Monthly Archives: November 2010

Barrel-Dregs, Enterprise Inns, always have a survey, yet again. (149)

ENTERPRISE INNS REPAIRS.

Pot Boy North calling to me soft Southern friends from the frozen wastelands of God’s own beloved country, that’s Yorkshire to the likes of you and me ! Enterprise Inns lease being assigned for nowt all money to a fresh faced Red Rose pal, well reet proper Lancashire is not THAT bad, well, not all the time. All names and places deleted as the purchasing negotiations are still churning away !!

Anyroad, the following is a straight quote from page 3 of the Enterprise “Repairs to the Property” schedule, after the bit where it says that EI will provide a Want of Repair Schedule to the Assignor. That’s the poor skint sucker that’s floggin’ the lease.

“In the event that the assignor is unable to carry out the items in the Want of Repair Schedule, we may as a last resort invite you to enter into an Outstanding Repair Deed. The Outstanding Repair Deed is a contract that allows us to recover the cost of any repair items and any repairing covenants not completed from the original Want of Repair Schedule. These costs will be collected on the Provisional Completion Statement. Enterprise Inns will then take full responsibility for the delivery of these outstanding works once you have taken over the premises.”

First off, the lease, like all of them wi’ Enterprise is a full repairing obligation, “to put and keep in sound repair and condition “no less. Second, it’s the seller that is supposed to bring the place up to proper condition inside and out BEFORE you take over. Third, there is no time schedule by when the works (if done by Enterprise) are supposed to be done. Fourth, it is Enterprise’s responsibility to ensure that the place is handed over in proper condition on THE DAY OF CHANGE. Why? Because you are paying full rent for a building that is by definition in a defective state of repair. So let’s hold up just there.

How do you know that Enterprise’s surveyor has identified all the repairs that need doing. In this case PBs pal had his own independent survey undertaken. Best money he has ever spent. Total heap of repairs the Enterprise man had missed. So this new “Schedule of Condition” is what really needs doing. If my pal signed the Outstanding Repair Deed, he would have confirmed that the required works were the only ones needed. So if in say a year, something else needs fixing, that was self evident when he purchased, well the cost is down to him, not Enterprise or the previous tenant. Get the picture??

If the seller does not fulfil the total schedule of works, the Enterprise MUST ensure the works are done (no timeframe mentioned) and deduct the cost from deposit held from the previous tenant. If there is not enough in the pot, well then that just tough on Enterprise as they should never have allowed the place to backslide so quick. It is NOT the responsibility of the purchaser to take over the repairs that are required say a year or so down the tracks. DO NOT BE CONNED into taking over what at last resort is down to Enterprise or the previous tenant.

This bit about “at last resort we may invite you…”carries a nasty sting in the tail. It was made crystal clear to mi pal that if he didn’t accept “the invitation” it would start off the relationships between the Company and him on a less than favourable footing. Read into that what you will!! Oh and they were far from keen to entertain the existence of an independently prepared Schedule of Condition which by its very nature shows up the Enterprise lad as being, well less than up to the job like..

The quoted clause is far from clear as to who it is will ultimately have to stand the cost of repairs. In theory, it’s the seller or Enterprise, certainly not you the purchaser. Whose provisional Completion Statement are they referring to, the Purchaser or the Seller? No its far from clear other than Enterprise have not guaranteed that the purchaser will NOT be liable for continuing and outstanding repairs that should have all been sorted out or properly identified on the hand over day.

Self protection is vital. GET A SURVEY DONE. Don’t accept that the schedule served on the departing tenant is infallible. Often it’s done in a hurry and misses a load of work that will always be the responsibility of you the new tenant.

As ever a glorious pint of Timmy Taylor beckons. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, the dray came today thank heavens,

Pot Boy North.

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and statements being made, they are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Barrel-Dregs, Codes of Practice, some comments. (148)

CODES OF PRACTICE-BEWARE ensure that you get a legal opinion as to whether you should have to sign and the possible implications

Pot Boy was more than a little tickled at the increase in the Codes of Practice (COP) that have been approved by the BIIBAC, or rather our very own Laughing Policeman. You see the written word is one thing, but the troops on the ground, well that’s quite something else. The mushrooming of COPs is for sure a good step in the right direction of transparency within the pub trade. However young Arthur at the top of the tree of the Laughing Policemen might be having second thoughts that the boys or girl from the BBPA mean what they say, after all their top mouth piece left at very short notice for destinations unknown, very unnerving. Maybe the penny is starting to drop in the battered industry bucket, time will tell, the Laughing Policeman’s actions have to speak louder than words to impress a lot of unhappy good people in the industry.

What follows happened last week and was dropped into PBs email post box the very day it happened. PB has also checked it out for accuracy and all of it its true.

Pubco lease, rent review next spring. Old Whitbread agreement so reviews every three years. Rent settled about a year ago and a year late, because that review seemed likely to go to arbitration. However settled at the ninth hour by agreement. So the 2008 rent £42K, Pubco now want an eye watering £69K. Area Director turns up with grinning and nodding numpty BRM in tow. Here’s the COP, just need it signed that you have received it. Tenant looks at where he is to sign and sees it says “I confirm receipt of the COP and agree to be bound by the content of this document”. He refused to sign.

The Area Director who is a noted bully, becomes unglued. You must sign he insists, or else things will cut up very nasty at the rent review and we will insist on seeing your accounts as it says in the COP. At the last review our mans Chartered Surveyor, PB has it on best authority, flatly refused to cough up the accounts arguing that there was a very big old slug of personal goodwill which stood to be ignored. Had he signed the COP, the chances are that the Pubco WOULD have insisted on the revelation of accounts for the 2011 review, and as sure as eggs are oeufs, rented him on his own considerable personal success. It all got nastier and nastier with the Pubco duo retreating still issuing threats over their shoulders as the went.

PB has canvassed two of Mi’ Learned friends who dropped in the snug last night. Seems that the Pubco, or for that matter any other Brewery, is quite entitled to issue what they think they want to do in the relationship with their Tenants. There is NO OBLIGATION that the tenant has to sign ANYTHING. In fact it is sound common sense to sign NOTHING at all that might have an implied effect on your lease. The weasel words of the Pubco yes men are as nothing because they are under strict ORDERS to ensure that all the tenants on their patch sign up. The tenant is supposed to always take legal advice first. Well that’s writ loud and clear in the COP.As my chum Pot Boy North said the other day, “Like as heck as chuffing like”. But everyone is in the clear because the COP insists that it is so. That gets the Laughing policeman off the hook well and truly. No blood on the carpet, no siree !

The reality is that faced with an all powerful Pubco Director, totally in your face and all over you, telling you how miserable he will make your wretched little life, and of course he knows where you live, whadda you do ? Mostly almost all will sign up, not taking (and paying for) legal advice, trusting that their meagre barrelege discount will stay and not be withdrawn (that was the “making life difficult ” bit) and forget that the lease is now pretty severely compromised.

The sting in the tail? The Pubco looks squeaky clean because, yes, almost all of their tenants have indeed signed up to the COP and have accepted its contents which after all were vetted and approved by the Laughing Policeman. Trebles all round. ANSWER ? Look on the new COPs as a Pubco/Brewer step in the right direction…but DON’T SIGN ANYTHING. There is no legal obligation to do so !

Down the hatch !

Pot Boy.

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Pleisure Pubs, Sussex (Small decent Pub Owning Company)

Another responsible Pub owning Company, in our hunt for decent companies that people can go to, unfortunately as with all good companies their recruitment is limited because staff turnover is minimal. However if they have a vacancy we will post it on the site.

 Well, Pleisure Pubs, where to start?
 At the beginning I guess, way back in 1991. From the first venue
 opening in 1991, we have grown slowly, but surely, to our current
 complement of nine pubs with Brighton in Sussex as our base.

 Where standards count
 As a company we insist on the highest standards throughout, be that
 the service we give to our customers or the products we sell. We have
 been acknowledged as an “Investors In People” company, have a
 reputation for introducing new products to our customers and have
 toured the globe to bring you some of the more unusual and
 traditional ones.

 Where else would you see Siwucha, a traditional Polish vodka,
 alongside rare small batch bourbons from Kentucky?

 More choice
 If you find that you want more choice, we have thought of that too!
 Why not try one of our specialist pubs, where alongside traditional
 cask ales (because we are big fans of cask-conditioned ales!) you
 will find large ranges of particular products.
 • The Great Eastern has around 60 Bourbons
 • The Saint James has an amazing collection of Rum’s

 Knowledgeable team
 But it is not just the products that we love sharing with you; we
 also pride ourselves on our knowledge. All our managers have studied
 long and hard to obtain a diploma from the Wines & Spirits Education
 Trust in Spirits (professional level 2 no less!). They really do know
 their stuff too.

 But don’t just take our word for it the experts have had their say
 too. We won an MA100 award in 2008, highly recommended in 2009 and
 won it again in 2010. The Publican also recognized us with The Great
 eastern winning the Best Spirits Pub in their 2008 Food and Drink
 Awards with both the Eastern and the Saint James finalists in 2009
 where the Saint James was highly commended and we look forward to the
 2010 awards when both venues have made the final four again, fingers
 crossed!

 We are not currently recruiting, but keep an eye on the site and we will let
 you know when we have any vacancies!

www.pleisure.com

Poppleston Allen, another Sting for the unwary, Actors playing Drunks

Poppleston Allen, Another Sting.

There have been recent news reports about Police in North Wales sending actors in to licensed premises pretending to be drunk. The actors wore stained clothes and were told not only to act as if they were drunk, but also to make it clear to bar staff that they were drunk, by actually saying so!

It seems that 42 out of 49 premises actually served these individuals.

Under the Licensing Act 2003 it is an offence to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk and the definition of drunkenness has always been a difficult issue. Case law suggests that someone is drunk if their faculties are impaired beyond what they would normally be, which could apply to anybody who has had even a couple of drinks. That would mean that every licensed premises in the country would be committing an offence on a daily basis.

Fortunately, the legislation has been used sensibly up until now by the Police and I have only ever heard of cases being pursued when the drunks in question were very drunk indeed!

One can only assume that this tactic involving actors is simply a precursor to intelligence led enforcement. By that, I mean that Officers would undoubtedly carry out observations in premises where the actors have previously been served. I cannot see how they could prosecute anyone for actually serving the actors given that they weren’t actually drunk. They might, I suppose, throw the evidence from the operation into the mix on a Review that they were instigating anyway but I would be surprised if they pursued one on that evidence alone as technically it discloses no wrong doing.

The Police appear to have confirmed that there will be more operations of a similar nature in the future.

For more information please contact Graeme Cushion

Barrel-Dregs, Commercial Agents a Chink of Light at the End of the Tunnel (147)

Our learned scribe Pump Handle and his wife were sent to Barfly from the BII as a Mentor in their search for a suitable pub, their frustrations were endless with Commercial Agents, not necessarily telling the truth, but not knowing the difference between Fact and Fiction.

Their disbelief at their time being wasted by smooth talking suits and incredible brochures that bore no relation to the pubs that they visited.

Barfly asked them if they would write about their experiences on Barrel-Dregs, not to pan the Commercial Agents but to help others that, “That what glistens is not, all too frequently gold.”

They were so impressed with Guy Simmonds prompt action and the personal service, leading Barfly to having lengthy chat to the MD to discover that he like us wants to see people informed and knowledgeable before they buy a business, it does nobody any favours to get to exchange when the purchasers realise that they have missed or ignored a serious key problem in the business, some can be oversome with prior knowledge, but not at the eleventh hour.

Barfly

This is from Pump Handle

If I may, through your site pass on a thank you and to wholeheartedly recommend the services of Guy Simmonds to anyone looking to buy a pub.

We have been looking for a suitable pub business for some time now and recently spotted a lovely looking pub on Guy Simmonds. We remember it being sold on the site a while back and had missed the opportunity to view it so, were quick to arrange a viewing. We weren’t disappointed, it did indeed look really good with three separate trade areas, lots of cask ales and what looked like reasonable sales figures. On top of this it was completely free of tie on a private lease.

Following our viewing (we had also visited as customers a week or so before to test the water) we asked for the figures. After a couple of e mails, we had enough information to look at the all important profitability. Armed with all the numbers I set about putting them into a P&L / Cash flow spreadsheet, they looked quite good and showed a nice net profit. Our final request as a ‘sanity check’ was to ask the vendor for a net profit figure. Surprisingly the reply came back that there had been ‘no net profit’. We sent an e mail to Guy Simmonds withdrawing our interest along with a comment that the figures supplied by the vendor were obviously a complete fabrication.

Yesterday I had a much unexpected phone call from Stephen Taylor, the MD of Guy Simmonds. He had read my comments and taken it upon himself to look into the figures.  He too agreed that the figures were very suspect and assured me that the property in question would have the sales literature amended and offered his apologies – duly accepted. I think you’ll agree these are one of the good guys.

Pump Handle

http://www.guysimmonds.co.uk/index.html

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Barrel-Dregs, PIRRS Valuers a brief insight, into but a few. (147)

PIRRS VALUERS

Whoa !! Pot Boy never realised quite what a reaction there would be to Barrel Dregs 143. This, you may recall, was about the lamentable lack of success of the increasingly discredited BBPA funded PIRRS scheme and as to how it seems to largely be consigned to the dustbin on half-baked hopes and dreams. Seems the big turn off is the so called independence of some of the team of Expert Valuers (and there are not really that many in total). PB’s e-mail in box is full of examples of genuine concern as to how some of the elected valuers could really be truly independent. For the sake of confidentiality, names of my recent correspondents and their exact location have been omitted as it seems rent negotiations are on-going.

First an example in South London.

“I am in dispute with my Landlord Enterprise as my rent is miles too high. The review is next year and PIRRS was sold on the back of being a cheap way to settle things. A near neighbour of mine in (town omitted) is being roasted by totally wild guesses as to his trade by the hired gun of Enterprise William Cuthbert of Fleurets. He’s so totally off beam that it would be an effing joke if his living was not on the block. Now I see the same William Cuthbert is one of the PIRRS valuers.  Is this some kind of sick joke I ask. Suppose the only way to do things cheaply is to battle on myself. Not looking forward to the new year.”

Second from the Derby area.

“Well done Pot Boy, the system looks crook to me which is why I have given it a thumbs down. How can the Experts be really independent if, as on the PIRRS website they declare that they still work for the likes of Punch and Enterprise. No valuer who gets fees from the big landlords will ever foul their own nest by coming out heavy against the hand that feeds them. Yeah, its human nature that they might give a rent reduction, but you won’t get them really hammering the Pubcos, they will find a soft middle way. No one gets slaughtered, honour is satisfied. Result. Now that Roger Vickers is supposed to be a good bloke so I am told, but would he really hammer my landlord Punch, in my rent review. He definitely works for Punch right now and is being paid heavily for the advice. Don’t want to take the risk of even thinking of asking him to be the expert as he gets too much out of Punch to take them apart. Way of the world.”

Next from near Staines.

“Looked at the PIRRS valuers national list and almost all of them work for the Pubcos. Can’t they find valuers who work for tenants like me. My Enterprise rent review is getting horrible. They want a rent increase which I can’t afford based on trade that now just isn’t there. Don’t want some Pubco valuer pretending that he has suddenly seen the light and acting all fair, like he has never been helping the Pubcos. Give me a break, I may have been green coming into this trade but in the years I have learned that once a Pubco valuer, always a Pubco valuer. Like a stick of rock, its written right through them.

OK so there might be one or two honest valuers in the bunch, but why ruin the system by tainting it with the bad ones as well. That valuer Cuthbert of Fluerts works for Greene King as their rent review man, so how come he holds out as being independent if I were to choose him as the expert PIRRS man. Better soldier on myself and do the best I can, at least I will not be tucked up by some Pubco valuer pretending to be all things to all men. Bl***y joke if I’m not mistaken”.

PB could go on and on, there are so many that are basically the same. You cannot have a fox settling a dispute over egg production sitting in the middle of the hen house without wondering how in the world did the authors of the system have the innocence not to see the cracks. People, especially tenants in dire financial hardship, are not that stupid but the alternative, Arbitration, is still a costly business if you don’t get the proper advice very early on.

Cellar flaps to manual !

Pot Boy.

Comment:-

Why do the BII refuse to acknowledge that the Independent Expert, should be someone who has no record at all of acting for Pub Co’s or Lessees, there is absolutely no reason why the expert could not be an Accountant or Commercial Lawyer or a knowledgeable professional.

If a licensee represents himself at PIRRS, which would appear to be the original concept, the person representing the Landlord should be the BDM not a high priced Valuer, the presenting persons should be of equal standing, BDM’s are the Landlords representative in the dispute they should be there, they also provide the calculations or estimations of their perceived levels of business, they should be totally accountable to PIRRS and not hide behind a professional valuer, who in many cases does not have an intimate knowledge of the premises.

If the lessee uses professional representation, then the other side should be equally represented if they choose.

The idea is low cost, not he who can pay for the best advice wins, in addition the Independent Expert is supposed to be totally fair and unbiased and the case should be decided on the evidence presented.

Unfortunately the take up on PIRRS is minimal, all the people that I have dealt with have had to capitulate because they have insufficient funds to pay the basic costs and research, as with all things the concept is good but the realities for people with  limited funds make it an impossible dream. The Pub Co’s know this and that is why the BDM’s are trying to send their struggling lessees to PIRRS, it needs a serious rethink to make it a reality.

Barfly

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Barrel-Dregs, in support of a few beers and increasing mental agility. (146)

The lighter side of a few beers, viewed from the drinkers side.

Two guys drinking in a bar, one says, “Well you see, it’s like this.. A heard of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the heard is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that get killed first. This natural selection is good for the heard as a whole, because the general speed and health of the heard keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest cells. Now, as we know, excessive intakes of alcohol kills brain cells. But, naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

If only, it’s a great thought, I’ll join Pot Boy for a few pints in his pub and sharpen my brain.

Barfly

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Barrel-Dregs, JFL call for comprehensive market study of the Pub Sector (145)

Justice For Licensees calls for an immediate and comprehensive market study of the pub sector by a totally independent body.

Please read this and your comments will be appreciated, assuming that you agree, there are a growing number of people who want stability and profitability in the Industry, but collectively we need your support.

The tied sector of the pub industry has come under considerable scrutiny and rightly so. The findings of the BESC are a damning insight into the reality of the pubco model as it is currently being ran. The Office of Fair Trading has just concluded an investigation, however they failed to look at the business to business relationship between landlord and tenant and this is where the crux of the matter lies, the consumers are a secondary aspect, that is they suffer because the tenant suffers. If rents and the cost of product and services under the pubco contract exceed the cost within the open market place for the same rents, products and services, then this leads to the market place becoming anti-competitive and distorted, the tenant must pass these costs onto the consumer, if they do not the business will not survive the counter argument is of course the point of tenants pricing themselves out of the market. An unfair, distorted, anti-competitive market place is not good for the trade.

The pubcos have argued that they operate a fair, competitive, mutually beneficial model, others argue that this is not the case, whilst all of this rumbles on there is a huge divide in this trade where there should not be one. This trade needs to stand as a strong united trade!

As high profile as this debacle has become there are still many tenants our there that are alone and isolated, that are unaware of the OFT or BESC or BISC, that have not had the chance to say ‘this is the reality of the situation, this is my honest and transparent view of my relationship with my pubco’, we feel that this not good enough for either sides of the debate and that a full market study by a totally independent body would lay all the arguments to rest once and for all and that only has to be good news for the trade.

Inez Ward, founder of JFL said “I’m tired, oh so tired, of all the arguments backwards and forwards, tired of watching a trade that I love being dragged through the mire, tired of listening to honest, hard working people having their lives ripped apart, tired of the huge divide in the trade where it needs to stand together for the benefit of the trade, tired of the deceit, tired of it all, this trade deserves better, it deserves honesty and transparency. The only way I can see out of all the arguments is a full market study, it would lay all the arguments to rest once and for all, wouldn’t that be good for all concerned? Wouldn’t that be good for the trade?

Note

This is an eminently sensible suggestion and is gathering support from many quarters, the Select Committee identified a serious flaw in the Industry by certain companies, which despite much talk has seen litle convincing change, except a scramble to impose more legal restrictions before any change occurs to certain sectors. There are excellent companies out there, who operate as the Industry always has for many years, without the troubles that  are causing continual hardship to many good people.

A totally unbiased appraisal of the situation, to put before the Select Committee in June 2011 would be a major coup for fairness and transparency, though who would fund it may represent a problem, however if a major Groundswell of opinion was raised the funding may just be found.

Barfly

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

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Barrel-Dregs, an Ode to Golf and Alcohol. (144)

 Some light humour for all our Golfing Readers

To Master Such A Tiny Ball, Should Not Be Very Hard At All

In My Hand I Hold A Ball,
White And Dimpled, And Rather Small.

Oh How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.

By Its Size I Could Not Guess,
Of The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.

But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell,
I’ve Wandered Through The Fires Of Hell.

My Life Has Not Been Quite The Same,
Since I Chose To Play This Game.

It Rules My Mind For Hours On End,
A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.

It Has Made Me Curse And Made Me Cry,
And Hate Myself And Want To Die.

It Promises Me A Thing Called Par,
If I Hit It Straight And Hit it Far.

To Master Such A Tiny Ball,
Should Not Be Very Hard At All.

But My Desires The Ball Refuses,
And Does Exactly As It Chooses.

It Hooks And Slices, Dribbles And Dies,
And Disappears Before My Eyes.

Often It Will Have A Whim,
To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.

With Miles Of Grass On Which To Land,
It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.

Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,
If Only It Would Find The Hole.

It’s Made Me Whimper Like A Pup
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.

And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows … I’ll Be Back Tomorrow.

—————————–

Stand proud you noble swingers of clubs and losers of balls!

A recent study found the average golfer walks about 900 miles a  year.
Another study found golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol  a
year.
That means, on average, golfers get about 41 miles to the  gallon.
Kind of makes you proud. Almost feels like a hybrid.

Barfly

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.