Posts Tagged ‘Consumer’
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.
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.”
Soon, 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.
The new Consumer Rights Act 2015 becomes law on Thursday 1 October 2015.
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?
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.
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.”
Junk 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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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…?
Click & Collect overtook home deliveries this Christmas at John Lewis, which tells us one thing – people would like to spend as little time as humanly possible inside actual shops filled with other humans.
The never knowingly undersold mothership saw online taking rise by 19%, which represented 36% of the trade. The Click & Collect side accounted for 56% of online orders too. Fancy that!
Despite counter sales falling by around 1%, like-for-like sales across the retailer grew by 4.8% for the five weeks to 27 December. Total sales were a moistening £777 million.
Managing director Andy Street said sales performance from its outlets was ahead of rivals: ”I am utterly confident that our shop result will beat the market.”
This is all good news for John Lewis, as they essentially ran tings in the Christmas adverts with Monty The Penguin (although when we looked in on him at his Wonderland on New Years Eve, he looked a bit tipsy and kept swearing). Also John Lewis is planning to grow its store numbers from 42 currently to 65, with a focus on locations such as Birmingham, Leeds and Oxford.
Despite their online triumphing, Mr Street is still clear about the need for the shop: “The role of the shop is absolutely critical in providing the online sales.”
Yeah. No-one likes being in shops though.
The customers of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose will be having a nice time, as the supermarkets have cancelled hundreds of Christmas shopping deliveries thanks to their websites having a nervous breakdown in the run-up to the festives.
Sainsbury’s cancelled a load of orders by accident thanks to a stuttering computer system, with customers being offered new delivery dates which came after Christmas Day. Waitrose saw their site having kittens with a host of failed deliveries last night and today.
A customer with a very Sainsbury’s name, Jenny Grasham-Whalley, was offered a new delivery date for her order, of 27 December. She told the BBC that she was offered a £50 voucher as apology but added: “That date is as much use as a chocolate teapot.”
You could eat a chocolate teapot though, so not entirely useless. We’d be more impressed if she said it was as much use as a house made from steam or as much use as a dildo made from a vague sense of remorse.
Waitrose said all the Christmas orders will be fulfilled and that there’ll be some cases where customers will pick their orders up from their local shop, rather than getting it delivered. ”The temporary IT problem yesterday was swiftly and successfully fixed,” said a spokesperson. “We have been in touch with any customers who might have a slight delay to their order to apologise and to arrange a delivery time to suit them.”
Sainsbury’s said: “We experienced a brief technical issue with our website last night, which has now been fixed. Some customers experienced difficulties with booking or amending their delivery slot. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused. We would like to reassure customers who did not experience issues on the website last night that their confirmed orders will be delivered as expected.”
Both mouthed the words: ‘please, for the love of god, don’t desert us for Marks & Spencers…’.
You heard about the 1p cock-up at Amazon? Well, some people got themselves a bargain before Amazon corrected the glitch.
Well, turns out some companies aren’t happy about this and have sent messages to customers, saying they want the rest of the money.
One avid BW reader told us that they were sent an email by a company called PremiumBrands4Less. The order has been fulfilled by Amazon and dispatched.
The email reads: “Dear Customer, firstly, I’d like to apologise for the disruption this email may cause. We experienced a problem with Amazon UK yesterday at about 18:00GMT and worked to fix the original issue by 20:00GMT.”
“We continued to work over the following few hours in conjunction with Amazon to revert any incorrect prices to their original prices, caused via the Amazon system. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error, but have requested we contact buyers and ask them to create a return request to return the stock back to amazon.”
“We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again. We’ve been in business for over 4 years and we’ve always taken pride in the levels of service we provide, so everyone here is devastated and disappointed we experienced this problem. Unfortunately, our inventory lost over 10000 units within a space of 2 hours, which couldn’t be prevented. This will result in PremiumBrands4Less entering liquidation as a result of this pricing error by amazon.”
“We understand that you think you may have grabbed a great bargain, but we have instructed amazon to revert the prices to our usual prices and recharge your card with the correct amount owed. We would like to offer customers a grace period of 7 days to create a return request and return any stock incorrect priced and dispatched. If this action isn’t carried out, we will seek to recover sums owed”
“1. By recharging your credit/debit card
2. If funds are not available, passing to a debt collection agency
3. Informing experian and getting your address added to the mail order black list”
“We would like to urge customers to be honourable and honest during this Christmas period and not take advantage of a small business, who cannot afford to give away its £100,000 inventory for under £100. This will create a number of job losses in the run up to Christmas, due to the behaviour of a select number of customer.”
“I again reiterate, the products were not Amazon Inc, products, but were PremiumBrands4Less owned products dispatched on our behalf by Amazon Inc.
What do you make of that then? Would you laugh at them and think ‘hard cheese! I’ve done nothing wrong and you can whistle!’ or would you be guilt-tripped into helping out a small business?
**UPDATE** When queried, Amazon responded. Have a look in the comments.
Which!!! have been looking at some of the sneaky-ass tricks that retailers have been doing and they’re most irked by ‘Poor-value gift sets’, which means getting a bundle of toiletry items that cost most than buying them separate. You’re actually paying for some lousy box that you’ll just throw in the bin.
They found that a £6.50 Dove gift set can be bought separately for £4.40. That’s £2.10 for some poxy packaging.
The consumer rights mag also has the hump about ‘tiny portion sizes that make products look healthier’ and ‘Light’ products that aren’t actually healthy. Which!!! looked squarely as Flora Buttery Light (for some inexplicable reason) which “contains high amounts of both fat (45g per 100g) and saturated fat (10g per 100g)” to which Unilever replied with the fact that their product “complies with labelling regulations.”
Which!!! have missed the worst of them all – crisps. Ever bought a packet of crisps, where the packing is larger than your head, yet when you open it, there’s only about 10 crisps inside? It is enough to make you stab. Or wolf down 37 packets of crisps in one go while you’re watching How I Met Your Mother for the millionth time.
There’s also got to be a shout-out to cereal boxes, which give the impression of loads of food inside, when in actual fact, the bugger’s half empty when you buy it.
Anyway, feel free to shout at us about the packaging that gets your goat.