Posts Tagged ‘charge’
The government has been accused of making a mighty balls up of their 5p plastic bag scheme. The Environmental Audit Committee say that the 5p charge on plastic bags, which is intended to reduce the amount of Morrisons carriers flapping sadly on tree branches, is confusing and ill conceived.
A government plan that’s confusing and ill conceived, you cry? It’s hard to believe, but the problem with it is that under the new scheme, biodegradable bags, paper bags and bags given out by small retailers are exempt – and the ECA quite rightly say that’s silly.
The ECA’s chairwoman, Joan Walley said: ‘Ministers have managed to make a complete mess of their planned carrier bags charge by making it unnecessarily complicated.
Carrier bags litter our streets and harm wildlife, and the Government is right to want to reduce their use. But Defra seems to have made decisions about the design of this scheme that were based more on wishful thinking than hard evidence.’
The charge is due to come into effect from next year in England, but the ECA want ministers to rethink the plan before it goes ahead.
After all, what’s the difference between a swan being strangled by a Sainsbury’s bag or a Jo Malone bag? (Apart from maybe its corpse might smell a bit nicer?)
When Smokey Robinson and the Miracles advised that you ‘Shop Around’, they clearly weren’t thinking of the highly strung shop-owner in Brisbane who is charging people AU $5 for “just looking”. And yes, they’re a hippie with a chip on their shoulder in a shop called Celiac Supplies, a gluten-free food retailer.
And here is the shop’s warning.
The owner, Georgina, said: “I’ve had a gutful of working and not getting paid. I’m not here to dispense a charity service for Coles and Woolworths to make more money.”
“I can tell straight away who are the ratbags who are going to come in here and pick my brain and disappear.”
Lovely use of ‘ratbags’ there. Someone should work out a scam where a number of people enter the shop, but one person buys goods, claiming the $5 refund on everyone with them, thereby getting free stuff AND money out of the till.
Buoyed by the inherent message in blockbuster book 50 Shades Of Grey, it seems that English people are happy to be on the receiving end of a good hard spanking in the supermarket as well as in a silly old book.
Our good friends at Which! have done a survey and found that 56% of Englanders would support a charge of 5p per carrier bag when they do their weekly shop, in keeping with the same charge which! already exists in Wales.
The survey was carried out on the back of news that supermarkets handed out almost 400 million more bags last year than they did in 2010, in spite of the fact that we’re all supposed to be becoming more groovy and eco-aware and keen on not killing penguins with our selfish bag-acquiring antics. Pffft….
It seems that EIGHT BILLION plastic bags were given out in England last year. Meanwhile, in Wales, some retailers managed to cut the number of bags handed out by 80%. Nice one Wales.
Some other findings from Which! include…
• Average number of plastic bags in every home in England = 17.
• Consumers who re-use plastic bags = 90%.
• Consumers who say supermarkets don’t encourage us to recycle bags enough = 60%.
• Consumers who created heat-retaining night-suits out of used plastic bags = 55%.
• Made-up statistics in above list = 25%.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have opened up an investigation into websites that charge people for government services that are available for free, or lower prices, such as European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) applications, applying for child benefit and tax rebates.
The OFT have already closed down a number of these copycat EHIC websites last summer, but it appears that there are still some in the system that need rooting out.
The plan is to widen the investigation and shut down sites passing themselves off as official government sites, and effectively charge them with “unfair commercial practice”.
Cavendish Elithorn, from the OFT, says: “It is important that companies are clear about the service they are offering, and do not trick people into paying for something that they can get for free or much cheaper on government websites.
“We will be considering whether any of the sites under investigation are misleading consumers.”
So if you’re being asked for money from a government website, don’t immediately assume that this is exactly the kind of thing those greedy swine would do, but rather, check your options as you may well be getting hoodwinked out of your hard earned pennies.
Okay? Now give us a tenner.
The single most irritating thing about our mobile phones is that they constantly need charging up. However, thanks to some brilliantly batshit engineers from South Korea, our chargers could become obsolete.
They’re devising a system which would see your phone charging up by the power of your voice. That means your conversations would replenish the power, which is bafflingly great!
Dr Sang-Woo Kim of the institute of nanotechnology at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul has been talking about a technique that turns energy from sound into electricity.
Kim said: “The sound that always exists in our everyday life and environments has been overlooked as a source. This motivated us to realise power generation by turning sound energy from speech, music or noise into electrical power.”
So how does it work? Well, small wires made of zinc oxide are placed between two electrodes and a pad on top vibrates when sound waves hit it. This causes the wires to compress and release, which in turn, would generate an electrical current to charge your battery.
At the moment, 100dB of sound produces 50mV of electricity, which isn’t enough to charge a phone. However, these engineers are working on it, meaning that the wires will produce a charge from much lower sounds, meaning that life’s background noises will charge your battery.
Another week, and Ryanair have dreamt up another way to squeeze a little bit more money out of their passengers. In a trial beginning next month, Ryanairketeers will be able to fork out €10 each way in order to be able to pre-book seats in the first two rows (for a speedier exit) or over-wing rows (which have extra leg room). Priority boarding, which currently costs €4 each way, will be included in the new charge.
Which is obviously a disgrace and has got us foaming at the mouth at yet another example of Ryanair’s arrogance and disregard for their passengers. Oh, wait, hang on a minute, it’s actually a pretty good service now we come to think about it. So we don’t mind offering Ryanair a bit of praise.
The added service will be trialled on Ryanair’s Dublin – Malaga and Dublin – Gatwick routes from 16th May. Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “If this new service proves popular with passengers then we will role it out selectively on other Ryanair routes in the coming months.” He’s got a spelling mistake in there but as long as he can keep his planes in the air, we’re more than happy with that.
Wave goodbye to common sense everyone – there it goes now, on a train from Birmingham to Durham. This is a story that, to be frank, boils our piss – a tale of a rail passenger being ordered to pay £155 for getting off a train one stop BEFORE his designated departure station.
That passenger is Professor Martyn Evans, who works in the philosophy department at Durham University, although he’s probably still scratching his head about how this one works.
Professor Evans was recently travelling from Birmingham on an advance ticket that would take him back to Durham. But, as it was getting late, he decided to skip going back to work and got off the train one stop early, at Darlington, close to where he lives.
Which is where it all went batshit mental. When he couldn’t get through the ticket machine barrier because he had a Birmingham-Durham ticket, Darlington station staff told him he would have to pay another £155 to cover the cost of a ticket from Birmingham to Darlington. No, seriously – we’re doing everything we can not to punch the keyboard in its balls while we’re typing this.
Professor Evans signed a form agreeing to pay it later, but has since refused and East Coast (the rail company in question) have agreed to waive the charge on this occasion but have defended their right to apply the monstrous charge for a passenger who got LESS of the journey that he’d paid for.
A spokesman for East Coast (who lest we forget, are state-owned) said: “The terms and conditions of the Advanced Purchase First Class ticket – the ticket which Professor Evans had used for his journey – clearly state that breaking a journey en route, or starting from an intermediate station, is not permitted.”
Which begs the question – is ending a journey the same as breaking it? And even if it is, what is the rationale for train companies insisting that people stay on the rickety old shit-wagons for the entirety of their journey even if it isn’t convenient to the passenger? How is this any different from, say, legalised kidnap?
EDIT: We thought we’d pull our fingers out and find out what the cost discrepancy would be between travelling to Durham and getting off one stop early at Darlington. Looking a month ahead, a First Class Advance Single from Birmingham to Darlington on October 28th at 4.30pm costs £144.50. To travel from Birmingham to Durham would cost you £144.50. To travel further still, from Birmingham to Newcastle would cost you £144.50. Going all the way to Edinburgh from Birmingham on that same service would cost you… £57.50.
We’re confused now.
Ryanair are continuing to show that they could squeeze juice out of a dinosaur’s testicle with the announcement of more creeping add-on charges. Hang on, we’ve got that all wrong – they’re not charging more (yes they are) but are actually ‘incentivising customers’ to travel light instead.
The hit Irish airline have stated that, for all July and August bookings, checked-in baggage fees will increase from €15 per bag to €20 per bag. But hey, it’ll be the summer – you’ll be wearing fewer and lighter clothes so what’s your freaking problem? Eh??
While they’re about it, Ryanair have also relaunched their previously-scrapped plans to charge passengers £1 to use onboard toilets on short-haul flights lasting less than an hour, as well as removing some toilets altogether.
The airline’s Minister Of Blah, Stephen McNamara said: “By charging for the toilets we are hoping to change passenger behaviour so that they use the bathroom before or after the flight. That will enable us to remove two out of three of the toilets and make way for at least six extra seats.”
A new Flintstones-style passenger-assisted take-off and landing procedure is surely just months away…
And now, some happy news. Back in September of last year, avid Bitterwallet reader Lynda contacted us after discovering that the oafs in charge of her local Kettering Sainsbury’s car park had gone off their heads and were charging a flat rate of fifty quid to anyone who dared to park for more than two hours. That’s 33p a minute maths fans!
Naturally, anyone who saw the sign thought the whole thing was utterly bonkers – but now Lynda has observed that the wind of change has swept through that car park and the extortionate charge has gone. And look, see how professional and easy to understand the sign is now! Gotta love those stickers!
Lord only knows how much customer dissent the original price plan led to but if Sainsbury’s hadn’t brought in the madcap scheme in the first place, their customers would have been a damn sight happier and now everyone wouldn’t be looking at a sign that looks like it should be in a skip round the back of the Tate Modern.
Should we be roaring ‘It was Bitterwallet what won it!’ over this one? No, probably not.