From Tire Review HANOVER, Germany – Continental AG reported it will hire about 5,000 additional staff members in China by the end of this year in order to meet growing demand. This would bring the company’s total staff in the country to 20,000. “As part of a strategic plan to support its growth in China, the automotive supplier will hire employees across various areas including engineering, manufacturing and functional roles,” Continental said in a statement. As part of the effort, Continental is extending recruiting programs, including Campus Recruitment 2013, Continental University Competition and Continental Day in major cities, and sponsorship of Formula Student China. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement
Service improvements When it does not add up High cost of administration Mr A’s Dad died. He and his brothers then sold their father’s property. They asked a solicitor to help them set out their interests and those of their mother in the property – this was done in a statement of account. After some time, Mr A and his brothers realised that it was incorrect. The reason they found out was that the consequence of this error was that they had underpaid their capital gains tax and incurred penalties and interest from HMRC. Mr A wrote to the firm on several occasions to complain about what had happened. His correspondence went ignored. Mr A and his brothers were needing to spend a lot of time and effort trying to sort the tax issue out – and the final tax position of one of the brothers was still not finalised. It would have helped to have been able to talk to the solicitor to get an exact handle on what had (or had not) been done. To try and sort out this issue once and for all, Mr A instructed a new solicitor, who made a complaint to the firm on his behalf. They received a brief acknowledgement of the complaint and a note stating that the matter had been referred to the first firm’s insurers. Both Mr A and the second firm sent more letters asking for more information, but did not get a response. Not knowing what to do next, Mr A made a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. After our investigation, which the firm was involved in, we found that there had been poor service. The firm agreed that it did not respond to the complaint and this was because of human error – its systems just hadn’t worked. The firm agreed to send out a comprehensive reply to Mr A as a resolution of this complaint and to chase its insurers. Both parties were informed that a new complaint could be made if Mr A felt his original issue had not been addressed in the letter sent by the firm. To date, we have not heard from Mr A regarding this issue, as the firm was now working to resolve the outstanding issues. Mrs H employed a solicitor to sell her property in July. In October 2010, she complained to her solicitor after her bank had contacted her to advise that the mortgage on the sold property had not been redeemed. Mrs H complained to the firm because it had failed to redeem the mortgage and she felt that it had not finished the work she had paid it to do. The firm was slow to respond to her complaint. She told us that she was also unhappy that the solicitors did not appear to have a proper complaints procedure in place. As she was having no joy with the firm, Mrs H decided to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Following our investigation, the firm admitted that Mrs H’s complaint had not been forwarded to its complaints-handling partner owing to an administrative error. But it did tell us that it was keen to resolve all of her issues. To try and put things right, the firm offered Mrs H £250 in recognition of the distress and inconvenience its mistakes had caused her, as well as a refund of £450 for fees she had already paid. Mrs H was pleased with this offer and accepted it. Mrs G was buying a new house. Three years ago, she employed a solicitor to carry out the conveyancing on her new home. Part of what she wanted them to do was to register the property under her name. Time passed. Mrs G was living happily in her new home. Then Mrs G received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which said that she owed over £29,000 in outstanding stamp duty. Mrs G looked into this and discovered that her property had not been registered properly. Mrs G contacted the firm to find out why her property had not been registered. She told us that she tried many times but no one in the firm gave her a satisfactory answer. In addition, the firm could not provide her with proof that it had attempted to register the property. Mrs G then made a formal complaint to the firm. She did not hear anything from it. Distressed and upset at the large bill from HMRC, Mrs G contacted LeO with her complaint. We looked into what had happened – it turned out that Mrs G’s solicitor had sent a cheque to HMRC and this had been cashed. But the property had not been correctly registered to Mrs G, so HMRC records were showing that there was money owing. What was most puzzling was that, given the mistake was within HMRC, why the firm had not looked into this and explained it earlier, especially when it had the chance using its in-house complaints procedure. As a result of our involvement, the firm agreed to correctly register the property and pay any outstanding stamp duty. It also offered Mrs G £1,000 as a goodwill gesture given how upset she was because of this mistake. Mrs G told us that she was happy with this outcome. Our business is complaints. Yet I suspect that I was not the only one who spent a fair amount of time poring over the picture revealed by the Legal Services Board’s research into the way lawyers deal with complaints. To be sure, there are areas where the methodology has some quirks (it is difficult to understand how respondents were meant to express a view about the work of the Legal Ombudsman prior to our actual opening). But to dismiss the general finding that the customer experience of complaining about their legal service is still very patchy, as I have heard some do, is to ignore the truth. I am probably in a better position to know this than most. With up to 100,000 complainants contacting us a year, we get a pretty good picture of what is going on in the legal world. Admittedly, we only see a small sample of users of legal services and, by definition, the ones we do see are unhappy. But every one we do see has already – or all too often should have already – engaged with the firm’s complaints process. And, with some honourable exceptions, most of those calls we receive represent an expression of failure. Perhaps some of this failure is inevitable. For people offering a service which their customers do not properly understand in an area where there can be no certainties of outcome, complaints will always be a fact of life. No matter what a lawyer tries to do to explain to some clients why things happen as they do, there will be some who will simply be unwilling, or unable, to accept it. However, if complaints are inevitable, complaints-handling failures are not. Each of the 40,000 or so people who come to us each year to raise a complaint, but who have not yet complained to their lawyers, represents a complaints-handling failure. These are solicitors’ customers and firms are under an obligation to explain to them how to complain if they are not satisfied with the service provided. That is not simply a matter of including a passive sentence at the bottom of a five-page client engagement letter. As the Legal Services Board research illustrated, there are many consumers who will be so in awe of solicitors that they will take some convincing that you are serious about wanting them to raise any issues they have with the service you have given them. But I am not really that exercised about the number of complainants we have to send back to solicitors to make their complaints (usually accompanied by a quick email to the firm from the ombudsman alerting them that a complaint is on the way). All professions face the same issue. And an ombudsman spends most of their time redirecting complainants back to their service provider. The cases that worry me are where complainants have already raised their complaints with firms but where LeO investigations reveal clear evidence of poor service. I would like to give some examples. A taxing situation Mr X went to court for a family law matter. After the final outcome of his case, Mr H did not feel that his case had been conducted very well so he made a formal complaint both to his solicitor and barrister. After a couple of months, Mr X had not had a response to his complaint, despite pursuing the matter over the telephone. He had been promised a response, but was advised that there was an administrative delay; Mr X was frustrated with this reply. Mr X complained to the Legal Ombudsman about the way his lawyers had conducted his case and the fact that his complaint had gone unanswered. When we looked into this complaint, we decided that the issue was not the way in which the cases had been conducted; rather, there was a service issue concerning the way Mr X’s formal complaint was handled. After speaking with the firm, it admitted that it had delayed in responding to Mr X’s complaint and agreed that it would provide a proper, substantive response as well as sending a formal apology. The firm also provided us with evidence that our investigation had led to it amending and improving its internal complaints procedure to prevent future failures of this nature. While Mr X was not happy that we could not look at his other complaints, he was advised that he could seek independent legal action if he so wished. Mr X told us that he was happy that the issue surrounding his other complaint had been dealt with and he no longer wished to pursue this any further. What these cases illustrate is the sheer cost to firms of failures in their complaints-handling systems. Forget the value of the remedies which they had to pay as the result of our intervention or the embarrassment of being criticised by us. The cost of the billable hours wasted in having to respond to our enquiries and comment on our reports alone probably exceeded the profit on the transactions that gave rise to the initial complaints. A slicker, more reliable complaints-handling process in the first place would have saved these firms thousands. There is a degree of self-interest in this. One of the things that I have made a priority is to try to run an efficient, streamlined and high-value operation. In these days of austerity, with the profession facing cuts in legal aid and competition from new corporate entrants into the legal market, the last thing you want to pay for is an expensive and inefficient second-tier complaints-handling operation. So we have a choice. I can run an organisation that spends its time settling tens of thousands of simple complaints, which could easily have been resolved at a local level, all at the expense of the profession. Or, I could run a smaller, faster and cheaper operation which spends its time reviewing complaints files assembled at the local level and arbitrating on the most difficult, complex or intractable cases. I know which one I’d prefer. A monthly column featuring practical advice and anonymised case studies from chief ombudsman Adam Sampson and his team
Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook Stories in Saturday’s newspapers involving Chelsea….Alvaro Morata could be at Chelsea next season, it is claimed.Morata joined Atletico Madrid on an 18-month loan in January and is keen to stay at the Spanish club and eventually join them on a permanent basis. AdChoices广告But Chelsea have an option enabling them to recall the striker this summer – and the Daily Telegraph claim the club have warned Atletico that they will trigger that clause if a permanent deal is not agreed.The Telegraph say Chelsea want £50m for the player and that their stance means Atletico need to raise some cash.Frank Lampard is close to being confirmed as Blues boss but The Sun say he is set to return to Derby for the start of their pre-season training on Monday and will take over at Chelsea later in the week.And the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea’s youngsters will be challenged on their return for pre-season training to show they are worthy of first-team places.The prospect of a transfer ban means Chelsea’s young players are much more likely to be called upon during the coming season.
Manchester United must recover quickly from their shock 1-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion as they try to seal a second-placed finish in the Premier League and an FA Cup triumph, midfielder Juan Mata has said.United’s first loss at home in the league since December handed the title to rivals Manchester City with five games to spare. However, Mata believes the team cannot wallow in defeat as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.“Second position was not done before the game,” Mata told United’s website. http://www.manutd.com “It was not done even if we won. It is even more important for the next games and we know we have to compete until the last week.“It’s been a long season but we need to make sure we can compete until the end, that we keep that second position and we fight for being in another FA Cup final and try to win it.”United lost 2-0 to Spurs when the two sides met in the Premier League at Wembley in January.Before their cup clash, United travel to 11th-placed Bournemouth in the league on Wednesday while Tottenham face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.