Archive for September, 2010

You know you’ve got too much money when…

September 30th, 2010 24 Comments By Andy Dawson

27022 You know you’ve got too much money when...…you’re purchasing from the Pets At Home range of football shirts for your dog. Fair play to them for encouraging Brits to take leave of their senses and spend their way out of the ‘current economic climate’

So come on, who’s your favourite dog-based footballer? It’s getting late in the day and we could only think of Scotland’s 1982 keeper Alan Rough (Ruff) or at a push, Lionel ‘Dog Mess’-i.

Surely you can do better than that? THERE ARE NO PRIZES!

HotUKDeals Of The Day – Thursday 30th September

September 30th, 2010 No Comments By Andy Dawson

hukd logob1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Thursday 30th SeptemberCome one come all and feast upon our mighty works. For we have spent literally hours scouring the HotUKDeals forums for an array of bargains the like of which can only be imagined with the assistance of some fucking massive psychedelic drugs. And if there isn’t something here to interest you, then you’re dead to us. Got that? Yes, you there – we’re looking at you.

767752 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Thursday 30th SeptemberA few days ago we flagged up an offer that would get you the complete Harry Potter movie collection on DVD for just £17.99. What a can of worms that one opened up. Within hours, pro-Blu-ray protestors were circling the entrance of Bitterwallet HQ, protesting in protest.

Dressed as Harry Potter but with their skin painted blue to symbolise their pro-Blu-ray tendencies, they looked like a bunch of swotty Smurfs and stayed for almost 20 minutes before leaving again. But their point was made, and here’s the complete set on Blu-ray for only £24.99. Happy now?

768043 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Thursday 30th SeptemberNext, a bike. But not just any old bike – it’s a Muddyfox bike (flexes comment-deleting finger in preparation). To be more specific, it’s a Muddyfox Veloce road bike with a lightweight alloy frame, drop handlebars and 14 speed Shimano gears. And maybe a bell.

Better still, in order to snap one of these up and embark on a lifestyle of dicing with death on Britain’s roads, you’d normally be looking to pay £350. Not today though friends. Today, for you, it’s only £150. Yes – the amount that you’d usually pay for a considerably shitter bike.

767636 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Thursday 30th SeptemberFinally – grub. Giver of life and the inspiration for over 700 hours of British television every single week. Eat too little of it and you’ll die. Eat too much of it and you’ll die. It’s a complex and bitter, twisted mistress, but we love it. Especially with a bottle of wine thrown in.

Helpfully, for those of you on a budget, the Marks & Spencer ‘2 Dine for £10’ offer is running again this weekend, and if you head on over to HotUKDeals, you can peruse the expansive menu that is on offer. Us, we’re opting for the boiled, glazed swan eyes accompanied by the bark shavings and followed with the absinthe and pomegranate trifle. Yum/yuck (delete as appropriate)

(deals found by HUKD members kindafunnylookin, Fabula and thegroutch)

Our friends at The Consumerist have been running a poll of late, in an attempt to find out just what their readers regard to be the worst advert of the year. In a Milliband-esque outcome, here are the two ads that riled them the most, from Staples and Quiznos.

They’re both pretty annoying but we’re prepared to go out on a limb and say that, with the likes of WeBuyAnyCar.com and the Go Compare man, we’re streets ahead when it comes to churning out mind-numbing cack in the name of advertising.

Ha! In your FACE America!

explosion 300x300 The thrilling, explosive tale about how energy suppliers might need to give you 30 day notice of any price hikesYou’re going to love this story. You really are. It’s a tale of love, regret, espionage and how customers might need to be told in advance about energy price rises rather than energy companies springing it on you after they’ve already done it.

The emotional rollercoaster of rules currently mean that suppliers can wait for 65 working days after prices have been put up before they bother letting you know, which is, quite frankly, bollocks.

However, new plans are afoot which will probably send a shockwave through the Earth, destroying towns and cities. Ofgem have decided that companies should really tell you 30 calendar days’ in advance, so if you’re going to kill yourself by throwing yourself headlong into a wood chipper at prices going up, you can now reconsider and shop elsewhere.

If the proposals are accepted by the energy companies, they could come into effect by January 2011.

The Ofgem inquiry found that the 65-day statutory deadline was supposed to be a backstop and that, after notice was given in a really dramatic way, customers had 20 days to switch supplier if they wanted to avoid paying the increased price. OR FACE CERTAIN DEATH.

Under the new plans, they could now do this before the rise came into effect. Which is nice.

“A month’s notice of price increases, along with annual energy statements and better information on bills, will empower consumers by giving them the facts about how much their energy costs,” said Andrew Wright, Ofgem’s senior partner for markets.

“This information makes it easier to shop around for a better energy deal and to evaluate the benefits energy efficiency measures can deliver.

Mr Wright then leapt out of a window to fly through the air, shooting fireballs from his tearducts at various energy companies, just to let them know he wasn’t going to take any shit from them. British Gas responded by building a gigantic penis shaped missile and aimed it at Mecca. More news when we make it up.

There’s something wrong with the world right now. Actually, there’s quite a lot wrong with the world and there aren’t enough years left of civilisation to list it all. But here’s another example to stick on that list; an ATM machine that doesn’t pay out cash, but gold bars. Gold bars. From a cash machine. We shit you not:

goldtogo Cash machines are so 20th century, you need Gold to Go™

Yes, residents in Las Vegas and Florida will be able to punch in their PIN and scoop up their 1, 5, 10 and 28 gram (1 ounce) bars, with the machine checking the international price of gold six times an hour. We can’t wait for these Gold To Go machines to reach the UK – when the revolution comes, we’ll be snug in the Bitterwallet bunker with our assets secure in gold and tins of rice pudding.

It may not be as wrong as this, but that doesn’t make it right.

[OhGizmo]

Online shoppers unhappy with substitute grocery items

September 30th, 2010 14 Comments By Andy Dawson

tesco electric van jj 002 Online shoppers unhappy with substitute grocery itemsOur good friends over at Which! have highlighted the shoddy practice where supermarkets play fast and loose with the goods that customers order when they do their grocery shopping online.

We speak of course about the dreaded ‘substitution’ – namely the item that a supermarket will send you when the thing that you’ve actually ordered isn’t in stock. The problem is that the replacement item isn’t always up to scratch,

Which! say that “one Tesco.com shopper received a chocolate pudding instead of the black pudding they ordered, while a Sainsburys.co.uk customer received fondant icing instead of the icing sugar they’d ordered to make meringues. Another Sainsbury’s shopper ordered fresh lemons – and received Flash lemon cleaner.” Hmmm…

The Which! survey says that a quarter of surveyed members (fnarr fnar) have received an unacceptable substitution at some point, with one in five of Tesco and Sainsburys punters huffed by what has been offered up as a replacement.

Don’t forget that if you’re not happy, you can always refuse a replacement when it is delivered to you. And if the delivery man asks if he can touch your hair, you’re allowed to refuse that as well. Stay safe crimefighters…

Bitterwallet Len Dastard Len Dastard, consumer law heavyweight vs the Small Claims Court Part 2Hola lectores. I am Len Dastard – a litigation executive writing for Bitterwallet, in my guise of a Mexican wrestling legend. Today I will take your hand further along our journey though process of the Small Claims Court. I ask you to be prepared and stay sharp. Escuche arriba…

My previous article on the Small Claims Court finished with a brief introduction on how long the Defendant would have to file their defence. This next installment will deal with preparation leading up to the trial.

“Filing” means getting the document sent to the court on time. The Defendant should ensure that their defence:

• Contains the names of both parties
• Shows the claim number
• Responds to all allegations (denying or admitting); and
• Is signed by the Defendant and there is a valid Statement of Truth

Once the court receive this defence they will send a copy to you and then give directions – this is a timetable imposed on the parties by the court for issues to be dealt with.

The Small Claims Court differs greatly from the other courts in that the parties exchange all of their evidence and documents before a trial. There’s only one exception to this and this would be documents that are privileged between solicitor and client. If you’re not instructing a solicitor then you wouldn’t worry about this.

As soon as you receive the timetable from the court you then have to stick to the dates. It is important to be prepared. If you believe that there is a possibility the case can be settled without the need for a trial then you must communicate with the other party. It is important to ensure that any letter sent attempting to settle are headed “Without Prejudice”. These letters then cannot be used in court against you.

If you intend to use evidence in your favour it can be:

• Invoices, correspondence, contracts, statement of accounts etc
• Oral testimony at trial
• Witness Statements
• Photographs

The most important thing to be able to do is prove your case. There is no, or little, point in not being sure of the facts or your case. Any hesitation will be noted by any legally represented party and possibly the Judge at court. Look organised. Keep all of your papers in a folder in date order. Keep separate any court correspondence to letters between the parties. It is also important to keep separate all of your evidence so that if you need it in court you are not scrambling around.

That was Part 2. Look out for Part 3 as this will center around what to expect at court and tips (amongst other thing) of cross examining the other party.

If you have a law query regarding your consumer rights (though not the fight for your right to party, alas), you can email me at hello-@-bitterwallet.com. Until the next, permanezca seguro.

Tesco gears up to shove Halloween down your throat

September 30th, 2010 4 Comments By Paul Smith

Bitterwallet Halloween pumkins Tesco gears up to shove Halloween down your throatSupermarkets may already be battering you about the face with Christmas promotions and deals on tins of Quality Street, but there’s still one more opportunity to bleed your wallet dry beforehand – Halloween.

Following the demise of Woolworths, the big brands have all stepped up their game to win a bigger slice of the consumer cash on offer – it’s estimated that last year’s Halloween market was worth over £300 million.

The world-domineering daddy of all supermarkets, Tesco is planning on taking £55 million in Halloween-related sales. That haul will include selling 1.4 million pumpkins, 1.5 million fancy dress costumes and 1 million copies of an exclusive film with Dreamworks: “Monsters vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space.”

According to a Tesco spokesperson, sales of spooky paraphernalia have trebled since 2005 and now surpass Valentine’s Day, meaning only Christmas and Easter account for more revenue for the übermarket brand. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy folks – don’t piss and moan about commercialisation or that you’re struggling with debt when you’re blowing that much on bloody pumpkins.

Would you buy a used home from this man?

September 30th, 2010 6 Comments By Andy Dawson

If you’ve been tuning into Channel 4’s new real-life soap Seven Days, you’ve probably been prodding your finger at the screen whenever Ben The Estate Agent is on and shouting ‘Wanker! You’re a wanker!’

Or maybe that’s just us. Anyhoo, over in the US of America, another estate agent who has been blessed/cursed with Rich Wanket as his name is making hay with the fact. Sort of – just how effective his promotional flyers have actually been is unknown…

201009291244 Would you buy a used home from this man?

[Boing Boing]

The plight of the local press continues, although this time it isn’t a desperate attempt to fill pages of dead wood with stories of stolen pillowcases.

Instead, witness the Evening Star in Ipswich battle valiantly with the intermaweb, with its subtle and sensitive attempt to persuade you to buy its newspaper:

Bitterwallet Ipswich Evening Star  Newspaper hopes youll buy a copy to find out who died

Thanks to avid Bitterwallet reader Disco Rhino

Picture 28 Did your neighbours (allegedly) download Big Busters 2?Earlier in the week, news broke of the ACS:Law data leak; it was a database of thousands of Sky Broadband customers that had allegedly been involved in P2P activity. Obviously such information is potentially embarrassing to those on it, and although the full list is available online, it can be hard work ploughing through it.

If only there was a way of making the database searchable by, say, postcode. That way it’d be easy to have a giggle at people in your street that had allegedly been involved in file-sharing adult yankee doodle. Or Best of Let Loose.

So if you haven’t seen it yet, keep an eye on this link. It fell over several times yesterday and was at one point blocked by Google, but it allows you to search the leaked database by postcode – the results show the names of Sky Broadband customers, their distance from you (which can be displayed on Google Maps) and what they’ve allegedly downloaded.

Two points become apparent very quickly when performing a search; the first is that some of these customers clearly aren’t the individuals allegedly involved in file-sharing. There are an awful lot of married ladies called Dorothy or Margaret listed, most likely mothers who simply pay their bills, while their live-at-home adult children plunder the intermaweb – that, or their WiFi is unsecured and somebody nearby is leeching from it. If that’s the case, it shows what an utter farce ACS:Law is involved in, demanding money from individuals who may be entirely unaware of the activity – unless there really are a lot of mature ladies loving hot skin flicks. It’s possible.

The second point, is that gay pornfest Latino Spunk Gobblers is far more popular than you might think.

UPDATE: the link is currently not working, although this was the case yesterday, so check back in a while.

HotUKDeals Of The Day – Wednesday 29th September

September 29th, 2010 No Comments By Andy Dawson

hukd logob1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 29th SeptemberAre you looking for low-priced DVDs, a crazy child transportation system and a night out with the chance of hypothermia at the end of it? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Go to HotUKDeals if you’re into everything else that isn’t those things.

767185 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 29th SeptemberFirstly, an addition to a child’s buggy that will provide transportation for a larger, probably disgruntled child. It’s a My Child skater board that fixes on to the back of your buggy – only £14.99 as opposed to the regular price of about £40.

Your correspondent recommends buying a bunch of these and heading off to DisneyWorld in Florida with them. The Americans there were mesmerised by ours when we visited last year and we probably could have sold a dozen of them and practically paid for the holiday (give or take a few grand).

767009 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 29th SeptemberNext is something else that is aimed at the delightful little younglings, with their cheeky smiles, rosy cheeks, endless whingeing, occasional puking and that thing where their teeth keep dropping out. Bless ‘em.

There’s a Buy One Get One Free on a bunch of Disney DVDs at the moment, making them a paltry £6.66 apiece. But… if you buy a third (or fifth or seventh etc etc) DVD, you’ll get them all for £6.66. So it should really be called a Buy More Than One And Get Them All For £6.66 deal – or a BMTOAGTAFSPSS for short.

767174 1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 29th SeptemberFinally, one that definitely isn’t one for your kids – unless you’re keen to damage them psychologically and put them off football forever. We’re far from being experts in the child protection game but we’re pretty sure that it would be wrong.

But that’s irrelevant really because your children would need to be of student age to qualify for this one. It’s a ticket for Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough on October 19th and for students, it’s only £2.00. Great news if their degree is about the jittery, nervous behaviour of some under-performing sports professionals – or if they just like being outdoors and really cold.

(deals found by HUKD members comet06, mardurrr and BadBeatDuke)

negative discount Report finds supermarket value packs cost more than single itemsUh-oh! Two supermarkets have been given a slap after being accused of illegally misleading shoppers over their pricing of some “great value” multi-packs of goods.

Asda and Sainsbury’s have been caught selling us value packs of stuff  which have been found to be more expensive than single versions of the same item. The watchdog Which! who have done the report have reported the two supermarkets to trading standards.

One example is a triple pack of Sainsbury’s Naturally Sweet Sweetcorn, which carried a label saying “bigger pack better value”. Alas, if you bought three individual tins of the stuff, not only would you be displaying a fondness for a disgusting foodstuff, but you would have saved 4p.

Asda have been at it too, when it was discovered that you could save 22p for buying individual packs of Cathedral City cheese over the promoted “great value” twin pack of the same product. Of course, these are only two examples to highlight what was going on with many products.

Apparently, both supermarkets have now rectified their prices.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said to the Guardian: “We reject the accusation that we have illegally misled customers … human error occurred.” Asda, meanwhile, have said “honest mistakes can happen” and “on occasion bigger packs can fall out of line [on price]“.

None of this will come as a surprise to avid and longstanding readers of this mighty organ, and our high profile investigations into Tesco and their yellow label scandals. No doubt Which! were thumbing through their back issues of Bitterwallet and copied the idea. We imagine.

Texts from mobile carriers to remind you of roaming data costs are one thing, but this sort of thing is spam, plain and simple. Avid Bitterwallet reader Tony is currently in Spain, where he received this text from O2. Who knew that mobile service providers were also professional insurance brokers too?

 Thanks O2, but Ill live without your spammy travel insurance

We hear you, TechCrunch. You’re a big, oh-so powerful blog that dominates the world of new technology and start-ups. And now you’ve taken the millions placed on the table by AOL. You probably spent last night flicking through brochures for yachts and Scottish castles. Damn you, TechCrunch. Damn you all.

The thing is, now you’ve got the money – isn’t that enough for you? Because from where we’re standing, it seems you’ve just declared war on our avid Bitterwallet readership. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Sure you don’t. Only problem is, avid Bitterwallet reader Steve sent us this damning evidence:

Bitterwallet avid TechCrunch readers TechCrunch can take AOLs money, but theyll never take our readers

What the fuck is that? Your readers are avid now too, are they? Coincidence? You’ve got millions under the bed and you think you can just have them? Screw you, Arrington. Screw you and the solid gold unicorn you’ve just ordered for your downstairs toilet.