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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Pre-Marketing: Why Fisker crashed and burned

Category : Business, Stocks

Also: Betfair rejects buyout. eBay recruits users vs. sales tax.

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Companies behaving badly? It’s time to move on

Category : Business

From mis-selling and big bonuses to supporting the arms trade, we talk to disenchanted people who sought out an alternative

Barely a month goes by without another tale of a major UK company mis-selling to customers, dodging taxes, or generally behaving badly. Among the most notable, Barclays was fined £290m last summer as banks were caught rigging market rates and, earlier this month, energy giant SSE was slapped with a record-breaking £10.5m fine for mis-selling.

But is all this bad behaviour by corporations having any affect on customer behaviour? Apparently so. A steady stream of disillusioned consumers are seeking out better alternatives among the small providers who still know how to value their customers and deliver on their promises. We talk to five of them about their experiences.

Internet shopping

Screen printer Jane Foster, 43, makes toys, quilts and cushions using vintage fabric. When she started eight years ago she sourced fabrics on eBay and sold her wares through the site as well, but has since turned to Etsy.

Etsy is a site designed to showcase and sell a wide range of hand-crafted goods supplied directly by the maker. Originally started in the US by a craftsman, it now has followers in Britain and the rest of Europe.

“It gives me confidence buying on Etsy as you get background on the seller, see pictures of them in their studio and it makes you trust them more,” says Jane who lives in Totnes, Devon with her five-year-old daughter Polly and her partner Jim Palmer, 63.

“I bought a lot of vintage fabric on eBay before it got so huge. Now it’s often not accurately described or arrives stained and in poor condition. And I’ve struggled in the past to get a refund. eBay used to be quite cheap but now everyone is charging more.”

She also doesn’t shop on Amazon except when she’s looking to add to her collection of second-hand children’s books: “I like to help small, independent booksellers, but you do get bombarded by emails from Amazon.”

Banking

As a student at the University of Birmingham, Philippa Parry, 25, opened a bank account with NatWest.

She is doing a post-graduate degree in sustainable development run by a London charity, Forum for the Future. But it was when she was working in Barcelona for three years at a business school that she started to question the ethics of Britain’s big banks.

“There were so many examples of where they were not acting in people’s best interests with the banking crisis and bailouts. Why haven’t more heads rolled and why are they still getting big bonuses?” she says. “I was also concerned about what they were doing with my money, whether they were supporting the arms trade and not trading ethically.”

She looked at different options for an ethical bank on campaign site Move Your Money. She chose the Co-operative Bank when she moved back to the UK in August, a switch that went through smoothly.

“It’s a little difficult when I need to cash a cheque as the Co-op hasn’t got branches in my area,” says Philippa who lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. “But most of the time I do online banking. Customer service is always great, I don’t have to wait for ages and the people I speak to are always pleasant. But it’s more about ethics. That’s what bothers me.”

Energy

Sales account manager Kate Brooks, 37, has experience of two major energy providers – nPower and EDF – and felt she was always treated as though she was a nuisance whenever she contacted either.

“I was really fed up with their attitude,” says Kate who lives in a three-bedroom house in Polegate, East Sussex with her partner Fred Faust, 56, and their eight-month-old baby Oscar. “They always made me feel like I was in the wrong if I rang up, even if it was simply to provide my meter reading. The people on the end of the phone just seemed to be reading from a script and I was always put in a long queue before getting through.”

She looked around and found Ovo Energy, a smaller provider. Not only was it one of the cheapest in the market for her but she liked the way they presented themselves.

“Ovo came across as keen, open and honest, and I liked that they explained about how they invest in renewable energy,” she says. She applied to move through uSwitch and found the whole process very easy.

“I’ve been so impressed with them I’ve been telling other people about them including my Dad.”

Supermarkets

This time last year Joanne O’Connell made the decision to live for a year supermarket free. “I had ethical qualms about shopping in a supermarket, and it’s not even that cheap, so why bother?,” she says. Twelve months on and O’Connell – who you can follow on Twitter at @byesupermarkets and who wrote about her experiences online at guardian.co.uk/money/blog – is still supermarket free.

“When I started I wasn’t sure if I could manage for a fortnight, and when friends asked me how I’d celebrate the end of my challenge, I used to say ‘with a major blowout in Sainsbury’s',” she says.

“But what a difference a year makes. Swerving the supermarkets has forced me to change my approach to buying, growing and cooking food. I am spending less, but also eating better, healthier meals.”

To achieve her goal, O’Connell used the year to grow a lot of her own produce. She also took to foraging for food, such as nettles, and learnt to bake bread. For dried foods and other essentials she took to bulk buying from a wholesaler, which she says saved her around a third on supermarket prices.

Broadband

IT developer Onkar Pathre, 31, was disillusioned with Virgin Media when he moved a month ago to his new home in Crystal Palace in south-east London with his wife Priya, 29, a dentist.

He was part way through an 18-month contract with Virgin for broadband, TV and landline but, despite wanting to stay with Virgin, he was told he’d have to cancel his existing contract and start a new one.

There was a charge of £174 for discontinuing the service and he would have to pay £24.99 a month on his new 18-month contract. And the fee only covered broadband and phone because Virgin couldn’t provide TV in his area.

“I’d been with Virgin for more than three years but it wasn’t prepared to simply switch the service to my new address. A friend told me about Utility Warehouse,” he says.

“It doesn’t advertise, just relies on word of mouth. And it pays the termination charges if you switch to them. I don’t have to take out a contract for broadband, so I can leave at any time.”

It turns out Pathre was given the wrong advice by Virgin and he should have been able to move without paying the disconnection charge. However, he has no regrets.

His new deal works out cheaper – costing £14.99 a month for the landline and £3.99 for the first nine months, rising to £7.99, for 14MB broadband. “The customer service seems very good so far,” he says.

eBay shares rise as sales jump

Category : Business, World News

Shares in eBay rise as the online auction site reports a jump in revenues, with more customers using smartphones to trade on the site.

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Opinion: New Internet bubble? Not so fast

Category : Business

AOL, Amazon.com, eBay, Priceline and Yahoo are all still around today — and their stock prices are soaring again. But don’t expect another dot-com bust anytime soon.

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VIDEO: Tax warning for online sellers

Category : World News

Many unwanted gifts end up on auction sites like eBay, but how many items can you list before the taxman catches up with you?

Follow this link: VIDEO: Tax warning for online sellers

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Wishpond Launches The Only All-In-One Online Marketing Suite Available In More Than 100 Countries and 34 Languages

Category : Stocks, World News

Wishpond’s Online Marketing Suite for Retailers, Brands and Agencies is Now Available in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, India, Germany, UK, France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and More

Comes Pre-Integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WordPress, eBay, Paypal, Shopify, Etsy, and Magento; Making it Even Easier for Businesses to Grow Revenue, Increase Efficiency and Reach New Customers

Go here to read the rest: Wishpond Launches The Only All-In-One Online Marketing Suite Available In More Than 100 Countries and 34 Languages

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Wishpond Launches The Only All-In-One Online Marketing Suite Available In More Than 100 Countries and 34 Languages

Category : Stocks, World News

Wishpond’s Online Marketing Suite for Retailers, Brands and Agencies is Now Available in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, India, Germany, UK, France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and More

Comes Pre-Integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WordPress, eBay, Paypal, Shopify, Etsy, and Magento; Making it Even Easier for Businesses to Grow Revenue, Increase Efficiency and Reach New Customers

Read the original: Wishpond Launches The Only All-In-One Online Marketing Suite Available In More Than 100 Countries and 34 Languages

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Anger grows over large companies’ tax bills as attention turns to eBay and Ikea

Category : Business

Companies come under pressure after revelation that Starbucks has not paid UK corporation tax for three years

Pressure is mounting on large multinational companies to pay their fair share of tax following new revelations about the amount of tax paid by eBay and Ikea.

The focus on the tax affairs of the internet auction house and the Swedish retailer comes amid increasing anger about Starbucks, which Reuters exposed last week as not having paid corporation tax in the UK for the past three years. The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott called for the chief executive of the US coffee company to appear before a parliamentary committee after notching up £1.2bn of sales in the UK. “[Chief executive Howard] Schultz must come to parliament and come clean on why they pay so little corporation tax,” said Oakeshott.

The internet auction site eBay and Ikea are the latest companies to face scrutiny after the Sunday Times reported that eBay legally channels payments through Luxembourg and Switzerland to avoid paying nearly £50m in tax in Britain. Ikea is said to have legally halved its corporation tax bill in the UK by siphoning off profits abroad in the form of royalty payments to a sister company.

A spokesman for Ikea confirmed there was a 3% so-called franchise fee on Ikea sales worldwide. “Tax authorities in the Netherlands have consistently confirmed that Inter Ikea Systems BV is the beneficial owner of the Ikea retail system and the franchise fee income,” he said. Meanwhile, eBay was quoted as saying it worked with tax authorities and “complies fully with all applicable tax laws and regimes – including national and internationally recognised rules”.

The Sunday Times said eBay had paid barely more than £1m in corporation tax in the UK despite sales of £800m a year. Some £50m in tax had been avoided on the basis of its calculation that eBay’s UK profits would have been £181m in 2010 and corporation tax bill of £51m. It paid just £1.2m that year by channelling sales through Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Oakeshott said there was a simple way for customers to punish companies. “Consumer resistance is one way of going ahead. Don’t go to Starbucks, go to Costa or your local.”

The government, through HM Revenue & Customs, must also send a strong message that aggressive tax avoidance is not acceptable, he said. “HMRC has got to be tougher on cracking down on this. What we need is total transparency on corporation tax actually paid each year by companies and detailed reasons why it is below the headline rate.”

On Saturday an estimated 100,000 protesters took to the streets in huge demonstrations against government cuts, with many shouting “pay your taxes” as they passed Starbucks.

A member of the pressure group UK Uncut said: “Actions such as the huge anti-cuts march show just how angry people are that the government is allowing big business to dodge billions in tax, while destroying public services and the welfare state.”

Police were reportedly lined up around branches of Starbucks along the route after UK Uncut said it planned to start targeting the coffee chain’s stores.

EBay ‘pays only £1.2m in UK tax’

Category : Business, World News

US auction site eBay paid only £1.2m in tax back in 2010 in the UK, where it generated sales of about £800m, according to an investigation by the Sunday Times.

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eBay stock: Buy, buy, buy

Category : Stocks

More people are hitting the eBay auction block to buy and sell their wares, and they’re using PayPal to complete those online transactions.

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