Guide to Dorchester and South Dorset LETS
Although no tokens of any kind change hands within the system, we need a local currency with which to measure time and effort for exchange purposes, and our local currency is known as the MART, and 1 MART equates approximately to £1 Sterling.
The person requiring a service consults the relevant member in the directory and makes a mutually agreeable arrangement. When the job is done satisfactorily, a LETS cheque, e mail or text notification is then passed on to the LETS treasurer for accounting. Occasionally we get together with members in other LETS groups and it is also possible to trade with them.
DON’T WORRY WHEN YOUR ACCOUNT IS IN DEBIT. Members can take their time to balance their account if they wish – there are no interest charges and there is no stigma in being in debit. In fact the system works best when at least half the accounts are in debit.
Probably twice a year the turnover and balance of everyone’s account will be published for all to see. ‘Social pressure’ tends to keep most of the accounts reasonably in order. As you will see in the Membership Agreement, the Management Group will take steps to avoid any member seriously abusing the system.
Costs of running the system
Although we hope to be using mostly Marts for payment of goods and services within the group, good ol’ Sterling will still be required to cover costs of hiring halls for events, printing, advertising leaflets etc. Over the time the system has been running, the membership fee has been enough to cover these costs In the main. the system pays for itself and the running costs are reassessed annually and charges adjusted accordingly. Remember, we are not looking for profits, only to keep the system in balance.
An annual membership fee is £5 for an individual or family account (i.e at one address) and £8 for a business account (which includes a boxed advertisement in the directory). The fee for Senior Citizens and unwaged is £3.00 + 2 Marts (totalling 5). For this a Dorchester and South Dorset LETS Directory, cheque book and Newsletter are provided. Approximately every 2 months, members receive an amendment sheet and new address list (if necessary) a statement of their account and a newsletter. Twice a year a statement of all members’ accounts is published. New applications are welcomed at any time and details will be circulated to the rest of the group in the next update or addition to the directory.
- Dorchester and South Dorset LETS is a non profit membership society. It is organised and managed by a Core Group which acts on behalf of the members.
- The Core Group provides an information service through which members can exchange goods and services, and maintains a central account of that exchange for the benefit of members
- Members agree to the system holding their details on computer and distributing to other LETS members for the purposes of exchange.
- Members pay, give or receive from one another, credit in the Dorchester and South Dorset LETS unit of currency, called the MART which roughly equals one pound sterling. Marts are recorded centrally on the Dorchester and South Dorset LETS Marts accounts.
- Only the account holder can authorise the transfer of Marts from their account to that of another (except for essential service charges that may be transferred by the Marts accountant to the system’s administration account).
- No interest is ever charged on accounts. The Core Group is authorised to charge joining and renewal fees. They may also levy service charges on members’ accounts in Marts. Both are on a cost-of-service basis, agreed in consultation with the members.
- All accounts start with a credit of 20 Marts to encourage the first trade. Members are not obliged to have credit in their account before issuing another member with credit, subject to any limit that may be set by the Core Group.
- No money is deposited into or issued from the Dorchester and South Dorset LETS accounts. Members may engage in any transaction entirely in Marts, or on a part-cash basis, (see para. Q) but only Marts are recorded on the system.
- No-one is obliged to accept any particular invitation to trade, or to engage in any transaction with another member. On leaving Dorchester and South Dorset LETS however, members with commitments outstanding are obliged to balance their account.
- Any member is entitled to know the balance and turnover of another member’s account. The Core Group publishes the balances and turnovers of all accounts from time to time.
- Dorchester & South Dorset LETS gives no warranty or undertaking as to the value, condition or quality of services or items offered. Members should seek to determine for themselves the quality or standard of workmanship offered before agreeing to trade. Dorchester and South Dorset LETS publishes a directory of resources and services made available by members, but, as with any directory or newspaper, it cannot be held responsible for the quality of goods and services on offer.
- Members are individually responsible for their own personal tax liabilities and returns. Dorchester and South Dorset LETS has no liability to claims for tax on participants, and has no obligation or liability to report to the tax authorities or collect taxes on their behalf.
- Dorchester and South Dorset LETS administrators may decline to record an account or directory entry considered inappropriate for legal or other reasons.
- Members have the right and are encouraged to attend any meeting of the Core Group, and to participate in discussions. Members have the right to appeal (via the Core Group) on all management decisions.
- The Core Group reserves the right to deny membership to an applicant in exceptional circumstances at their discretion. It may act on behalf of the system in seeking explanation or satisfaction from a person whose activity is considered to be contrary to the interests of the group. The Core Group may suspend membership in the case of delinquent accounts and, in the last resort, may remove members from the system.
- Any members, including the Core Group, who are assisting towards the administration and general running of the system will be paid in Marts for their services, and therefore a System Account will be kept in Marts for this purpose.
- Business members agree to accept a minimum of 50% of their charge in LETS currency, excluding the cost of materials. Other members may charge sterling for expenses e.g. fuel and other sterling costs.
- Members agree to Dorchester and South Dorset LETS publishing their details, photographs etc. on our website, blog, press releases and/or newsletters as appropriate for the benefit of promoting the group; unless requested otherwise at any stage by the individual member.
- Members agree to be bound by the conditions in this Members’ Agreement before they agree to trade.