Whether it’s because the media have become hotter on the subject, or for a completely different reason, we’re not going to speculate. However, the point we’re trying to make is that media outlets seem to be reporting more and more about businesses that get fined. Of course, the big players often grab the headlines, but tightened regulations mean that everyone is at risk.
As a small business, this can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you look at some of the missed court fine payment terms that you might have to look at.
Bearing this in mind, we have today detailed some of the main reasons why businesses are getting fined in today’s era – to make sure that you don’t fall into these traps.
As we all know, something that is on the tip of a lot of tongues at the moment is how we are all treating the environment.
Well, failing to recycle isn’t probably going to give you too much trouble for the time being, but some actions will.
This was found out by Anadarko Petroleum in 2014, who were hit by a fine of over $5 billion for the way in which they had managed environmental contamination over the past two decades.
Then, more recently, there was Volkswagen. Their fine totalled almost $15 billion after falsifying emission test results, in a bid to sell more vehicles.
Financial crime fines
Out of everything that we cover today, there’s no doubt that financial misdemeanours are the ones which can impact your business the most.
On the plus side, if history is anything to go by, it’s mainly banks that have been hit by such fines.
Unsurprisingly, these fines have been substantial as well. For example, back in 2014 the Bank of America made a settlement of over $16 billion for their role in the mortgage crisis several years earlier. Specifically, they were ignoring the warning signs about the sheer number of poor-quality mortgages that they were investing in.
Then, there are classic examples of tax evasion, which are probably more likely to affect the standard, smaller business. For example, in the same year, Credit Suisse were hit with a fine of almost $3 billion which related to how they were helping some citizens avoid taxes. It perhaps again highlights just how serious these financial crimes can be taken.
Something that has become a lot more common over the years are firms being subjected to fines because of the way in which they treat (or don’t treat) customer information.
At times, this might be through no direct fault of their own. For example, some fines have arisen because their systems have been hacked – with the authorities keen to point out that companies should do whatever possible to preserve sensitive data.
Again, your business probably isn’t going to be facing fines of billions, but it’s worth acquainting yourself with all of the data regulations that might cause you financial pain later down the line.