Silca’s new Presta valve extenders’ clever use of elastomers and sealants put an end to the annoying rattle inside the rim hole and prevent air leaks. On the outside, an elastomer ring is designed to sit snugly inside the rim’s valve hole and hold it firmly in place. That prevents it from rattling around until your nerves are shot, and it’s a good sight more attractive than electrical tape. You’ll need to measure the distance from valve hole exit to the inner rim bed and figure out the difference between that and you current tubes’ valve length to make sure it all lines up, but your sanity is worth it. On the inside, they worked with a company that specializes in thread sealing to coat the inner threads so they seal tightly against the tube’s valve threads. Then, they added elastomeric gaskets at both ends of the interface to further plug the joint. The result is no air loss. Or at least no more than you’d get with just the regular tube. But wait, there’s more… They’re available in two versions, the FVC (Fixed Valve Core, shown above) and RVC (Removable Valve Core, at top of post). The FVC threads over the stock valve, leaving the head twisted open to accept air. The top of the extension has threads, allowing it to be used with the current crop of thread-on floor and hand pumps. The RVC threads directly into the stock valve and repositions the valve core at its top. They both retail for $34 for package of 2 extensions. FVC comes in 45, 60 and 75mm; RVC comes in 34, 45, 60 and 75mm. The thread sealant is not a thread locking compound, so they say they’re reusable, too. Made in USA, available now. Silca.cc
The Legal Ombudsman has penalised firms almost £1m in the space of a year as concerns mount about ‘no win, no fee’ offers.The legal complaints services today reports an increasing number of enquiries relating to conditional fee agreements (CFAs).The ombudsman is now raising the question as to whether the ‘no win, no fee’ descriptor may be used at all.Such funding arrangements have become more prominent since the Jackson reforms came into force. From last April lawyers’ success fees can no longer be recovered from the defendant and must instead be taken from damages awards.In today’s report, the ombudsman says examples of ‘very poor service’ have been reported in the last year. These include lawyers failing to honour agreements with clients or exploiting loopholes in the contract.Financial remedies awarded on CFA cases from November 2012 to November 2013 came to £944,000, which includes compensation, reduced fees and the costs of putting things right with consumers.Chief Ombudsman Adam Sampson said: ‘The ‘no win, no fee’ market has become increasingly aggressive, with many law firms competing for cases and sometimes prioritising sourcing a large number of customers over a careful selection process. ‘A business model which consistently overvalues the chances of success can drive lawyers into unethical practice in order to avoid financial meltdown. This report raises genuine questions as to whether the “no win, no fee” label should be used at all.’The LeO handled around 600 complaints about CFAs last year – around 8% of the total number of complaints – and said the impact when they go wrong can be heavy for consumers.The ombudsman report highlights a ‘structural weakness’ in the nature of agreements which allows some lawyers to pass the risk of unrecovered costs onto the consumer.Agreements were also found to be complex and unclear in terms of the financial risks to consumers.In one case highlighted by the ombudsman, a client was told to pay £24,000 to a firm that had pulled out of his case after it found he had represented himself in court and won. The firm had dropped his case halfway through, stating it had no chance of winning.Once the client complained to LeO, the service ordered that he did not have to pay a penny of his winnings and the firm was forced to pay compensation for the upset its actions caused.The Advertising Standards Authority has warned against the risks of referring to CFAs as ‘no win, no fee’ as clients can be liable for undisclosed costs such as insurance if they lose their case.Lynsey Taff, director of communications for the ASA, added: ‘We’ve banned ads that have failed to give that kind of information upfront and we advise any advertiser making such a claim to ensure that the commitment is genuinely without cost.’In response to the LeO report, Law Society president Nicholas Fluck pointed out that so-called no win, no fee arrangements were brought in by the government to fill gaps left by the removal of some legal aid provision.‘No win, no fee solicitors are bringing justice to the masses for people denied legal aid,’ he said. ‘Solicitors working on conditional fee agreements take on significant risk with these often complex cases.‘The Law Society is pleased that the ombudsman agrees with us that solicitors need to be very clear with clients on their agreement terms and commends our model agreement.’
Dr Jane MartinSource: LSBMartin said: ‘I am very pleased to have the opportunity to play a role in ensuring the voice of the consumer is properly heard.’Martin’s seven-year term as local government ombudsman ends on 10 January. She is also chair of the Commission for Local Administration in England and a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.The LSB announcement stated that: ‘In a career dedicated to understanding and promoting public service accountability, she has conducted research at the universities of Birmingham and Warwick respectively and worked with local authorities across England. She was the first director of the Centre for Public Scrutiny.’Davies has chaired the consumer watchdog since it was established under the Legal Services Act 2007. Local government ombudsman Dr Jane Martin will be the new Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, the Legal Services Board announced today. Martin succeeds Elisabeth Davies who steps down at the end of the month. Mark McLaren has also been appointed to the panel as a member.Sir Michael Pitt, chairman of the Legal Services Board said: ‘I am delighted to congratulate Dr Martin on her appointment as chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel. She will find a consumer panel resolutely committed to making sure that the interests of consumers are put right at the heart of legal services regulation.’Dr Martin’s wealth of experience and her past public services work will help drive the consumer panel forward as it moves into this new phase in its existence. I look forward to working with her closely.