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Thousands left without money after Small World LCC ceases trading

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Migrants looking at a closed branch of Money Transfer Small World
Customers look at a notice of suspension of services at a Small World LCC branch in London

“Every month I send €800 to help my son with his university costs and general maintenance. It has been over a week, and the money hasn’t arrived yet,” says Nara Baracho, a Brazilian migrant who works at an industrial laundry in Switzerland.

Nara is one of thousands of customers across Europe who, this week, were taken by surprise by the suspension of services of Small World (LCC), a money transfer company operating since 2005 with offices and presence in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

“I have used them for over 13 years and it is regrettable that they left so many people without their money. Earlier in the week I tried to contact Small World by email and received a message saying that my message had been blocked,” explains Baracho providing a screenshot of the message received as proof.

A popular money transfer service among migrants, until recently Small World LCC offered money transfer services to over 180 worldwide destinations. In 2018, the company generated revenues in excess of £110m.

On Thursday, June 14th, however, a “Suspension of Services” disclaimer was posted on the Small World website, informing customers of recent changes and that the company had stopped accepting any new customers or agents, as well as sending money abroad.

“We want to tell you about some important changes at Small World.

From now, Small World has stopped accepting any new customers or agents, accepting funds or making payments for existing customers through all channels, including any of its agents, branches, web sites or mobile applications.

If you ask us to make a payment, we may not be able to make that payment. Where we have already sent the funds to a bank or other third party that we use to deliver the funds to the person you are trying to pay, it is possible that the bank or third party has paid the funds to your recipient or will do so in the usual timeframes.”

Customers going to physical branches in England, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland also encountered similar messages affixed to Small World LCC closed doors. The announcement was not 100% true: throughout June 14th, Small World LCC still had the send money button fully active, hours after the company started to inform customers of service suspension, even if most of the site was already with limited access.

For Marbel Luz Carrillo, a Colombian who lives in Barcelona, Spain, that timeframe has long passed. The worker used Small World LCC on Saturday, June 8th to send funds to help relatives to make home repairs – a week later, Marbel is still awaiting any response regarding whether her family will receive the money sent.

“I have been here in Spain for 24 years, and on many other occasions I have sent money through this company (Small World LCC) without any issues. I am surprised that this is happening because, in my opinion, they were one of the best companies for sending money abroad,” says Luz Carrillo, expressing disappointment. She is currently without work and has used funds from her severance pay to help her family back home.

“I will continue to insist that Small World LCC return the money sent to me or make the payment in my country (Colombia). If not, I will file a complaint for scam with the competent authorities here in Barcelona,” says Mabel.

Another victim of Small World LCC this week is auto paint technician Adilson Mamede. Last week, he used a branch located in London to send £210 to Brazil to help with the purchase of tickets for family members to visit him. On Wednesday, after many days without the transaction being completed, Adilson visited the same location and was informed that the delay was due to technical issues with Small World LCC’s database and that the money would be available shortly at the intended destination. After 48 hours passed without any updates from the money transfer company, he returned to the branch, but this time, it was closed with several posters announcing the end of activities. He never got his money back.

Jennifer Cortegana, a student who lives in Peru, has been waiting for funds sent by her father, a transportation worker based in Spain, since June 7th.

“The money is intended to pay for my university and health bills. He used Small World LCC before and had no problems. Now they don’t respond to any form of contact. Their offices are closed and they do not respond to calls or emails,” worries Jennifer.

A Brazilian model who preferred to stay anonymous used Small World LCC for the first time last week in Italy, where she lives. The money sent to help her family in Brazil has never arrived, either. “I made the deposit via Small World on June 8th and was informed that it would be in the beneficiary’s account the next business day. The store is now closed, and the money has not been sent to my family,” says the freelancer professional, who managed to contact Small World LCC customer service but was informed that “there were some technical errors in the system, and there would be no date for returning to normal activities.”

Customers affected by Small World LCC payment delays are now getting together to try to recover their cash. Groups have been created on social media platforms such as Facebook and Telegram. The goal is to sue the company collectively for breach of contract.

Euronewsweek has reached out to Small World LLC using its telephone number available for customer service, as well as individual branches in the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. Calls are being forwarded to voicemail, but no feedback or return calls are being carried out. Calls to the Small World LCC headquarters in Blackfriars, London, are being answered with a recorded message informing customers that the company is no longer accepting new registrations or making money transfers, and giving callers an email that is being answered with an automated message informing people how to track the status of their transactions.

The suspected collapse of Small World comes a few months after the company was fined £139,500 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom for breaching competition rules alongside two other transfer firms. In that case, the British regulator found Small World, Hafiz Bros and LCC Trans-Sending coordinated on certain exchange rates offered to customers in Glasgow for converting pounds to Pakistan Rupees when transferring money. 

Euronewsweek also reached out to Equistone Partners, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity firms, which invested in Small World Financial Services back in 2018 – but we had no reply from its UK office.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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Why Potholes are a Problem for Businesses and What to Do About Them

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A silver car on the road passing by a big pothole
Potholes are a common issue across the country, with the RAC estimating more than one million of them in the UK.

Unless you run a garage, potholes are bad for businesses. The deep holes in a road’s surface can cause many vehicle issues, such as tyre damage or deflation, wheel rim bending, broken suspension springs, or alignment problems.

Unfortunately, potholes are a common issue across the country, as the RAC estimates there are more than one million in the UK.  So, why are they a problem for businesses, and what can they do about them?

What Causes Potholes?

A pothole develops when water seeps into the tiny cracks in a road surface, which commonly form due to excess traffic. The water may then freeze and expand, causing the cracks to become large once it thaws. It weakens the surface while allowing more water to enter, and the potholes could be exacerbated by heavy rainfall. Heavy traffic over the weak road causes a small hole to develop, which will grow due to the pressure of passing cars.

Why are Potholes Bad for Businesses?

Businesses have a duty of care to their employees, which is why potholes are a big problem, as they can pose a risk to employee safety on the road. Also, they could increase the risk of a collision with one or more motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists.

Potholes are a threat to businesses dependent on efficient road infrastructure and transportation, such as courier firms or logistics companies. If a pothole causes significant damage to a vehicle, a small business might be unable to operate for many days until the necessary repairs are complete. As a result, it could lead to a loss of business, customer dissatisfaction, and reputational damage.

What Can Businesses Do About Potholes?

Businesses cannot force local councils to fill potholes across towns and cities, but they can prevent the deep holes on their premises. Improve road safety on-site with a dependable pothole repair kit, which you can apply straight from a bucket and use in all weather conditions.

It will allow your business to create a safer, usable environment for all on-site vehicles. You can use it to fill gaps on various surfaces, such as drives, paths, cycle tracks, and manholes. It will minimise road safety issues and prevent your vehicles from sustaining damage on the premises.

Also, your business could request its employees avoid driving over potholes, but only when it is safe to do so. If it isn’t safe, they will have no option but to drive over them. However, they could decrease damage by reducing their speed or distancing their vehicle from other motorists if possible.

Potholes can pose a risk to employee safety and cause substantial damage to many business vehicles. If a vehicle experiences damage on the road, a company might have no other option but to spend a large sum on essential repairs to get it back on the road, which can drain its profitability.

Also, a lengthy vehicle repair could impact a business’s operations, affecting its revenue, customer satisfaction, and reputation. Unfortunately, you cannot change the UK’s roads, but you can repair potholes on-site and teach your drivers how to safely drive over them to prevent accidents and minimise repairs.

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Chocolate Lovers Wanted as Cadbury Seeks 48 Tasters in the UK

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Chocolate Lovers Wanted as Cadbury Seeks 48 Tasters in the UK
• The roles involve tasting iconic brands such as Cadbury, Toblerone and Milka, and providing feedback to support product development.

Mondelēz International is recruiting 48 Sensory Panellist job roles at its historic Bournville site in Birmingham. The part-time roles, also known as chocolate tasters, will play a crucial role in product development by tasting and providing consistent, objective and honest feedback on new chocolate products, including iconic brands such as Cadbury, Toblerone and Milka.

Successful applicants will bring a passion for food, a desire to try new and inventive products, as well as a communicative personality to collaborate with other panellists. Full training is provided, including helping successful applicants to develop their taste buds and learn the specific vocabulary required to communicate feedback.

The Sensory Panellist roles are part of ongoing investment being made at the iconic Bournville site, the home of Cadbury, with the brand celebrating its 200th anniversary year. The roles, which were previously located at our Reading Scientific Services site in Wokingham, will now be based out of Mondelēz’s Global Centre of Excellence for Chocolate research and development at Bournville.

The roles play an important role in Mondelēz International’s commitment to world class innovation, ensuring it continues to adapt to changing consumer trends and delivering choice for consumers. Recently it has continued to enhance its health and wellbeing portfolio. In 2023 it launched Cadbury Delights, a new range of confectionary under 100 calories per bar, and in April this year it launched Cadbury Brunch Light, new non-HFSS (non-high in fat, salt and sugar) range of Cadbury Brunch Bars with each bar containing less than 100 calories.

“We are hugely excited to be recruiting 48 Sensory Panellists to join our amazing research and development team in Bournville. Often called a ‘dream job’ for many, the tasters will play an invaluable role in helping to develop the perfect taste profiles for our amazing products. Previously our Sensory Panellists have helped develop consumer favourites including Caramilk and Toblerone Truffles.

“We currently have around 600 employees working in a variety of research and development roles in the UK and are looking forward to welcoming our newly trained chocolate tasters to the team. They will enable us to continue to innovate and lead the future of snacking,” says Afsha Chugtai, Section Manager in the Consumer Science Team at Mondelēz International.

This year Cadbury is celebrating its 200th year anniversary. To mark the occasion the chocolatier has released a national television advert that reflects its core values of generosity; launched Cadbury Dairy Milk bars in stores with packaging designs from 1915 to the current day; and partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK, donating £200,000 to support research to one day find a cure for dementia and drive awareness of the condition.

To find out more about careers at Mondelēz International and apply to become a chocolate taster, visit: https://www.mondelezinternational.com/careers

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Left-Wing Coalition Surprises in French Elections

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Left-Wing Coalition Surprises in French Elections
Non, merci: Far-Left Coalition shrinks Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen in surprising French elections. | Photo: Peter Curbishley

When the New Popular Front (NFP), a coalition of four left-wing parties, came together in June to present a united front and keep the National Rally from winning a majority in France after President Emmanuel Macron called the snap election, few predicted the surprising results of the legislative elections across the country.

Having won 182 seats in the National Assembly, largely thanks to tactical voting in Sunday’s second-round election, the New Popular Front is now the largest political group in France. However, this number of seats is still less than the 289 required for an absolute majority.

France’s latest election results risk slowing down decision-making in the European Union’s second-largest economy. Despite leading after the first round of votes, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party and its allies won only 143 seats, while President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance secured 163 seats.

The second round of the legislative elections in France took place on July 6 and 7. On July 6, voters cast their ballots in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy, French Polynesia, and in embassies and consulates located in the Americas and Caribbean zone. On Sunday, July 7, citizens voted in mainland France, Réunion, Mayotte, New Caledonia, and in embassies and consulates outside the Americas and Caribbean zone.

According to the French Interior Ministry, the second round of the legislative elections had a good turnout, reaching 59.71% at 5 PM on Sunday, July 7, 2024 – a significant increase compared to 2022’s turnout of 38%.

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