RAMLETS (Ramsgate Local Exchange Trading System) is a community-based barter system. RAMLETS members pool their skills and resources to form a local network, which allows them to trade goods and services without using money. Instead of using pounds and pence, RAMLETS has its own 'currency' called 'Rams'. RAMLETS was started in 2014 and is one of over 450 similar systems around the country. There are similar systems throughout the world, and RAMLETS has contacts with some of them.
Anyone can become a member of RAMLETS because we all have something to offer whether it is a skill such as decorating or chiropody, or a service such as shopping or giving people a lift. Local organisations such as schools, churches, charities and businesses can join as well as individuals. A list of all the goods and services offered by members is published in a Directory which is updated and distributed to members on request, and always available via the internet. It covers cookery, gardening, hire of equipment, childcare, building and decorating and much more.The directory is also available on the web, but personal contact details are only shown to members. A ramlets.org.uk email address can be provided to redirect to a members email if required.
You earn Rams by providing a service, and spend them on something you want from the Directory. For example, you may earn credit by gardening or cooking for someone, and spend it later on reflexology or carpentry offered by other RAMLETS members. In other words, you do not have to find a straight swap. Being a member of RAMLETS is a way of getting things done when you may not have the cash to pay for them, and of helping out other people. It is also a way of keeping in touch with your local community.
To trade, each member registers their services or goods onto the system via email, post or telephone message. Payment is made via the website or by sending an email detailing the transaction to accounts@RAMLETS.org.uk and also to the payee. Payments may also be made by sending an SMS from your registered phone with the payee’s ID, the amount and details of the transaction, or by phone message.
The RAMLETS office acts as a bank by processing the payments and updating members' accounts. Balances are always available via the RAMLETS website, and a transaction history can be seen on a password protected web page.
RAMLETS' success depends on the trust and openness of its members: all accounts are available for inspection on request.
You can trade by contacting the person offering the service you require (members' telephone numbers and email addresses are published in the Directory and on a restricted site on the web).
Market Days and Socials give members a chance to meet and to trade.
You may accept or decline an invitation to trade. A chaperone can be used when trading with an unknown member.
If you are in doubt about a person's ability to do a job, or his/her intention to pay, you can make enquiries about them at the RAMLETS office, just as you would for a cash transaction.
A copy of the Trading Regulations is available at the RAMLETS office and on the web site.
Note that you should request confirmation of qualifications and insurance where applicable, for example when undertaking health related services.
Trading with other LETS schemes is sometimes possible, contact admin@RAMLETS.org.uk for details.
It is up to you to negotiate a price. As a rough guide, one Ram is equivalent to 6 minutes of someone's time (i.e. 10 Rams per hour). However, members can negotiate a price for each transaction.
You may choose to charge part in Rams and part in sterling. For example, if your service involves buying materials you may prefer to charge sterling for the materials and Rams for the labour. Only the Rams part of the transaction is recorded by the RAMLETS office.
Debit and Credit
RAMLETS is a non-profit making organisation so no interest is charged on debit amounts, and credits have no value unless they are used.
RAMLETS is a closed system (i.e. only members can use it) and there must always be some members with a commitment to pay (i.e. in 'debt') for trading to take place.
Members do not have to be in credit to trade. A debit balance merely signifies a commitment to trade. At any one time half of the members will have a negative balance. Members with a large positive or negative balance will be requested to address the issue.
If RAMLETS were to close, any negative balance would be shared between members, who would only lose time, not money.
Most transactions are classed as 'social favours' which means they are non-taxable but
if a member trades in Rams as a regular business, the Rams earnings are taxable in sterling. The member may request that a proportion of her or his transactions be paid for in sterling to cover tax and VAT.
Benefits should not be affected provided that claimants are not trading more than 16 hours a week and are available for work.
RAMLETS is an independent non-profit making voluntary association.
RAMLETS is affiliated to LETSLINK UK, which co-ordinates LETS systems nationally..
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