How You Can Make Your Client Feel Special

Whether you work in business, in a kitchen or on a shop floor, you will have come across the phrase ‘the customer is always right’. Now, there will be times when you don’t consider this to be strictly true. But, the important thing is that you remember it is a business philosophy. You may not … Continue reading “How You Can Make Your Client Feel Special”

Whether you work in business, in a kitchen or on a shop floor, you will have come across the phrase ‘the customer is always right’. Now, there will be times when you don’t consider this to be strictly true. But, the important thing is that you remember it is a business philosophy. You may not always think that the customer is right, but what you do to turn their experience into a positive one is what matters. You may need to grit your teeth somewhat, but providing all goes well, you will have a satisfied and loyal customer at the end of the process. For those dream customers, it is simply a case of retaining them and keeping them interested in your product or service. Appealing to a customers better nature is always going to add a great touch to your service, and you may be remembered because of it.

Have great front of house

Whether you’re a consultancy business or a finance business, it is vital to give your company a good face. Anyone who is dealing with customers either over the phone or face to face must be unanimously known as a ‘people person’. After all, there is nothing worse than going into a meeting with someone and they look like they would rather be anywhere else but there. Always shake hands, be friendly and – cliché but true – smile. Email manner is also nearly as important. Different people have varying opinions on what constitutes a ‘blunt’ email, so it can be difficult to get it right. But implement some basic rules with your time on how to address and sign off emails politely. Most importantly, never get into an altercation over email – it’s always better to speak to the client directly.

Offer freebies

Everyone loves getting something for free. For obvious reasons, we don’t mean dishing out complimentary business services or knocking lots of money off your business for no reason. But, giving a client a gift can be a sure fire way to get them to remember you. Don’t choose anything too lavish, and this will only come at a great cost to you. But gifts such as mouse mats from Dynamic Gift are a practical and thoughtful present that will also promote your brand at the same time. Consider sending them to clients who have used you, or offer them up in gift bags at events or business fairs.

Do a follow up

It may be time consuming, but do you best to follow up with every single one of your clients. A quick phone call won’t take too much time and it really does make it look as though you care. Phone calls are much better than emails in this case as it is very easy for your client to ignore the email. After all, they will be very busy too. But above all else, phone calls are more personal. Make sure you ask them if everything was okay and emphasise how much you enjoyed working with them. It is a thoughtful touch to your service that your client will remember should they need to use you again.

Volkswagen’s Pollution Scandal

A Volkswagen engineer pleaded guilty to conspiring to cheat on U.S. emissions tests and agreed to work with federal prosecutors to investigate the German automaker, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday. 

James Liang ― a 25-year veteran of the company’s plant in Wolfsburg, Germany ― helped develop the device that allowed the diesel-fueled Jetta sedan to beat emissions tests in 2006. Volkswagen became embroiled in scandal last September when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that nearly 482,000 cars in the United States violated emissions standards set by the Clean Air Act.

Liang’s plea marks the first criminal conviction from series of probes that began last year after Volkswagen admitted to programming roughly 11 million cars worldwide to circumvent emissions tests. Liang, 62, could face up to five years in prison, according to the Financial Times.

The conviction is sure to rock an auto industry that has repeatedly hoodwinked customers into buying faulty or dangerous vehicles ― infractions that haven’t led to anyone spending time in jail. 

The day before the Volkswagen scandal erupted last year, General Motors admitted to criminal wrongdoing and agreed to pay a $900 million penalty for mishandling a defective ignition switch. The faulty hardware, which caused the engine to shut off during driving, has been linked to at least 124 deaths. 

“People were hurt and people died in our cars,” Mary T. Barra, GM’s chief executive, said at the time. 

The company entered a deferred prosecution agreement, which allows the government to drop the case in three years if GM abides the terms of the deal. But no individual executives faced criminal charges. 

In 2014, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine to avoid prosecution for covering up safety risks from parts that caused “unintended acceleration” in cars for about a decade leading up to 2009. The defect led to at least 89 deaths. No individual executives faced criminal charges then either. 

Volkswagen’s deception may have caused some deaths, too. The automaker’s cars spewed up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides, which comes from burning diesel. The resultant emissions may have led to at least 60 premature deaths in the U.S. alone, according to a peer-reviewed study published last October in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Businesswoman Leaves Corporate World to Start Concierge Company

When to Jump, an independent media partner of The Huffington Post, is a curated community featuring the ideas and stories of people who have made the decision to leave something comfortable and chase a passion.

For Kara Candler, owner of Tick Tock Concierge, owning a business was always the end goal. “My grandfather was a big part of why I wanted to start my own company, carrying on his legacy is important.”

Candler’s grandfather, Hilliard Ward purchased the first lumberyard in Asheville, NC in the late 70’s. He later went on to finance a grocery store chain named “Ingles.” Fast forward to 2016, it’s one of the largest grocery store chains in the United States.

“Both my parents are entrepreneurs so telling my parents that I was going to leave a really secure corporate job was hard. They know how hard it is to run your own business and wanted me to think twice about it to make sure.” Candler weighed the pros and cons and decided to take the jump.

“It’s a serious decision. Leaving benefits and security behind is hard and because of my background there is pressure to succeed in my community as well.” Kara’s grandfather was a beloved well-known figure in Western North Carolina, respected by everyone who met him. He paid college tuitions and donated large amounts anonymously to the community. “I’m proud of him,” Candler says.

In 2013 Kara began her luxury concierge service which caters to businesses and individuals, errand running and organizing on their behalf so that her clients have more time to spend however they’d like.

Within three years, her business has expanded to four cities and two states. “Having great friends, mentors and family surround me has helped. People are starting their own businesses all over the world, so why can’t I?”

The concept of personal concierges has grown in the past five years as individual’s work hours have increased. Candler first heard about the concept in 2012 and began to do market research to see if it would be successful in Asheville, North Carolina. She studied websites, talked to other businesses and read articles on the upcoming trend. She says Asheville was getting great press nationally and realized if she didn’t seize this opportunity, someone else would.

After creating her business model, she approached family friends and asked them what she could do that day to save them time. “I would ask for business straight up. What’s at the bottom of your to-do list? I’ll handle it.”

Candler’s favorite part of her business is the opportunities she has had to work with Sony and Warner Brothers helping run errands for team members while they’re in the middle of their shoots. She’s learned team-building and communication skills and how to deal with customers and clients on a daily basis and resolve conflict and tension professionally. “My clients are all ages and working with each generation is very different.”

Her advice to those thinking of taking the jump is to listen to that “nudge” or inner- feeling and moonlight to test out if this is what you truly want to do. “I felt restless in my corporate job. It made the feeling more strong. I really just put it out there and was moonlighting. People don’t talk about it enough but it’s okay to moonlight. I recommend it. Get your website done, get your ducks in a row so you’re all set when you’re ready to take the jump, you have a plan in place


Government Mulls Online Shopping ‘lockouts’ in GST Crackdown

SCOTT Morrison is planning his own Mike Baird-style lockout laws by blocking Aussie shoppers access to overseas retailers that fail to collect tax revenue for the government.

From as early as July 2017, Australians may find themselves unable to access the websites of a number of their favourite overseas stores under a plan being considered by Treasury, consumer group Choice has warned.

Under the new tax regulations coming into effect next year, overseas businesses with an annual turnover of $75,000 or more will be required under Australian law to register with the ATO to collect GST on all goods sold, including purchases under the current low-value threshold of $1000.

The Federal Government is exploring the option of blocking websites that fail to co-operate using powers under section 313(3) of the Telecommunications Act 1997. The act, which allows the government and its agencies to block websites that breach Australian law, contains provisions for the protection of revenue.

While large retailers such as Amazon and Book Depository are expected to fall into line, smaller websites are most likely to be caught out under the new regime.

Niche cosmetic brands like Charlotte Tilbury or Glossier, and non-standard sized clothing brands like Long Tall Sally and Pink Clove, for example, may be affected.

“Being able to access overseas websites allows consumers to purchase products not available in Australia, making up for the failings of some domestic retailers,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

“Blocking these sites will disadvantage Australian consumers while providing absolutely no benefit to the local economy.

“When these tax changes are implemented, consumers who rely on these stores could be denied access to niche retailers who fail to voluntarily collect GST and send it to the Australian government.”

Mr Godfrey said it was unclear why foreign retailers would adhere to Australia’s tax change, so “ultimately consumers will be denied access to a range of overseas retailers”.

“This policy change threatens to get very messy very quickly,” he said.

“Overseas retailers have no obligation to comply with Australian tax laws, and we all remember ASIC’s attempt to block a handful of websites in 2014, when it accidentally took down over 250,000 sites.”

Mr Godfrey said there had been no modelling or information released by Treasury about the expected impact of changes to the low-value threshold. “There is no guarantee of economic benefit to Australia but it looks like inevitable loss for consumers,” he said.

A number of government reviews have previously recommended no changes to the GST rules on purchases under $1000 until a new approach to processing imports “without creating delivery delays or other compliance difficulties for importers and consumers” can be found.

However, the Australian Retailers Association has argued international retailers already have mechanisms in place to be able to accept GST at the point of purchase.

Choice says it supports a “level playing field”, but “has long pointed out the lack of a business case showing any benefit from applying the tax to low-cost consumer imports”.

A recent draft Productivity Commission report into intellectual property rights recommended that the Copyright Act be amended to “make clear that it is not an infringement for consumers to circumvent geoblocking technology” such as virtual private networks (VPNs).

Phil Bishop, founder of homegrown VPN service VanishedVPN said many of his customers used the service to do overseas shopping. “For example, you can actually save about $250 by buying an iPhone from the US and getting it shipped back to you,” he said.

But he said while “we’re in the business of letting people bypass geoblocking” on services such as Netflix, VanishedVPN didn’t support illegal activity — including tax avoidance. “At the end of the day if [the government] is enforcing the law, we support that.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison, appearing on Paul Murray Live on Sky News Australia said: “What we are doing is lowering the threshold in terms of how GST applies. That provides a level playing field for Australian retailers.

“The tax office has any number of ways of enforcing that arrangement, the one that’s referred to is the ability to shut down a website. Now, that’s been around for decades. It’s a power that has been there, we haven’t created it, it’s just one of the many things that the tax office can use. It hasn’t been used (by the tax office), so there’s nothing to suggest to me that this is something they’ll put on the top of their list.

6 Ways Successful People Stay Productive And In Control

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). The hallmark of emotional intelligence is self-control — a skill that unleashes massive productivity by keeping you focused and on track.

Unfortunately, self-control is a difficult skill to rely on. Self-control is so fleeting for most people that when Martin Seligman and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed two million people and asked them to rank order their strengths in 24 different skills, self-control ended up in the very bottom slot.

And when your self-control leaves something to be desired, so does your productivity.

When it comes to self-control, it is so easy to focus on your failures that your successes tend to pale in comparison. And why shouldn’t they? Self-control is an effort that’s intended to help achieve a goal. Failing to control yourself is just that — a failure. If you’re trying to avoid digging into that bag of chips after dinner because you want to lose a few pounds and you succeed Monday and Tuesday nights only to succumb to temptation on Wednesday by eating four servings’ worth of the empty calories, your failure outweighs your success. You’ve taken two steps forward and four steps back.

Since self-control is something we could all use a little help with, I went back to the data to uncover the kinds of things that people high in emotional intelligence do to keep themselves productive and in control. They consciously apply these twelve behaviors because they know they work. Some are obvious, others counter-intuitive, but all will help you minimize those pesky failures to boost your productivity.

1. They Forgive Themselves

A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in attempts at self-control. These emotions typically lead to over-indulging in the offending behavior. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Don’t ignore how the mistake makes you feel; just don’t wallow in it. Instead, shift your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.

2. They Don’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To

The more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment.

3. They Don’t Seek Perfection

Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of moving forward excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

4. They Focus On Solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions which hinder self-control. When you focus on the actions you’ll take to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.

5. They Avoid Asking “What If?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry, which are detrimental to self-control. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend taking action and staying productive (staying productive also happens to calm you down and keep you focused). Productive people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want — or need — to go. Of course, scenario planning is a necessary and effective strategic planning technique. The key distinction here is to recognize the difference between worry and strategic thinking.

6. They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help you exercise self-control by focusing your brain’s attention onto the rewards you will receive for your effort. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, self-control is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, self-control is a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, or will happen, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the past and look to the future. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative, so that you don’t lose focus.

We can’t Stop Political Donations

If we don’t want foreigners giving money to our politicians we can just make it illegal. Unfortunately the reality is a little more complicated and the short answer is we may not be able to just stop them from donating.

Concerns about the influence of foreign money on Australian politics were raised after Labor senator Sam Dastyari was found to have asked a Chinese company to pay his bills.

Since then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flagged banning all corporations and unions from donating but it may not be that easy.

The main reason is because individuals are not the only ones impacted by government decisions. Businesses and other groups can also suffer the consequences.

Some argue that blocking any particular group including unions, from donating money interferes with their “freedom of communication”, which Australia’s Constitution protects. This view has been backed up by a legal case involving Unions NSW in the High Court.

The decision means it’s probably not possible to change Australia’s laws so that only individuals can make political donations.

Last week Malcolm Turnbull said ideally Australia would only allow individuals on the electoral roll to donate to political parties but the High Court decision shows this is probably not possible.

Whether you can stop foreign donations is a bit of a grey area. You can limit “freedom of communication” as long as there is a good reason. Some believe banning foreign donations could be justified but it’s unclear.


As Professor Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at ANU, wrote in the Australian Financial Review, Australia stands out as one of the few countries in the Asia-Pacific, or among developed democracies worldwide, that allows significant foreign funding of political parties.

But just because it is unclear whether or not we can ban foreign donations, it doesn’t mean we can’t do other things.

As The Guardian reported, we don’t even know how much foreigners donate to political parties because they are not separated from Australian donors.

Isolating them would be a good first step.

It’s also possible to put a limit on the amount of money they are able to donate.

Some have also noted that donations of over $13,200 are only published once a year and this is often after elections are held or the money is given.

It’s also possible to transfer money across different states and territories so it’s harder to figure out who’s really making the donation.


Labor has promised to introduce legislation “as soon as practicable” to force disclosure of donations over $1000 — down from the current $13,200 — and ban donation splitting between branches of parties.

It also wants to prohibit anonymous contributions above $50 and stop foreign donations entirely.

“With the majority of Australians and the 226 senators and members of parliament in support of donation reform, it is paramount that you as prime minister support reform,” Mr Shorten wrote last week.

The Labor leader also wants to ask a parliamentary committee to look into “real time” disclosure of political donations and whether limits should be imposed on candidate contributions.

Senator Di Natale also wrote to Mr Shorten, offering to work constructively with both parties to bring about changes.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has also outlined a plan to ban unions, companies and overseas entities making donations to Australian political parties.

“We need to look long and hard at restricting donations to real people on the electoral roll,” Mr Abbott told Fairfax Media.

It remains to be seen whether Australia’s political parties are really serious about fixing the system.

We Must Share the Benefits of Free Trade

Free trade is figuring prominently in the upcoming presidential election. Donald Trump is against it. Hillary Clinton has expressed qualms. Economists still think free trade benefits most Americans, but according to polls, only 35 percent of voters agree. Why this discrepancy?

Because economists support any policy that improves efficiency, and they typically define a policy as efficient if the people who benefit from it could compensate those who lose from it and still come out ahead.

But this way of looking at things leaves out three big realities.

1. Inequality keeps growing. In a society of widening inequality, the winners are often wealthier than the losers, so even if they fully compensate the losers, as the winners gain more ground, the losers may feel even worse off.

2. Safety nets keep unraveling. As a practical matter, the winners don’t compensate the losers. Most of the losers from trade, the millions whose good jobs have been lost, don’t even have access to unemployment insurance. Trade adjustment assistance is a joke. America invests less in jobs training as a percent of our economy than almost any other advanced nation.

3. Median pay keeps dropping. Those whose paychecks have been declining because of trade don’t make up for those declines by having access to cheaper goods and services from abroad. Yes, those cheaper goods help, but when adjusted for inflation, the median hourly pay of production workers is still lower today than it was in 1974.

So if we want the public to support free trade, we’ve got to ensure that everyone benefits from it.

This means we need a genuine re-employment system, including not only unemployment insurance but also income insurance. So if you lose your job and have to take one that pays less, you get a portion of the difference for up to a year.

More basically, we’ve got to ensure that the gains from trade are more widely shared.

Robert Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All.

Bitcoin Exchange Offers $3.5 Million Bounty for Cyber Heist Information

A popular cryptocurrency exchange that lost $70 million worth of its customers’ bitcoins has offered a $3.5 million reward to anyone who can assist in their recovery. Bitfinex (BFX) revealed on August 2 that it had suffered a major hack, resulting in the loss of 119,756 bitcoins.

When a member of a bitcoin forum on Reddit asked if there was a bounty for the stolen bitcoins, Bitfinex community director Zane Tackett suggested the reward sum would be around $3.5 million.

Tackett wrote: “5% of recovery and for information leading to recovery (but no bounty if no recovery); if multiple persons lead to recovery, share pro rata.” Shortly after the bitcoins went missing last week, an anonymous Reddit user announced an online giveaway of 1,000 bitcoins ($580,000). The user posted news of the giveaway using the moniker rekcahxfb—a reversal of BFX hacker.

The post prompted speculation that the giveaway is part of an elaborate money laundering scheme by the hackers behind the theft. “He’s going to send the money to an account he controls so that identity can trade uninhibited, claiming it only received stolen funds instead of actually stealing them,” one Reddit user suggested.

Another speculated: “It provides an additional ‘plausible deniability’ to any prosecution. Receiving stolen funds is a lesser crime than hacking, and theft of tens of millions of dollars.” Immediately following the breach, all trading was suspended on Bitfinex, as well as all withdrawals from the exchange; however, trading has since been resumed.

Bitfinex said in a statement Wednesday: “We have added additional platform and infrastructure security checks; regenerated all encrypted services, including wallets, security tokens and passwords… and rebuilt our entire platform on new infrastructure.”

How Amazon Saved Billions in Taxes

In the early 2000s, Amazon embarked on a yearslong mission to save billions by setting up operations in Luxembourg to radically reshape its tax structure. Using a complex patchwork of subsidiaries, the online shopping behemoth managed to shift vast quantities of its profit through a sophisticated mechanism that took external consultants and in-house tax specialists—who reported directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—years to dream up.

The story of Amazon’s tax avoidance has all but slipped through the cracks, amid flashier headlines about delivery drones and flying tourists to space. But now that a landmark court case between the Inland Revenue Service and Amazon could result in a $1.5 billion fine for Amazon, the company’s secret business success is out. Amazon is also at the heart of a state aid investigation in the EU, where the European Commission, the region’s executive branch, suspects Luxembourg of having granted unfair tax advantages to the company. A similar investigation into Ireland’s treatment of Apple this week resulted in the commission ordering Apple to pay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes.

Previous investigations (see here and here) of Amazon’s tax avoidance, based on a cache of documents from a tax court in Seattle, expose Project Goldcrest—a scheme the company has used to avoid paying huge amounts of taxes in Europe and the U.S.

In July, Newsweek also uncovered secret meetings between Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission and former prime minister of Luxembourg, and top Amazon tax officials between September 9 and 12, 2003. Juncker had previously denied he had anything to do with granting Amazon its sweetheart tax deal in Luxembourg when he was prime minister of the country.

The documents below, obtained and made public by Newsweek, reveal the details of Project Goldcrest and nod to claims in both the U.S. and Europe that Amazon’s success is due in large part to fiscal advantages it manufactured for itself in Luxembourg.

On November 9, 2012, the IRS informed Amazon it owed $234 million in additional taxes to the government for 2005 and 2006. Amazon contested the assertion and took the case to the tax court in Seattle.

Amazon took drastic measures to reshape its business in a way that would reduce its taxable income. The document “Goldcrest Transaction Steps” shows how Amazon transferred assets like trademarks and intellectual property through a subsidiary in Luxembourg. “Goldcrest Facts” shows how lucrative subsidiaries such as AEHT help Amazon function in a way that lowers its tax bill.

The “Frisch Report,” a study that the IRS commissioned for its case against Amazon, shows how Amazon calculated the amount it paid for transferring its IP to Luxembourg. Paying distorted amounts can cloud income attributable to inter-company transactions and result in tax avoidance with respect to these transactions.

Amazon’s senior officials are notoriously secretive, and Bezos is rarely cited or interviewed in the media. The company, which is in the process of building three spherical office structures set to contain hundreds of plant species in downtown Seattle at the cost of roughly $4 billion, prefers to keep its employees tucked away and out of the limelight.

But the court documents reveal the dark side of its business model—one that depends more on closed-door meetings and loopholes in tax legislation than glitzy megaprojects.

See the amended “Opening Brief” from the IRS in which the U.S. tax authority outlines how Amazon went about implementing Project Goldcrest, its contested tax regime in Luxembourg. As Newsweek revealed in July, that document shows how the EU’s Juncker met with senior tax officials from Amazon despite the president of the European Commission having denied having anything to do with setting up Amazon’s tax structure in Luxembourg.


Wells Fargo Fined $185 Million for Opening Fraudulent Accounts in Customers’ Names

Wells Fargo will pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers that regulators say were pushed into fee-generating accounts that they never requested, officials said on Thursday.

“Wells Fargo reached these agreements consistent with our commitment to customers and in the interest of putting this matter behind us,” the bank said of its settlement with California prosecutors and federal regulators.

“We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request,” it added.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will receive $100 million of the total penalties—the largest fine ever levied by the agency, which was conceived after the 2008 financial crisis.

“Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Los Angeles officials and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were also party to the settlement.

In a complaint filed in May 2015, California prosecutors alleged that  Wells  Fargo  pushed customers into costly financial products that they did not need or even request. According to that complaint, Wells Fargo employees pushed checking account customers into savings, credit and online accounts that could generate fees.

Bank employees were told that the average customer tapped six financial tools but that they should push households to use eight products, according to the complaint. The bank opened more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized, according to the CFPB.

The bank said that the deal this week settles the “allegations that some of its retail customers received products and services that they did not request.”

In recent financial filings, Wells Fargo has changed how it describes and calculates “cross-sell”—a term for bundling multiple products to retail, wealth management and corporate customers. The bank added new language to its last annual report, stating that its “approach to cross-sell is needs-based as some customers will benefit from more products, and some may need fewer.”