Posted - 07/12/12 | 0 Comments

Biggest invoice ever – for parking tickets?

Imagine this. A car is abandoned in a car park. No tickets are purchased. Days, weeks, months and even years pass by. What happens?

The horrible truth dawned recently on an American driver. Parking fines that totalled over $100,000 were slapped on the single mum by officials in Chicago.

Apparently, the tickets started being issued in May 2009, after the car was first abandoned in the city. And they kept on coming. In the end, there were 678 of them, totalling a reported $105,761.80. This was a record for Chicago – and probably for the world!

However, the driver at the centre of the paper storm isn’t happy. The unemployed mum (31) says the car belonged to someone else, who seemingly registered the car in her name without her knowledge, say media reports. She intends to defend herself.

The irony is that the fines are worth more than the car. A lot more! It’s reckoned that the 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo has a value of about $600!

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Posted - 15/11/12 | 0 Comments

Consumer rings up PPI invoice victory!

Have you claimed for PPI? More to the point, are you heartily sick of being asked that question!

According to media reports, one Middlesex man so got fed up with being called by companies offering their services to help him recoup cash from mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) … that he decided to send one of them an invoice!

Richard Herman had never taken out PPI. He’d also registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)  to stop unwanted sales calls. But they kept coming.

On one particularly long call, he spoke to several people and asked to be removed from their list. He even said he’d charge them £10 a minute if they called yet again. They did.

And next time, the call lasted 19.5 minutes. So he sent off an invoice for £195, reports the BBC. What’s more, Mr Herman had recorded the calls as proof.

He also filed a case in the small claims court. It was settled before it went to court – with one company paying his £195 invoice plus £25 costs.

Lawyers now reckon it could open the floodgates for other consumers to follow suit, says the BBC.

  • Mr Herman didn’t use Clear as part of his response to these calls. But you may be interested to know that it’s possible to use Clear’s timer feature to record the length of any calls you receive and then create invoices from them – in a couple of clicks. That’s just one of the many great features of the Clear service. Why not try Clear for free?
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Posted - 05/11/12 | 0 Comments

Watching it all go up in smoke!

It’s Bonfire Night – and an expensive one for some. Britain spends around £70 million per year on fireworks, according to moneysupermarket.com.

The web site scoured the web for the fanciest firework set it could find – and came up with the Victory Pack from Fireworks International.

For those happy to pay the invoice, this eye-candy collection offers “Explosive entertainment at its very best” for £2499. You get 57 Cakes, 34 Candles, 8 Mines, 70 Rockets, 6 Wheels and 1 Waterfall … presumably the grand finale. Not bad if you want to impress the neighbours!

It’s reckoned that 2012 has been a big one for pyrotechnics. Before Bonfire Night came the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There’s next month’s New Year’s Eve too. All great occasions to mark with fizzes and flashes.

But, as bills go, the UK still ranks as a mere sparkler in the world league of whizzbangs. It can’t hold a Roman candle to the stand-out show of the past decade.

That was in 2009. Hosted by Abu Dhabi, the occasion was the world’s biggest and priciest firework display – put at around jaw-dropping $20 million (£12 million).

But what about the original November 5 stunt that never was ... the explosions planned by Guy Fawkes?

In those days, his gunpowder cost £200. But moneysupermarket.com calculates that at today’s prices, that invoice would total a hefty £35,000.

  • If all the smoke is getting in your eyes and you need a clearer picture of your incoming invoice payments, then why not sign up for Clear for free?  You can send electronic invoices in just a few clicks. Clear also gives you an accurate picture of payments that are paid or overdue.
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Posted - 11/10/12 | 0 Comments

Want to punch above your weight?

When demand dips amid the recession, then companies traditionally cut back on spending. But more small enterprises are discovering they can save money, while improving their capabilities – by moving to cloud-based services.

A recent survey found that a quarter of small firms are now using on-demand services in areas such as finance and IT. It’s reckoned that these companies want the chance to punch above their weight – by using services normally only affordable by the bigger players.

The concept is simple: Why invest a fortune in developing an advanced service to improve your business efficiency, when there’s one available already on your web browser – for just a few pounds?

So what about the other three-quarters of small businesses? Why haven’t they caught on?

The answer could be explained by an article this week in ComputerWorld UK. It reported on another survey that highlighted a lack of knowledge as a prime factor dissuading small companies from moving to the cloud.

According to the report, owners of small businesses are often “wearing many hats,” where they must deal with marketing, sales, financial management and IT. There was a “fear of the unknown” when it came to the cloud.

It’s understandable. People running small businesses have so little time to start exploring the market. But services like Clear are a great way for these companies to try the cloud in a safe and pain-free way.

Here are some great reasons why:

– Clear is free: You don’t need to commit. Just register and send a few invoices to give our service a try.

– Clear is easy: Anyone who’s typed up an invoice and surfed the web should have no problem. Take the tour and see for yourself.

– Clear is reliable: Your business is safe with us. We’re part of EGS Group Ltd, a business trusted by over 100 major organisations to process and deliver in excess of £1 billion-worth of invoices electronically each year.

So how will Clear help you to punch above your weight?

Well, importantly, we save you time and money. You should get paid faster too.

What you do with those extra, freed up resources is your business. We hope it’ll help you to thrive and focus less time on admin and more time on the more important things … so you can sharpen your company’s competitive edge.

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Posted - 05/10/12 | 0 Comments

Shock bill for video game ‘virtual food’

It’s great when today’s tech devices are so intuitive that they can be used just as easily – whether you’re six or 60.

But a grandad from Yorkshire had a nasty shock when his six-year-old grandson splashed out on virtual food when using his iPad to the popular children’s video game Tiny Monster Island.

And it was only when grandma’s credit card was declined at the supermarket, that the spending splurge came to light, according to reports. The little lad had splashed out £2,000 on in-game food and coins to help fight his way through levels in the game.

But there’s a happy ending. Apparently, the game store has agreed to refund the cash.

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Posted - 28/09/12 | 0 Comments

Big bill looming after ‘ram raid’ – watch video

It rarely happens in these days of recession, but staff at a sports store in Austria watched as dozens of eager customers jostled to get into the aisles. There was just one problem: the visitors were sheep.

How and why the farmyard flash mob got mobilised this way seems unclear.

One theory is that one sheep saw itself an a mirror, got confused and came in to investigate. Always keen to follow a fashion, another 80 hot-footed in behind.

But stock was damaged and there’s now a legal discussion over who picks up the baa-zarre bill. Presumably the flock spent a few pennies in the ski resort store .. but not on lambswool golfing jumpers!

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Posted - 17/09/12 | 0 Comments

Atinuke keeps score as Paralympians go for gold

While millions of us enjoyed the London 2012 Paralympic Games on TV, a member of Clear’s testing team, Atinuke Olatigbe, was one of the many volunteers playing a key role behind the scenes.

After spotting a poster on the Jubilee Line, sports fan Atinuke applied to help – and soon found herself at the ExCeL arena, as one of the data-entry team for the powerlifting competition.

“It was a fantastic experience,” says Atinuke. ” The athletes were wonderful – especially the Nigerian and Egyptian teams – and so were the crowd, who generated a terrific atmosphere.

” At school I enjoyed track events, but powerlifting was something new. It’s highly technical. I worked with a great team that had to check weights, times and scores – but it all went really well, thanks to training and encouragement from our LOCOG colleagues.”

So has Atinuke been inspired to take up powerlifting herself? “No way!” she says. “It requires amazing dedication and practice. I really admire the athletes. And I loved being involved. So if I get the opportunity to go to the next games in Rio, then I’ll happily pack my bags tomorrow!”

Pictured above:  Atinuke with Fatma Omar of Egypt, who won a gold medal and achieved a world record in the Women’s 56kg Powerlifting

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Posted - 07/09/12 | 0 Comments

Are you an easy target for late payers?

Is your business sending out the wrong signals – and paying the price?

“Small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wait an average of two months to get paid by other businesses, and many cannot survive the problems caused by overdue payments.” So says the Guardian.

In an insightful piece called ” Avoiding overdue payments: top tips for your small business”, Manos Schizas gives some great tips on how to get paid on time.

There’s some sound advice and a big emphasis on credit management. But it was Tip #5 that caught our eye: ” Be organised about invoicing and collections”.

The key point – made very well by Manos – focuses on the psychology around payments. The bottom line is this: “Some customers look out for signs of disorganisation and use them to determine which suppliers they can get away with paying late”. Cunning eh?

And as Manos urges, “Make sure you don’t present yourself as the easiest or most deserving target.”

The Clear team would echo this point absolutely. (That said, we stress this only applies to the worst type of customer – not the normal or better ones.)

In the current climate, more than ever, getting your invoices organised is vital. Whether you’ve managed this or not, really shows.

If you submit your invoices on time like clockwork and chase up like clockwork … then even those less helpful customers are more likely to pay like clockwork. They realise there’s no room for manoeuvre. You’re the supplier who chases first, not the sloppy one they can get away with paying last.

Clear can help with this in many ways. But our following features are all especially relevant:

  • Clear generates professional-looking invoices, so customers know you mean business. Your payment terms and bank details are stated clearly.
  • Invoices can take seconds to create and send using Clear – so submitting them on time (even when you’re busy) is very easy. What’s more, recurring ones can be sent automatically each month.
  • Clear’s auto-chasing feature means you can be as firm, polite and insistent as you wish if payments become late. Clear does the chasing for you – so you don’t waste precious hours doing this.

Put simply, Clear makes organised invoicing easy.

You can read the Guardian article here.

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Posted - 30/08/12 | 0 Comments

Phone bill shockers – at the double!

Stories about alarming invoices are featured regularly in this blog. And this week we’ve got a horror double bill involving mobile phones.

First up, there’s Devon woman Anne Roberts who was, reportedly, left with a £27,000 bill after purchasing a £20 pay-as-you-go phone while on holiday in Wales.

It’s reckoned that a technical glitch meant that the mobile phone company began withdrawing £20 every ten minutes after she bought it. That’s £120 per hour!

According to media reports, she discovered the bad news after receiving a text from her bank and putting her card into a cash machine to discover her balance was massively in the red.

However, soon after, it seems the company apologised and refunded the money.

Meanwhile … a mobile user in the USA is reported to have received a bill for over US600 dollars after donating her old phones for charity.

She says that one of her old handsets was still active. Thinking the organisation would wipe all the data, she didn’t worry. And then the bill arrived.

The woman says she actually called the old number and a man answered, saying he’d the phone off the street – and thought it came with free minutes!

Since then, the call charges have been dropped, say media reports.

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Posted - 23/08/12 | 0 Comments

Football fans get top billing

The new premiership football season has kicked off – with the usual crazy results you get when some teams appear still to be in ‘holiday mode’. But there’s another big score announced recently that’ll make any dedicated fan pause for a few seconds at least … before wolfing down their next chicken balti pie.

A new survey by a tyre manufacturer has estimated the total bill spent by the average football fan during a lifetime of supporting their team. It’s a whopping £56,000!

Per season, that’s around £1,300 splurged on match tickets, petrol, programmes, food and drink. The survey, which questioned 2,000 fans, also included things like travel to some away games and team merchandise, as well as subscriptions to club TV channels or websites.

So what else could you do with £56,000? We took a look online and found a three-bedroom maisonette in Birmingham. Alternatively, there’s a Mercedes Benz CLS-Class 350 at just under budget or you could hire a top-of-the-range luxury yacht for a couple of weeks.

But spread over decades, maybe following a football team isn’t such a bad deal after all? That is … as long as your club wins something during your lifetime!

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