Posts Tagged ‘Consumer’

Make your own Nespresso pods!

January 27th, 2016 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Ever wanted one of those Nespresso machines, but put off by the thought of coughing up for pricey Nespresso pods? Well, there are knock-off versions in the shops, but one man has worked out a really simple hack, so you can sidestep a lot of nonsense, and save yourself a lot of money in the process.

In his video (below), he says: “Found one of these fancy pants coffee makers at the Goodwill – only problem is, you’ve got to decide between buying the pods for it, and putting your kids through college.”

Then, with a Southern flourish, he adds; “This here Nespresso company, they think they got me fooled. But I done broke their system and I’m gon’ show y’all how to do it too.”

So, if you’re at work and haven’t clicked the video (which you should, for his delivery alone), and want to know what the hack is, you’ll be staggered at how easy his solution is.

Russell shows how you can just empty out a pod, and then replace it with fine ground coffee, that you can pick up anywhere. Cover the Nespresso pod with foil and, whoosh, you’re away!

John Lewis have a lovely Christmas

January 6th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

john lewis John Lewis have a lovely ChristmasThe John Lewis Partnership have had a very nice Christmas, saying that they’ve had strong sales, even though they didn’t have as many people through their doors. Why? People buy things on the internet now.

Group sales for the six weeks to 2 January went up 4.1% from a year earlier to £1.81bn, which is nice for them. Actual sales at John Lewis department stores fell 1.2%, but online sales shot up by 21.4%.

The department store said that they had three concentrated periods that stood them in good stead last year, and they were – unsurprisingly – Black Friday, the build-up to Christmas, and the post-festive sales period.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, John Lewis’s chairman, said: “This has been a strong Christmas trading period for the partnership despite the non-food market seeing significant shifts in trade patterns and the grocery market continuing to be challenging.”

“Our performance reflects to a large extent the significant investment we have made in our distribution and IT capability. Despite the fact trade was even more concentrated across a number of very busy shopping days, our operations performed especially well.”

John Lewis owned Waitrose didn’t fare quite as well, but as a group, seems that John Lewis is in fine form, and seeing as they’re an indicator for the rest of the market, things look promising. With prices falling on the high street, we can hope that 2016 is a good year for the consumer.

Australians shouting at Nurofen packaging

December 14th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

nurofen 300x284 Australians shouting at Nurofen packagingThe producers of Nurofen’s “specific pain” range of tablets has had to defend their products, after a court in Australia wanted them removed from shops for ‘misleading consumers’.

The makers of the drugs, UK based Reckitt Benckiser, make a host of drugs which say they treat specific pains, like migraines and the like. However, the court says that they’re all identical to each other, so they need to stop pretending otherwise. Whether this will have a knock-on over here, remains to be seen.

So what have Nurofen got to say for themselves? Well, these products were ”designed to help the consumer easily navigate our range”. Not because they’re necessarily different, but rather, because they’re easy to read.

“Consumer research indicates that 9 in 10 people (88%) look for pain relief for a specific type of pain (eg headache, migraine, back pain) and 7 in 10 (71%) say pain-specific packs help them decide which product is best for their needs,” said Dr Aomesh Bhatt, regulatory and medical affairs director for Nurofen.

Either way, this court order will affect products on sale in Australia, which include Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache.

This all came about after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the matter to everyone’s attention. The ACCC said the court had found the firm had “engaged in misleading conduct in contravention of the Australian consumer law by representing that its Nurofen Specific Pain products were each formulated to treat a specific type of pain, when the products are identical”.

The watchdog added that these products were found to be “no more effective at treating the type of pain described on its packaging than any of the other Nurofen specific pain products”. Oh, and they’re sold for almost double the price of standard Nurofen.

Now, for the time being, this won’t apply to the UK market, but now this has all come to light, you can guarantee that there’s going to be an investigation into all this, so we’ll keep tabs on it. In the meantime, stop ripping yourself off by buying things that are more expensive, for no good reason.

Littlewoods charge more for same items on Very

November 30th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

very logo 300x300 Littlewoods charge more for same items on VerySome of you might already know this, but it always worth reminding people that Littlewoods charge more for products sold on their sister-site, Very. In some instances, you’ll pay a third more at Littlewoods, for exactly the same item.

So if you’re doing some shopping with Littlewoods, it is always worth checking out Very too.

For example – if you buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for the PlayStation 4, you’ll pay £44.99 at Very, but if you buy it from Littlewoods, it’ll set you back £59.99. One Armani watch will cost you £220 with Littlewoods, while it’ll cost you £175 at Very.

Given that they’re invariably sent from the same supplier and stocked at the same warehouse, this is a kick in the teeth if you’ve been doing all your purchasing at Littlewoods. Both stores are owned by Shop Direct.

While this has been common knowledge for a while, if this is news to you, you are now armed with the tools to try and get your goods cheaper, especially if you’re racking up the costs while doing your Christmas shopping.

Of all the couriers, I prefer those that give you a 1 hour window in which your parcel will be delivered so you can at least make arrangements if you’re likely to be out.

Things go very wrong however if couriers feel its worth getting to you earlier than the allotted time and then blatantly lie if you aren’t in. Sneaky arrow xl. VERY sneaky indeed. Considering you were called back during the next delivery your attempt to save time completely backfired.

Screen Shot 2015 10 29 at 16.44.41 500x390 Sorry we missed you today in 9 minutes time. Sneaky arrow xl

Tesco Now to offer one-hour deliveries?

October 20th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco Tesco Now to offer one hour deliveries?The folks at Tesco have filed a trademark for the name Tesco Now. This can only mean one thing – they’re going to start doing one-hour deliveries. Of course, a number of Tesco’s rivals are on this already, so the supermarket needs to keep up.

The trade mark covers five different food areas and the delivery of goods, which is clearly a response to Amazon’s Prime Now/Fresh services.

We don’t exactly look to Tesco these days, to be anything like groundbreaking or cutting edge, but this will be good news for anyone who are still loyal to the company. For the average punter, this is all competition which hopefully means lower prices for all!

Amazon themselves aren’t offering fresh fruit and veg as yet, so Tesco could get the jump on them if they get their behinds in gear.

Anything is better than their pretty dismal price match scheme that they’re currently rolling out, and of course, it is nice to see they’re not above copying good ideas from elsewhere (no supermarket should be too proud to do that).

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We trademark a range of names to protect potential projects involving the Tesco brand.”

know your rights 300x300 Theres a new Consumer Rights Act – heres what you should knowSoon, there’s going to be a big shake-up with the Consumer Rights Act, which aims to be more relevant in the digital age. If you want to exercise your rights, then you’re going to have to know what the changes are. So with that, we’ve rounded up everything you need.

WHEN?

The new Consumer Rights Act 2015 becomes law on Thursday 1 October 2015.

WHAT?

Three piece of consumer legislation have been changed and updated. These are the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

NEW DIGITAL RIGHTS

Here’s an interesting one. New digital legislation says that, when you purchase digital content, you now have new rights. So anything from apps to downloaded content, you don’t have a 30 day period of grace. If there’s something wrong with your new digital content, you’ll be able to demand repair or replacement in the first instance. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you can ask for a price reduction, which can be up to 100% of the cost.

The interesting thing is that your compensation will come from the retailer, not the developer. So, if an app you’ve bought from Google Play doesn’t work, Google have to sort it out, not the person who made it. The retailer will also be liable if any device or other digital content you own is damaged as a result of shoddy digital content.

This means that the retailers are going to have to be on it with regard to the apps they accept on their marketplaces. Same goes for games downloaded for consoles. One thing is clear – if Apple do an update which bricks your phone, you are now protected by the Consumer Rights Act.

30 DAYS OF REJECTION

You have 30 days to reject a faulty product now. The idea is that, within this time frame, you’ll be able to take a knackered item or product back for refund without any hassle. Previously, the Sale of Goods Act said products had to be replaced within a ‘reasonable time’, so at least we’ve got some clarity now.

You’ll still be able to return things after 30 days, but after that time, the retailer can offer a repair job or a replacement before they have to give a refund.

UNFAIR CONTRACT KILLER

The Consumer Rights Act is now making it easier for you to challenge hidden fees and charges. If you take umbrage with a company, they will be assessed for fairness on contracts, pricing and how prominent and transparent their charges are. Companies will now have to be straightforward with fees and talk explicitly, in plain-English, what they’re going to be taking from you.

There’s a lot more to the new Consumer Rights Act, which you can read all about here. Which of the new rights are you most looking forward to exercising? Do you think the new Act goes far enough or would you like to see other rights and protection included?

MORE

There’s more to the new Consumer Rights Act too, including stuff about repairs and second-hand goods. Have a look at the run-down from our pals over at Which!!! by clicking here.

Compensation due for Ryanair passengers?

August 21st, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Ryanair New Plane Logo 214x300 Compensation due for Ryanair passengers?Everyone who flies with Ryanair will now have up to six years to claim money back from the airline if their flight is delayed, according to a court. Of course, Ryanair tried to limit the compo window to two years, but to no avail.

This ruling is likely to have a wider implication for the rest of the industry too.

The legal challenge was brought by two passengers, known as Goel and Trivedi, and they’d missed their two year Ryanair window, when they were trying to get money back after a delay of a flight. Thanks to a 2014 Supreme Court ruling (Dawson v Thomson Airways), there’s a limitation period for compensation at six years, but Ryanair tried to argue that only two years apply to their customers, thanks to a clause in their t&cs.

Winning claimants Bott & Co Solicitors said: “We’re delighted that the court has dismissed yet another argument put forward by the airlines to restrict passenger rights. The Supreme Court decision last year said passengers have six years to bring a claim.”

“That is a definitive, binding, clear judgement from the highest court in England and Wales. This should have concluded matters but unfortunately Ryanair have been able to tweak the argument; we found ourselves running a complicated court case arguing the fine points of contract law.”

So, if you thought you’d missed your chance to claim some money back from Ryanair, because you were outside the two year window, think again! The solicitors think that this could open up compensation for over 2 million passengers, with claims coming in around £610m. It is worth noting that this will only affect customers who flew with Ryanair before 2013.

Ryanair have released a statement about all this: “We note this ruling which reverses Lower Court orders that a 2 year time limit for claims is reasonable. Since we believe a 6 year time limit for submitting such claims is both unnecessary and unreasonable, we have instructed our lawyers to immediately appeal this ruling.”

Doctors want 20% tax on sugary drinks

July 13th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

sugar is a drug Doctors want 20% tax on sugary drinksJunk food is bad for you. Who knew? Well, doctors (who cares which ones?) would like to see a 20% tax on sugary drinks, as they think it would be a “useful first step” towards reducing obesity. It is thought that a third of the UK will be obese by 2030, so the British Medical Association (BMA) think this tax might put the scuppers on that.

Maybe if someone thought of a way of making other food more tasty than sugar, that might help first.

The BMA report, Food For Thought, warned that bad diet costs the NHS somewhere in the region of £6bn a year, so a 20% tax on all non-alcoholic water based beverages with added sugar (a gobful in itself), including energy drinks, fruit drinks, fizzy pop and all that, could subsidise the sale of fruit and veg.

They also have a pop at the Government for putting far too much emphasis on industry involvement when it comes to developing food and nutrition policy in the UK, thanks to their reliance on public-private partnerships. The BMA reckon that this arrangement provides a platform for companies to promote and enhance their own wares, which is clearly problematic.

The report’s author, Professor Sheila Hollins, said: “While sugar-sweetened drinks are very high in calories they are of limited nutritional value and when people in the UK are already consuming far too much sugar, we are increasingly concerned about how they contribute towards conditions like diabetes.”

“We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. If a tax of at least 20% is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people.”

“We know that the majority of the UK population, particularly low income households, are not consuming enough fruit and vegetables, so financial measures should also be considered to subsidise their price, which has risen by 30% since 2008.

“This is an important way to help redress the imbalance highlighted previously between the cost of healthy and unhealthy products, which particularly impacts on individuals and families affected by food poverty.”

Which is the nation’s most hated supermarket?

June 10th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

supermarket sweep b 300x225 Which is the nations most hated supermarket?According to some new research, Tesco is the UK’s least favourite supermarket. Does that surprise you? They may well be the biggest, but that doesn’t equate to people actively liking them, clearly.

The survey was conducted by Market Force Information through the Grocer mag, who interviewed 6,800 people, talking to them about where they shopped, and whether or not they’d recommend it to someone else.

Coming out on top, was teacher’s pet Waitrose, followed by Marks & Spencer and Aldi. In fourth place was Sainsbury’s, chased by Morrisons, Asda, and the Co-operative. Tesco, as we know, sat in last place.

This study looked at what is considered to be the six aspects of the shopping experience, and Tesco scored badly in all of them. They came last for cashier courtesy and store cleanliness, seventh for the availability of items and the ability to find them and sixth for speciality department service and checkout speed. Apart from checkout speed, which Aldi won, Waitrose came out in first place in all categories.

Tesco’s problem, it seems, is that their stores are badly designed and, you can only assume that widespread poor service means that the staff are unhappy, thanks to woeful management. BW has spoken to staff from most retailers, and Tesco does seem to have a management problem.

Of course, Tesco are in the middle of one of the most difficult periods in their history, so there’s time for it to turn itself around, but will consumers hang around and wait to see what they do? Current trends suggest that they’ll just shop somewhere else.

Which!!! are the best brands for 2015?

April 17th, 2015 3 Comments By Thewlis

witch1 300x220 Which!!! are the best brands for 2015?We like brands. According to Which!!! more than half of people (53%) say brands can play a role in improving their quality of life and wellbeing, which is a bit weird in our opinion. However, Which!!! also found that people are twice as likely to choose brands that they trust. Every year Which!!! dish out awards to those brands they consider the most trusted, and this year’s shortlist is full, as you’d expect, of those brands we hear good things about, with dodgy delivery drivers, PPI-pushing bankers and famous coffee brands notably absent. And while some categories are stocked with market leading brands, like Apple and Ford, others have some more discerning brands, like Richer Sounds, which have made  it there, purely on the merits of their great customer experience.

The full shortlist is:

Best Car Manufacturer: BMW, Ford, Volkswagen

Best Banking Brand: First Direct, M&S Bank, Nationwide Building Society

Best Insurance Services Provider: John Lewis Financial Services, M&S Bank, NFU Mutual

Best Retailer: John Lewis, Lush, Richer Sounds, Screwfix, Wex Photographic

Best Supermarket: Aldi, Iceland, Lidl, Ocado, Waitrose

Best Computing Brand: Amazon, Apple, Samsung

Best Audio-Visual Brand: LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony

Best Home Appliance Brand: Bosch, Miele, Samsung, Siemens

Best Telecom Services Provider: giffgaff, Plusnet, Tesco Mobile, Utility Warehouse

Best Photography Brand: Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony

Best Travel Company: Audley Travel, HF Holidays, Riviera Travel, Trailfinders

This year does see a raft of new names, but also some repeat nominees, like Waitrose, First Direct, Bosch and John Lewis who are all looking to repeat last year’s success. So is this a good shortlist? Are there any companies you consider ought to have been included? Which!!! are keen to point out that these awards are completely independent- in that brands cannot nominate themselves for an award. Instead, the shortlist is chosen by Which!!! experts based on research, testing, and  endorsements, as well as feedback from Which!!! members and the general public throughout the year.

Which!!! group chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “Over the last eight years, consumers have expected more from businesses and increasingly reward those that provide excellent service. Our awards recognise that what’s good for consumers is also good for business, and champions those who successfully set themselves apart by putting their customers at the heart of what they do.”

The winners will be announced on 17 June.

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile customers paying £92 extra for handsets youve already paid for?Mobile-havers in the UK are losing £92 each per year (that’s around £355million if you add everyone up) on handsets they’ve already bought, but carry on paying for through their bill.

A lot of contacts combine the tariff and the cost of the device over a period of time, however, the cost isn’t always split, which means many don’t know when they’ve paid off the cost of their phone. Those who are with EE, Vodafone, and Three will be charged under one bundled price, while O2, Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile have separate handset and other tariff costs.

This is all according to Which!!! who gave a couple of examples, which show how overcharging occurs. For example, a contract with O2 Refresh for an iPhone 6 costing £49 a month for 5GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts points out that the handset part of the bill is £25 and the deal price will drop to £24 once the device has been paid for. However, if you do a similar thing with Vodafone, costing £48.50 a month, the price doesn’t change once the contract period is up and the handset has already been paid in full.

According to the Which!!! survey, 60% of those polled think that there should be a clear separation of tariff and handset costs in their bills. Around 97% think that price is a crucial factor when deciding whether or not to switch and 74% reckon that it is paramount that providers inform customers when their contract is coming to an end.

Which!!! big cheese Richard Lloyd said: “Consumers are being misled and as a result are collectively paying millions of pounds each year for a phone they have paid off. All mobile phone operators should separate out the cost of the handset so people don’t continue to pay after the contract comes to an end.”

“Mobile providers need to play fair and ensure their customers are not paying over the odds.”

 

Consumers are feeling confident!

March 31st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers
dr manhattan ljpg 300x300 Consumers are feeling confident!

A consumer, this morning

Are you feeling confident? Do you have more purpose in your stride and feel like you could shove a mountain over? Well, it isn’t surprising seeing as consumer confidence in the UK is at its highest level for nearly 13 years, according to the stat crunchers at GfK.

Look at you spending money on onions and socks like you’re Rick James!

Gfk’s Consumer Confidence Index rose three points to +4 in March, and over the last three months, there’s been an eight point rise. Good eh? There’s been a nine point increase from March 2014. That’s livin’ alright.

All five of Gfk’s index’s key indicators saw monthly and yearly increases this month, with confidence over the general economic situation over the last 12 months being the strongest climber up the charts. It is now at +1 when, last year, it was at -15!

Sounds like we’re all getting our swagger back too, as the survey showed that consumers are more confident about the economy in the coming year, as well as getting rather cocky about our collective personal financial situation for the coming 12 months. Basically, that means people are starting to look at spending money on bigger purchases like sofas or new TVs.

Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK, says: “Reaction to the budget has thus far been muted, but if people warm to it over the next few weeks then we may well see a further increase in the Index next month. A consistently rising Index in the run-up to the election is likely to be good news for the government.”

Sky customers being targeted over piracy

March 11th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

music piracy Sky customers being targeted over piracyA while ago, the courts of Great Britain decided in their infinite wisdom that, should a Hollywood studio with a team of fantastically well-paid lawyers want to go after Joe Muggins for pirating some stuff, they were more than welcome.

So with that, an American company called TCYK LLC has applied for a court order that will see Sky having to hand over information on some of their subscribers to their broadband service.

If you didn’t know (and why would you?), TCYK are a production company and understandably, they don’t like people swiping their stuff. However, if you listen hard enough, you can already hear a bunch of tech-agitators firing up their keyboards in a bid to make TCYK’s life rather difficult over the coming months.

Mercifully, the production company have a problem – it is very difficult to determine exactly which IP addresses are downloading stuff, but that invariably won’t stop them from trying to frighten some people into throwing money their way.

The important thing to remember, should you receive a letter from TCYK, is that any action would be a civil case, which means you won’t end up in jail if you want to ignore them or if they try to take you to court.

If you are worried by any threatening letters or correspondence, then get in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. The company may well try and retrieve some compensation from you, but they’ve got to actually prove it is you who downloaded their material (bear in mind that they can’t sue you for downloading someone else’s material) and indeed, they’ll have to go through so many hoops to get to you, that you shouldn’t concern yourself  too much.

Is your domestic appliance going to kill you?

January 16th, 2015 1 Comment By Thewlis

Old Fridge 300x200 Is your domestic appliance going to kill you?Of course, we’re (probably) not talking about demonic possession, more the chilling fact that thousands of fridge owners are putting themselves at risk of injury or even death from unsafe appliances, like fridges, freezers, ovens etc because they don’t register them, so potentially never know if they are subject to a recall.

New research from YouGov, on behalf of the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (Amdea) suggests that only just over a third of consumers currently register all of their appliances with the manufacturer, which means thousands of owners are effectively untraceable if a safety repair is needed. The most recent example of a dangerous recall affecting thousands was the Russell Hobbs iron recall, which many people only found out about through social media, but three years ago the dangerous Beko freezer recall left 15 injured and one dead.

Although major safety recalls are usually communicated via advertisements and press publicity, there is currently no single authority to oversee recalls, nor to judge whether those affected are likely to have seen the relevant recall. The new portal aims to help the industry to act swiftly and contact owners when a fault is discovered in a batch of products. It is no way just another way for companies to get hold  of your contact details…

More than half of purchasers only register appliances sporadically and,because of the genuine, if small, safety risk, the government is now backing a new Amdea website, which provides easy access to the registration pages of 47 leading brands of domestic appliances in a one-stop-shop. According to Amdea, there are between six and 10 recalls of large appliances a year, but, “unlike cars, if manufacturers need to make a safety adjustment they have no way of tracing the majority of affected models”, said Chief Exec Douglas Herbison.

Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson said: “It is so important that we make sure that we register new appliances and don’t risk missing out on key information that could save lives.”

“This initiative will make it easier for consumers to register appliances both new and old, and will help to ensure that relevant owners get vital information on product recalls and safety notices.”

So do you register your appliances? Will you, now it’s theoretically easier to do on the Amdea website? Or do you only register something if it comes with a free guarantee…?