Posts Tagged ‘compensation’
Britain’s banks are, quite possibly, the most hated people in history. They’re worse than Nazis and Manchester United fans. And things are going to get worse for them as they’ve been collectively told that they are facing yet more massive compensation bills after a review of products sold to small businesses found more than 90% had been mis-sold.
The FSA said that a significant number of cases were likely to result in payouts being handed out to customers, with as many as 40,000 of the interest rate swaps being mis-sold to small businesses since the end of 2001.
The FSA today said the UK’s big four banks (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS) have already agreed to start reviewing individual sales and providing compo. And how much will this cost? It could reach the nosebleed heights of £1.5 billion across the sector.
Interest rate swaps were sold as protection against interest rate rises, however, small businesses soon found they were being lumbered with huge bills after the financial crisis.
Martin Wheatley, chief executive designate of the Financial Conduct Authority, said he hoped the FSA’s actions will ensure a fair and reasonable outcome, adding: “Small businesses will now see the result of the review as the banks look at their individual cases. Where redress is due, businesses will be put back into the position they should have been without the mis-sale. But it is important to remember that this review is firmly focused on the particular circumstances of each sale. These will determine whether there were failings in the sales process and, if so, whether redress is due.”
There seems to be a worrying trend in public service organisations at the moment. Charge more for less! Make people pay through the nose for a lower level of service-that’s the way to make money. London Midland, for example, are still raking in the exact same amount of £millions in Government stipend despite cancelling over 950 trains since mid-October. Now, Royal Mail are getting in on the shafting-the-public act.
Earlier this year, the business came under severe criticism for increasing the price of stamps way beyond the rate of inflation. First class stamps went up from 46 pence to 60 pence and the price of second class stamps from 36 pence to 50 pence. At the same time, no-one reported an increase in service levels, with many people not receiving their mail until late afternoon, or at all if it happened to be raining.
Now, Royal Mail have decided to cut the compensation offered for lost letters. Damaged or lost letters that are untracked (i.e not recorded or Special Delivery) can currently get up to £46 in compensation, but the firm are now ‘consulting’ to more than halve this to £20. The rationale for this has absolutely nothing to do with trying to make the business attractive to private investors in a future flotation, instead Royal Mail said sniffily that they were just trying to be the same as other countries, claiming that many countries including Germany, the Netherlands and the US, do not offer any compensation at all for untracked mail. But quite possibly these countries get their mail a bit quicker. And cheaper- US stamps, for example, currently start at 46 cents.
The announcement was one of a whole host of changes outlined by the taxpayer-owned service company regarding its pricing and services. They are also considering increasing the compensation on recorded items from £46 to £50. ‘Recorded- Signed for’ service costs at least 95p more than standard posting, but even so cannot guarantee the item, posted first class, will arrive the following day. For that you need to pay a minimum of £5.90, almost ten times the cost of a stamp that should do the job.
Royal Mail have already had a few votes in our Worst Company of the Year Award, perhaps they are canvassing for a few more…
Here’s one that we’ve covered before in the past, but it’s always worth a reminder – if you’re on a train that’s delayed, sometimes by as little as half an hour, you could be entitled to compensation.
In this golden age of deregulation, each of the train companies has their own compensation policy but helpfully, all the links to all the info you’ll need from MOST of them can be found in one place – the London Travel Watch site. Obviously it isn’t a definitive nationwide list as some train companies don’t run services to London, but hey, it’s better than nothing.
Taken from the site itself, here’s your guide to what you could be entitled to if your journey is delayed. Thanks to HotUKDeals member thomasmillbrow for posting it over there.
• c2c Single, return and weekly ticket holders receive 100% refund after an hour, receiving a rail voucher. Season ticket holders recieve 5% or 7% discount on the cost or renewing their season ticket if c2c’s punctuality is less that 87.5% MAA* or reliability less than 98% MAA*
• Chiltern 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Season ticket holders can also claim 5% discount for punctuality less than 90% MAA* or reliability less than 99% MAA*. Refunds given in rail vouchers and renewal discounts.
• Cross Country 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• DLR 100% refund after 15 minutes for delays within operators’ control. Refunds given in vouchers.
• East Coast 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• East Midlands 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• Eurostar Complimentary journey, 50% discount of future journey or 25% cash refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers or cash.
• First Capital Connect 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• First Great Western Single, return and weekly tickets: 50% after an hour, or 50% after half an hour on local Thames Valley services. Season tickets: 5% discount for punctuality less than 88% MAA* or reliability less than 98.2% MAA* (long distance) or punctuality less than 89% MAA* or reliability less than 98% MAA* (local Thames Valley). Refunds given in rail vouchers or renewal discount.
• Gatwick Express 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• Grand Central 25% refund after an hour, 50% refund after two hours. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• Heathrow Express 100% refund after 15 minutes. Refunds given in cash.
• Hull Trains 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• London Underground 100% refund after 15 minutes for delays within the operators’ control. Refunds given in vouchers.
• National Express East Anglia 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in vouchers.
• South West Trains Single, return or weekly tickets: 100% refund after one hour. Season tickets: 5% discount for punctuality less than 89.5% MAA* on local routes or 86.5% MAA* on mainline routes or reliability less than 98% MAA*. Refunds are given in rail vouchers or renewal discounts.
• Southeastern 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• Southern 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• Stansted Express 50% refund after half an hour, 100% refund after an hour. Refunds given in rail vouchers.
• Virgin Single, return and weekly tickets: 50% refund after an hour, 100% refund after two hours. Season tickets: 5% discount for punctuality less than 87% MAA* or reliability less than 98% MAA* Refunds given in rail vouchers or renewal discount.
After what seems like 5,000 years of waiting, Ulster Bank have finally got round to telling everyone what compensation they’ll be getting after the RBS-wing basically ballsed-up everyone’s accounts.
They’re going to reimburse all of what it terms “reasonable out-of-pocket expenses” which resulted from the disruption which arose from a massive computer error.
For the inconvenience, customers will receive £20 if they visited the bank from 19 June – 18 July and made a transaction. Life changing money, eh? Others meanwhile are advised to contact their local branch to outline exactly how they’ve been troubled and they’ll be invariably fobbed off. Of course, the whole of the RBS Group was affected, but Ulster Bank have by far taken the longest to actually resolve the issue. Some customers were still having problems TEN WEEKS after it all happened.
The bank said it would refund fees, charges and debit interest charged in error and correct any credit interest owed and this will kick in by the end of October. There’s a lot of work to be done because roughly half of the bank’s 1.1m customers felt the force of this boob.
Still, at least chief executive Jim Brown will be foregoing his bonus this year, not that it makes any difference to you and, most likely, very little difference to Jim Brown.
Brown said: “Once again, I apologise unreservedly to our customers and customers of other banks for the inconvenience this has caused and thank them for their patience as we worked to resolve this issue. We recognise that we have work to do to restore our customers’ trust in us and we believe that this is the first step in that direction.”
“We have worked with our key stakeholders to ensure the additional measures which we are taking provide a comprehensive response to customer concerns and demonstrate our commitment to making amends.”
Customers seeking further information can go online, call into their local Ulster Bank branch or telephone 0800 231232. Or indeed, start banking with someone else.
Remember the O2 outage last week? When it seemed as though the world was about to end because O2 customers couldn’t send some texts or check their Facebook on their phones for a couple of days? It was a grim time and no mistake.
But it’s all working again now, even if a survey has shown that a third of O2’s customers are ready to bugger off to another service provider ASAP. The same survey showed that 83% of the O2 gang wanted some form of compensation for the outage, and the object of their ire is ready to give in to this particular demand, with partial refunds, apology vouchers and suchlike.
If you were affected by the outage, read this, which we’ve pilfered straight from O2’s site…
We have now identified all those customers directly affected (those whose devices could not connect on our system) and we and are giving them the equivalent of three days back for the disruption as a gesture of goodwill and to say sorry.
• Pay Monthly customers will receive 10% off their July subscription which will be applied on their September bill, which is equivalent to 3 days back
• Pay & Go customers will receive 10% extra on their first top-up in September
To thank all our customers for supporting us through an unprecedented and difficult period, we are also giving everyone on O2 a £10 O2 voucher to spend in store. This will be redeemable via the O2 Priority Moments app or online at www.o2.co.uk/priority. It will be available between 1st and 30th September to download through Priority Moments and use in store, with no minimum spend. (One voucher can be used per transaction and no change given.)
We will contact all O2 consumer customers and those small businesses with fewer than 10 connections by the end of the day on Friday 27th July giving full details. This will be by text message. Other business customers will receive communications through their account managers or our channel partners in the coming days giving full details.
So there you go. If you’re one of the affected customers, is THIS enough to keep you with O2? Tell us – assuming that you’ve been able to connect to the internet and read this, that is…
You all know and love HomeServe, that helpful home emergency insurance service? Well, it turns out that they are so desperate for your custom that they have been badgering poor unsuspecting households with silent and abandoned phone calls in breach of Ofcom rules. And Ofcom have actually done something about it.
Ofcom have announced that, owing to numerous ‘accidental’ rule breaks, Homeserve is being fined a fairly substantial £750,000. Prior to September 2010 the maximum fine that could be imposed was a measly £50k, and this is the first fine levied since the new rules were introduced. The penalty might even have been higher if Ofcom hadn’t taken into account the steps taken by HomeServe to bring itself into compliance with the rules on silent and abandoned calls, and its offer to compensate consumers who suffered harm from receiving silent and abandoned calls as a result of its breach of the rules.
HomeServe’s misdemeanours include breaking the rule that states that there is a limit on the number of abandoned calls that companies are permitted to make to consumers. Ofcom’s investigation into HomeServe found that the company exceeded this abandoned call rate on 42 separate occasions during the period 1 February and 21 March 2011. This resulted in an estimated 14,756 abandoned calls being made to consumers.
Ofcom rules also prohibit companies from making repeat calls to specific numbers within the same 24 hour period, where a call has been identified by AMD technology as having been picked up by an answer machine. Ofcom found that HomeServe made estimated 36,218 calls in breach of this rule.
Adam Scorer, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Consumer Focus said “silent and abandoned calls are an annoyance and can often cause distress to the people who receive them. While they are usually caused by glitches in the technology rather than a deliberate act by sales staff, they are a nuisance and firms that do not control the technology show a lack of respect to consumers.
“All firms want to run efficient sales operations. But if finding cheaper ways of selling increases the risk of nuisance calls, then firms need to be very vigilant about the controls they put in place to manage that risk. We are pleased to see Ofcom take action and hope this serves as a clear warning to Homeserve and other companies to treat consumers with respect,” he finished, Aretha Franklin style.
Tsk tsk. And while we like naughty companies getting fined, we prefer naughty companies who get fined and who offer compensation to customers. And that’s where the free £10 comes in.
HomeServe has established a dedicated helpline for consumers seeking compensation if they have been affected by silent or abandoned calls made by the company between between 1 February 2011 and 21 March 2011. The phone number is 0800 389 5280 and potential claimants should call before 31 May 2012. HomeServe will offer £10 to claimants where their telephone number matches HomeServe’s records of those contacted while they were using the AMD technology that caused the ‘glitch’. Further information on how to make a claim can be found on the HomeServe website. Calls are even answered by an actual human being, who will check your details against their records, and you could earn £10 for simply making a free phone call. Although HomeServe was established in the South Staffordshire Water area, customers in all areas may be affected.
However, if you have already registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), you will probably not be in for a quick tenner. If you aren’t on the TPS, which prevents you from receiving this type of call, but would like to be, you can either contact sign up directly on the web, or Consumer Focus offer a free Stayprivate.org service, which opts you out of the TPS, Mailing Preference Service (MPS), MPS consumer, Baby MPS and Fax MPS.
If you do get some free money, let us know. Or don’t.
Cheap mobile tariff company GiffGaff (who claim to be independent yet run by the o2 family) had some problems recently which resulted in outage for many of their customers which lasted just under 8 hours.
Sure, bit of an inconvenience. However, as a way of saying sorry and aiming to put things right, they offered to make a £10,000 charity donation.
The CTO of GiffGaff announced – “It has been amazing to see the messages of support and the suggestions that we should make a charitable donation as a way of making up for Friday’s outage. We therefore intend to make a £10,000 donation to a charity of your choice. The charities are ones you nominated for Payback in December - to vote just use the polling buttons on the main blog page before the end of the week”.
Reaction to this suggestion was very mixed and there were many cries of “we want personal compensation”. One forum member even requested that Rangers Football Club somehow benefitted.
Is it really a sign of the times that even when a charity donation is suggested we still hope for some form of personal compensation? What would our individual compensation (for the loss of service) be here? Possible £2 at the most I would imagine. Or, is this the easy way out for GiffGaff? Their members have paid for a service and they have been let down by GiffGaff so they do deserve to be compensated. It could be quite a cynical view but did GiffGaff realise it would be difficult for many members to morally object to a charity donation and insist on personal compensation? The administration and compensation here would surely outweigh their suggested donation. Plus, no doubt they would get a certain amount of good press from this move.
It would be interesting to see the general consensus here. So, lets take a vote…
As well you know, the hatred flung the way of Britain’s “big six” energy suppliers last year was huge. There were over four million complaints according to new research from Which!
And of those, 90% of grievances against power firms were not taken to the energy ombudsman, tens of thousands of complaints were left unresolved after eight weeks, which essentially means that customers could well be losing out on up to £4 million in compensation by not pursuing complaints.
Nearly half of consumers have had problems with their energy company in the past two years, with the majority of complaints focusing on billing mistakes, inaccurate meter readings and bills going AWOL.
However, most customers aren’t lodging complaints (which you can do for free) with the energy ombudsman, Ofgem, if their energy company aren’t satisfactorily correcting errors. If your energy company doesn’t resolve an issue in eight weeks, you should be taking them to Ofgem. Why? Once there, the ombudsman upholds around 95% of customers complaints with seventy percent of these receive financial compensation.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “These findings reveal shockingly high levels of complaints and low levels of customer satisfaction in the energy industry, at a time when domestic bills have gone through the roof. Ofgem, the regulator, should publish the truth about the full level of complaints in this essential service. Energy suppliers should be held publicly accountable, on a regular basis, for putting right the problems their customers are reporting.
“It is a sign of the level of frustration with this industry that so many people have a problem but don’t complain, even when they could be missing out on compensation. It is important that dissatisfied customers complain directly to their supplier first. But if your supplier doesn’t sort the problem out, it’s worth contacting the energy ombudsman. The vast majority of complaints it receives are upheld, with an average compensation payout of £125.”
The crisis is over! RIM have just announced that BlackBerry services have been restored to normal across the globe. Now we can all get back to organising riots and ‘sealing’ Important Business ‘deals’ all day long again. Hallelujah.
The news came shortly after RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis read some words off a card into a camera…
But what about the inconvenience from the past four days or so for BlackBerry users? What do you get back as compensation? None of the UK mobile providers have come out with an official line about compensation for loss of service, although a rumour has begun to spread on Twitter that O2 are offering £20 back to BlackBerry customers who ring up and complain.
Have any of you lot rang your provider to grumble about your loss of BB services? Did you get anywhere? Let us know in the box below…
If you’ve switched your energy supplier as a result of some smooth-chatting, lanyard-sporting greaseball knocking on your door, chances are you didn’t actually get a better deal – but help may be at hand thanks to a gang of crimebusting MPs.
The Energy and Climate Change Committee has recommended that energy companies should compensate punters who have been mis-sold on the doorstep, claiming that as many as 40% of those who fall for such deals end up worse off.
The Committee are also worried that vulnerable energy-users are targeted with once company saying that 70% of pre-payment customers who had switched had been persuaded to do so on their own doorstep. If you ask us, it’s more or less the same as burglary.
Other bodies, such as Consumer Focus are also calling for more regulation and less daylight robbery, and the onus is now very much on industry regulator Ofgem to get a tighter grip on the way the industry is ran.
Back in May, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) was fined after its salesmen were found guilty of using deliberately misleading sales material. SSE agreed earlier this month to close down its doorstep sales force following the conviction, which was brought by Surrey Trading Standards.
If you feel as though you could be vulnerable against these cold-calling sellers, you might want to invest in a ‘No Cold Callers’ door or window sticker – they’re under instructions to leave you alone if you’ve got one of those.
If you are tempted by a doorstep deal, the salesgoon is obliged to leave you a written quote, highlighting any potential savings that you’ll get if you switch to their service. Make sure you get one of these and hang on to it in case it later turns out that you’ve been misled.
Also, if you’ve got evidence that you might have been mis-sold in the past, you might want to start gathering together evidence – if the MPs get their way, there could be some compensation payouts coming over the horizon.
If you were an O2 customer in North or East London, East Sussex or Kent yesterday, you may have found your service a little lacking. For 16 hours, people trying to use their phones in these areas could not make calls, or send or receive texts and e-mails.
The reason was not a technical glitch, or a satellite falling over, it was a good old fashioned smash and grab. Thieves broke in to O2′s East London network point and damaged equipment, which led to the service breakdown. O2 said it did not know how many of its 22 million customers were affected, and so are not offering compensation.
The company claim they cannot offer anything to customers because “the nature of mobile services means that it is not possible for operators to derive which customers may or may not have used their mobiles in an affected area”. Granted, it might be difficult to track or prove which sales reps, for example, drove through the affected areas and couldn’t get a signal, but what about the people who live or work there?
So O2 are copping out of the compensation. But should they have felt the need to offer compensation anyway? After all, they were not responsible for the thieves who damaged the equipment? On the other hand, they are a service provider, and for 16 hours they did not offer a service? What if someone missed an important and valuable call? What if someone died because they couldn’t speak to someone (OK this is unlikely, but nevertheless possible). O are we now just a nation of money-grabbers?
The irony of the ‘Equitable’ fiasco will not go unnoticed by the poor sods who lost a fair fortune with the near-collapse of the insurance company back in 2000. In simple terms, the company offered Guaranteed Annuity Rate (GAR) policies which guaranteed a minimum rate of return on their investments once they got to retirement, except it looked like Equitable Life had never really thought anyone would actually hold the company to it, as it had not put enough money aside to do so. The start of the decline came in the 90s when it seemed they might actually have to do what they said after all. Shock horror. Still, at least this massive and public display of mismanagement, gambling with other people’s money and general slapdash attitude prevented another, more dramatic financial crisis seven years later. Oh, wait…
Although much of the catastrophe could be lain squarely at the door of mismanagement by the insurance bosses, an Ombudsman report in 2008 decided that the Governmental authorities had not done their job at all properly and had let the society continue trading “on an unsound basis” since 1990, thereby letting the public be misled into thinking the society was solvent when it was clearly not.
All along the government has denied that it, and by extension the taxpayer, had any responsibility for the investment and managerial shortcomings of a commercial insurer, but it has now finally caved in to pressure and announced a compensation deal for the Equitable investors. Which is great news for the 1 million or so policyholders, not so great news for the other 59 million of us here in the UK.
Mark Hoban, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said the new payment scheme would “reflect the principles of fairness, transparency and simplicity”, adding “when payments start in the middle of this year, it will be a huge milestone for the policyholders who have waited so many years for the resolution of this matter.” However, payments will be spread over five years.
Paul Braithwaite, the general secretary of the Equitable Members Action Group, was not a happy bunny, and warned that many more annuitants will die before they receive the compensation they are due.
The Government has admitted that policyholders suffered “relative losses” of £4.1bn, but decided it could not afford to repay that amount. Only annuity holders will be compensated in full; payments to other investors will amount to less than a quarter of the amount they lost. £775m will be paid out to about 945,000 policyholders, while £620m will be shared among 37,000 with-profits annuitants. Don’t worry though, all compensation will be tax-free.
The bank has ringfenced £1 billion as potential compensation and has said that it won’t be appealing against a court ruling decreeing that banks must redress customer complaints about PPI. Last week, Lloyds set aside £3.2 billion for the same reason.
You might have been mis-sold PPI if you have it but didn’t realise you were buying it, if you were told you had to buy it (you didn’t), or if you were sold it and it doesn’t even cover you (if you’re self-employed for example).
The British Bankers’ Association has also said that it won’t be appealing against the court ruling, meaning that more banks will be setting aside more money and compensating customers in what is quickly becoming the biggest banking scandal in recent memory.
Getting delayed on a train journey at one time or another is a fact of life, unless you’re the Queen or erm… dead or something. But if the delay is significant, you could be entitled to a part or full refund, depending on the train operator and the length of the hold-up.
Thanks to our great mates at Which! there’s now a simple way to find out if you are actually entitled to make a claim. They’ve bunged out an interactive online tool that can help you find out if you can claw back some cash at the end of your elbow-chewingly frustrating trip.
Good eh? Thanks Which!!