EE apologise for being annoying

July 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

zzzw EE apologise for being annoyingEE has apologised after it hassled customers with texts over the weekend.

How much hassle? One user complained of receiving more than 90 marketing messages from Orange, one of EE’s brands, in a four-day period.

Well EE have certainly done themselves no favours in the past, and this latest wheeze looks like seeing off what customers they had left.

These text messages were reminders that the customers were eligible to add to their plans numbers that they can call for free, and the usual old toss that corporate text messaging throws out.

Naturally, customers took to social media and had a good moan about it.

The messages read: “Hi from Orange. Congratulations: you can now add another Magic Number.” It included a link customers could follow to do so.

Trying gamely to underestimate the levity of this shitstorm, a member of EE’s community team named as Miles wrote on Sunday that the firm was “having an issue” with the text message service.

“This reminder should only be sent once, but some customers are getting multiple reminders. If you’ve received any of these duplicate messages, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. Remember: you’re not charged to receive magic number reminders.”

Is this the final straw for you, remaining EE customers? You better answer quickly or you’ll get asked the same question 90 times.

Ditch the wheatgrass smoothies and save £440

July 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

Wheatgrass 250x250 Ditch the wheatgrass smoothies and save £440 Crazy people who believe in the healing power of superfoods are spending far too much on their health fix, says Which!!!

Instead of spunking all their hard earned wages on goji berries and wheatgrass and other dubious inedibles, our favourite consumer vanguards suggest that people should try cheaper alternatives, like kiwi fruit and sardines.

In what has to be their most niche report yet, Which!!! found that swapping blueberries for kiwis and salmon for sardines could help healthy types save £440 a year and still stay alive longer (while not having any fun.)

Lean, mean, tanned and toned Richard Lloyd from Which!!! paused his Tracy Anderson workout DVD and said:

‘You don’t need to break the bank to eat healthily. We’ve found you can swap some superfoods for cheaper alternatives and save a packet while still getting the vitamins you need.’

Thanks Richard! And now we can spend that lovely £440 on beer and pipes of Pringles.

Sainsburys now running on old shit

July 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

sainsburys 300x192 Sainsburys now running on old shitA branch of Sainsburys in the West Midlands has become the first retail outlet in the UK to come away from the National Grid.

The Cannock branch of the supermarket chain is being powered by food waste alone, and is working together with recycling company Biffa on new technology, allowing them to run solely generated from anaerobic digestion.

As of today, the store will run solely from outta date food and stuff that would otherwise end up in landfill.

The supermarket has stressed that they still donate any food to charity and also animal feed and  items that simply cannot be re-sold on to the customer. Fr’instance Waste bananas from its Prescot Road store in Liverpool go to Knowsley safari park to feed the monkeys.

Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. Food waste from the chain’s supermarkets around the UK is delivered by lorry to Biffa’s plant in Cannock, and turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity that is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed 1.5km-long electricity cable.

This is all amazing news, although anyone fancying diving into the skips at closing may be advised to be careful and stay sharp in case they end up becoming electricity.

pensions 300x187 Osborne reveals new pension plans (not his, sadly)New rules for private pensions have been announced, allowing the retired greater freedom to fritter away their cash.

The rules were launched by Trouble-haired chancellor George Osborne, following his announcement earlier this year when he scrapped a rule forcing people to buy an annuity, and thus freaked out insurers the land over.

Osborne is keen to allow people to tap into the cash they set aside during their working life by reducing tax penalties imposed on those who withdraw their savings in a lump sum.

On Monday, the government confirmed its intention to go ahead with such plans, seen as the biggest reform of pensions in a generation, and added details to its proposals following a consultation with industry, employers and consumer groups.

Osborne said: ”It’s right to support hard working people that have taken the long-term decision to save for their future and I’m pleased that the responses we had to our proposals on making pensions more flexible have been overwhelmingly positive,”

“The government believes that the overall impact … is likely to be limited,” it said. “It is expected that there will still be a strong continuing demand for high-quality fixed-income assets, including government and corporate bonds.”

It all sounds quite good, but there are worries that the changes will allow pensioners to piss away all their savings while giddy in the first flush of freedom. Osborne, with his legendary charm, has rejected this idea.

It was all panic when Osborne first announced the shake-up earlier this year, it hit the share value of firms like Legal and General, Aviva and Standard Life who run annuities businesses. The shares have since recovered slightly, but remain below their pre-announcement levels.

The finance ministry said that after consultation, the industry estimated that only 10-20 percent of people in defined-benefit pension schemes would transfer out of them. Some pension schemes might need to hold more liquid assets as a result, however.

A summary of the consultation said the financial guidance provided to retirees would be provided independently and funded by a levy on regulated financial services firms.

All good news for anyone with a pension then. Oh.

nationwide 2153673b 300x187 Nationwide’s famous technical glitches are BACK! It’s been a few months, but it looks like the IT bods at Nationwide will be getting another bollocking after thousands of customers were locked out of their own online accounts last night.

Customers trying to make payments and do their banking both online and via their mobiles over the weekend were thwarted by error messages and frustration.

They took to Twitter on Sunday night with pitchforks and voiced their annoyance at the glitches, which took place between midnight and 7.30am this morning.

Nationwide said they were very sorry, but regular website maintenance had taken longer than expected.

‘Unfortunately our overnight planned maintenance has overrun and affected customers accessing our online bank and mobile banking app.’ Said a spokesperson. ‘We apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers. The online bank and mobile banking app are now up and running.’

Perhaps the real reason that customers are so annoyed is that it’s a fairly regular occurrence with Nationwide. It ain’t the first time – and chances are it’s not going to be the last…

meerkat Price comparison sites ain’t what they’re cracked up to be, says FCA The Financial Conduct Authority has accused price comparison sites of being totally confused.com and ‘failing consumers’ by not giving them full or correct information.

The main problem is with the headings. The FCA says that too much focus is put on the big splashy headline price and the brand itself, and not enough info is given about what you actually get for your money. If you’re looking for home insurance, for example, you don’t necessarily get a full outline of your cover or any indication of whether it’s right for you.

The FCA eyeballed 14 price comparison sites and found that the websites don’t make it clear that they just gather and show all the prices – and don’t necessarily tailor their suggestions to your specific needs.

However, some are very naughty indeed and break FCA rules because they don’t declare potential conflicts of interest – ie, some sites are owned by the very insurance companies they’re trying to pimp ‘impartially’ suggest.

Clive Adamson from the FCA said: ‘Our research found that price comparison websites are not meeting our requirements in delivering fair and consistent outcomes for consumers. We also found that consumers had a number of misconceptions about the services they provided. It is important for consumers to understand that not all products are the same and the cheapest product may not always be the best for their needs.’

Companies like gocompare.com have said they would look carefully at the report’s findings, just as soon as the corrupt Go Compare man comes back from taking crack at the meerkat brothel.

Have you been overcharged for laptop repairs?

July 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Old women on laptop 300x221 Have you been overcharged for laptop repairs?Turns out that people are being overcharged for basic laptop repairs, according to an investigation.

Of course, this won’t be news to some people, but they’re exactly the kind of people who found this out, learned how to fix everything themselves, and then kept the whole thing under their hat and moaned about sheeple on their Twitter accounts.

For those that didn’t know, there’s a chance you’re being ripped off.

The folks at Which!!! placed basic software faults on a number of devices that should have cost  £50 or less to fix, but found that most retailers were willing to charge over £100.

Nine Windows laptops and 15 MacBooks were used to see if Apple, the Carphone Warehouse, Currys & PC World and some independent stores were pulling a fast one.

According to Which!!!’s findings, Currys & PC World only managed to fix one of six laptops correctly and charged £154 for it. One job cost £169.99 to fix and had the wrong operating system installed, with the customer being told that they needed to buy a new hard drive that they did not need.

The Carphone Warehouse performed better than the rest, asking for £50, £20 and £24.99 for the repair of three Windows laptops. That said, they also advised one customer that they needed to buy a £40 hard drive they didn’t need and another laptop had all data unnecessarily wiped while a new OS was being installed.

The independent shops were just as bad, with one charging £200 for data recovery.

Apple meanwhile, didn’t charge anything to repair four of six MacBooks, but didn’t bother with two others because they were older models.

“It’s shocking that major high street retailers are failing consumers when faced with such basic repair issues and are charging people through the nose in the process,” Which!!! editor Richard Headland said. ”We want to see improved staff training and repair procedures, as well as fair and consistent pricing so people can be confident in the services they receive.”

Amazon to offer unlimited books

July 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

kindle 300x289 Amazon to offer unlimited booksAmazon have pulled the covers of their next wheeze, a Netflix-style subscription.

The plan is to allow unlimited access for e-books, which is going to put the cat among the book pigeons for sure.

The $9.99 per month Kindle Unlimited offers access to 600,000 titles in the Kindle format.

Subscribers will be able to access the books on Amazon’s Kindle tablets, as well as other devices with a Kindle app, including iPads and iPhones, Windows devices and Android-powered mobile gadgets.

Amazon is using a model made popular by Netflix for films and television programs, but also by services such as Spotify for music.

This all sounds a bit like rum news ahead for the world of publishing, but Colin Gillis at BGC Partners reckons the move to subscriptions is part of a trend toward ”a ‘rent, not own’ society. We see it with music, with movies. It makes sense that they would do that with books.”

Understandably not everything will be available immediately on the service, but future releases could come as part of a deal to lure people into the service.

Publishers meanwhile are resisting the subscription model because it effectively cuts the price of books and royalties paid.

Despite this, Amazon knows that some of its readers will be up for it, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research: ”Amazon knows its customers,” the analyst said. “They know if you read a mystery every week, they know whether they are in a position to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

“If you’re a one book a month reader and a best seller person, this isn’t going to work for you,” McQuivey said.

The Kindle Unlimited service will also include audio books available through the Audible service. The service is initially being launched for US customers, with other countries likely to follow.

Tesco chief-exec jumps ship after profit warning

July 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

for b3ta tesco value droid 192x300 Tesco chief exec jumps ship after profit warningTesco are incredibly successful, which is why it is funny when they have a bit of turbulence. Their chief-executive – Philip Clarke – is now the ex-chief-exec as he’s resigned following a profits warning. He’s already been replaced by Unilever exec and non-executive director of BSkyB, Dave Lewis.

It is worth pointing out that Tesco are still making a shedload of money and that Philip Clarke is still considerably wealthier than anyone we know.

Tesco have said that trading conditions were more challenging than anticipated and that sales and trading profit in the first half of the year were below expectations. Of course, they had to say it was trading conditions, rather than holding their hands up and saying ‘we’ve kinda been crap for a while now are we’re sad that everyone has started to notice and shop elsewhere.’

During Clarke’s tenure, Tesco have seen three years of falling sales in Britain

Some of the board have backed Clarke, saying that major restructuring at Tesco has been part of the problem, as well as the advancing influence of Lidl and Aldi and online shopping. Others, meanwhile, think Clarke had an attitude problem.

Sir Richard Broadbent, the Tesco chairman, said: “Having guided Tesco through a substantial re-positioning in challenging markets, Philip Clarke agreed with the board that this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile.”

Clarke said: “Having taken the business through the huge challenges of the last few years, I think this is the right moment to hand over responsibility and I am delighted that Dave Lewis has agreed to join us.”

Hands up if you think anything’s going to noticeably change at Tesco…

bwbest 300x255 News round up – the best of the week’s storiesThe Best of Bitterwallet

Listen to the never ending customer service call bitterwallet/comcast
Is bread trying to kill us all? bitterwallet/loaf
Baby clothes covered in penis bitterwallet/cock up
Taxman has scary new powers bitterwallet/tax
Google invent robot eyes bitterwallet/contact
More penalty points for texting drivers bitterwallet/crash
Modem Life Is Rubbish bitterwallet/broadband
Lidl gets really fancy bitterwallet/wine
SSE – everyone hates you bitterwallet/bye
Bins are costing us £200m for no reason bitterwallet/rubbish

The Best of the Rest

FedEx indicted for part in distributing drugs wsj/prescription
Barbie RIP wpxi/mattel
Microsoft to sack thousands loadthegame/microsoft
Facebook ‘mentions’ for celebs only huffingtonpost/celebrity
Amazon isn’t killing writing techcrunch/amazon
Co-op sells chemists standard/pharmacy
Mothercare needs to modernise cityam/mothercare
Make roads safer for cyclists says MP localgov/cyclist
71% of drivers want connected cars totaltele/cars

Carphone and Three: Together at last?

July 18th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

three1 300x292 Carphone and Three: Together at last?Carphone Warehouse – or should we say Dixons Carphone Whorehouse or whatever they’re called now – are in talks with mobile operator Three to launch its own mobile network.

Carphone had been in discussions with several UK networks, but apparently Three are the ones who been the most interested, as the company looks past its usual fare of simply flogging phones.

It also looks more likely since Carphone Warehouse announced it was planning on setting up an MVNO in Ireland using Three’s network. The new network, set to go live in mid-2015, will utilise the newly-combined Three and O2 Ireland networks, which merged last month in a €780m deal.

Carphone Warehouse already has an existing partnership with Vodafone to resell low-cost contracts under the Talkmobile brand, a partnership which currently boasts around 700,000 customers and is set to continue.

It will certainly stir up shit with other UK mobile operators, who’ll be less likely to want to be involved with Carphone, such as EE, who want to focus on direct selling to its customers.

Yeah. Good luck with that EE!

BT can put all your phones in one phone

July 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

bt one phone BT can put all your phones in one phoneBT has launched BT One Phone for the business people

The service will allow business people to receive office and mobile calls to a single device and reduce the risk of them missing important calls. Great for people having affairs with their underlings as well.

The BT One Phone helps streamline calls to any device all into one place. A bit like an email server which aggregates all your accounts. But on a phone.

All phone numbers for the individual are linked to one mobile device, meaning they can manage their calls from anywhere.

Graham Sutherland, CEO of BT Business, said:

“With an increasingly mobile and demanding workforce, businesses need communications technology that is as flexible as they are. Missed calls mean missed business. Today’s announcement, combined with the upcoming launch of our 4G services, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the increasingly mobile UK workforce.”

Users would need a BT One Phone SIM to gain access to the cloud-based call management service, with which they can receive calls from all of their various phone lines. This gives professionals more control, increasing productivity even when away from the office.

Or to translate that for you – YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO ESCAPE.

Snoopsome administrators will also be able to manage employee access by activating or deactivating employee SIM cards, managing call groups etc. Probably at will, when the fancy takes them and you’ll get all paranoid and neck a box of painkillers.

The future, ladies and gentlemen.

payfriendz 300x300 Payfriendz allows you to, yes! Rob your enemies!Payfriendz allows you to do just that – pay your friends.

The new app allows you to transfer money via instant messaging, and goes beyond the current methods of other payment apps (Paym, PayPal, Barclays Pingit, etc) that don’t go beyond offering transactions.

It’s all very genius-sounding, and you wonder why it hasn’t been thought of before.

With an instant messaging network users can chat with their friends and talk about money matters without awkwardness or having to resort to threats.

Users can send and request money as quick as a chat message.

Money can also be spent comfortably via an integrated virtual MasterCard on online stores such as Amazon .

And as it works like a digital wallet Payfriendz makes it easy to split restaurant bills, collect money for a gift or share flat share expenses. Jolly!

That is if you actually have money to transfer, it doesn’t yet offer any tips on how to respond to “Pay your rent or all your shit is going into the skip out front sunshine”.

Let’s enjoy one of their promotional ads with the extremely irritating ‘Kimmy’!

“Ice cream” indeed. She’s clearly off to her dealer.

Facebook: Now a shop

July 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

facebook buy 300x300 Facebook: Now a shopFacebook are adding a “buy” button to their site.

END OF DAYS!

The feature will allow users of the Facebook to buy things directly from the site and shoppers can push the button to purchase items in adverts or other posts without leaving the social network.

An omnipotent force known simply as Facebook said this will “help businesses drive sales”.

Facebook are being all very reassuring by saying this new feature will be safe and secure, especially after the concerns raised by the recent hack of eBay, which exposed the data of 145 million or so customers.

Oh here’s Facebook piping up again: ”We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure,”

“None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.”

So yes, you can feel safe and delete your details immediately after each transaction, but that information is still likely to be quietly stored somewhere, and the next time Facebook is down for an agonising 20 minutes or so, you’ll be panicking.

Aldi offer cheapest school uniform yet

July 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Aldi uniform 2976900b 300x187 Aldi offer cheapest school uniform yetThe schools have barely shut and already the BACK TO SCHOOL offers are a-happening on the high street.

Previous years have seen the likes of Asda and Tesco get into the cheap school uniform market, offering them at next to nothing.

Now Aldi have waded in for the second year running, offering the cheapest deal yet, in the shape of the £4 school uniform.

The German supermarket is selling a round neck sweater, two plain polo shirts and either a pair of trousers or a skirt for £4.

Asda are offering the same deal, but for £7.50, making it now one of the most expensive options for supermarket school uniforms. Tesco and Sainsbury’s currently charge £6.75 and £7.33 respectively.

Noticeably, Aldi had been selling school kit since last year, but as the chain has had something of a magnificent 12 months, and as shoppers are less brand-conscious and more thrifty, their offering this year poses a real threat to the competition.

Just in case you feared the uniforms were being knocked up by some orphans in a toilet, a spokesman for Aldi said: ”As a responsible business, we are committed to respecting the human rights of workers in our supply chains and we continue to work with our suppliers towards continuous improvement in ethical standards.”

“We promote workplace practices and conditions that are safe, fair and legal for all those involved in making our products.”

It makes sense. Kids seem to go through school uniforms like they were made of paper, and they’re not that bothered about brands and the like until they hit the 9/10 age. Then you’ll be doing six jobs to buy them some trainers that some bully will rob off them at knifepoint.

Ah, childhood!