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.
You’ve heard the joke that starts ‘waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’. Well, everyone is upping the game lately. A while ago, we found horses in our lasagne, and then someone caught a frog in their Nando’s salad.
Now, Asda are offering mangled baby weasels in their products, as one lady found such a thing in her salad leaves.
Rifat Asghar was tucking into her salad, when a colleague spied a clump of fur. Rummaging around in her meal, she then found a leg. Then a tail. Then something that looked like an eye. Delicious.
So, not wanting to cause a fuss, she went back to the shop and was offered a £5 voucher. Then, Asda heard that it was a mashed up weasel, so they upped their offer to £100 in vouchers. She turned that offer down, because going to the papers gets you more money, obviously.
Talking to the Mail, she said: “It has caused me a lot of trauma. I initially thought it was a mouse, and for about a week afterwards I had weird dreams about mice coming out my mouth. They say it was in there from when it was harvested. What happened to all the checks done after that happened?”
“If something like that can go through all their processes and checks it worries me. I has completely changed the way I shop now and I can’t buy any prepared food any more. I’m having to make it all myself. It was so traumatising.”
Making your own tea from scratch is pretty traumatising.
An email from Asda’s tests confirmed that this was a chopped up rodent, saying: “The specimen was very badly damaged, showing some skin, fur, a leg joint, a foot and tail. It was concluded that the complaint specimen was most likely the remains of a young member of the species Mustela nivalis, the weasel.”
“It was not possible to determine where the specimen could have originated from due to the lack of distinguishing features. It is in the opinion of Insect Research and Development Limited that as these weasels would not usually come indoors, the specimen may have been accidentally harvested with one of the components of the salad.”
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and process controls it appears the foreign body has been picked up from the field during harvesting and has managed to by-pass all our trained eyes and washing processes.”
Anyway… waiter, waiter, there’s a weasel in my salad… quieten down, or everyone will stoatally want one.
If you’re a Sky broadband and landline customer, and you want out, now is the time to do it. Basically, Sky put their line rental costs up last month, and customers have been given an extra 30-days to exit their contracts without any penalty.
All Sky Talk customers were told of the price change in October ’15, and were given a month to either switch to another package or cancel their service. However, after some complaints, Sky were told that they have to extend this deadline.
This is a move by Ofcom to allow people to move from contracts with greater ease. Other companies have also been told that they’ll have to lift penalties for people who want to leave their services, such as EE, BT, and TalkTalk.
Seeing as people are being charged hundreds of pounds for wanting to leave a company, because they’re getting a crappy service or a product that was not as good as advertised, penalties on top of that are a very contentious issue.
Anyway, Sky customers now have until January 31st to cancel their package if they so desire.
Mercifully, it all seems to be fixed now. O2 put a statement out saying: ”BT has confirmed that the problem is now fixed and our customers are able to make calls successfully. We will continue to monitor service overnight to ensure stability for our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
EE have also said that everything should be fine now: “Customers of a number of operators have experienced problems calling landlines for a short period. The issue has now been resolved.”
Of course, social media was filled with people complaining about the situation.
EE said that these problems affected calls made from mobile phones to landlines, referring to the situation as a “severe outage”. Either way, everything should be back to normal now, so any complaints you have about your service should be long-standing ones, rather than these new ones, okay?
It has been reported that Apple are working on a thing that will make it easier for you to move from Apple to Android. Of course, this isn’t a gesture of goodwill, and neither are Apple doing it because they’ll cockily assume that no-one would ever want to do such a thing, but rather, it comes from pressure from European telecom operators.
So, in the future, it should be pretty easy to migrate yourself from iOS to Android.
You may know about the Move app, which Apple released last year, which let Android users easily transfer their data to iPhone. Now, it looks like they’re opening the channel the other way too.
Now, with Apple having so many people tied up in their ecosystem, it is interesting to see Apple giving users an easy way out. That said, Apple haven’t released this app yet, and it might not even see the light of day.
Either way, telecom companies would like to see more movement between the two systems, as it will increase their bargaining power with Google and Apple. We also don’t know how many iPhone users actually want this, but while Apple are getting it in the neck from the people who help them to sell phones, they’ll have to keep working on it.
More news of release dates and the like, when it happens.
If you want to migrate from iPhone to Android, and can’t wait for Apple to get this service out, then there’s a good guide on how you can do it yourself, here.
The Walmart-owned retailer have said that they’re going to spend £500 million to lower prices at their stores, which is good news if you don’t mind shopping at Asda. This is on top of the £1 billion they said they’d be spending in November 2013, when they said they’d be dropping prices over the following five years.
“We must take radical action to win back our customers,” said the chief executive Andy Clarke. “We expect that 2016 will be another year of intense pressure at a macroeconomic level, in addition to sales remaining under strain from price deflation, a continued competitive background throughout the sector, and radically changing customer shopping habits.”
That’s a lot of business-speak right there, but basically, Asda are saying that things are going to be cheaper, soon. Whether they’ll be as cheap as some of their rivals remains to be seen.
They need to do something though, because of all the leading supermarkets in Britain last year, Asda performed the worst. Their management decided to try and protect profit margins, rather than go after top-line sales. Either way, the way people shop in the UK has changed from 10 years ago, and Asda need to get their finger out.
The retail options are greater now, so they better get shipshape, and fast.
A car park operator, UKPC, are being investigated after they were accused of issuing tickets to drivers, which had been doctored. This is the second time the company have misleading drivers (we’ll stick an ‘allegedly’ in there, to be on the safe side).
After the claims were made about the company tampering with photos, UKPC was given a temporary suspension from using DVLA data to trace the addresses of drivers. This meant that any unpaid fines during that time, could not be followed up.
UKPC, who have said that staff misunderstood an email about all this, are being investigated again, by the British Parking Association. Last September, the BPA started to follow up claims that employees have been changing time stamps on car photos.
“If there’s a repeat of any kind of misbehaviour, that will almost certainly result in expulsion or further suspension,” said BPA head Patrick Troy.
So, if this isn’t out-and-out fraud, what’s going on? Well, the UKPC themselves said that these allegations refer to an “isolated photograph tampering incident” by a “few rogue employees”.
We all know the January sales start in December these days- with many starting even before Christmas, but with nothing else to look forward to until March, sale shopping might be a way of cheering up a gloomy January. However, there are a few things to remember when sale shopping, or even shopping in general, which may go some way to improving your 2016 retail experience.
First of all, some retailers will tell you that there is no refund on sale items, and you might think they can’t do this. Well, they probably can.The point is that your statutory rights in respect of buying goods cannot be affected by retailer policies (which is often stated on the back of store receipts), but your statutory rights only cover when items are damaged or faulty or otherwise not fit for purpose, they have no effect if you simply change your mind, or even if they don’t fit (unless the sizing is faulty).
Similarly, if sale items were reduced because of a fault that was either pointed out to you, or that you could have been reasonably expected to notice before you bought it (like a large stain on the front), then the store could reasonably argue that you were aware at the time of purchase and refuse a refund.
Of course, in practice, many stores will offer a 14-28 day period in which you can return the goods for a refund even if you have just changed your mind, but this is discretionary and you cannot make them do so. Many also offer extended refund windows over the Christmas period, possibly extending up to the end of January in some cases. If a shop choose not to offer refunds on (non-faulty) sale goods, however, that is up to each individual retailer.
In this case, and if you are a particularly fickle shopper, you might like to think about shopping online instead. This is because there are further statutory rights attached to distance selling which allow for a 14 day cooling-off period during which you can get a full refund even if you just change your mind.
Finally, if you are looking at buying bigger ticket items in the sales, think about buying in credit card to take advantage of the section 75 protection against faulty/not fit for purpose goods that allows you to apply for a refund from the credit card company instead of the retailer and applies to goods or services bought online, in person or over the phone.
Under “section 75″ of the Consumer Credit Act, the credit provider is equally liable with the provider of goods or services where there is a breach of contract or misrepresentation.
However, this should be used as a back up plan only, as although commonly credit card companies don’t claw back any money from the retailer, being more effort for them than it’s worth, if they do try and charge the retailer, and the retailer disputes it, your credit card refund could be clawed back or held pending a dispute. Note however that card providers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, so they must respond to complaints in accordance with their policy.
Other things to remember include myth-busting the idea that retailers have to sell you something at a marked price even if it’s wrong. They don’t, but that’s not to say it isn’t worth a try, although don’t get put out if it doesn’t work. Also if you have lost your receipt it’s not the end of the world- some stores’ own policy will allow an exchange without a receipt or evidence of purchase from other sources, such as bank statements. This also applies if seeking redress for faulty items- consumer law does not require a receipt, merely proof of purchase
You may have read the headline, and wondered what a ‘spiteful dildo’ might be. Is it something that nearly makes you orgasm, but decides not to at the last minute? Is it a dong that slags off your orifices on social media?
Mercifully not. This is the story about a young man called Pedro, who was scouring Amazon for a specialist art textbook. No, ‘specialist art’ isn’t a euphemism for anything dirty, either. Anyway, he found the book, ordered it, and on delivery, found he’d been given the wrong version. So far, so boring.
Pedro contacted Amazon’s customer service team to get the right version, and Amazon told him days later, that they couldn’t source it, and that he should return his book for a full refund. At this point, Pedro decided to leave a negative, disappointed review on the site, and assumed that’d be the end of it.
Then, something strange happened. According to our Pedro, he opened up Amazon again, and found that a giant dildo (for dildo enthusiasts, it was the ‘The Hulk 10.25-inch Huge Dong’) had been placed in his shopping basket.
He told Arstechnica: “If my best friend did it to me while I wasn’t watching, of course I would find it funny. I’m not a prude. The problem is, I was at the office, in an open space, with people behind me. A guy and two girls were sitting by me when I opened up Amazon and they saw the contents of my shopping basket.”
Who could do such a thing? Pedro thinks it was a customer service rep from Amazon, who was annoyed by his negative review. He took a screenshot, and then emailed Amazon to ask them what on Earth was going on. Eventually, he spoke to Andreas Mühlbauer of the “Executive Customer Relations” team at Amazon.
Mühlbauer apparently told Pedro that they were sorry, and that he’d “been in touch with the HR department” to make sure this didn’t happen again, and Pedro got himself a €100 voucher by way of apology.
We can’t confirm whether the voucher was spent on a massive dong or not. We’re guessing not.
Olympic diver and trunk-botherer, Tom Daley, set the internet muttering with a photo of his magic frying pan. Now, these frying pans aren’t new and they’re not universally loved either, but it seems that this celebrity endorsement has worked, with people wanting in on the action.
So, here’s the shot of Daley and his pan.
As you can see, the pan is divided up into sections, which drew the expected responses of ‘OMG’ and ‘epic’. However, this particular pan is very pricey for what it is – they’re going for £70. Since Daley showed his off, some cheeky sods are trying to flog them for over £100.
Some people were not fans though, with one person tweeting: “Actually haunted by Tom Daley’s frying pan. Actual thing of nightmares. It made me v uncomfortable. Bin it Tom, for the good of the world.” Someone else added: “OK, also, think about cleaning Tom Daley’s stupid frying pan. It’s not going to fit in a dishwasher.”
If you fancy getting in on this, you can buy them cheaper.
You can buy the Master Pan, which has five sections for you, for the price of £59.99. Or you can buy the Master Pan 5-in-1 affair from eBay for £49.95 with free delivery. There’s a smaller, 3-section circular Pendeford pan which you can get for £13.99. Or you can just carry on as normal, and do some cooking in non-partitioned pans – we’re not the boss of you.
We’re more concerned about what that yellow stuff is in Tom Daley’s pan. It looks like bile.
Amazon are amping up the pressure on rival retailers, by offering a service where you can ‘pay monthly’ with them. Sounds like trouble to us, as paying for stuff on the never-never can get consumers in all kinds of bother, but if you’re good with these sort of finances, it could be just the thing for you!
Anyway, if you’re spending £400 in one go, on one item or a load of different things, you can apply to pay them off over four years, without a deposit.
It is called Amazon Pay Monthly, and it’ll launch this month, and will charge you 16.9% interest.
Amazon have joined forces with finance company Hitachi Capital, which competes with similar credit options which exist on the high street.
A Hitachi spokesperson said: “It means you can go straight from choosing a new dishwasher or fridge to accessing finance options through us, all while staying on the Amazon site.”
Basically, you can do your shopping on Amazon as normal, and when you get to the checkout, you’ll be offered Pay Monthly. Of course, they’ll have to run a credit check on you, and if you’re approved, you’re good to go.
Interestingly, Britain is the first area that this has been offered to by Amazon.
Have you heard of Kelly’s Vegies? If you have, you may have given them a wide berth, thanks to the crappy spelling of ‘veggies’. However, it looks like there’s a whole other reason to avoid them, as one customer was hit with a number of charges after giving the company a negative review.
According to TiM, Alice Ridgley signed up with the company to get fruit and veg delivered to her home. She was offered a free trial box when she started her service with them. However, she got caught in a ‘subscription trap’ and the whole thing has been a nightmare.
After an unsatisfactory experience, she posted a critical review online, and for her troubles, Ridgley was on the receiving end of a £385 court claim, with Kelly’s Vegies asking for £50 in compensation for every day her review stayed online.
The trouble started when she wanted to cancel her subscription – £15 a pop – with the service, but was told she couldn’t unless she paid a ‘restocking fee’, which had been set off by her card payment being declined (she’d cancelled the card for an unrelated fraud). Emails were swapped and the fee was waived, and she carried on with her deliveries. So far, so unremarkable. However, last month, she decided to cancel the service again, and this time, was hit with a charge of £20 for not putting out her empty veg box in time for collection.
This all seemed a bit fishy to Ridgley, so she went to social media, and left an ‘honest’ review, warning potential customers that there were things in the terms and conditions that should be highlighted, before signing-up. In her review, she said: “There is no room for you to make an error. You will be faced with charges left, right and centre.”
The company’s t&cs show that there’s charges for card handling fees, early cancellation fees, and penalties for not putting your box out for collection. However, in the last few weeks, they’ve added the clause about negative reviews. It seems that this was introduced to discourage people from leaving bad reviews, and was not part of the terms when Alice signed-up. Other customers have also been hit with similar court claims, or the threat of them.
Another customer called Louise Bynoe cancelled her account, and was hit with a £30 fee. After disputing it, Kelly’s Vegies boss Kelly Wheeler called at her house in the evening. With Bynoe not answering the door, she received an email, which said: “I swung by your property to collect my crate earlier and try and resolve this face to face but no answer at the door. Please now find attached my claim which has been submitted to Northampton county court.”
These two cases are being handled by consumer help group Legal Beagles, where Alice and Louise hope to have them struck out. Kate Briscoe, who is the chief executive of Legal Beagles, says that it isn’t acceptable that Kelly’s Vegies “continues to lure unwitting consumers into onerous long-term contractual agreements which they find expensive to escape from”.
The advice here is that, if you’re ever offered a free trial of anything, make sure you have a good look at the terms and conditions.
It has been available in London since summer, but now, people in Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle will be able to use the service. So, it isn’t a proper roll-out, but it is something.
Prime Now has been taken up most keenly by gamers, with a variety of Xbox and PS4 games being shipped out, alongside all manner of crisps and fizzy pop. You can also get frozen food, milk, and other items which you can probably get from the corner shop.
Either way, Amazon have said that there’s been a strong uptake on the service, and they shipped out 200 million of their items for free to prime subscribers, over the festive period. Sales data showed that Christmas Eve became the biggest ever day for Prime Now deliveries. Unsurprising as they’ve not really had it around for that long.
Now that Prime Now is in more cities, there’s only going to be more people trying it out. With Amazon’s grocery services being pushed to the fore in 2016, looks like Amazon are going to actually try and take over the entire universe.