The UK’s limousine industry was left in limbo today as the popular ‘Limo Chat’ forum was taken offline.
Members of the industry have been contacting TheChauffeur.com to say their membership had been cancelled or they were unable to get access to the popular website.
The National Limousine and Chauffeur Association which purchased the domain some years ago, has pulled the plug following ‘continuous abuse’ towards the association by non-members.
More than 20,000 posts from hundreds of limousine owners were on the forum which allowed conversations on licensing, repairs and general business discussion. Both members and non-members of the NLCA were allowed to join and post in an attempt to encourage free speech amongst the industry and to promote the associations work and efforts.
Chairman of the NLCA, Peter Wright told TheChauffeur.com; “We have spent time, money and lots of effort to maintain this forum at our own expense. It was invented to bring the industry together, but it has encouraged a number of members to spend their own time continually posting derogatory comments about us, and these are people who cannot be otherwise convinced and will never join to make the industry better.”
He added; “Members of the NLCA all voted at the recent AGM that the forum should be closed, which will allow us to put the efforts into something else which would hopefully benefit our members further.”
The NLCA purchased the ‘free forum’ from an operator for £1,500 when it was approved by the members and committee at the time – what the NLCA was actually buying is unclear as ‘JustDiscussions’ is an entirely free forum service open to anyone.
Since the closure, industry members have contacted TheChauffeur.com requesting it starts a similar forum. Today, the online magazine has announced it is to launch a similar strictly moderated forum for both the chauffeur and limousine sector within the next few weeks by popular demand.
Editor, Paul Gibson commented; “This is meant to be a professional industry – it’s saddening that the NLCA were forced to make this decision due to the actions of a handful of people. We’re happy to launch a brand new forum, but members must be warned that to be taken seriously by the government agencies and authorities, they need to be seen as professional business people, which is paramount on an open forum.”