We’ve all heard of PPI by now, and in fact it’s now one of thise things that just won’t go away- just ask anyone who is still plagued by automated phonecalls asking you to submit a claim. However, new proposals from the FCA could see a light at the end of the PPI tunnel, with a proposed new deadline by which to make a claim, or lose the right to do so.
It seems only common sense- after all this has been rumbling on since the substance hit the fan in 2007 and so far 16.5 million claims have been made, of which 75% were successful, meaning that £21bn in redress has been paid to over 12m mis-sold customers. Banks still show contingency funds in their balance sheets in case new claimants come out of the woodwork. Banks have also been asked to identify those at high risk of having been mis-sold PPI and to write to them- with 4.8m out of 5.5m letters having already been sent totry and wheedle out new claims. Surely now enough is enough?
But of course the FCA haven’t just arbitrarily decided to close the floodgates, they have, in fact, been investigating the whole sorry PPI mess, and have published some research alongside this week’s recommendations.
Their evidence suggests that:
“a high and growing proportion of PPI complaints are made through CMCs, with fee costs to the consumers who use them;
a high and growing proportion of PPI complaints relate to older PPI sales, where the documentary evidence held by firms and consumers is likely to have significant gaps, and recollections and oral evidence are becoming increasingly stale and;
a significant proportion of PPI complaints turn out not to have involved a PPI sale”
Which basically means that current claims are either noT claims at all, are founded on patchy information and sketchier memories or are possibly just lining the pocket of those oh-so-annoying claims management companies (CMCs).
The FCA also found that “around three quarters (74%) of the consumers we surveyed have heard of PPI as a product, most of whom (77%) say they are aware of problems or issues with it” which suggests that it is not lack of awareness that is the problem in bringing any outstanding claims. However,they also found that “the perceived open-ended nature of the complaints-led approach to PPI redress appears to contribute to a significant degree of consumer inertia and does not push or incentivise consumers to check if they had PPI”. Or, in other words, people just can’t be bothered to get round to it while there’s no end date in sight.
As a result the FCA are now proposing that a two-year deadline be imposed, meaning that anyone who can’t get their act together in that time loses out. This would be accompanied by a ‘high profile’ consumer communications campaign to not only inform people of the impending deadline but also to hopefully encourage more people to DIY rather than using a slippery company for a hefty fee. The FCA think this would “bring the PPI issue to an orderly conclusion…helping rebuild public trust in the retail financial sector”. Yeah, right.
However, no matter how sensible this all sounds, you can never please everyone, and Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, was heartbroken, saying that
“it’s hugely disappointing that the regulator is pushing ahead with a blanket PPI time limit. Instead of rewarding the banks that have dragged their heels over paying out compensation, the FCA should be requiring firms to proactively seek out customers owed money. Relying on consumers to complain, when many were unaware they’ve been a victim of mis-selling, has clearly not worked.”
Still, one can only hope that reading about the proposals might even spur people into action even if the deadline doesn’t end up coming into force- in case you are so inspired, Which!! do have a handy tool which will generate a letter for you to sign and send off to the relevant credit provider.
At this stage, the deadline is just a proposal, and the FCA are seeking views on the proposals until February next year- and you can even offer them your response via an online form if you so choose.
So, Black Friday is finally here and we’re awaiting the queues, people going wild in the aisles, punch-ups over tellies and, of course, people complaining about the very existence of the day when no-one is forcing them to do anything. Of course, having been down the shops, there’s very little action and it’s all a bit of an anti-climax, and we’ve not seen a single assault. Shame.
According to retail consultancy Salmon, internet traffic is good, which invariably explains why the shops aren’t heaving.
- 106% increase in sales compared to Black Friday 2014
- 100% increase in completed orders from Black Friday 2014
- 59% of traffic is coming via desktop devices
- 41% of traffic is coming via mobile devices
The Mirror have got some pictures of how quiet the shops are, compared to last year. Honestly. We’ve been whistling ‘Ghost Town’ all day. Have a look here if you’re interested.
We’ll be updating this post throughout the day with all the best deals, weirdest Black Friday news stories, and all that good stuff. Hope you manage to get a bargain/lick in.
A lot of deals will sell out quickly, be for a limited time only, and all that, so don’t complain if you check one and it isn’t there anymore. That’s the nature of Black Friday. You snooze, you lose.
GADGETS & COMPUTERS
0% financing at Apple Stores – find out more
Amazon warehouse sale!
Asus wireless router dual-band for £94.99
WD Elements desktop external hard-drive 5TB for £89.99
Acer Iconia One 8″ Tablet – £60 off, now £79.99
Sandisk SSD Plus for £39.99
PlayStation 4 for £199.99 (refurb)
Amazing retro racing ride-on car – was £79, now £39
Dyson V6 cordless vacuum cleaner - save £110, now £239
50% off mattresses at M&S
Zanussi 10kg washing machine £279 delivered
Dyson DC34 handheld vacuum – save £70, now £99.98
Delonghi Dolce Gusto hot drinks machine – save £40.99, now £29
Hotpoint coffee machine – now £49
TV & ENTERTAINMENT
Amazon Fire TV stick for £24.99
Sky TV Original Bundle from £20pm (12 months) with FREE 32” LG TV Or £100 Voucher Or LG Soundbar + £100 Quidco - see here
Now TV box – 6 months entertainment pass, 4 months movies pass, for £19
Samsung 120w bluetooth soundbar with subwoofer – save £70, now £79.99
FASHION & GROOMING
DKNY Be Delicious perfume for £13.99
Wahl moustache and beard trimmer set – save£7, now £9.99
Nike Black Friday sale!
Clarks great Black Friday sale!
Schuh are having a Black Friday sale! See more
Discounts at Office on shoes! More
Debenhams huge Black Friday sale
New Look – ‘cyber week’ sale
Ann Summers are having a big Black Friday sale!
Two pairs of New Balance trainers from £34.94 delivered
Pierre Darcys Champagne £10 a bottle!
Hungryhouse has reset the passwords of thousands of their customers, after what was thought to be a data breach.
On Twitter this morning, the fastfood service said: “Hungryhouse have ourselves re-set a number of customer’s passwords as a preventative security measure against a 3rd party.”
If that doesn’t clear it up for you, then the email they sent around today should.
See? Nothing to worry about at all. Now you don’t have to worry about bored teenagers or terrorists knowing about how much pizza you can put away on a weekend.
Anyway, go and reset your password.
That’s the first time their fuel has dipped below the £1 mark since 2009. Remember 2009? Michael Jackson died and we all got swine flu. Heady days.
Anyway, a litre of diesel will cost 103.7p from Friday November 27 until Monday November 30, before reverting back to the former price of 106.7p.
This here, is an “exclusive three-day price drop” from Asda, but honest guvnor, it is nothing to do with Black Friday, because Asda don’t want anything to do with that after everyone chided them for letting people wrestle each other for tellies.
Either way, cheaper fuel. Not something to turn your nose up at. Go fill ‘er up.
All over Twitter, people have been griping about it, with one in Edinburgh saying: “Was delighted to discover your Corstorphine store is happy to turn away anyone not wanting to buy a TV today. Won’t be back.”
“Got in as was there for ‘normal’ shopping, got basket, then told by two female staff I couldn’t buy anything as it was black Friday?”
Tesco replied that their stores open at 7am for customers who don’t want to take part in Black Friday. That seems completely counter-intuitive, but that’s Tesco in 2015 for you.
A spokesman for Tesco said: “Our Black Friday event has been very popular so far and feedback from customers has been extremely positive. As part of our plans, we advised customers not participating in the event to visit our stores after 7am. Colleagues have been on hand to help the very small number of customers who needed assistance.”
They’re going to start testing a 90-day loan, so people can spread costs out over longer periods, and the idea is that there’ll be greater flexibility too. They need to do something to win people back to their business, as in April, they announced a loss of over £37 million.
For the trial, only existing customers will be allowed to apply for these new loans. Those that do, will be able to on the same terms as the existing product, paying interest of 0.8% – or 80p per £100 borrowed – per day.
A Wonga spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are planning to launch a pilot of a more flexible, three-month instalment loan to existing customers this week.”
The lender is still wrestling with a lot of mither at the moment, as they are still going through a process of authorisation by the FCA. They have been operating under interim licences since 2014. The FCA aren’t messing around though, and have said that they think the majority of payday loan companies are going to go out of business, since they introduced a cap on loans and repayment fees.
Can Wonga pull out of all this? Doesn’t look likely.
There’s been job losses at the company, with chairman Andy Haste saying: “Our focus is on creating a business that meets the demand for short-term credit sustainably and responsibly, resulting in good customer outcomes. However, Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market. Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce.”
The Christmas adverts are coming thick-and-fast now, and marketing companies are desperate to crowbar in something, anything, that might become a hashtag.
And so, to Vodafone, and Terry the Turkey.
The advert shows a family buying a turkey, as they decide to rear their own Christmas lunch. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall would be proud, obviously, as he won’t eat anything he hasn’t fed off his own tit. Anyway, Terry lives with a family and grows nice and plump.
However, as you’ve just seen if you clicked that video, the family can’t eat Terry. For some reason, the family think he’s too cute, even though all turkeys are absolutely appalling to look at.
All soundtracked to ‘Flying Without Wings’, the family decide to eat a nutroast instead. A message of goodwill there, like the American president pardoning a bird.
Black Friday is well and truly underway and, thus far, it’s all been rather quiet compared to last year, as bargain hunters cannily stick to online sales, so they don’t have to go MMA on someone’s ass over a sandwich toaster in the aisles.
Could this be the last year that the shops actually bother doing in-store Black Friday sales? Could be. A number of retailers have backed away from the whole thing in 2015, with Asda and Primark being two notable companies to do so.
Avoid inviting chaos into your shops, in favour of spreading out sales over the week, or focusing on online offers. Seems sensible. No-one in the UK wants the bad press of people scrapping in their shops.
Of course, no-one is going to completely back out of Black Friday entirely, because not only is there a chance to get rid of a load of stock, but there’s also all that lovely data to harvest from customers, which is where the real money is at. If you jump in on Black Friday, you can then target ads at new customers through mailshots and all manner of things.
With advertisers increasing interested in what’s going on on your mobile, it hasn’t been surprising that the high street as been a little barren when it comes to Black Friday excitement. The whole shopping event looks like it is moving online, and that can only be a good thing, unless you’re a short-tempered van driver who couldn’t get the day off.
In the UK, brawling over products doesn’t sit well with the British psyche, so is 2015 the last year we’ll see a Black Friday presence down the shops? We think so.
Instances of car tax evasion has more than doubled, after the scrapping of the old paper tax disc, according to official figures. If you put your head out of the window now, you’ll be able to hear a load of people muttering ‘I told you so.’
Now, the number of people dodging tax is 516,000 according to Department for Transport statistics. That’s a loss of around £80 million according to their figures. Not to be sniffed at, given that this new system was brought in to save £10 million (thanks to not having to print out discs, and the removal of some red tape).
The Department for Transport said: “The rate of unlicensed vehicles observed on the road was much higher in 2015 than when previously surveyed in 2013, following changes in the licensing system.”
Other than people just thinking they can get away with it, what’s caused this rise? Well, the new way of doing things ended the practice of letting drivers transfer unspent car tax across to a new owner; now, each owner must re-tax a car when they buy it. This extra bit of hassle for drivers looks like it has resulted in them not bothering to do it at all.
The DfT report continues: “The increase is probably due to major changes to the vehicle licensing system which took place in October 2014, especially the automatic refund of tax when a vehicle changes hands. This could cost about £80million in lost VED revenue over the course of a year, about 1.4 per cent of the total amount due.”
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “These are very worrying and disappointing statistics indeed. Sadly, the concerns we raised about the number of car tax evaders going up at the time the tax disc was confined to history have become a reality.”
“The number of car tax evaders has more than doubled from 210,000 in 2013 to 560,000 in the latest statistics and is now at its highest level for eight years. We really cannot afford for this to increase again for the sake of both road safety and the country’s finances. Hopefully, much of the increase in evasion is due to the system being new and these figures will reduce as motorists become more familiar with how it works.”
London cabs are going to start accepting contactless payments, in a bid to take on/keep up with Uber. The Mayor of London and Transport for London are invariably going to approve this in the new year. Meanwhile, the rest of the country couldn’t care less.
“This move will boost business for cabbies and bring the trade into the 21st century by enabling quicker and more convenient journeys for customers,” said Boris Johnson.
Customers won’t pay a surcharge on their fare if they pay by card, and instead, cabbies will recoup their transaction costs through a proposed 20p increase on the minimum fare, which is currently £2.40. All Uber need to do is undercut that, and they’re golden.
“Mandating card payments in taxis will mean customers no longer have to consider how they might pay for a journey before getting into a taxi. It will also benefit drivers, who will see their services opened up to potential new business,” said Garrett Emmerson at TfL.
Of course, private hire firms already agree fares in advance, and Uber will tell you on your phone and it comes straight off your card without any fussing about with contactless payments, actual money, or anything like that. And, despite arguments from many quarters, the High Court ruled last month that Uber is not breaking the law.
Whether you agree with Uber or not, the rest of the taxi world has some catching up to do.
With more and more people refusing to pay their TV licences, the BBC need to find ways of saving money and be better value. So, with that, the BBC Trust has formally approved proposals to close down BBC Three as a regular TV channel. From March 2016, it’ll be moved online.
The Trust provisionally approved the proposals back in June, but now, it is official.
Chair of the Trust’s Services Committee BBC Trustee Suzanna Taverne said: “The decision to close a TV channel is a difficult one, and one we have not taken lightly. The BBC must adapt with its audiences; the evidence is very clear that younger audiences are watching more online and less linear TV.”
“The plans enable the BBC to deliver more distinctive content online, while bearing down on costs; to address concerns about the impact of moving BBC Three online, we have set new requirements for programmes for younger audiences on BBC One and Two.”
Worryingly, that mean we see Russell Howard’s Good News on one of the major channels.
Younger people, of course, do watch more things online and, thanks to most people having a console and other devices, you can watch iPlayer on your big telly anyway. It probably won’t make much difference to the average household.
So what conditions have the BBC Trust imposed on this move?
- All BBC Three long-form content will be transmitted on slots on BBC One and BBC Two on an on-going basis as soon as BBC Three closes on TV.
– BBC Three long-form content will be made available on both BBC One and BBC Two at a variety of times across the schedule and throughout the UK
– A commitment to providing risk-taking space being incorporated in the service licences of BBC One and BBC Two
– A commitment to programmes targeted at younger audiences will be incorporated in the service licences of BBC One and BBC Two
– The online channel should have the same accessibility standards as linear television wherever practicable
This move is going to save the BBC in advance of £50 million, apparently.
Lloyds Banking Group are going to cut another 1,000 jobs today, which include those who work in the branches. These cuts are part of a larger target of 9,000, which was announced around a year ago. Before this week, 2,360 of the 9,000 job reductions have been lost, and Lloyds are looking at completing the grim task by 2017.
This news follows Chancellor George Osborne saying that the government plans to offer billions of pounds of discounted Lloyds shares to investors in 2016, which is no use to those getting their P45s just before Christmas.
The government had a 43% stake in the bank, but have managed to reduce that to 10% (or just shy of). They’ve raised £16bn in the process, which is still short of the original £20.5bn injection at the moment. What isn’t helping Lloyds, is that they have put aside £14bn for their part in the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI), but that’s their own stupid fault for being snide.
There’s still going to be some branch closures, which means Lloyds are looking at getting more of their customers involved with their digital banking arm. They have 5 million mobile banking customers, which is a number that’s only going to grow.
Lloyds are looking at closing banks in urban areas, where they already have a number of outlets.
EE have already said that they’re looking at blocking adverts, and now, O2 are looking at joining in too. Bad news for people in marketing – great news for people who swear loudly at roll-over adverts and videos that autoplay.
O2 are apparently testing their technology which will block mobile ads on their network.
The company’s managing director of digital commerce, Robert Franks, said: “We are absolutely looking at [network-level ad blocking] technology… we are looking at these technologies to see if they can help our customers with some of the bad practices and disruptive experiences that are happening.”
“It is not in an advertisers’ interest to spam customers or do things to create a terrible experience. If the way to raise the bar is to look at these technologies, whether through a mobile network, or a combination of apps and browser extensions as Apple is doing to address some of the behaviours these intermediaries are executing, I think that’s fine. But I don’t see it as a polarized debate between ‘do you have advertising or don’t you have advertising’.”
O2 are going to work with advertisers in a bid to make them improve their wares, and no doubt, tell them that they can pay to circumnavigate any blocks put in place. Improvements are likely to include things that make ads take up less data, and faster. The message is that, if you want to advertised on O2′s mobile network, then don’t make using your phone a pain in the arse.
It looks like they’re all getting on this, apart from Vodafone who have said this week, that they have no plans to block adverts. They said: “Vodafone has made no decisions that ad blocking is a service our business wants to offer. However, we acknowledge downloads of iOS ad blocker apps do show there is some demand from customers to manage their browsing experience, privacy and data usage.”
Barclays have been slapped with a whopper of a fine – to the tune of £72 million – by the Financial Conduct Authority. Why? The FCA say that the bank “ignored its own process” when handling a £1.9bn transaction for a group of people described as ‘wealthy and politically connected’.
*Harry Hill sideways look to camera*
The FCA said that Barclays “went to unacceptable lengths to accommodate the clients” and didn’t carry out sufficient checks on the deal which meant they “failed to minimise the risk that it may be used to facilitate financial crime.”
This transaction went through in 2011/12, and Barclays executives knew it involved “politically exposed people”, which should’ve seen the company being extra careful and monitored things more closely.
However, it turns out that the bank rushed the whole thing through, and made themselves £52.3m in revenue as a result. UK banks are supposed to be extra vigilant when it comes to doing transactions for those “who may be able to abuse their public position for private gain”, in a bid to reduce the risk of bribery and such.
The FCA found no involvement of financial crime in the transaction, and haven’t said who was involved. Either way, this penalty is the largest imposed by the FCA or its predecessor for financial crime failings. Barclays had to hand over the money they made from this dicky looking deal, and were fined £20m on top.
Mark Steward, from the FCA said: “Barclays ignored its own process designed to safeguard against the risk of financial crime and overlooked obvious red flags to win new business and generate significant revenue. This is wholly unacceptable. Firms will be held to account if they fail to minimise financial crime risks appropriately and for this reason the FCA has required Barclays to disgorge its revenue from the transaction.”
Well, you can get this ace complete 8 film boxset of the Harry Potter films on Blu-ray, for the very reasonable price of £13.99! That’s magic that is. If you want in on this bargain, jab your wand at these words.
Three months of Spotify Premium for 99p!
Rare Replay for Xbox One £9.99 delivered
PS4 500gb with Star Wars Battlefront and Fifa 16 for £268.99
Turtle Beach XO One headset for Xbox One for £32.99
Samsung Galaxy S6 for £304
Digihome 49″ full HD LED TV with Freeview for £199
LG G4 brand new and unlocked, for £264.98
Battlestar Galactica – complete series boxset on Blu-ray for £20 using code
VAT free savings on fragrances at Debenhams – it is back!