Archive for December, 2009

Safe Shopping on the Internet

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

This article is intended to offer consumers practical guidance when shopping on the internet. We also hope it will clear up some misconceptions and ease your worries about purchasing goods online.

So what stops some people from purchasing goods online ?

Not recognising the security features used by sites or not trusting them.
Answer: Finish reading this article.

The site concerned is not a well known high street name or brand.
Answer: The sites that only exist on the Internet can undercut many of the largest retailers. It therefore pays to shop around on the internet.

Worries about customer service, such as delivery of the goods or refunds.
Answer: Read their terms & conditions and details of their delivery service. Or better still send them an email asking for further information and see how long they take to reply, this can frequently be a good indicator of their customer service.

Stories about credit card numbers being used online without the knowledge of their true owners.
Answer: Ironically, in virtually all the cases of online credit card fraud the actual card numbers were obtained offline. Organised gangs recruit shop assistants and waiting staff to write down card numbers or using small machines create electronic copies of credit cards while they have them to process your transaction. Safe Shopping Tips

1. Do not send your credit card details by ordinary insecure email or using an ordinary un-encrypted / insecure web page form.

2. When entering your credit card details make sure that the page where you enter your details is secure. To check this look for one of the following:

Look for a locked padlock symbol at the bottom or top of the browser window.

Check that the website address on the credit card payment page contains “https://”, the “s” stands for secure.

3.Check to see if the site has a digital certificate. Look for a logo stating that the site has a digital certificate, this can usually be found on the homepage or on a page dedicated to shopping security. If you click on the logo it will take you to the actual digital certificate. Digital certificates verify the identity of the site you are buying from so that you can be confident that they are who they say they are.

Sometimes the digital certificate will belong to the company hosting the web site. This tells you that the site is hosted on the hosting company’s servers and that the hosting company has all the necessary contact details relating to the site.

One of the main providers of digital certificates is Thawte, they will only issue a digital certificate once the company applying has verified their legal details, such as their date of incorporation & company registration number and registered office address.

4.If you are required to create a password to complete your purchase use, (where possible) a combination of numbers and letters, rather than recognisable names or words that may be guessed by others.

5.Where possible print out a copy of the transaction order so that you have a record of the order for future reference and keep any emails that confirm your purchase.

6. Always look for the site’s contact details a link to these is normally placed on the homepage of the site.

7. Never post your credit card details on a bulletin board or in a chat room.

Why Shop Online ?

1. Price
Goods bought online are frequently cheaper, even when allowing for delivery charges and VAT. This is particularly true of goods bought direct from the US, the savings can be up to 50%.

2. Convenience
No sitting in traffic using your fuel, paying for parking or struggling on public transport. Instant service without having to stand in shop queues.

3. Security
If a site uses all the security measures detailed above you should be able to shop in confidence. In fact it is safer to use secure online shopping than give your credit card details over the telephone or send them by fax, simply because secure online shopping is the only method that actually encrypts your details before they are sent.


The Human Rights Act 1998

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The Human Rights Act came into force on 2nd October 2000 and incorporates into UK law certain rights and freedoms set out in the
European Convention on Human Rights such as:

  • Right to Life ( Article 2 )
  • Protection from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment ( Article 3 )
  • Protection from slavery and forced or compulsory labour ( Article 4 )
  • The right to liberty and security of person ( Article 5 )
  • The right to a fair trial ( Article 6 )
  • Protection from retrospective criminal offences ( Article 7 )
  • The protection of private and family life ( Article 8 )
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion ( Article 9 )
  • Freedom of expression ( Article 10 )
  • Freedom of association and assembly ( Article 11 )
  • The right to marry and found a family ( Article 12 )
  • Freedom from discrimination ( Article 13 )
  • The right to property ( Article 1 of the first protocol )
  • The right to education ( Article 2 of the first protocol )
  • The right to free and fair elections ( Article 3 of the first protocol )
  • The abolition of the death penalty in peacetime ( Articles 1 and 2 of the sixth protocol )

These are known as Convention rights.

They will therefore have an impact on areas such as criminal law, family law, housing law, employment law and education law.

By Article 1 of the Convention, countries who have signed up to the Convention must secure the above rights for everyone in their jurisdiction and individuals must also have an effective remedy to protect those rights in the country’s courts without the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights. The role of the European Court of Human Rights will be to determine whether the domestic courts have been true to the Convention.

All national courts and tribunals must take into account the caselaw of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Act will cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Act does not create any new criminal offences, but does apply to the criminal courts.

The Act does not take away or restrict any existing human rights recognised in a country.

The Act binds public authorities, (bodies undertaking functions of a public nature), for example, government departments, local authorities, courts, bodies running nursing and residential homes, schools etc. Those public authorities must not breach an individual’s rights. It is unclear whether the Act is designed to apply in claims brought by one individual against another individual. However, it is likely that statutory interpretation may extend the rights protected by the Human Rights act across the board.

In the case of proceedings against a public authority there is a limitation period of 1 year from the date of the act complained of.

Convention rights can be waived, but only if the waiver is unequivocal and does not conflict with an important public interest.

Many of the Articles do allow rights to be breached if for example, it is in accordance with the national laws of the country or is necessary in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country or for the prevention of crime or disorder, or the protection of health or morals, or to protect the freedom and rights of others.


Motor Vehicle Ownership

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

A common area where disputes about ownership arise is where the owner of a motor vehicle discovers that it is still under hire purchase agreement and the seller therefore has no right to sell the car in the first place.

The buyer may face demands from the finance company for return of the vehicle. Does the buyer in these circumstances have any right to keep the car?

Under the Hire Purchase Act 1964 a buyer will get good title to a car which is sold when it is still under hire purchase if:
1.The buyer did not know the car was under hire purchase and therefore bought the car in good faith believing the seller had the right to sell it.
2. The buyer is a private buyer and not a dealer or finance company.