They’re recalling 1.6 million vehicles for the airbags that have been supplied by Takata, who were at the centre of the last scandal which saw huge amounts of vehicles recalled worldwide.
Now, at the moment, it involves 22 models, including the Corolla and Vitz, manufactured from January 2004 through December 2005. It affects cars in Japan, Italy, Britain and Spain – there’s no numbers on that yet.
Like before, it looks like these Takata airbags might be inflating with too much force, which results in shrapnel being flung through the car when the bags inflate. People have died as a result of these airbags, but for the latest recall, there have been no reports of injuries.
Toyota will be getting in touch with drivers and dealerships. If you want to get on it first, then click here to check Toyota’s recall checker.
In America, regulators fined Takata $70 million for hiding evidence that their airbags were faulty, and if the company don’t abide by new terms, the penalty can be upped to $200 million by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The supermarket has frozen pay for drivers and warehouse staff in Belfast and Doncaster for this year, and now they’re being balloted by their union, and if they strike at the earliest opportunity, that means they could be downing tools on December 18th. If you’re in those areas, get your Christmas shopping delivered before then, eh? Or shop somewhere else, obviously.
That said, Tesco are being bullish about the whole situation, and said that ”any industrial action at these two sites will have no noticeable effect on Tesco customers”.
A Tesco spokesman said: “For the past several months we have been engaged in dialogue with our unions over our normal annual pay negotiations in our distribution centres. A two-year pay proposal has been fully recommended for acceptance by Usdaw across 20 of our sites and colleagues are currently voting on this offer.”
“The approach from Unite is clearly counterproductive, as we have always been committed to pay discussions, and is surprising given Unite had initially agreed to new talks. We want all of our distribution colleagues to support our turnaround plans, and work together to better serve our customers.”
Unite national officer Adrian Jones returned serve: “Our members have been working very hard to get Tesco to the position where the company can announce such promising results and be confident that it has turned the corner of the challenges of recent years.”
“We don’t want favours from the company but we believe that the current offer is far below what it can afford and what our members deserve. Unite members don’t want to disrupt anyone’s Christmas shopping but without a proper pay increase thousands of workers will not be able to enjoy their own Christmas in the way they deserve.”
“We urge Tesco to revise its pitiful pay offer and avoid potential industrial action in the run-up to Christmas.”
Toys R Us are putting an end to categorising toys into boys and girls categories. This means that they’ll be selling toys and it’ll be up to your child which ones they want. It is a good move, which ultimately won’t change much in the way of shopping habits, but still, it is nice to open all the toys up to children.
This of course, came about after pressure from a group called Let Toys Be Toys and, thanks to them being campaigners, it means that some people will automatically be against whatever it is they’re saying – that’s how humans work. Group A says “CHANGE THINGS!” Group B complain and reply with “LEAVE EVERYTHING ALONE!”
Either way, you’ll now search for toys by age-group, brand, or type of toy, rather than gender. Of course, some parents will think that this is going to make shopping for their children more difficult, but really, buying toys for kids is a nightmare regardless of how it is offered to you.
Obviously, television commercials and marketing won’t be changing the way they do things, which means Toys R Us changing their system won’t mean that girls will stop being ushered toward dolls, and boys toward diggers, but it is something. And of course, parents will influence what they want their children to play with, but all the same, if you shop at Toys R Us, the shelves will no longer categorise things into things for girls, and things for boys.
This fine comes in a week when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) are throwing fines at all sorts of spam-pests, totalling £250,000. The £80k was served to Birmingham-based UKMS Money Solutions Ltd, and of course, they were dealing in nuisance PPI messages. The company failed to check that the people they were messaging had agreed to receive marketing text messages.
The ICO are getting in touch with 1,000 of these spam-vendors, to ask them what they’re doing to comply with UK laws. If it turns out they’ve failed to go through proper procedures, there’s going to be more fines doing the rounds.
ICO enforcement manager, Andy Curry, said: “UKMS relied on their data suppliers’ word that the people on the lists had agreed to be contacted. That’s simply not good enough. UKMS should have known that the responsibility to ensure they had the right consent to send messages to people rests with them.”
There’s a lot of calls for tougher action against these sorts of companies, because at the moment, they can dodge penalties by simply closing down their business and then re-opening on the same day under a different business name. It really is a farce. One of the things that is being spoken about, is that, instead of fining companies, you fine directors who are responsible.
The ICO would also like to see an increase in the maximum fine possible. Currently it stands at £500,000, which is clearly not enough of a deterrent.
An investigation found that the safety control system was manually overridden, and the proper protocols were not followed. In total, 16 people were injured on the Smiler ride, when it crashed into an empty carriage that had stopped on the tracks.
“A ride shutdown message was misunderstood by staff at the ride,” an Alton Towers spokeswoman said.
“This led to a decision to manually restart the ride, overriding the control system without appropriate safety protocols being followed correctly.”
Merlin Entertainment, who own Alton Towers, have previously said that the injured parties will be receiving compensation.
If you were hoping to get a nice little payout apology from Volkswagen over the emissions scandal, don’t hold your breath (unless you’re trying to not breathe in all the gunk pouring out of the back of your VW). The company said that they have ”no plans” to compensate customers in Europe, although, after some official investigations, that could all change.
The company have put aside £4.8bn to cover recall costs, but that doesn’t include compo, because they’re not planning on forking out.
Now, Volkswagen have been compensating drivers in America, and they think that the market circumstances were different. Of course, in the UK, the car’s re-sale value has changed thanks to this cheat-scandal, so this is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
Stateside, drivers have been promised $500, and another $500 in credit vouchers. If you’re in the UK, VW are telling you to go whistle.
In a statement, VW said: “We are putting together an individual package of measures for each market designed to achieve high customer satisfaction in what is currently an unsatisfactory situation for customers.”
So why are Volkswagen treating American drivers differently to those in Europe? Well, it has been suggested elsewhere that VW would like to spoil the Americans, because it is seen as a key area of growth in the market that they would like to develop. Seeing as Europe drives a lot of VW vehicles, it sounds like a case of ‘what are you going to do about it?’
There could well be some official intervention on all this, so things could change, but for the time being, Volkswagen aren’t going to be crossing your palm with silver.
There’s a number of tumble dryers sold under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands over the last 11 years, which are a potential fire risk, according to Indesit. They have identified a potential concern with two types of tumble dryers, which were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.
They said: “Following Whirlpool’s acquisition of the Hotpoint/Indesit brands, Indesit Company has closely reviewed the safety of its product portfolio. As part of this review we have identified a potential concern with two types of tumble dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015. In some rare cases, excess fluff can come into contact with the heating element and present a risk of fire. The affected brands are: Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda.”
“We are activating an extensive consumer outreach and service action plan in order to provide our consumers with products that are updated to higher safety and quality standards. We will arrange a visit from an engineer, free of charge, to modify your appliance. The service call will take approximately one hour. The improvements we believe are necessary will further enhance the safety and quality of your dryer.”
“In the meantime consumers may continue to use their products, provided that appliances are not left unattended whilst operating. We also remind customers of the need for proper cleaning and maintenance, as outlined in the user manual.”
What is happening, is that in some cases, excess fluff and lint can come into contact with the heating element, and that might catch on fire. You can check to see if your tumble dryer is affected by clicking here, and putting in your details.
This Friday is Black Friday and there’s nothing you can do about it (unless you’re planning to do absolutely nothing about it, of course). There’s going to be a lot of fuss made over it, and in part, for good reason – last year, there were some outrageously good bargains to be found.
For those who still aren’t exactly sure what the day means, basically, in the UK, retailers have stolen America’s infamous sales day, which falls the day after Thanksgiving. Or the last Friday of November. A lot of the major shops and supermarkets will be involved, although this year, some have decided to scale back their offerings or spread their deals out.
As ever, we’ll be rounding up the best bargains for you, and pointing you in the direction of those that are offering proper deals, rather than those rubbish ones that offer 4% off some perfume you don’t want.
Where are the best places to find a Black Friday bargain? Well, these shops have already put their markers down, with some of them already selling Black Friday deals right now.
Over the last couple of years, John Lewis and Amazon have been the better outlets for grabbing something on the cheap, however, 2015 will see even more retailers getting in on the action, so we’ll have to wait and see. Amazon, of course, have offers on all day and have become known for their Lightning Deals, which means limited time-windows to buy certain products.
Very.co.uk have also been hot on Black Friday, and Curry’s/PC World are keen on the day too. Concerning the latter, some Bitterwallet readers got some £150 Beats headphones for £40, which isn’t to be sniffed at.
So keep your eyes peeled. You can get loads of bargains without actually going down the shops if you get everything online, presuming you want to avoid a bareknuckle brawl in a supermarket.
Home insurance is one of those necessary evil type things, but sometimes getting a quote isn’t all the information you need. Our friends over at Which!!! have undertaken an investigative foray into the sneaky admin charges some insurers levy on your policy after you’ve signed on the dotted line.
Which!!! analysed the sneaky fees of 36 major insurers and found that half charge an ‘adjustment fee’ for making changes to your policy, such as updating your address. The smallest of these fees (where charged) was £8.48 with Aviva and went up to £25 with Castle Cover and Rias.
Which!!! gave each insurer marks out of 100, and two companies actually got full marks- both Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group don’t charge any fees and also pay generous switching fees – an amount a provider pays towards any charges you face for switching to it before your current policy ends- and neither levy an interest charge for paying by monthly instalments.
Endsleigh came bottom with a score of 43%, and Admiral followed closely with 44%. Both these insurers charge hefty fees- Endsleigh charges 39.7& APR for monthly payments and £20 for practically everything else- the highest fee for a duplicate document. Admiral is one of only four insurers who charge a fee if you pay for your insurance by credit card; consumer rights regulations state that these fees must be no more than it costs the company to process that payment type, but at a flat rate of £5.95, Which!!! think this is unlikely to be reflective of Admiral’s costs.
Which!!! also found it’s not always easy to check what fees you might be charged in advance. Most insurers include their fees in the policy documents on their websites or in a FAQs section, but Bradford & Bingley, Endsleigh, Nationwide, the Post Office and Prudential all required a full quote before setting out their fees. Which seems a little more than sneaky to us.
The top and bottom ten insurers, as rated by Which!!! are as follows:
3 Age UK
6 M&S Bank
7 NFU Mutual
10 Insure 4 Retirement
5 Bradford and Bingley
6 Co-operative Insurance
8 The AA
9 Post Office Insurance
10 Esure/Sheila’s Wheels
Manchester Airport said that they could support 25 more long-haul routes, which nearly doubles the amount they do now, after they started winking suggestively to Air China Ltd, who became the latest major carrier to look at flights outside of London.
The airport managed to achieve a 12-month passenger tally over 23 million for the time it its history this week, and is the only airport outside of the capital to have two runways.
Based on the current demand, Manchester Airport reckon they could support 20 to 25 more long-haul destinations, with managing director Ken O’Toole saying: “With no new runway capacity coming into the southeast in the next 15 years, if ever, Manchester is now the focus for growth.”
“We’ll reach 25 million passengers in the short term, and we think the airport has the potential to get into the mid 30 millions by the late 2020s or early 2030s.”
Air China stopped flights to Gatwick in London a couple of years ago, and has now applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China to serve Manchester from Shanghai four times weekly, starting early next year. That’s in addition to Hainan Airlines Co. offering four weekly flights from Beijing, following a visit to Manchester by President Xi Jinping. Cathay Pacific have been flying to Hong Kong since 2014.
The airport will also be adding flights to LA, Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, and Dallas, among other US destinations too. They’re also looking at adding Bangkok, Mumbai, Delhi and South Africa to their services.
Great news for travellers in the North of England.
Bryan Burger, Morrisons petrol retail director said: “Prices have been hovering above the £1 mark for months now. We have seen oil prices also continuing to fall this week and that means that headline fuel prices could continue to fall.”
Full marks to anyone who tittered at the name ‘Bryan Burger’.
Anyway, Morrisons aren’t the only supermarket dropping their prices as wholesale costs fall. Asda cut 2p off the price of a litre last month, and it looks like that’s got another price war going.
Good news for drivers at the pumps, trying to nail a perfectly round number when filling their vehicles up, as this means that, over the coming weeks, a lot of forecourts should start dropping their prices.
Poundworld has been hit with a fine that exceeds £70,000 after they were found guilty of selling hi-vis jackets, that didn’t actually reflect. The jackets also said ’be safe, be seen’ on them, even though they were basically as visible as any other brightly coloured jacket.
95,700 of these £1 vests were sold, but tests showed that they weren’t particularly reflective, which saw a recall and the product being removed from sale. However, with safety equipment, you’ll always have further questions to answer.
And so, Poundworld went to St Albans Crown Court, where prosecutor Andrew Johnson said that Joe Tyler, from Hertfordshire Trading Standards, made a test purchase from Poundworld on Watford High Street last year.
He said: “Whilst the produce purported to be a high visibility safety vest, it was in fact no such thing. It was little more than an item of clothing. Neither the fluorescent yellow background material or the retro-reflective strips were of a standard anywhere near that which was necessary to ensure the visibility of the user.”
Answering the Trading Standards’ questions, Poundworld said this particular vest had been tested as a batch of 7,200, but over a period beginning in January 2010 it had imported and sold 95,700. Stan Reiz, who was defending the company, said that the Chinese manufacturers had provided test certificates that were misleading to Poundworld, but that “the company admits it fell short of due diligence. It has now changed its policies and has increased its UK test centres.”
Judge John Plumstead fined Poundworld £15,000 and ordered it to pay £42,395.10 in an agreed confiscation order as well as £6,123.16 prosecution costs. He said: “People would have gone out of the shop believing they had improved the safety of their children or themselves when out after dark on foot or on a bicycle. The fine demonstrates the court’s disapproval of those who put on the market safety aids that are not safety aids at all.”
They should’ve seen that coming, eh? EH?
There are some cars in the UK, but most of the vehicles are in America, with some in Asia, and the rest of Europe also. The recall is happening after a report showed a seatbelt assembly breaking, when a customer was using it.
A spokesman said there had been no accidents or injuries related to this, and added: ”Our investigation was unable to reveal any root cause. We are going to look at every single car. We expect the vast majority of seatbelts to be fine.”
So, if you’re a Tesla driver, you will have already got an email from them, or be getting one imminently. Check your spam folders just in case. There, you’ll be asked to get your car looked at, at a service centre, where they’ll inspect the bolt that attaches the seat belt mechanism to the body of the car.
This follow the fires that are continuing with Vauxhall Zafira cars, with a recall ongoing.