reviews are based on awful experiences and possibly a balance needs to be struck.

As soon as we hear of any further developments on this issue we will let you know.

Got an opinion on this story? Get in contact with me, Len Dastard, the greatest Mexican wrestler there never was, at hello@bitterwallet.com. Adios!

Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard Reports   it wasnt just ACS:Law at it...We have brought you a couple of articles on ACS:Law sending out speculative letters in the hope of securing set amounts of compensation from suspected file sharers. You can revisit here. However, it wasn’t just ACS:Law at it. London law firm Davenport Lyons were also up to no good and this month they were thankfully dealt with by the  Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

The two offending solicitors from Davenport Lyons were fined £20,000 each and suspended from practice for 3 months. In addition, they were also ordered to pay the costs of the Solicitors Regulation Authority which has (subject to assessment) been estimated at £150,000.

ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons focused so much attention and effort on IP addresses in their letters. They claimed they had evidence based on the recipients IP address despite the fact that having an unsecured wireless connection can mean that anyone could possibly tap in to your connection and download whatever they want.

Many recipients of the letters managed to get their computers to a forensic computer examiner to prove that the claims were unsubstantiated.

The letters from these two offenders were described as “bullying” and “frightening” by Watchdog. As we know by now, they demand a set amount of compensation (anything from £500) in return for their promise that proceedings will not be issued against you.

So, what should you do if you receive any letter from someone claiming money or threatening proceedings against you?

• Check the addressee – has it been sent to you in error?
• Check out the sender – are they legitimate? Usually a quick search on the internet will give an indication of their credibility.
• What is the claim for?
• Does their evidence stack up?

    If you have been sent any “Letter of Claim” then it will give you a set amount of time in which to reply – usually that is anything from 7 – 14 days. You can buy yourself extra time by replying right away and asking for further time in which to send a formal reply. They should not unreasonably refuse.

    These letters should include initial evidence showing the basis of any claim against you. If there is insufficient evidence, you need to go back and ask them to supply it. You cannot respond to anything until you know the allegations against you. Certainly do not agree to pay any amount just for the sender to go away. That is what they hope you will do if they are sending out these letters in bulk. It is always advisable to keep a diary of letters sent in case proceedings are issued against you prematurely.

    Were you a recipient of one of these letters from ACS:Law or Davenport Lyons? If so, get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard reports – don’t get caught out buying stolen goodsUsually when you contract for goods you are paying for their title and therefore you are looking to take a legal right of ownership over the goods. An exception to this rule is when a claim is made on goods which are insured. Once the claim is settled the goods become the property of the insurance company.

    If you are contracting for stolen goods then you need to be aware that the original owner still retains their legal right of ownership over the goods. If goods are found to be stolen the court can order the return of the goods to the original owner. Whilst it might seem unfair on the buyer, it is also unfair that the original owner has been deprived of their goods. An alternative to this is that the original owner could be compensated for the value of the stolen goods.

    The general rule is that you must make the original owner aware that you have their goods and then pursue your seller for any loss incurred – usually compensation. The original owner will then have the choice to take these goods away if they can show that they were stolen.

    There are many sites which have the potential to sell stolen goods. Being vigilant should ensure that you do not get stung. Look out for some of the following traits:

    • Items still have their security seal intact
    • Seller refuses to provide proof of purchase
    • Rare goods with no proof of authenticity
    • Items being sold in bulk
    • Price does not necessarily reflect the true worth of the item

    What can you do to protect yourself? You could try the reverse leg slam I once tried in the ring on El Crabbalo in ’77. Alternatively, you could:

    • Ask for proof of purchase.
    • Ask for proof of authenticity.
    • Check with your local police station to see if goods have been reported as stolen.
    • Search various “checking” sites online.

    The situation is different if you obtain (therefore handling stolen goods) the items knowing that they have been stolen. That is a crime under Section 22 of the Theft Act 1968.

    Been caught out before? Get in contact with me, Len Dastard, the greatest Mexican wrestler there never was, at hello@bitterwallet.com. Adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard reports – ACS:Law file sharing cases endIt is I, Len Dastard, real life litigation executive and imaginary retired Mexican lucha libre. We have followed this particular story from the off. As a recap, take a look at here.

    This has been rumbling on now for quite some time but finally the long-running cases brought by ACS:Law against (supposed) file sharers came to an end this month.

    Michael Forrester acting for the Defendants confirmed that a confidential out of court settlement had been reached with ACS:Law. As if that wasn’t enough, Michael Forrester has urged more people to come forward – “It can be incredibly upsetting for people to receive these letters and they may well have a claim in harassment, so we are urging them to come forward.”

    Now, what next for ACS:Law? Well, they have ceased trading. Their sole practitioner, Mark Andrew Crossley (instigator of this embarrassing debacle), is due to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on 18th August 2011. The charges that he faces are:

    - Allowing his independence to be compromised.
    - Acted contrary to the best interests of his client.
    - Acted in a way to diminish the trust placed by the public in the legal profession.
    - Giving false statements to the court; and
    - Using his position to take unfair advantage of others.

    The decision will not be known until October 2011.

    When MediaCAT first approached Crossley to deal with these matters I would imagine his eyes lit up. Sending thousands of letters demanding £500 compensation. It would have meant massive bucks for him. As it is, he comes out of this facing the very real prospect that he will be suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Such a shame.

    Get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com if you would like us to look at any issues for you. Adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard vs European Small Claims Procedure – Part 2Hola amigos! It is I, Len Dastard, former Mexican wrestler turned litigation executive. Excuse my poor posture today – things got a little out of hand last night at Club El Alebrije. I managed to put my back out whilst giving the crowd a demonstration of our great national dance – Jarabe Tapatío. As a true professional I dance until the end, took the standing ovation and sunk a few more La Paloma Supremas before heading home, where I practised the horizontal samba with your mother.

    Anyway, nothing will stop me from writing for you and today we look again at the European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP). Don’t worry, lazy reader – I am happy to lead the way to part 1 of this magnificent article here.

    Despite your claim being against someone in a foreign country you will need to send your claim form to your local County Court. In order to find the details you should use this website. It is worth also
    remembering that the form must be completed in the country for which your local County Court is based. The court fee payable will depend on the amount of your claim. It will be determined by the current court issuing costs which will have a limit of £85.

    When the court receives your claim form one of three things will happen:

    1. They will advise you that your claim cannot be dealt with. There can be varying reasons which will be made clear to you. The most common reason is that your claim exceeds the limit of €2000.

    2. The court will send the form back to you to correct any mistakes made. They will allow you 30 days to deal with this request. Or;

    3. If they are happy that there are no mistakes then a copy will be sent to the Defendant along with a reply form. The Defendant will then have 30 days from receiving the form to provide their response.

    The options available to the Defendant are:

    1. Pay the amount claimed or offer an amount to settle.
    2. Dispute the claim; or
    3. Ignore it and do nothing.

    The ESCP has always intended the process to be prompt. Therefore if the Defendant disputes your claim (for which you must tell the court whether you agree or disagree) the Judge will then consider the claim. If they need more information from you then they will
    ask for it or summon you to court (usually by videoconference or telephone considering in an effort to keep costs to a minimum).

    The Judge will give their decision with 30 days of any hearing or after receiving all the required information. Every party to the claim will receive a copy of the Judges decision.

    If your claim is successful the next step will be to enforce the Judges decision. “Winning” a case at court is only half the problem. Actually obtaining what you have been awarded can sometimes be just as difficult. Usually a small claim comes about as a result of the
    Defendants inability to settle an invoice. Therefore it is unlikely that you are going to be able to recover the sums owed as the Defendant simply has no money/assets. It can be a painstaking ordeal which does require a fair amount of patience and accommodation of your opponent’s circumstances.

    Judgments under the ESCP will be recognised and enforceable in all other participating Member States. As the rules vary from Member State to Member State, you will need to take a look at the European Judicial Network site for further information.

    That is the end of our look at the ESCP. These two parts were intended to be an introduction and a very brief overview. However, if any of our readers are interested in a particular area then please get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com. Adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard vs the European Small Claims Procedure, Part 1Hola amigos. It is I, Len Dastard, former Mexican wrestler turned litigation executive. Here is something a little different for you. Consider this an education. I have handed out many brutal educations in my wrestling days. You mention the name of Len Dastard to El Poco Salvador and don’t be surprised to see a grown man soil his flamboyant lycra.

    Most of you should be aware of the Small Claims Court in England and Wales (of which you can find details here) but how many of you know that there is also a European Small Claims Procedures (ESCP)? If you do, I take my sombrero off to you.

    What is the European Small Claims Procedure?
    The ESCP provides consumers and businesses all over Europe with a prompt (call me cynical but for how long will it stay prompt?) and inexpensive cross-border debt recovery process. The ESCP has been in force since 1st January 2009. You can find a full list of Member States here. However, think twice about importing delicious Danish bacon as Denmark doesn’t fancy participating.

    What will the ESCP cover?
    The ESCP will apply in civil and commercial matters. You can also use the ESCP for non-monetary claims. However, for monetary claims, there is a limit to a claim of 2000€.

    What is the procedure?

    Thankfully, the bulk of the procedure is a form filling exercise. These forms are standard across all courts and will also give you details of the time limits imposed in order to ensure that the matters are dealt with promptly. Much like the Small Claims Court of England and Wales, there is no requirement for you to be legally represented.

    However, and it is important to bear this in mind at all times, if you are unsuccessful there might be a possibility that the Judge will order you to pay the other parties costs. You can find all the forms here on the European Commissions Judicial Atlas website.

    What does the ESCP not cover?
    The ESCP cannot be used for the following claims:

    • Privacy or defamation (slander and libel)
    • Employment law
    • Bankruptcy/insolvency
    • Disputes concerning property from a marriage or will
    • Arbitration/mediation

    In Part 2 we will consider the costs of issuing a claim and the options open to the Defendant. Get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com if you would like us to look at any issues for you. Adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard vs The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – Part 3Hola amigos. It is I, Len Dastard It is I, Len Dastard, real life litigation executive and imaginary retired Mexican lucha libre. I write to you this week whilst enjoying the Festival Internacional de Guitarra. I am known for my musical prowess around these parts. You ask any of the residents of San Juan Grijalva and they will tell you I taught Carlos Santana everything he knows, and arranged the music for his little-known 1996 LP, Feeding the Horses. My talents are endless.

    Well, we have reached the last piece in this epic three part feature on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. For the lazy ones amongst you, you can find the other two pieces here and here.

    As promised, this last piece will cover promotional activities and a little bit on competitions. The following are some of the practices which have been banned outright.

    Making your item similar to a competitors
    This is the practice of misleading consumers by making/branding your product in such a way that it resembles that of another competitor.

    Closing down sale
    Advertising that you are about to cease trading when you have no intention whatsoever of doing so.

    Making out the deal is already complete
    Businesses may sometimes give consumers the impression that a deal has already been struck and that they are obliged to pay any invoice or statement.

    Advertising to children
    Using a direct “buzz word” to children in advertising which makes them try to persuade their parents to buy that particular product. I think that this is going to be quite a difficult regulation to enforce with. I would imagine that only the most blatant adverts will be banned.

    Misleading consumer about their entity
    Businesses will be banned from giving the impression that they are anything but a business in the hope of securing a deal. The same goes for businesses giving the impression that they are not acting in relation to the trade/profession.

    Now we will finish by taking a quick look at “competitions”:

    Promising a win
    Businesses cannot claim that some product will facilitate in winning in a game of chance.

    Not awarding a prize
    Businesses will be banned from not awarding the described prize or a reasonable equivalent. Seems pretty straightforward!

    Making a charge for an “free” gift
    If a consumer has to pay anything (other than the cost of delivery or entry) then the business cannot claim that the gift is free.

    So there we have it – a brief overview of the very welcome Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. Keep an eye on for any of the above and if you have been on the receiving end of these scheming acts (since 2008) get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com . Until then, adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard vs The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – Part 2Hola, hermosos lectores It is I, Len Dastard, real life litigation executive and imaginary retired Mexican lucha libre. I hope I find you all well today. For Len it has been a weekend full of strawberry lime blended margaritas and beef empanadas sat in the quemar sol. Just what I needed. I now feel at my best to take on any devious rascal that you put against me.

    Today we look again at The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. You may remember the award-winning Part 1 that they’re already calling a classic. If not, you can find it here. You’re welcome.

    This part sees us looking at what the regulations will do in respect of salespeople and their conduct.

    Salespeople overstaying their welcome
    If a salesperson comes knocking on your door and unfortunately you answer it, they cannot ignore your request for them to leave and never return. If you ask them to leave and they continue their pitch, they would then be in breach of these regulations.

    Not giving a choice
    The salesperson cannot give the impression that the consumer will not be allowed to leave the premises until a contract is formed. This might seem a little obvious but there are no doubt plenty of examples as to why this was added to these regulations.

    Pestering
    The regulations will attempt to stop businesses/salespeople from making unwanted and unrelenting contact by any methods. Such methods can be telephone, fax or email.

    Requesting payment when there was no contract
    Where the consumer has not ordered a product the business cannot demand immediate payment. There is an exception to this which is for substituted products supplied in accordance with Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.

    Using shameful tactics
    Salespeople cannot inform a consumer that their job or livelihood is at risk if the consumer does not agree to contract.

    That is all for now. The final part will cover what these regulations are doing in respect of with “promotions”.

    Keep an eye on for any of the above and if you have been on the receiving end of these scheming acts (since 2008) get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com . Until then, adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard vs The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – Part 1Hola damas y caballeros! It is I, Len Dastard, real life litigation executive and imaginary retired Mexican lucha libre. My life as a retired wrestler was fraught with sorrow until I found the law. The Federales tried to keep me down but I will always fight for you, my familia. So read on or I will smash you like I smashed El Burro Piñata in ’79.

    These Regulations have been in force since May 2008 but they don’t seem to be as well known as most other important consumer laws. Not only do these regulations protect consumers but they also protect honest businesses.

    The regulations attempt to ban some practices which can reasonably be considered unfair. One of the key areas of these regulations relate to pricing and product information. This is what we’ll concentrate on today.

    Bait Advertising
    This is something which we have covered before at Bitterwallet. If you haven’t seen these pieces then have a look here. It happens when a retailer invites you to purchase a product which they have little or no intention of honouring. They then hope that you will either accept an alternative (usually inferior) product or shop for another item. Dell (US) landed themselves in trouble with this unscrupulous activity in 2005.

    Limited Time Only
    There is no better example to use than – “DFS – Sale must end Sunday”. DFS have found themselves in hot water in the past for not making it clear enough on their adverts when exactly their sale was going to finish. Some of the more observant readers may have noticed their adverts have changed fairly recently to include exactly which Sunday will see the end of the sale. Usually the end of a sale for DFS on a Sunday means the beginning of another on the Monday. Devious bastardos.

    Scare Tactics
    We covered a story a little while ago which might well be one of the worst marketing drives I think I have ever seen. This is a great example of exactly why these regulations were introduced. Making people fear for the safety (personal or financial) is not a great idea.

    Advertising an item/service that you will not provide
    This could be grouped in with “bait and switch” but it is dealt with under its own section in the regulations – possibly because to prove it is unfair trading the retailer must:

    • Refuse to show the advertised product.
    • Have demonstrated a defective sample and then switching (bait and switch); or
    • Refuse to take orders for it or deliver within a reasonable time.

    Selling illegal goods
    It should already go without saying that retailers should not be selling illegal goods and representing to consumers that it would be legal for them to sell on.

    Over promise, under deliver
    This is to promise a consumer something which then turns out to be an entirely false claim. Quite rightly it is not unreasonable to under promise and over deliver.

    Using the law as an inducement
    Retailers should not be trying to use the law as an incentive for a consumer to buy their product. For example, a retailer could not say that they will happily take a product back if it turns out to be faulty as you are given this statutory right under S14(2) Sale of Goods Act 1979.

    That is all for now. Part 2 will focus on what the regulations are doing in respect of salespeople and after-sale services provided by the retailer.

    Keep an eye on for any of the above and if you have been on the receiving end of these scheming acts (since 2008) get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com. Adios!

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastards guide to pursuing a personal injury claim – Part 2Hola, my swarm of delicioso amor vuela! Your eye does not deceive you! It is the return of the now legendary Len Dastard, the retired Mexican wrestler-turned litigation executive that mothers everywhere warn their daughters never to fall onto the moving penis of. You find me in celebratory mood, having just invented a new wrestling throwdown called the Rompeloma. If only it was still ’73 and I was squaring up to Juan Devastatos, the Caped Murderer of Death and Kittens. A Rompeloma would have made all the difference to rookie wrestler Len. Still, I have tequila and tacos now, so who really won, Juan? Tell me.

    Anyway. You may remember my first award winning article* on pursuing a claim for personal injury. For the lazy readers, here it is.

    If you instruct a solicitor they will usually send to the insurer a “Claims Notification Form” which details your claim. The insurer then has 15 working days in which to respond. If the insurer admits liability then there will be the need to obtain a medical report to ascertain the extent of your injuries. This report will then be sent to you for you to approve. At this stage the solicitor will usually get information from you regarding other losses (travel, wages etc). Once this has been passed back to your solicitor they will propose a settlement figure to the insurer. The insurer then has 15 working days to either accept your offer or make a counter offer.

    If you cannot reach an agreement with the insurer then the solicitor will make an application to the court to determine the amount of compensation that you are entitled to.

    Where the insurer does not admit liability the claim will continue under the appropriate stage of the Pre Act Protocol. We have looked at the Pre Action Protocol before but briefly this is the procedure determined by the court to ensure matters are dealt with efficiently.

    If the insurer does not admit liability the onus is on them to give reasons why and provide evidence. Any evidence will be considered in detail by your solicitor and usually they will take instructions from you to rebut the assertions made. As long as your solicitor is satisfied that your claim has a chance of success at more than 51% they will usually
    continue to pursue the claim on your behalf.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Bought games from GAME?  Len Dastard needs your helpHola! Yes, I am Len Dastard. Yes, I am a genuine litigation executive. And yes, I do disguise myself as a retired Mexican wrestler to hide my true identity. Un caballo en su inodoro if this state of affairs brings upset to you.

    A little while ago we brought you the story that GAME had been selling used stock as new without prior warning to their customers.

    The story came about following avid reader Jake contacting us at Bitterwallet HQ so we could warn people of the problems that he experienced:

    I just received a copy of Dead Rising 2 Zombrex edition for PS3. I ordered it as new but received an unsealed tatty copy. There is a box on the side of the case that should hold a pen, which is missing; the steel book is dented; also the discs have smudges on.

    I called my local game store which stated I had three options, The first two were to bring it in for a refund, or exchange for something different as they haven’t had new copies of this game for ages. [The third option] in his exact words: “send it back and order it again but run the risk of getting another used copy”.

    We have decided we should look in to the issue further, to see whether or not it is a more widespread problem. We aren’t trying to make waves here; we simply want to see whether they have learnt from their mistakes and stopped this sneaky activity. After all, it’s not the first time that this has happened – last year GAME had to apologise for selling ex-display stock as new.

    I think this is an important consumer issue that should be pursued. It’s too easy for GAME to dismiss these incidents as isolated incidents, which is why I need your help. Have you been on the receiving end of Games wickedness? Have you received ex-display or second-hand stock when you ordered new? If so, I ask you to get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com.

    We will keep you all updated on this issue as I consider whether it is one that can be pursued further.

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Are law firms to blame for spiralling motor insurance premiums?Hola, banditos! It is I, Len Dastard, former Mexican wrestler turned litigation executive. I’ll shortly be donning my Cape of Fear™ heading to the coast for a Bank Holiday of Tequila, which will inevitably end in me knuckling some drunken estúpido in his los dientes, so he might chupar his desayuno through a paja for a la emana. Pardon my French.

    I am preparing a guide to pursuing a claim for personal injury, having been asked by several avid readers for guidance on this topic. While preparing this guide, I read the following news item and would appreciate your thoughts and comments.

    Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, has suggested that law firms are partly responsible for the sky high motor insurance premiums that many drivers nowadays face. The latest figures available state that collisions on the road fell by 6%. Good news? Sadly not. The number of road traffic injury claims rose by just over 13%.

    According to the AA British Insurance Premium Index, the average cost of a comprehensive policy rose to £892 in the first quarter of 2011. That is roughly a whopping 40% more than the very same period in 2010.

    Further facts indicate that 200 whiplash claims are made every day for accidents up to three years previously. You might remember the piece that I put together which briefly touched on the Limitation Act 1980 – you can find it here.

    The AA said that they have received reports of solicitors promising payouts of at least £3,000 if car accident victims take legal action. In response to these claims a Law Society spokesman said that solicitors were highly regulated and prohibited from techniques such as cold calling and asked that insurers distinguish between solicitors and claim managers.

    Who do you think is to blame for the rising cost of insurance? The personal injury lawyer? The person who caused the accident? The victim for pursuing their claim? The insurer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and I will incorporate them into my upcoming guide to making a personal injury claim.

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard warns – dont get caught out by Distance Selling RegulationsBuenas tardes, my flock! It is I, Len Dastard, real-life litigation executive posing as a fictional Mexican wrestler. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t go ten rounds with you in the ring and leave you eating sopa de dientes. Know this.

    We had an email from avid Bitterwallet reader James concerning a transaction that took place online. James wanted to know whether a retailer could exclude the rights granted to us under the Distance Selling Regulations – the retailer in question was We Are Electricals.

    We have quite an extensive list of scenarios now on the Distance Selling Regulations – have a look here for a recap. The answer to the question of whether a retailer can exclude the DSRs is usually no, they cannot. However, after some consideration of the retailer in this example, it would appear that they can. This particular retailer makes it clear by their wording and terms (which you have to agree you have read) that they intend only to contract with other businesses.

    Therefore you cannot rely on the DSRs as the regulations only cover business-to-consumer transactions. The situation would be very different if the set-up of the website was such that it was unclear whether or not they intended to only contract with businesses.

    Aside from this instance, remember that the Distance Selling Regulations do not apply to:

    • Financial services
    • Auctions
    • Goods bought from a vending machine
    • Goods bought using a public payphone
    • Contracts for the sale of land
    ª Contracts for the constructions of a building

    The following is a list (of a few examples) of items that are non-cancellable:

    • Betting, gaming or lottery services
    • Newspapers etc
    • Goods which might deteriorate quickly

    Be on your guard! The DSRs are there to protect you, but they are not absolute and will not cover every single transaction.

    Get in contact with us at hello@bitterwallet.com if you would like us to look at any issues for you.

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard featured Len Dastard tackles the proposed Consumer Right DirectiveEscuche arriba, hermosas personas! It is I, Len Dastard, full time litigation executive and part time pretend lucha libre! You know that by now, of course. You don’t? I spit on your mother grave, you worthless hijo de un burro. Get out of my sight.

    There is some new legislation which had its first reading in the European Parliament in March which could impact consumers and retailers greatly. It’s called the Consumer Rights Directive, and its primary aim is to tackle and amend the following consumer rights acts:

    • The sale of consumer goods and guarantees
    • Doorstop selling
    • Distance Selling; and
    • Unfair contract terms

    We have looked at the Distance Selling Regulations a few times so the avid reader will be aware of that particular legislation. The ultimate goal of the Consumer Rights Directive is to protect online shoppers and boost consumer confidence in buying in other member states. If this is passed it will apply to transactions made in a shop, on the telephone, online or by mail order.

    Some of the standout amendments proposed include:

    • Retailers will be forced to cover the return costs for orders with a value of more than €40.
    • Consumers are given (across the EU) a 14 day window when buying abroad in which to change their mind (as I am sure you know, the current “cooling off” period is 7 working days)
    • Retailers will have a legal responsibility to deliver the goods within 30 days; the Consumer Rights Directive will allow the consumer the cancel the contract if the goods are not delivered within that time.
    • All retailers will be required to sell into any EU country.
    • Tighter rules on special “offers” advertised on the internet.
    • Retailers will be required to give clearer pricing and contact details – they are calling this method “double click” acceptance.

    It is clear from some of the above proposals that a massive burden will be placed on retailers. Whether or not these are unfair will be determined once more is known after the Consumer Rights Directive gets its final vote in June.

    The one standout burden is the proposal of the retailer covering the return cost of the item (over €40) when the consumer is exercising their right to cancel under the (lets use the current) Distance Selling Regulations. Is it fair that the retailer should be stung for the return costs simply because the consumer has changed their mind? Are we not getting enough protection as it is? It will be interesting to hear your thoughts, as always.

    If you have any other questions, problems or you just want to get in touch then email me, Len Dastard at hello@bitterwallet.com.

    Bitterwallet Len Dastard Len Dastard asks… whats your favourite stupid law?Atención! It is I, Len Dastard, a full time litigation executive writing under the guise of a retired Mexican lucha libre. I am taking a short break here from fighting your corner and instead highlighting the ridiculous side of the law. Some of these made me choke on my refried bean enchilada.

    In a not so recent public survey of the most ridiculous laws, the law voted to be the most idiotic was “It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.” Not such a bad thing, surely. Now, I have not trawled through every Act ever passed to see whether it is genuine so I must take their word for it.

    I recognise that the avid Bitterwallet readers are keen students of both the idiotic and the law, so I thought it worth asking for your opinion on which of the following laws you might consider your favourite. Many of these laws are archaic so it will be almost impossible to trace them. However, I would be incredibly impressed by anyone who is able to put a law to an Act. It would also be interesting to see why you think these laws possibly came about. Read the rest of this entry »