2007 mad men 005 200x300 Virgin media ad banned for ‘misleading’ customers over potential savingsWe all know advertising is supposed to make you want to buy stuff, but we have a reasonable expectation that the adverts we are subjected to are not a bunch of outright lies. That’s what the Advertising Standards Agency is there for,right?

However, just because businesses can’t lie, doesn’t mean they aren’t found guilty of stretching the truth a little bit. Strictly speaking, you might consider it lying but the ASA calls it ‘misleading’. A new ruling from the ASA has just banned  a Virgin Media advert claiming that Sky customers could save over £400 a year by switching, when chances are, they actually couldn’t.

A regional press ad for Virgin Media Ltd compared Sky’s ‘The Family Bundle’ with Virgin Media’s ‘Premiere Collection’.  The ‘receipts’ shown in the advert listed the features and monthly total price of the respective packages. Sky’s Family Bundle was priced at £103.65 and Virgin Media’s Premier Collection at £67.99. The advert stated an “Annual saving with Virgin Media £427.92″.

The problem was not, actually, with the facts- while Virgin had handily included the cost of BT Sport, which is actually paid to BT rather than Sky- Virgin maintained that 100% of Sky customers who took the exact combination of services set out would achieve the claimed saving. Nor was this disputed by the ASA. Virgin also claimed that the trifling detail of the exact amount of consumers holding this particular combination of services did not affect the comparison being made or a consumer’s understanding of the price saving.

However, on this point the ASA disagreed, given that fewer than 0.1% of Sky customers did have those services, and could therefore possibly save over £400. The ASA noted that the ad was phrased conditionally, and that Virgin Media did not claim that all customers would save over £400, however the ASA felt that “it was necessary for a reasonable proportion of consumers to achieve the claimed saving,” adding that “using the comparison in this example, only a relatively small proportion of Sky customers would save to the degree claimed. “

As a result that advert was banned on the grounds of misleading by exaggeration. Moral of the story- don’t believe everything you read in the papers and do your own research when comparing costs of broadband and television services.

vmbeacon screen 142x300 Robot overlords start small with talking shop mannequinsIn scenes that are likely going to turn around and mark the end of humanity, three UK stores are set to trial mannequins embedded with beacon technology.

The three shops – House of Fraser’s Online Store, Hawes and Curtis in London’s Jermyn Street and Bentalls in Kingston upon Thames – will have showroom dummies embedded with relevant information about what they are wearing in the shop window, or anything else the store wants to flog in your direction.

You’re not going to suddenly think you’re having a breakdown with windows talking to you willy nilly, the scheme relies on customers downloading the app and opting in.

Obviously there’s the creeping feeling that innocently sourcing a new blouse and some info on your phone says “Yeah! We have that in a blue and you’d look marvy!”, that it’s another way of marketing using your life choices and eating your mind.

Basically, you can select what you fancy and then order it online, if you’re pushed for time to actually enter the shop.

Naturally there’s also a social media aspect, as customers are also encouraged to share their fashion looks and dressing room selfies with friends.

Co-founder of the VMBeacon, Jonathan Berlin, speaking words he may live to regret, said: “Research shows that customers already use their smartphones while shopping in store, but until now, the retail industry hasn’t realised the full potential of this,”

“The VMBeacon creates a completely new dimension to the shopping experience, by combining the consumer desire to be connected on the go, with the bricks and mortar store.”

It’s an inevitable idea, but surely by driving everything online, when the ‘bricks and mortar store’ does rely on a footfall of people actually going into them, seems a bit mad, but we’re sure they know what they’re doing!

Nice to know you can be mithered outside shops, as well as in them.

autons 300x224 Robot overlords start small with talking shop mannequins

Ofcom claim EE actually really good

August 13th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

zzzw Ofcom claim EE actually really good“What, really?” news now, as EE have come top of a poll. According to Ofcom, no less, EE provides customers with a superior call quality to its rivals.

Ofcom did a load of research testing each of the main British mobile operators, and the Orange/ T-Mobile love-in ranked top with 97% of phone conversations over its network completed successfully – 97.5% in urban areas and 93.7% in rural regions.

Admittedly, the less controversial O2 was a close second, with 95.3% overall completion rate that breaks down as 87.4% for rural customers and 97.7% for urban users.

And Vodafone came up the rear to complete the Top 3, with a total of 92.6% completed calls – 79.9% in rural areas and 95.3% in urban.

Overall, Ofcom said that 78% of urban customers were happy with their mobile solution, compared to 67% of rural customers.

It’s all part of Ofcom’s working with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone to devise a common system for measuring the quality of calls on their networks.

And if that wasn’t dizzying enough, Ofcom are publishing results of their study into 3G and 4G services.


Supermarket’s car wash destroys car

August 12th, 2014 12 Comments By Ian Wade

BMW 300x185 Supermarkets car wash destroys carA businessman is on the warpath with Morrisons after his car was destroyed by the supermarket’s car wash.

David Elliott was in the process of enjoying a £6.99 wash and wax of his new £75,000 BMW (a bit like this one pictured) at the Morrisons branch in Evesham, Worcestershire.

It was when the back window shattered, that he realised that this wasn’t part of the service.

Part of the car wash mechanism had got snagged the lower edge of the car’s boot. However the safety mechanism that usually kicks in to cut the machine off didn’t work, and the car wash rollers carried on.

When Mr Elliott drove his car out of the machine, he then noticed the full extent of the damage, which he has since been quoted £4,000 to have it fixed.

Now Mr Elliott claims that Morrisons are refusing to accept liability. A claim disputed by the supermarket, who say they have not yet finished their investigation into the incident.

“I called Morrisons customer services immediately telling them what had happened and within a week they had basically denied liability.”

“They didn’t even send somebody to look at my car. The car wash was broken by the incident. But they got an engineer in who presumably just pushed the reset button and said the car wash was fine.”

“Morrisons said to me they didn’t deny that the incident took place but because the car wash was fine beforehand and now the engineer said it’s working, it’s not their liability. They are completely washing their hands of it.”

There’s probably some gag about a company washing their hands of a car wash incident, but now’s not the time. However, next time he wants his car cleaning, he might have more joy if he goes for a good old fashioned hand-job.

Postbox collections to be a bit earlier

August 11th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Postman Pat 300x300 Postbox collections to be a bit earlierAh the humble post box. The long-time symbol of ‘sending something like a letter or a small package’, apparently no longer covers its costs.

So to try and combat that, the Post Office plan to bring forward collection times for 50,000 of them.

Some will have their late collections moved forward to 3pm from the traditional 4pm or later slot.

The rest of the 115,000 post box network will remain unaffected by the change.

Using a statement as their medium, Royal Mail said: “Rather than decommission uneconomic postboxes, while staying within the regulated density requirement, Royal Mail will ensure their viability by improving efficiency of its collections arrangements.”

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as 2000 new boxes are on their way out into the country, especially in rural areas, as Ofcom ruled that post boxes must be found within half a mile of 98% of UK households.

They chirped in with: “Ofcom recognises the need for Royal Mail to become more efficient so it can sustain a universal postal service that consumers value highly.”

insurance def 300x199 Are you being charged for being savvy about your buildings insurance?The mid-nineties were dark days. Not just because of Peter Andre and East 17 but also because those were the shady times when building societies forced you to take out their own buildings insurance policies when you had a mortgage with them- at a healthily inflated premium of course.

But in the face of a sledgehammer of legislation to tackle the problem, the practice was dropped, and in today’s more enlightened times, new buyers are free to shop around, using any one of the multiple comparison sites around to secure the best deal on home insurance.

However, there is still an issue for homeowners. Last month comparethemarket.com (the one with the rodents) calculated that, for thesignificant number of people, who have not switched since taking out their home insurance under sufferance through their original lender, they could have saved ‘legacy losses’ totalling around £2.2bn – an average of £1,446 per household over the last 20 years.

Additionally, the cheeky anthropomorphic creatures discovered that some building societies, mostly smaller regional ones, are still levying a penalty charge of up to £45 if you choose not to take out their overpriced insurance.s

Sounds a bit rum. Of course, the building societies can’t actually charge you for not buying their products, that would be madness. What they can do, however, is charge you an administration fee for requiring sight of your alternative insurance provider to ensure that it is, in fact, bona fide. Unlike the admin charge itself.

The comparethemarket.com research found Ipswich building society to be the worst offender in a list of 18 lenders which charge home buyers for daring to choose a cheaper insurance provider.Ipswich charges £45, but out of the other charging lenders, the largest is Skipton, which charges £25.

Simon McCulloch of comparethemarket.com said, based on the mortgage and remortgage market share of those lenders that impose a fee, consumers are collectively paying nearly £2m a year for these charges.

“These charges are essentially a tax on being financially proactive and prudent,” he said. “Shopping around for buildings and contents insurance saves a third of UK households more than £100, which could, for example, pay for your first six months broadband after you move house. But charges like these are designed to put people off doing this and, in many instances, to tie them into more expensive products.”

A spokesman for the Ipswich said: “The society has recently conducted a review of the ‘own insurance’ mortgage fee. The result of this is that we intend to remove this fee for all applications from 1 September 2014.”

A Skipton spokesman said: “There is a charge we make to ensure that if someone buys their buildings insurance elsewhere, we need to check that the property is properly insured.”

And yes, I know they are mammals.

Man sues Sony for their LIES

August 8th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

killzone shadow fall Man sues Sony for their LIESSony are being sued by one unhappy man.

Californian Douglas Ladore is taking Sony to court as he reckons they falsely advertised the native resolution of the multiplayer mode in Killzone Shadow Fall as 1080p

Mr Ladore boo-hoos that Sony is guilty of, “negligent misrepresentation, false advertisement, unfair competition and fraud in the inducement” for various claims from the company that a ‘native’ 1080p resolution was present in the game’s multiplayer.

Going on to shade them with “Unfortunately, Sony’s marketing and on-box representations turned out to be nothing more than fiction.”

Sony have always said that Killzone Shadow Fall runs at native 1080 and 60fps in both its single and multiplayer modes. However the game actually uses a thing called ‘temporal reprojection’ to achieve this 1080p image from a lower resolution render.

This ‘temporal reprojection’ lark tracks the position of pixels and manages to predict where they’ll be to form a higher-resolution new frame.

Obviously Ladore is having none of it, claiming how this is more a “technological shortcut” rather than an actual native to the game as he claims advertised.

There’s getting upset about something and then there’s going through the process of thinking “yes, I’m going to sue this company for their LIES” and then doing so.

Some people eh? They need to go outside and have a minute.

Cock is a type of chicken

August 8th, 2014 6 Comments By Ian Wade

dirty bird 300x300 Cock is a type of chickenThings that look a bit like a penis news now, and customers of a chicken vendor have complained about its controversial new logo.

The design, for Dirty Bird, who ply their wares around festivals and dos around Wales, has been deemed phallic and ‘not the sort of thing that should be on display around children’.

Cleverly, the design combines both the ‘d’ and the ‘b’ of Dirty Bird, and helps form the base and main throbbing shaft of the cock itself.

Along with a head and comb placed at the tip, it is quite evident that the rooster represents a delicious range of chicken.

But the customers aren’t having it with clever design. Claiming that clever design is not the sort of thing they want to see or think about when tucking into their fried chicken, because the clever design looks quite a bit like a penis.

Now, Bitterwallet have seen a fair share of penises in our time (Speak for yourself – Ed) but none, if any, had a beak.

Dirty Bird owner Neil Young (not that one) has denied the company tried to make the logo phallic, saying: “We’ve never really thought about it like that. Our designer created a d and b for “dirty bird” then pushed them together to make a cockerel.”

They’ve also done some giant posters with stuff like “Touch My Thigh” and “Touch My Breast” on them, which again has alarmed some people with no sense of humour.

We particularly enjoyed the typesetting of the “Eat Cock” poster.

dirty bird 2 206x300 Cock is a type of chicken

Mark James, who designed the logo, said: “We were given the name Dirty Bird as the brief, and started working on ideas. We looked at the initials, DB. Then worked with the lowercase ‘db’ linking them to form the shape of a rooster. It’s graphic representation of a rooster incorporating the initials. It depends on how you look at it.”

“I’m not sure there have been any complaints. A few comments, but it’s in the eye of the beholder, as they say.”

High street on the up and prices falling

August 7th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

sales 300x272 High street on the up and prices fallingPrices are falling all around, thanks to a supermarket price war and major discounting in the sales.

According to the industry, shop prices were an average of 1.9% below the same month last year. This is the biggest fall in years.

It’s all good for people who’ve been facing price rises overtaking wages, throwing everyone into varying levels of financial despair.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), food prices are rising at 0.3% a year, which apparently is the lowest figure ever seen in the survey.

It claims that, what with discounting, vouchers and general deals, the cost of getting food on the table is actually down. Yeah, but, it really couldn’t have continued going up though, eh?

Clothes and shoes were an average of 11.2% cheaper in July than a year ago as clothes shops waged an actual war on each other. All your electrical bits and bobs like tellies, mobile phones, computers and that sort of thing were on average 5% cheaper.

The director general of the BRC, Helen Dickson reckons: “This is great news for households who are benefiting from fierce competition within the industry at a time when disposable incomes remain under pressure. The lowest ever recorded food inflation will be particularly welcomed by the lowest income households who typically spend around a third of their expenditure on food”.

“Deep and widespread discounting across the grocery sector is intensifying with prices falling almost one per cent month-on-month – another record jump. After accounting for the use of multi-buys and vouchers, food prices are falling.”

It looks set to continue, too, as harvests around the world have been quite good, things are stable, imports are cheaper and all that.

Riot insurance – don’t count on it

August 6th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

riots 250x300 Riot insurance   dont count on itThe future’s looking bleak for those affected by riots.

Proposed reforms to the way claims are paid out could wipe out businesses and homeowners financially, according to some insurers.

Following the rioting of Summer 2011, where disaffected youths rose up and acquired free rice and sportswear, around £167 million has been believed to have been paid out to people and companies who were affected by it, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

However the ABI say that plans to overhaul the 128-year-old Riot Damages Act could threaten insurers’ ability to cover such damage in England and Wales as a standard part of property insurance.

It said the proposals could reduce access to insurance and potentially lead to new excesses for riots having to be built into some policies and riots having to be excluded completely from cover in certain areas.

The ABI estimates that for every £10 paid out in compensation after the 2011 rioting, only £1 would be paid out under the reformed Act, which whatever way you look at it, is a bit shit.

It also warned that proposals to put new curbs on the Act would leave “all but the smallest firms unable to claim compensation”, while car owners could find that the vast majority of vehicle damage is also excluded.

The ABI said that a proposal to limit those businesses who can make a claim to the police under the Act to those with an annual turnover of less than £2 million would leave all but the smallest firms unable to claim. Firms with a turnover of less than £2 million made up only 9% of the total value of commercial property material damage claims in the 2011 riots.

It also said that proposals to only include third party motor policies within claims to the police under the Act would leave a vast majority of motorists outside it. Around 96% of motorists have comprehensive cover rather than third party.

The ABI also shaded the idea that police and crime commissioners to decide whether a riot is actually a riot, and not just ‘lots of people running about smashing stuff up and burning things’ would also create potential conflicts of interest as the police are liable for riot damage.

There’s a guy named Huw Evans, who is director of policy and deputy director general at the ABI, and he has said this: “Government proposals to drastically cut back compensation are at odds with its intention to retain the principle that the state is responsible for the costs of riot damage, that has proved its worth for taxpayers for over 100 years.”

“Not only does the Act provide important protection for the uninsured, it means insurers can cover riot damage in England and Wales as a standard part of property insurance.”

“Both would be in jeopardy under Government’s new proposals, which instead need to reflect today’s world and the needs of modern businesses.”

“Insurers want to continue to offer riot cover as a standard part of property insurance, but such drastic change could significantly impact on premiums, lead to the incorporation of excesses for riot into business insurance policies, or the exclusion of riot from insurance cover in certain areas.”

Meanwhile, a Home Office spokeswoman piped up with: “Small and medium-sized businesses are at the heart of their communities and it is right that the Government supports them when they suffer unexpected loss or damages.

“The Riot Damages Act is over 125 years old and needs updating. Its purpose is to provide a safety net for businesses and individuals – our recent consultation provided an opportunity to ensure it meets the needs of any future compensation claims.

“Interested parties, including the Association of British Insurers, were invited to comment and provide data to inform the consultation.

“No final decisions have been taken on changes to the Act. We will now consider responses to the consultation and will decide which proposals to take forward in due course.”

What a mess, eh reader?

Listen up everyone – the world is coming to an end. Cineworld is trialling allocated seating and the internet is going into meltdown.

It started off with someone called We Are Vultures (real name, Weven R. Vultures) sending a snotty tweet to Cineworld Cinemas, who then had the audacity to tell the truth.

BtkqIDXIMAELZmB 333x500 Cineworld causing mild grief with allocated seating


This has been panic and outrage spreading across social media. So much so that someone’s gone to the trouble of setting up a designated account about allocated seating at Cineworld. Seriously. You can see for yourself here.

The main gripe is that you can’t just turn up to the cinema with your mates and watch a film. Presumably, you can, but that’s not the point is it? Making images like this are the point.

BuLfnXJIUAEDdEi 500x213 Cineworld causing mild grief with allocated seating


This harks back to the riots that spread across Britain when people had to buy tickets for seated gigs and theatre productions years ago, when 30,000 people lost their lives after refusing to take it From The Man.

You can assume that Cineworld will charge more for premium seats, which of course, some cinemas have done for years. Again, that’s not the point is it? The point is…

…well… we don’t know. Maybe you can go to the Odeon or something instead? Or download films and watch them at home? What kind of lunatic goes to the cinema anyway?

Deathwatch: Massive supermarkets

August 5th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

poll sweets supermarket 390x285 300x219 Deathwatch: Massive supermarketsSupermarkets are scaling back from building massive hangar-like retail solutions centres.

Only 15.2 million sq ft of new shopping space was proposed by retailers, rather than the 18 million sq ft four years ago, when colossal outta town stores were seen as the future.

However, since facing a ramming at the tills from the likes of Lidl and Aldi, the big four supermarkets are less inclined to carry on building giant sheds

The figures from property agent CBRE also show the amount of new shopping space with planning permission and under construction fell 30% on the year to 2.5 million sq ft, with retailers scaling down their sites to meet changing customer habits.

CBRE retail director Christopher Keen said of this: “The reason for the shift to smaller stores is in part a response to changing consumer shopping patterns, but also because they are lower capital expenditure to deliver, have less impact on the trade of existing stores and are easier to secure planning permission for.”

Even if it looks as though supermarkets are no longer keen on massive new stores, there is still 30 million sq ft of space allocated and with permission to become shops.

Tesco said last month that it was going to build up to 4,000 homes on the land it had its eye on, after being nagged at for hoarding land for the sake of it.

It’s a shame for the land gobbling behemoths of retail, eh?

google plus logo Google are scanning emails... but catching child abusersGoogle have been relatively open about how they scan everyone’s emails – it is so they can tailor adverts to customers and make loads of money. However, not everyone is happy about that, especially with all that NSA business.

However, reports say that a Google tip-off from the contents of a Gmail account ended up in the arrest of a child abuser from Texas. Police say Google told the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about the content in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, who is a registered sex offender.

“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email,” said Detective David Nettles. “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”

So what’s going on?

Pictures are hashed which creates a unique code for an image. The hash is compared with a database of known child abuse images and, if they match, details are passed to the NCMEC (or, if you’re in Britain, the Internet Watch Foundation, who Google actually give funding to). Then, a trained expert looks at the case and decides whether or not to pass it on to the police.

AOL also employ a similar system and they caught someone sharing illegal images last year.

The moral quandary is that, while the capture of child abusers is absolutely good and noble, Google and others are sifting through everyone’s correspondence and repacking it for advertisers. With Google’s buying of Nest, some people even think that they’ll be able to spy on you via your thermostat (a bit like the Piers Brosnan robot house in The Simpsons).

So what’s the trade off? If you’re not doing anything wrong, should people be scanning your emails? Do you not mind because child abusers can be caught? Is this case being crowed about in a bid to try and distract users from something a bit dodgy going on? Or do we just accept it because this is how the internet works?

energy Customers waving cheerio to big six energy companiesTwo million customers have said “see ya!” to the UK energy market’s big six companies, and opting for smaller and cheaper companies.

Independent figures claim to show droves of households switching their energy supplier as the price of energy carries on going up.

Approximately 100,000 customers a month have swapped over from the big boys to an indie since last June. Snubbing the likes of npower, SSE, EDF, E.ON, Scottish Power and British Gas.

And according to the latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 1.3 million customers and 866,000 gas customers have changed suppliers in the last three months of 2013.

And as if to rub it in, by switching his gas and electricity supplier to a company exempt from the charges slapped on domestic bills, Energy Secretary Ed Davey  is now spared from paying the average £112-a-year green duty added to most domestic bills after he moved his account to a firm that does not have to pay it.

Maybe he should be doing something about stopping the Big Six being arseholes then, eh readers?

Pop videos get classified

August 1st, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

bbfc 18 jan82009 cg main99999 Pop videos get classifiedMusic videos that are released on physical media are to have a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for certification.

From October 1, anything that might contain unsuitable content for the nippers, will be given a rating of 12, 15, 18 or R18.

This will cover stuff released on Blu-Ray, DVD and CD formats. So for example, if Rihanna finally sees sense and knocks out a Greatest Hits this Christmas, an accompanying video compilation would be rated maybe 15 due to her clothes constantly falling off in the promos of her less memorable numbers.

If it is judged that content in a video would typically attract an age rating of 12, 15, 18 or R18, the BBFC will issue a certification.

Companies producing any contentious physical content will have to submit it for classification, and thus add another week or so into production while they wait for it to be issued like a passport.

While this is all noble and stops us from throwing filth at the pop kids, it doesn’t apply to content bought digitally, and so what’s left of the physical market is sort-of shooting itself in the foot a bit by placing restrictions. Admittedly, gone are the days when there were HMVs and Virgins and vigilant staff. Nowadays, what avenues are left are grateful of any sale, and are not going to prevent a 12 year old buying something labelled an 18.

Plus all of it’s on YouTube, and unless your parents are complete squares, you can bore yourself silly watching this stuff millions of times.