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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the most popular threads, comments and advice from the forums.
Here are my top picks from the last week.
It was recently announced we may not get back to normal for at least six months, whether that means complete lockdown for six months is another thing. But, assuming it does, what is the likelihood of further Government grants for businesses who already qualify through business rates criteria?
Mr D: Possible, or we could have some different criteria for particular types of business. Government could always just tell us to focus on the loans. The ones that businesses may well not be able to get.
JEREMY HAWKE: Britain will be a wasteland if this goes on much longer. I don't see us ever recovering from this. Am I the only one that even worries about this?
mattk: I think once the cost of furlough starts to hit the Treasury, there'll be panic, rather than further handouts. I simply cannot begin to believe they have thought this through and have a long-term plan.
prophet01: @JEREMY HAWKE Jeremy, please tell me you're not being serious… If you are being serious, I sincerely hope you are the only one with the same worries.
If the UK is following the Italian, Spanish, French COVID-19 model, there will be some 1,400 deaths in total by 1 April. If the USA follows the same trend, they will have had 1,800 deaths by the same point.
Those three countries have seen a six-fold increase in total deaths-to-date every seven days. The UK so far has seen a ten-fold increase every seven days. On 7 March, it was two deaths, then 21 on the 14th, 233 on the 21st, and 433 on the 25th.
What we do not know for any country is the infection rate, because no-one has been able to test an entire population. And because we don't know the overall infection rate, we have no idea what the case fatality rate really is.
But then there is that other killer - a recession. Over the past few weeks, a deep recession has come to be accepted as the inevitable economic price of slowing the advance of COVID-19. Staggeringly bad numbers from IHS Markit indicate a recession every bit as bad as the financial crisis of 2007-09, and probably worse.
Mr D: It may well make the depression look like a holiday. Three months, the Government said. Trump reckons by Easter. I’m not 100% we will be off people self-isolating by Christmas.
mattk: 12 weeks sounds extremely optimistic and if everything reopens, pubs open their doors, restaurants are teeming etc. would this significantly increase the chance of another outbreak, more isolation, potential rolling quarantine and so on?
SillyBill: If I was a betting man I'd wager we're currently in a worse recession than 2008/09. The next question is whether it will be as bad as the late 1920s/early 30s. And that is a sobering question.
MBE2017: Burundi is the only country in Africa with no confirmed case of COVID-19. When the health minister was asked what was the secret, he said it was very simple. “We do not have any coronavirus testing kit”.
I’m taking this unusual time at home to do some research into a future business idea.
My partner and I would like to purchase a small cafe, both of us would be owner-operators. I am a catering/hospitality manager with 12 years’ experience and my partner is a marketing manager.
I would like to know how best to approach the residential and commercial mortgage side of things as we want to purchase a cafe and also need accommodation. If a prospective business is for sale for £40,000 without attached accommodation for the owners, and we have around £50,000 in savings.
I’m not sure which carries less risk and what is more appealing to mortgage lenders - put all our cash into the business or split between that and living accommodation?
Clinton: I would advise against doing ANY of the above. If they are asking for £40,000, it's probably worth £0. So you need to get them down to that price first.
Lynn10: I nearly bought a cafe a couple of years ago. Before I did, I worked in a local cafe for a few months to see if I liked it and what was involved. That cafe has now gone out of business. It's very difficult to be a successful cafe now that the big chains are around. You have to be able to offer something they don't.
Darren_ssc: My office is in a small market town which is basically just hairdressers and cafes - all closed now, of course. I think most will be either for sale or just go out of business in the near future. I think the ones to look out for are those who just want out of current commitments rather than to salvage some profit.
ecommerce84: @Cornishmaid Do you watch Dragons’ Den? People on there vastly overvalue their businesses almost every time.
We took a phone order in February and the customer paid by card. We processed the transaction through the PayPal virtual terminal. This went through so we shipped the products to the same address as the card was registered to.
UPS delivered the products to the buyer, but they were not in, so they were taken to a UPS hub, where the customer signed for and collected the item.
A couple of weeks later, PayPal contacted us to say the buyer disputed the transaction and asked us to send over evidence. We sent over the proof of payment, an email we sent to the buyer with the tracking details on, the tracking number for UPS which shows the customer signed for the goods etc.
After a few weeks, PayPal confirmed it was safe to withdraw those funds. However, I then had an email from them saying the buyer's financial institution has upheld the case, and now we owe PayPal £3,260. Any advice?
Nico Albrecht: Find out what credit card chargeback code was used by the buyer's financial institution to PayPal. Did the buyer give a reason as to why they disputed the PayPal transaction?
Mr D: Sounds like the card company decided in favour of their customer, hence PayPal being stung for funds and wanting you to pay it. Annoying but not uncommon with chargebacks.
Guy Incognito: I sympathise hugely with this. It is not on. It sounds like UPS are the ones to go after if they have released goods to someone who is not the correct person (if this is even the case).
Lucan Orderly: The customer must have required the 'attempted delivery' card or other notification in order to collect the goods. They could only have got that by being resident at the delivery address?
That's all for this week – have a great run into the weekend!