Posts Tagged ‘News’
Powa-Tag is a UK based start up that helps you buy things on your mobile while you’re in store (or outside) – and it’s got some powerful big retailers on its side, too.
240 retailers, including HarperCollins, Reebok, Argos and Adidas, are all in partnership with the Point and Click app, which uses QR codes so that you can make instant purchases in a shop without having to queue for the tills. Or you can buy when a shop is closed, or have stuff delivered to you if the store you’re in is out of stock. Basically, you can point your phone at a shop window and buy stuff at midnight when it’s shut. WEIRD.
The app also allows stores to bombard target customers with special offers – which won’t be irritating at all!
But…aren’t QR codes a bit 2009? Wouldn’t it put sales assistants out of a job? And if you want to buy on your mobile, wouldn’t it be easier just to go home, put the kettle on and browse the online store, rather than lurking about outside an empty shop in the middle of the night, waving your phone about?
This old lady is confused.
Josh Grant’s mother died, leaving him with her iPad. Of course, the tablet was secured with passwords so Grant asked Apple if they’d unlock it for him. Apple refused, despite the fact Josh had provided copies of his mother’s death certificate and will. Apple, it seems, don’t think these things are sufficient.
Grant said: “We obviously couldn’t get written permission because mum had died. So my brother has been back and forth with Apple, they’re asking for some kind of proof that he can have the iPad. We’ve provided the death certificate, will and solicitor’s letter but it wasn’t enough. They’ve now asked for a court order to prove that mum was the owner of the iPad and the iTunes account.”
Naturally, Grant could buy a tablet all of his own, but you have to assume that, rather than wanting an iPad to dick around on, he’s actually wanting access to photographs and the like.
Threads have been started on Apple’s Support Communities, but it seems like the tech giants are closing them all down. However, these things are cached.
Obviously, Apple have these measures in place to look after devices that have been stolen.
Grant said: “I’m a big fan of Apple, their security measures are great but we have provided so much evidence. At 59, my mum was fairly young, I’ve already lost my dad and it’s a bit cold of them not to treat things on a case-by-case basis.”
Nearly half of people who shop online have had some kind of problem with their purchases in the last two years. That’s according to Which!, who showed that 46% of people were left vaguely unsatisfied by their online shopping experience.
34% of those polled said they’d had issues with Amazon, and 29% had a bone to pick with eBay. So what are people most upset about? Mostly, the problems are with deliveries arriving later than expected or not turning up at all. Other issues concerned faulty goods and packages being left outside their house without the customer’s permission.
It also found that we have no clue about our consumer rights when we shop online. After all, do YOU know what the Distance Selling Regulations are? (No, me neither). Apparently, DSRs state that you have seven days to cancel your order – from clicking your mouse until the day after you receive your package. You’re also entitled to information about the seller, and if you’re sent duff items, the retailer has to pay the postage by law.
Consumer powerhouse Ricardo Lloyd said: ‘With people increasingly shopping online and millions experiencing problems with their purchases, it is vital that consumers know their rights on late deliveries and faulty products.’
So if you’re one of the 46%, you can swot up on your consumer rights here.
M&S, when it’s not designing unattractive middle aged lady clothes and selling prawn sandwiches, is now hoping to compete with the banking big guns with a new free current account.
Up until now, M&S Bank, which is owned by HSBC, has only offered premium access accounts which offer a variety of cosy middle class perks, like coffee vouchers, travel insurance and access to a nice savings account with a 6% rate.
Free current account customers will have to buy their own coffee, but the deal isn’t half bad. You get an automatic £100 M&S gift card for switching, and account holders can earn M&S loyalty points when they use their debit card in store. There’s also a £500 overdraft, the first £100 of which is interest free.
M&S bank chief Colin Kearsley said: ‘Our premium current accounts, developed specifically for the regular M&S shopper, have proven popular with this audience and following the launch of the current account switch service, which has made switching faster and easier, we want to offer the same transparent banking and great service to a broader audience with the launch of the M&S current account.’
Initially, the account will be offered to M&S Bank’s existing customers, but will be available to us plebs very soon. So even if you’re not a regular M&S junkie with a thing about ready meals and wide fitting shoes, you can get a decent deal with the high quality M&S cache.
Well, it beats an account at Costcutters.
According to the AA, more than 90% of motorists say that they find it hard to see cyclists while driving and so, they’ve started a campaign called the ‘AA Think Bike’ which advises you put stickers on your wing mirror, because drivers obviously need reminding how to drive.
This coincides with the launch of a national Think Bikes awareness campaign, which showed that 55% of motorists are frequently “surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere”.
They’ve made a video about it all and it features a naked man and lots of people whooping.
One million free stickers will be distributed to drivers, which will acts as a reminder that they should keep an eye out, in case they kill someone.
AA president Edmund King said: “Our campaign is definitely needed when half of drivers are often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’. hose on two wheels never appear from nowhere so as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users.”
Are you completely neurotic about your health? Well, join the growing army of the worried well who are using technology to plan, plot and monitor every breath with this new iPhone case from Azoi.
We’ve seen enough wearable health tech in recent months to clog up landfills for millions of years, but this is the first phone CASE that can check your blood pressure while you’re on the move.
The Wello case looks like an ordinary, boring black phone protector, but inside there are multi-purpose sensors that can accurately measure your ECG, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen and lung function.
It’s a must for health freaks or just people with an abnormally high rate of self-absorption.
All you need to do is hold it in your hand, wait a minute and see whether it flashes red and starts beeping the Funeral March. (Actually, your readings are transferred to an app, which you can show to the doctor when you arrive at A&E, clutching your chest.)
The Wello case is out this summer and will cost £120 – which would probably be better spent on pies because you’re going to DIE ANYWAY.
The Co-operative are having a terrible time, what with a scandal or two, losing a lot of money and they’re selling off their farms. However, they can’t just admit defeat. They’ve got to do something about it in a bid to revive themselves.
It seems the Co-op think success lies in convenience and they’re set to double the number of convenience shops they have, to around 4,000 in the next five years.
The company’s retail chief executive, Steve Murrells, wants to turn around the Co-op’s food business and said that he’d be overseeing an expansion that would double its capital expenditure to around £300m a year, as well as investing in cutting prices, smartening the stores up and growing their range of own brand products.
There will be 150 Co-ops opening per year, with that target looking to increase if all goes according to plan as Murrells hopes to become the UK’s “leading store retailer”. ”We want to have a shop on every corner in every community around the country,” Murrells said.
You’ll have to fight Tesco for it.
You know what it’s like – you’re a train guard and you think ‘I know, I’ll just go to Sainsbury’s for a can of Rubicon and a bag of Mini Cheddars’ just as rush hour hits.
That’s what one Southeastern Trains employee did yesterday, leaving passengers on the 19.53 to Hastings high and dry for an hour while he went on his break. Passengers were told over the tannoy that the reason for the delay was because ‘the guard could not be found.’
Soon afterwards, he was spotted in Sainsbury’s. He driver relayed that news to the passengers, who were understandably delighted. The delay caused the train to be cancelled and passengers had to be shunted onto another train.
When that train eventually left, it contained three train loads of delayed and harassed commuters who wanted to KILL HIM.
It’s the latest in a catalogue of disasters for Southeastern Trains, who came second from last in a recent Which! customer service poll. Furious customers have called them ‘a rip off’ and denounced them for their ‘poor service’.
Southeastern blabbed: ‘The shift timing was thrown out of place because of a knock-on effect of earlier delays, and we didn’t have a standby conductor available to work the train in his place.’
But Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings, took a dim view, and said: ‘It has been a very disappointing experience. Southeastern must up their game if they want to get their franchise renewed.’
The Financial Conduct Authority are very please with themselves, saying that all the major banks on British high streets have made great improvements when it comes to the hard-sell, either replacing or substantially changing the financial incentive schemes which were the cause of mis-selling huge numbers of products.
A number of fines doled out to banks have been influential in changing their cultures – in December, Lloyds were hit with a £28million penalty by FCA after the bank were found to be pushing staff to hard, which resulted in the selling of unsuitable products to customers.
In the latest review, the FCA says that they have found significant improvements at many finance firms and they’re going to keep at them, to ensure that the work they’ve done doesn’t come unstuck and so that further improvements can be made.
Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA said: “Eighteen months ago we gave the industry a wake-up call and it recognised that a poor incentive culture had helped push bad sales practice, which led to mis-selling. We’ve seen some good progress but it is going to take time to see whether the changes firms have made to incentive schemes and their controls stick, and whether good beginnings are part of genuine cultural change.”
“Consumers can be assured that this remains an area that we will be watching closely to ensure poor practice doesn’t return.”
The FCA has identified the areas where banks can better manage incentive schemes, such as checking for increased trends in individual’s sales patterns, or by doing more to correct poor sales behaviour in face-to-face conversations. Importantly, banks are advised that staff should be told that sales bonuses can also be affected negatively by mis-selling, so it isn’t worth staff members simply trying to flog as much as possible without proper conduct.
The watchdog have also warned banks that they shouldn’t replace bonus schemes with other performance management measures which put the same amount and type of pressure on staff. And, it seems to be working with a number of firms changing the way they sell. Barclays, for example, have stopped sales incentives altogether.
However, while the public are still receiving cold calls and emails from branches, there’s still loads to be done. Could this possibly be the end of the hard-sell, or are the banks just playing nicely until the FCA leave them alone?
You know when your property management company charges astronomical maintenance fees, even though there’s a dead rat on the stairway and more mysterious leaks than even Edward Snowden could handle?
Well, if you’ve ever been at the mercy of sinister/lazy/overpriced property managers who charge regular fees for bugger all, you’ll be pleased to know that the Office of Fair Trading is looking into the ‘services’ they provide, to see if they actually do anything at all.
The investigation will cover local authorities and housing associations, as well as private property management companies.
The OFT will look into whether the market is working for leaseholders and freeholders and ask whether property management companies have the best interests of their leaseholders. (No). They’ll also ask whether we have much of a choice over which company deals with our building maintenance. (No). Then they’ll look into whether there are barriers to switching and enough competition in the property management market. (No).
The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) takes over some of the OFT’s duties in April and will be publishing a report at the end of the year. Rachel Merelie, who is leading the study, said:
‘Service charges for the maintenance of a building can be substantial and we want to make sure that leaseholders are getting a fair deal. We are concerned that management agents and freeholders may not be incentivised to keep maintenance costs down and that leaseholders may not receive value for money.’
We’re all used to hearing news that the high street is on its knees and retailers are openly weeping into the bins outside Claire’s Accessories as their empires crumble. And we’re all equally used to hearing how the cost of living has skyrocketed while our wages, er…haven’t.
But today, we can walk down the high street with a little spring in our step because the British Retail Consortium have announced that high street prices are falling at a record rate.
That’s right, we’re paying less and less in the shops, with goods costing an average of 1.4% less in February than in previous months. Some things went even lower, with clothing and shoes were 12% cheaper than last year.
February marked the tenth month in a row that deflation had occurred on the high street, and food inflation also feel slightly from 1.5% in January to 1.1%.
So can we look forward to paying even less for our stuff? Helen Dickinson from the BRC thinks so.
‘Many of the larger food retailers have been looking closely at their investment in promotions and price cuts, suggesting competition could intensify further.’
LET’S BUY EVERYTHING.
Welcome to the HUVr. That’s a hoverboard which a team claims to have mastered, thereby making a load of Back to the Future fans’ dreams a reality.
In the video below, you’ll see a promotional stunt showing off the HUVr, with celebrities like Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, musician Moby and rap god Schoolboy Q taking the thing for a ride.
The video assures us that we’re watching the real thing, but it clearly isn’t the case. First off, the celebrities involved send alarm bells off. Tony Hawk will do anything to promote his brand. Moby will do anything for money (remember when his ‘Play’ album soundtracked every single advert ever?) and Schoolboy Q is a rapper and everyone in hip hop knows that you don’t make money from records anymore, so you get paid elsewhere.
The project says:
“What began as a summer project in 2010 at the MIT Physics Graduate Program has evolved into one of the most exciting independent products to be developed out of MIT since the high-powered lithium-ion batteries developed by Yet-Ming Chiang in 2001. Our team consists of materials science, electricity & magnetism experts who’ve solved an important part of one of science’s mysteries: the key to antigravity.”
“The HUVr Board team ultimately aims to improve the efficiency, speed and sustainability of mass transportation. Yet rather than spend several more years closed off from the world while investing in research and development, the team and our world-class investors have worked to change the economics R&D by marketing this exciting consumer product in order to fund ongoing R&D.”
Eagle-eyed viewers will look toward the shadows in the video to see bits of bad editing but, if they could do this, surely it would be the most wonderful invention of a generation.
It might be made from 4 legged chickens from hell, but the Advertising Standards Authority have rejected complaints that last year’s KFC Christmas advert ‘mocked elements of Christian worship.’
The snarky musical ad encourages people of all faiths to set aside their differences at Christmas and chow down on a grease-ridden bucket of genetically modified poultry.
The 30 Christian complainants got cross at the scene which features a group of carol singers, who trill the lines: ‘We turned up at your house again, singing all our stupid songs.’ In reply, the homeowner sings: ‘Normally I’d hose you down but now it just seems wrong.’
(STUPID CHRISTIAN SONGS! Songs about angels and the Baby Jesus – stupid?? Surely not!)
While it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, KFC maintained that they didn’t intend to mock any faith or religion, and that the homeowner was meant to be like Scrooge. As anyone with even a sliver of a sense of humour could interpret. But 30 outraged people didn’t see it that way.
Even so, it’s a triumph for common sense as the ASA found it ‘unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.’
You know what’s actually offensive? The new KFC Triple X-tra meal, aimed at REAL MEN, and containing a whopping, artery-rupturing 1130 calories.
Dame Sally Davies told a committee of MPs that the government needs to get tough with those who produce food and drink and that she believed “research will find sugar is addictive”, and that “we may need to introduce a sugar tax”.
Dame Davies said: “We have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight and their lack of activity, may well not live as long as my generation. They will be the first generation that live less, and that is of great concern.”
Yeah. Those poor children might not live to see retirement age, which has been pushed back thanks to irritatingly healthy people who live until they’re 103 and crap everywhere. Davies reckons that being overweight had been “normalised” and added: “I worry that we have re-sized a women’s dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was student.”
“We have to find a new way – not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves – but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm.”
Of course, ministers have been arguing about food packaging for a while and no-one can really agree to anything. More pertinently, does anyone really care? If manufacturers start sticking warnings on food that is bad for you, surely it’ll only end up being like the red triangle Channel 4 used to put on things that would guarantee you a sex scene? It wouldn’t be a deterrent, but rather, a hallmark for what you want.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “To help the nation to be healthier by eating fewer calories, including sugar, we are working with industry through the Responsibility Deal. This work has already delivered results but we have always been clear that, if food and drink companies fail to act, we will look at other options and are keeping all international evidence under review.”