How are businesses coping with GDPR?

Now that GDPR has been in force for a number of months, we thought it was time to take a look at how it’s affecting businesses. Are companies struggling to keep up? What impact have the regulations had on digital services? Are we likely to see organisations punished with large fines in the future? Here, we take a look at how businesses are coping with GDPR and what challenges they face.

Struggling to cope with data requests

With the introduction of GDPR, businesses have found themselves struggling to keep up with a large increase in data requests being filed. Businesses such as Facebook, Netflix, and Marriott are reportedly overwhelmed by the incredible number of requests they’re faced with, and the administrative burden is thought to be huge. This situation is exacerbated by the concerted efforts of online privacy activists, who are creating apps and websites that make it easier to file a request. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has also thrown a serious amount of fuel on the fire and encouraged greater quantities of people to challenge big businesses’ data collection practices.

Searching for that data

Businesses are also struggling to locate and identify all the personal data that they’ve retained over the years. Customers now communicate with businesses over numerous different platforms, in many different ways, with all the data collected stored in a largely unorganised manner. All parts of a business collect customer data, meaning that the information harvested is often siloed and stored throughout the organisation in different places and ways. Retrieving this data is proving extremely expensive, both financially, and in the amount of time being dedicated to data collation.

Frantic marketing messages

As you’ve probably noticed, marketing departments have been hit hard by GDPR and are frantically attempting to contact their customers in an effort to update their consent agreements. Email inboxes have been flooded with messages requesting users renew their consent to be contacted, and businesses are concerned that their marketing base could be drastically reduced by new GDPR regulations.

The GDPR awareness effect

The introduction of GDPR seems to have had an impact on public awareness of digital privacy issues. This in turn has affected those organisations that have developed a business model orientated towards personal data collection. With the implementation of GDPR, companies like Facebook have experienced drops in membership figures, as users become increasingly aware of potentially troubling privacy policies.

It’s difficult to determine whether lower membership figures are entirely due to GDPR (Facebook were still suffering from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal at the time of writing), but the policy does seem to be impacting on these types of business.

Grant Usher is an Associate Solicitor in the Corporate and Commercial team, he can be contacted on 023 9231 2058 or by email to grant.usher@verisonalaw.com.


Corporate

  • Sale and purchase of business, asset and shares
  • Business start-ups and SME’s
  • Management Buy-Outs (MBO’s) and Buy-Ins (MBI)
  • Share buy backs
  • Due diligence
  • Company re-organisation and re-structuring advice
  • Shareholders’ and partnership agreements
  • LLP and Partnership advice
  • Shareholder disputes

Finance

  • Drafting inter-creditor, facility, guarantee and other security agreements
  • Subordination and priority arrangements
  • Advice on personal and corporate guarantees

Commercial

  • Joint ventures and collaboration agreements
  • Terms and conditions of sale or purchase for goods/services
  • Agency and distribution agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDA)
  • Bespoke trading agreements
  • Intellectual property protection

Company Secretarial

  • Incorporation of limited liability partnerships and companies
  • Creating and/or maintaining statutory registers, minute books and share certificates
  • Preparing board minutes, resolutions and notices
  • Assisting with your annual return
  • Drafting or amending Articles of Association
  • Dissolving or striking companies off the register
  • Implementing changes to your share capital
  • Drafting and filing of Companies House forms.

Dealing with creditors’ demands for personal guarantee payments

The company had substantial liabilities to the bank and its landlord. These liabilities were personally guaranteed, jointly and severally, by both directors.

The bank and landlord both called in the personal guarantees by pursuing our client, rather than the co-director who had little cash or assets. 

As a result our client was required to pay the guarantees totalling tens of thousands of pounds.

Claiming a share of the guarantee payments from the co-director

We were instructed to pursue a claim against the co-director for a contribution of half the amount our client had paid. 

The co-director instructed solicitors to resist the claim, alleging they had little or no involvement or control in the business and so should not have to contribute.         

We built a case based on the detailed consideration of historic company records which demonstrated the extent of each directors’ involvement in the company.  We supplied extensive witness statements and secured the disclosure of financial and other company records relevant to the case.

A number of witnesses also gave evidence at trial. 

Winning and enforcing the claim

We secured a judgment at trial against their former co-director for half of the sum our client paid under the personal guarantees, together with interest and their legal costs. 

Subsequently we took enforcement action to recover payment and, despite the co-director’s limited means, successfully recovered the full sum for our client.

Former Director and Shareholder of Limited Company

"The background to the situation was complicated, yet Verisona Law quickly grasped the essentials and prepared clear arguments with a minimum of wasted time and cost.

Throughout a worrying period, their calm approach allowed me to fulfil my group function with a restored confidence, having been distracted prior to Verisona Law’s appointment by the aggressive and unjustified stance of the Secretary of State.

I have no hesitation in recommending Verisona Law to anyone in a similar position."

Chairman of a group of companies in the construction industry

"I met Mike Dyer, Head of Commercial Law at Verisona, during October 2012 and they were already heavily involved in the bid for ownership of Portsmouth Football Club. Both he and the Verisona team have been an absolute pleasure to work with ever since.

Verisona handled all legal aspects of the takeover and were available to both myself and the bid team 24/7. One of their greatest attributes is their flexibility in working to get the job done. I never once felt that calling during out of office hours was inappropriate, and we would often have conversations at 9, 10 and 11 o’clock at night, as well as weekends.

We have established an excellent working relationship with Verisona. The firm got very involved in all aspects of the takeover, looked after us and truly cared about our success.

I have worked with multiple Commercial Law firms during my 30 year business career and Verisona are by far the best that I have come across.

We have continued to use Verisona as our legal support post-administration and the firm gives us advice and support as we establish PCFC and get to grips with running the Club. Verisona are accessible, approachable, proactive and work very hard to earn their success."

Portsmouth Community Football Club Limited


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