I can’t make up my mind which group are lower on my list: – either the greedy wretches who run payday loan companies bleeding the poor, or ambulance chasers.
The second variety rightly came in for harsh criticism when one law firm used the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash to drum up
business. Broad Yorkshire Law, based in Sheffield, sent out a tweet (yes damn social media again!)soon after four people were seriously injured and
others were trapped for hours on the theme park’s Smiler ride. It read: “Been injured in a roller coaster crash?! We’re experts in
Personal Injury!! #Smiler #AltonTowers” The tweet was posted as people were still being freed from the stricken carriage on the ride. The tweet was removed but not before angry people branded the firm ambulance chasers and vultures. The firm later explained the message was sent out by a junior member of staff and was a severe error of judgement. This may have been fair enough, if it wasn´t for past messages it has sent out. After the birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, they posted a message saying: ‘So if the royals fall out over the new #princess’ new name, let us know, we are experts in #divorce… #RoyalBaby’ And after UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to win his seat in the General Election, they wrote: ‘Nigel Farage has just phoned asking if we can make a claim as someone has stolen his seat. We directed him to @DFS hope they can help!’ These so-called law firms really need to clean up their act. Either they suffer from severe errors of judgement, or there are simply far too many lawyers – or perhaps a combination of both, methinks.
Perhaps my list of hate should also include estate agents. How about this for a scam? How much do you think it costs to change a light fitting? A landlord was charged £550 plus £66 VAT. And now it could prove to be the costliest light replacement in history, because the agent could be hit with a legal bill of £42million! That´s because the landlord challenged the bill and discovered the estate agent had sub-contracted the work out and the original bill was far less. The agent added 33% more to the bill as commission and matters were made worse because the sub-contractor had also paid the agent commission to get the work in the first place. It’s unearthed a massive legal can of worms which could lead to thousands of landlords suing the estate agent and total claims totalling £42million could be on the cards. Brilliant – I hope it sends the company into bankruptcy and a way is found to make the individual agents personally responsible for the debt. As I have written before, you only have to set such an example once.
Most people coming to Spain love to visit the local market – it´s been a
tradition of the local way of life for generations. But a weekly market doesn’t always work well when there are hundreds of people living nearby, or if there are places which people need to go to. Take the Orihuela Costa, which is increasingly built up, with more and more folk moving in, and parking spaces becoming scarcer. Firstly there´s the main Saturday market in Playa Flamenca, where there´s a conflict between the market and local residents. People are trapped, carless, from 6.00am on Saturdays until 6.00pm at night, by the stalls and then by the police preventing locals using the street until the road cleaners have done their work. Police have been fining motorists trying to use the road before barriers are removed and residents are far from happy, prevented from entering or leaving their homes for 12 hours. Another conflict point is Cabo Roig, where the local doctor´s surgery is located, with car parking at a premium, but on
a Thursday market day, it’s chaos. And to make it worse, right outside the surgery and along the road new cycling lane has been built, and police have had a field day booking motorists stopping there. On every other day of the week, a rough car park next to the surgery is open for parking, although the road camber means motorists using it end up scraping their chassis getting over the pavement! But on Thursdays, the car park is closed so that traders can use it, so the chaos is worse. I can see the conflict between the love of markets and needs of modern day living with car transport getting worse. Local councils and police have suddenly realised there´s a way to make money in flashing the parking tickets (a disease Britain has known all about for the past 20 years). My advice to the new Orihuela council – beware, don´t be too greedy, as motorists will vote with their wheels and boycott the area if parking gets too difficult. There really ought to be a concerted effort to find a suitable place for a viable market in the centre of the Costa. How about land north of The Boulevard, either side of the road leading to Los Dolces?
Meanwhile, it’s back to Britain for some parking nonsense, where a family was fined £100 for pulling into the wrong airport car park for six minutes! They stopped in a private car park at Exeter Airport before catching a flight, but they drove away as soon as they were told it was the wrong car park, but never-the-less they were fined. Premier Park of Exeter which operates the “Park 2 Fly” car park said it has to deter people abusing the site. The family went to see the security guard in the car park to enquire if they were in the correct car park, and were told they were in the wrong place and were given directions to the correct car park. They pulled out of the car park six minutes after arriving. The parking charges for Park 2 Fly are £15 per day, so this works out 0.0625 for the six minutes they were in the car park and a £100 fine was totally unjustified. The family are appealing the fine. I hope they succeed – and the airport authorities take a long look at the fairness of this money making racket.
Here’s a classic example of an uncaring English council. There´s a children´s specially dedicated cemetery at Bristol and the council decided it would extend its area. Instead of first putting up a proper protective screen, workmen started to dig rows of graves for future stillbirths or baby deaths. So parents and relatives visiting their children´s graves were met with the awful site of empty grave plots. Following complaints, a screen was put up, but it quickly was blown down. The council said it was decided to dig a number of graves rather than have the bereaved constantly seeing the cemetery dug up. Just how can council staff and councillors be so insensitive?
Do you remember the days when you went to your local Post Office, got a form and obtained a driving licence (provided you were qualified, of course) and you got a sticky bit of paper stuck into your driving licence book? Nowadays things are a whole lot more complicated, with even problems when you want to rent a car abroad. You have to go on line and get a code from the DVLA website, which is all part of the new procedure in place after the scrapping of the paper part of the driving licence in the UK. All very well, except, of course, the bl**dy website doesn’t work properly. On the first day of operation people were hit with problems such as the website was not loading, or it had crashed midway through the process leaving users unable to get their code. The problem with wretched new technology is that it is always inflicted on a long suffering public before all the teething troubles are ironed out, and if everyone is now supposed to use it for everything, it should be provided in everyone’s home for free. And just as importantly, if new rules are introduced, then for heaven’s sake introduce a standard system right across Europe. What on earth is the point of the EU if every country still goes its own sweet way on everything?