Deals of the Day: Wednesday 3rd February 2016

February 3rd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

deals of the day2016 300x162 Deals of the Day: Wednesday 3rd February 2016Do you like fancy shoes? Want to treat your feet after being skint all January, and living off Super Noodles and dry bread? Well, now everyone’s back on the booze and going out, you might want some heels to go dancing in.

Well, we’ve seen that there’s a sale on at Shoeaholics, where you can get up to 80% off some shoes, and there’s a 20% off code you can use too. A lot of designer shoes, for you fashion aware people out there. Find out more here

MORE DEALS!

Bayonetta 2 on Nintendo Wii U for £9.85
PS4 500gb console with GTA V, £249.99 delivered
Duracell Plus D-size 2 pack of batteries for £1
Seagate backup portable hard-drive £48 with code
Humble Ubisoft bundle for 70p
Xbox One wireless controller for £31.99
Microsoft Lumia 950 for £319.97
Cookworks 1.5l rice-cooker for £12.49
Bush portable speaker for £2.49

FOR MORE BRILLIANT BARGAINS, GET OVER TO HUKD!

 Three dont #makeitright for legacy customers?We’ve all seen the latest Three adverts starring a cute fraggle named Jackson who seems to be attempting to make even East17 cool again, but are Three hiding scurrilous shenanigans under those big eyes and purple fluff?

Reports suggest that Three are using the excuse of closing off old tariffs to switch some of their older customers (as in length of time with Three, rather than advancing years) on to new, more expensive contracts, with some customers even complaining of paying more than double their previous cost.

Three says that those on legacy tariffs are being switched to the ‘closest’ existing deal- but as Techradar reports, one customer said that their £15 monthly deal (originally £25, but with an added £10 loyalty discount) had now been increased to £33 a month, although it is unclear if the £10 loyalty discount is then applied to the new cost.

Three claim that they “introduced new price plans giving customers more options in the size of their data and voice bundles, as well as limits and alerts to prevent bill shock” back in March 2014, but increasing a customer’s talk and text capacity doesn’t help if they were after unlimited tethering, for example, which is no longer unlimited on their new plans, and is instead up to a maximum of 12GB per month.

Three has confirmed the process is ongoing, and if you are one of the lucky ones affected, you’ll receive a letter detailing your options going forward. Three said: “We have a lot of tariffs that we no longer sell and moving customers to one of the new plans will ensure they can enjoy the benefits of these plans.” Three also confirmed, however, that all customers who have received a letter are out of contract, and can therefore vote with their feet if they so choose.

Still, many of those affected seem to be none too pleased, but are making good, ironic use of Three’s latest tagline, tweeting their grievances with the hashtag #makeitright. Lol.

Southeastern delays caused by… sunlight!

January 28th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Sun 300x225 Southeastern delays caused by... sunlight!The day after we relayed the news that rail passengers are, by and large, a satisfied bunch, Southeastern and a host of other train companies were on hand to remind us why travelling by train can be murder inducingly frustrating.

Across the UK, services were down after overrunning engineering works left a host of lines without any power to work, with 20 services delayed or cancelled this morning, during the already stressful rush hour.

Southeastern though, were particularly bad, with trains delayed or axed, because of that most pesky of problems, sunlight.

What with ‘the day time’ being a thing for as long as there’s been a sun in the galaxy, a Southeastern spokesperson was tapped up to say that it is indeed a legitimate source of problems which cause delays. They said on Twitter: “Unfortunately if the glare is on the monitors, the driver cannot dispatch for safety reasons.”

Southeastern noted that their services were back in working order this morning, but of course, there were knock-on effects of the previous delays, which will continue throughout the day.

They continued: “Services were affected by power supply problems due to overrunning engineering works, which were supposed to be finished on time today. They are back to normal now, but there will be knock-on delays. We advise passengers to check updates online.”

Brilliant.

How supermarket layouts try and make you spend money

January 28th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Most people know that supermarkets are designed in such a way, that it tries to make you spend more money than you actually want to. Impulse buys are a goldmine for shops, so there’s a load of tricks they do to try and ensure this happens.

From dodgy sale items that are briefly hiked in price, so they can offer them at the price they would normally sell at with a 25% off! sticker, to putting stuff in prime locations so you’ll see it, there’s a lot of consumer psychology to play with.

If this is news to you, then the layout of a supermarket is key, and someone’s made a video which shows you some of the tricks employed to try and prise coins from your hand. Have a look (don’t worry, this is a short video).

Again, this won’t be news to some of you, but it is nice that someone made a short, simple-to-understand video about this, and you can keep an eye out next time you’re down the shops, and make a decision about what you really want to buy.

When you’re getting the groceries in, see if you automatically decided to walk around the shop anti-clockwise (and indeed, see if everyone else is doing the same thing), while checking out what products have been put at eye-level, and how the basics you need have all been spread across the shop floor.

Make your own Nespresso pods!

January 27th, 2016 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Ever wanted one of those Nespresso machines, but put off by the thought of coughing up for pricey Nespresso pods? Well, there are knock-off versions in the shops, but one man has worked out a really simple hack, so you can sidestep a lot of nonsense, and save yourself a lot of money in the process.

In his video (below), he says: “Found one of these fancy pants coffee makers at the Goodwill – only problem is, you’ve got to decide between buying the pods for it, and putting your kids through college.”

Then, with a Southern flourish, he adds; “This here Nespresso company, they think they got me fooled. But I done broke their system and I’m gon’ show y’all how to do it too.”

So, if you’re at work and haven’t clicked the video (which you should, for his delivery alone), and want to know what the hack is, you’ll be staggered at how easy his solution is.

Russell shows how you can just empty out a pod, and then replace it with fine ground coffee, that you can pick up anywhere. Cover the Nespresso pod with foil and, whoosh, you’re away!

Do you know how much your bills tot up to?

January 26th, 2016 1 Comment By Thewlis

energy bills 300x300 Do you know how much your bills tot up to?Having enough money to pay your bills is at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially as the longest month in the year dawdles towards another payday. Unfortunately, new research from Santander suggests that many of us aren’t even working towards the right figure, with most of us underestimating how much we have to shell out every month.

And we aren’t even talking the odd £20 or £30 quid. When looking at main household bills, including  council tax, energy and utility bills as as well as TV, broadband and phone, Santander’s figures show that bill payers underestimated their main expenses by an average of £1,459 last year, estimating their typical bills to be £2,528, well below the actual annual total of £3,987. That’s underguessing by over £120 per month.

And while misleading adverts have been cited as a possible cause for people not knowing what they’re paying, it is perhaps more likely that people just don’t pay proper attention to their budgets and bank statements. Santander’s figures found that almost a third (30%) of bill payers admit that they don’t read their statements thoroughly, while 5% don’t even open them, so it’s no wonder that they don’t have a clue what’s going on.

Looking at individual bills, TV, phone and broadband outgoings were found to be the most significantly underestimated, with people estimating their annual spend on these bills to be 53% lower than what they are actually paying. This is in no way related to the recent  –Advertising Standards Authority finding that many broadband adverts are “highly misleading”.

And if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be paying out, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that many households admit to struggling to cover the cost of their household bills. And belts are quite tight- 34% say they can only just make ends meet, and 25% admit to borrowing money or using their savings to pay the bills. However, this may not be a perennial problem for everyone- we’ve all had tight months- as only 6% claim they often or never have enough money to cover their bills.

So what can you do about it? Well, if you haven’t checked your statements recently, it’s time you did and while some bills are immoveable (council tax springs to mind) you could look at whether you could get a better deal by changing supplier, or moving to a better package. Even water bills might be reducible- if you aren’t on a water meter you might find it cheaper to switch to metered water rather than average use, particularly if you prefer showers to baths for example. Or if you just don’t care to wash frequently.

250,000 ditch TalkTalk after hack

January 25th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

TalkTalk 300x225 250,000 ditch TalkTalk after hackRemember when TalkTalk was hacked by a child? Remember when they tried to say sorry with some rubbish upgrades? Well, people weren’t impressed and 250,000 left TalkTalk in the fall out of it all, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Imran Choudhary, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: “Customers have lost faith in TalkTalk as a trustworthy brand.”

“TalkTalk continues to offer some of the most attractive promotions across the home services market and almost a third of its new customers did choose it for this reason, but there can be no doubt that it lost potential customers following the major data hack. If it’s to recover from recent events TalkTalk will need to offer more than just good value.”

This loss of customers is considerably larger than the amount of people who left rival companies to TalkTalk. One of the winners, it seems, were BT who saw around a fifth of those leaving TalkTalk joining their ranks.

“In contrast to TalkTalk, BT felt the benefits of an improved perception of reliability, with 12% of new customers saying their primary reason for joining was because they saw it as a trusted supplier – twice the market average,” added Choudhary.

BT are the market leaders, followed by Sky. The latter lost some of their market share, thanks to a less-than-impressive broadband performance. Virgin Media, meanwhile, made some small gains in the broadband world, but lost ground on their TV services compared to previous years.

Sadly, half the time, choosing a broadband provider is like choosing which colour of shoe you’d like to kick you up the arse, but there we go.

energy Surprise! Complaints about energy companies on the rise!This will surprise precisely no-one, but complaints about energy companies shot up last year, by nearly a quarter. These are according to the figures from the energy ombudsman Ofgem.

People airing their grievances went up by 23% to 65,168 in 2015, from 52,937 in 2014.

Billing was the most common problem people had (again, not at all surprising), being the thing that got people’s dander up in eight out of every ten complaints. 9% of gripes concerned people trying to switch suppliers or tariffs.

Of course, through all this, there’s still a lot of talk about suppliers overcharging their customers. Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said that it looks like everyone should be seeing bigger price drops in their bills. Anyone holding their breath waiting for that would be foolish at best.

The chief ombudsman, Lewis Shand Smith, said: “Energy complaints rose by nearly a quarter over the course of last year as customers continue to be more vocal about their discontent with suppliers. Towards the end of the year, we’ve seen some suppliers take some encouraging steps, particularly when it comes to improving their billing processes, but there’s still more that can be done.”

“We encourage anyone experiencing an ongoing issue to speak to us – be it for advice or resolution, we’re here to help and our complaints process is easy to use and free to consumers.”

You can visit the Ofgem site, here.

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile providers are worst debt collectors in private sectorNo-one has a nice time dealing with debt-collection agencies, but the worst of the lot according to Citizen’s Advice – in the private sector at least – are those from mobile phone providers.

The CA’s ‘Falling Behind’ report stated that companies “sometimes play a significant role in people getting into mobile phone debt” after looking at 26,600 cases from 2015. The charity said that people should be allowed to take their own steps to limit usage, so they can avoid bills they can’t afford.

They say that, sometimes, mobile providers don’t do assessments that are thorough enough, concerning customers and what they can afford. It was also found that people are being given multiple contracts when they’re already in debt.

Citizen’s Advice want to see mobile companies helping customers out more, by allowing them to cap their bills, as seen with credit card accounts.

All this isn’t helped by the charity’s view that mobile phone companies are the worst private sector debt collectors, when it comes to resolving disputes, customer service, and putting affordable repayment plans in place.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Our evidence shows companies too often don’t set affordable debt repayment plans, escalate debts too quickly and fail to co-operate with debt advisers. In some extreme cases companies set customers up to fail by offering them contracts they can’t afford to repay.”

“Other sectors that deal with essential services have improved how they handle debts in recent years so mobile phone firms have no excuse for dragging their heels.”

“Giving customers the chance to set a cap on their bills will give consumers more power and help ensure they don’t build up unaffordable charges. The Government can also help by ensuring people can access free and independent money advice to avoid getting into debt in the first place.”

People get drunk sometimes, and it gets confusing as to whether the bad time they’ve had at a venue was the real deal, or self-imposed and muddled by booze.

That doesn’t stop people getting their critic’s cap on, and leaving a review, most likely on TripAdvisor.

Well, the people at North Shields bar, How Do You Do?, found they’d been given a one-star review by a customer who said they’d had a terrible time at a wedding there. The bosses replied, saying that what had been written was a “a drunk person’s view of the situation.

First, the  complaint.

HDYD1 490x500 Manager gives sober account of drunken bad pub review

As you can see, there’s complaints of the meagre food on offer, and bizarrely, complaining about a pub that does lock-ins (pubs that do a lock-in should be cherished, whether they’ve invited you in or not).

There was also complaints of people being kicked-out, and ‘random strangers’ being allowed in.

With these complaints, HDYD’s Paul Bell felt he needed to address the complaint, which of course, has now been deleted. Bell points out why, if you’re going to get hysterical with a review, the management and staff will invariably have far more incriminating tales of their own to share with everyone.

Here’s the reply.

HDYD2 Manager gives sober account of drunken bad pub review

 

HDYD3 Manager gives sober account of drunken bad pub review

 

HDYD4 Manager gives sober account of drunken bad pub review

 

That’s a lot of words, and quite the take-down… no wonder the original complaint was deleted in haste!

Asda expose customers’ details

January 20th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

ASDA logo Asda expose customers detailsA load of personal details of customers have been exposed thanks to a flaw on Asda’s website, thereby giving scam artists the chance to gather up that lovely data, such as payment details, and use it all for whatever nefarious purposes they have in mind.

This may well have put millions of transactions at risk, according to security dude Paul Moore. He first saw the flaw in March 2014, and got in touch with Asda to inform them about it.

Asda have now said that this has been patched up, telling the Beeb: ”Asda and Walmart take the security of our websites very seriously. We are aware of the issue and have implemented changes to improve the security on our website.”

If you’re into security flaws and all the techie gubbins, then this revolved around two exploits, one being cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (CSRF). If you don’t know what they are, then rest assured, it is all incredibly exciting and like three Woodstock Festivals at the same time.

Or, if you prefer, it means that, should your device be infected with malware, and you had the Asda website open, you could be exposed to an attack.

A number of sites have this problem, but Asda seem to have reacted slowly to the whole thing. Moore says: ”Back in March 2014, I contacted Asda to report several security vulnerabilities and despite a fix promised ‘in the next few weeks’, little appears to have changed. Asda also failed to issue adequate security headers which help mitigate the risk by instructing the browser to discard content which ASDA deem malicious or unnecessary.”

“The majority of modern browsers support content security policy (CSP) which effectively blocks this type of attack, but very few sites adopt this technique.”

“Asda/Walmart have had ample opportunity to fix these issues and have failed to do so. If you must continue shopping with Asda, open a private window and do not open any other tabs or windows until you’ve logged out.”

Picture 2 BT hire more staff to deal with their crappy customer serviceBT are hiring a load of staff – around a thousand – for their call centres, as they aim to improve their lousy customer service. Time and time again, the company are poorly rated for their customer service operations, and they’ve decided, after listening to their customers, to bring things back to the UK.

Customers had told BT that they preferred hearing British voices, and what with BT using call centres in Delhi and Bengaluru since 2003, this was making some people unhappy. They’ve been moving their operations back to the UK, and have promised that 80% of calls made by customers would be answered by an advisor based in the UK by the end of 2016.

Of course, BT have just taken over EE, who themselves, have a poor record when it comes to customer service ratings.

Libby Barr, head of customer care at BT, said that, should the company want to pick up 80% of calls in the UK, “this means we need more people in our UK contact centres.” Existing staff will be re-trained, and all manner of changes will be afoot to try and sort the mess out: “This demonstrates the commitment from everyone at BT to work together to improve customer service and to make things easy for our customers,” added Barr.

Can BT pull their fingers out? We’ll have to wait and see… just don’t hold your breath.

Cafe complaint met with logic

January 15th, 2016 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

We all know that things in cafes and restaurants costs more than they would if you made them at home. There’s overheads and staff to pay, and of course, some places are really expensive for reasons that may not be clear to us, so we reserve our right to not go there.

However, some folk don’t get it, and in a TripAdvisor review, ‘Hannah C’ wasn’t impressed with Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro in High Petergate, York.

Hannah was on a ‘tight budget’, and ordered herself a hot water with a ‘thin slice of lemon’ in it. She was charged £2 for the privilege, which she thinks is ‘ridiculous’, and referred to the cafe as a ‘dreadful place’.

tripadvisor complaint 500x375 Cafe complaint met with logic

Of course, Hannah is quite within her rights to think of somewhere as crappy, and overpriced, but the manager from the establishment replied to her, which should get her thinking.

The manager’s full response talks of the cruel realities of life, and tries to address why things cost what they do.

“I’m sorry that you feel that you were ‘ripped off’ and I’ll try to explain why you weren’t. You entered the cafe and the waiter showed you to your seat, gave you a menu, waited for a time and then took your order. He entered it into the till, collected a cup, saucer and spoon and took them into the kitchen. There, he selected a knife, chopping board, got a lemon from the fridge, cut off a slice and put it in the cup. Then, he returned to the dining room, drew off the necessary hot water and carried the cup to your table.”

“When you were leaving, he printed off your bill, took it to you, processed your credit card payment and cashed off the till. After you left, he cleared away your cup, saucer and spoon, took them into the kitchen, washed and dried them, along with the chopping board and knife and put away the lemon.”

“Then, returning to the dining room he restacked the cup, saucer and spoon, wiped down your table and replaced the menu, awaiting the next customer. That’s at least 2-3 minutes work for the waiter.”

“The cost of overheads for the business, i.e rent, business rates, electricity costs, bank charges, etc works out at £27.50 per hour of trading. I pay my colleagues a decent living wage and after taking into account holiday pay, national insurance and non-productive time prior to opening and after closing, the waiter who served you costs me £12.50 per hour.”

“Therefore, together the cost is £40 per hour or 67p per minute, meaning that the cost of providing you with 2-3 minutes of service was £1.34 – £2.00. Then the government add on VAT at 20% which takes the cost of that cup of fruit infusion to between £1.60 and £2.40 irrespective of whether you had a teabag costing one and a half pence or a slice of lemon costing five pence.”

“I have to pay my suppliers otherwise the facilities won’t be available to other people who use them in the future. I accept that it makes the price of a cuppa in a city centre cafe look expensive compared to the one you make at home but unfortunately that’s the cruel reality of life.”

“It’s actually the facilities that cost the money, far more so than the ingredients. Perhaps, the rudeness that you perceived in me was triggered by the disrespect that I perceived in you by your presumption that you could use our facilities and be waited on for free.”

Are Tesco turning things around?

January 14th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco Are Tesco turning things around?Even though it seems like everyone hates Tesco, and the horse they rode on, they seem to be slowly turning a corner.

Not only have they made an appearance in the Most Improved Brands list, their sales over the six-week Christmas period actually improved, thanks to more people through the doors and an upturn in clothing sales. Why did people start shopping with Tesco again? One simple answer – their prices for Christmas essentials were 5% lower than they were the previous year.

Tesco’s boss, Dave Lewis said: “Our Christmas performance was strong, benefiting from lower prices on an outstanding range of products.”

“Our customer service improved materially and our colleagues went the extra mile. Put simply, we put customers at the heart of everything we did and they responded by buying more of what they needed at Tesco.”

“International sales have also continued to strengthen, driven once again by improvements across the offer. We continued our strong positive sales momentum in both Europe and Asia, with our Thai business reaching its highest ever market share.”

However, selling things at Christmas is much easier than the rest of the year. If you look at Tesco’s sales for the third quarter (covering the build up to Christmas, in the thirteen weeks to November 28th), sales actually dropped by 1.5% in the UK.

Tesco might be getting their fingers out, and turning things around, but they’re going to have to do more if they want to thwart the threat of Aldi and Lidl, who are taking a number of their customers.

fifa 15 300x206 Father bans son from video games, as he spends over £5,000Parents – if you missed the news or keep not listening to other people talking about video games, please listen up now.

In a lot of video games now, be they console games, or games that come in app form on your mobile phone/tablet – there’s in-app or in-game purchases. That means, there’s things you can spend real-world money on, while you play.

Now, a lot of people know this, but clearly there’s parents who don’t, because we keep seeing stories where kids have spent ludicrous amounts of money while playing games – because their parents either haven’t told them not to, or haven’t threatened them with all manner of punishments if they go wild with mum and dad’s credit card.

And so, to Lance Perkins from Canada, who has now banned his son from playing on his console, after he spent £5,255.03 while playing FIFA.

“It floored me. Literally floored me, when I’d seen what I was being charged,” he told CBC News. “He thought it was a one-time fee for the game. He’s just as sick as I am, he never believed he was being charged for every transaction, or every time he went onto the game.”

“There will never be another Xbox system—or any gaming system—in my home,” he added.

In this instance, the parent and the child didn’t know the score – but this is 2016 and you really should. If a game has a thing where it says ‘purchase’ in it, you’d be wise to assume that it means ‘spend your actual money from your actual bank account’. Sure, Lance’s son might have an Ultimate Team that is the envy of everyone he knows, but it isn’t much use if he can’t actually play with them because he’s had his Xbox taken off him.

If you’re still unsure, here’s the official low-down on what in-app/in-game purchases entail. In short, if you think it might cost you money, it probably will.

They’re annoying, but they don’t appear to be going anywhere. Don’t register your card with your console, if you’ve got a reckless child in the house.