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Safety

| Help | October 24, 2012

A sharing agreement may have a major impact upon your life and your finances.

If it is a major investment you should consider the contract rather like a marriage. It should bring you years of happiness, but don’t go into it lightly and without proper consideration.

There are some potentially serious safety and security risks if you meet potential sharers and enter a sharing agreement without taking some precautions. Below we explain the risks and how to minimse them to a level most people find acceptable.

The information on this page, and the whole of the yours2share website, is based upon the laws in England and Wales only.

What are the risks?

yours2share cannot vet its members. So you need to apply caution and take advice appropriate with the level of risk. There are two areas of risk:

  • The personal risk of meeting a stranger
  • The financial risk of the sharing agreement

How do I reduce my personal risk?

There are several easy things you can do to reduce your personal risk to a minimum. These include:

  • If you already own the asset you wish to share, make sure that the exact location of the asset is not clear from the advert
  • Communicate through yours2share private mailbox until you feel comfortable to exchange phone numbers/contact details
  • Discuss the potential agreement over the phone and only when you feel comfortable, arrange to meet.
  • If the asset is already owned by someone, it may be sensible to meet at the owner’s home so that you can see the asset if convenient, but take a partner or friend with you.
  • If the asset is yet to be bought, meet at a public place; a pub or cafe is best. If you do meet at someone’s house, take a partner or friend with you.
  • Regardless of the above, if you can, take a partner or friend with you for the first meeting and preferably to all meetings. Two heads are always better than one.
  • yours2share operates in a similar manner to most on-line dating agencies and social networking websites. For you to communicate with someone, they must registered and been able to recieve emails. Some will have made a payment and therefore used a credit card. This means that there is a clear trail back to the person; this deters people considering using yours2share as a tool to find victims.
  • If you have any concerns about the other person(s) trustworthiness at any point, make your apologies and leave. Your instincts are usually right. It is not worth waiting to find out if you are wrong.

How do I reduce my financial risk?

The level of financial risk will be different for every person, asset and specific sharing agreement. But it is a combination of the actual amount of money, and its importance to you, together with the implications of the sharing agreement going wrong that create the risk. To reduce the financial risks:

  • Be completely honest and detailed in your advert
  • Read the adverts you are replying to carefully; consider what is not said as much as what is said.
  • Once you think there is a possible sharing agreement ahead check out the other sharer(s).
  • Discuss with your potential sharer(s) all the details that make up the sharing agreement. The kinds of issues you need to agree are outlined in sharing agreements. These will form the basis of your contract. The actual discussion and negotiation of all these details will confirm to you whether or not this is/these are the right person(s) with whom to be sharing
  • Finally if you go ahead with the sharing agreement, get proper professional advice and always have a written agreement.

What kind of checks can I make on the other sharers?

The checks below apply to England and Wales only. In other countries, you may have significantly greater or lesser freedom to do address, credit or criminal checks; a search on Google or an independent legal adviser should be able to advise about what is possible. However these points should give you an idea.

  • Check 192 to see if they are on the electoral register or registered as a company director at their address. Do the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all the people at the address tally and make sense
  • If you have friends or acquaintances in common, give them a call and ask their opinion of the prospective sharer.
  • Check out any key facts that have come out in conversation: do they really belong to that club, or work for that company, really play tennis? These things can be often checked by a simple phone call or a quick search on the Internet.
  • Take up references. You can ask their bank or building society, employer, previous landlord or a character reference. Whilst the reference may be written, you can call the referee to check the information supplied. You can often tell more from their reactions on the phone than from a bland reference.
  • In the UK you cannot do a credit check on another person, but you can do one for yourself through Equifax and Experian. It is not unreasonable to do one for yourself and ask the other sharer(s) to do the same and allow you to see a copy: you should ask to see the actual liveweb site not simply a print of the pages.
  • Similarly in the UK you cannot do a criminal check on another person, but you can do a subject access request for yourself with your local police force or the national police register. So again it is not unreasonable to do one for yourself and ask the other sharer(s) to do the same and allow you to see a the original copy: this is a difficult document to forge. Here at Metropolitan Police you will find the subject access form for the Metropolitan Police, which you complete and take to your local police station. It costs £10 and it takes up to 40 days. Here at UK Police Forces are the details of all the other police forces in the UK.
  • If you are considering buying a part share in a property already owned by someone, you can check the property’s legal ownership and find out if there are any loans secured against the property through Land Registry. You can also check if there are any bankruptcies registered at this address. You will need to register with the Land Registry to do this and there is a charge.

Why doesn’t yours2share vet advertisers?

yours2share does not vet advertisers for several reasons:

  • yours2share cannot make criminal checks on individuals, as only a few organizations such as schools are allowed to do this
  • yours2share cannot make credit checks on individuals, as only a few organizations such as credit lending agencies are allowed to do this
  • However even if we could make such checks unless we interviewed people extensively and checked out many ad hoc facts, it is impossible to guarantee that someone is completely bona fide. It would also mean ensuring a vetting policy for all countries and the means to undertake vetting differ widely from country to country.
  • If we did vet all members, there is a serious danger that people would then ignore warning signs about someone simply because they believed that we had vetted them.

What do you do if an ad or person appears suspicious?

If you see an ad that seems suspicious, please contact us. We will investigate and if we agree, we will remove the ad and block the user.

If you become suspicious of someone whilst emailing or after meeting them, please let us know.

If you report someone, please explain your reasons for suspicion.

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