Posts Tagged ‘News’
Many consumers have had bother when receiving their online deliveries. Parcels can be late, go missing entirely, contain damaged goods or in some cases, thrown on a roof for you to fetch.
According to Which!!!, 60% of us prefer to shop online for the convenience, even though 26% of us have had trouble with the delivery process. Seems like a gamble we’re willing to take because we’re all fantastically bone idle.
The biggest problem is late deliveries and not being able to choose a delivery time.
However, not all companies are bad. Some are in fact, rather good. According to a Which!!! poll, the best in the business are WexPhotographic.com, JohnLewis.com, LizEarle.com and RicherSounds.com.
Which!!!’s Richard Lloyd, said: “One of the attractions of shopping online is the convenience of having your items delivered but we’ve found the experience can be anything but convenient. We want shops to do more to ensure that the service is first class, first time. Retailers need to respond to consumers’ demands and stamp out dodgy deliveries.”
So with that, let us look at the best and worst companies when it comes to delivering your purchases.
Ten Best Online Shops
The Worst Online Shops
90. Shop.BT.com (BT Shop )
99. DIY.com (B&Q)
Everyone is still laughing at Tesco as their woes continue apace. The latest is that, according to leaks, investigators from Deloitte and Freshfields have discovered that a number of execs at the supermarket deliberately misled auditors and accountants to try and hide their dismal financial results.
This is all revolving around the £250m accounting scandal and various sackings that Tesco have found themselves lumbered with.
So what’s the skinny? Well, it is thought that Tesco booked supplier payments that were reliant on condition of them hitting sales targets – ones that they were never, ever going to meet. It seems like this practice has been going on for a while, but were increased just before Tesco’s spectacular slump.
To make things worse, it looks like Tesco’s South Korean wing has been selling the personal data of more than five million customers to insurance companies, which is likely to end in prosecution. Things are so toxic in that area that Tesco’s Asian operations could be sold off. However, that can’t happen while there’s an investigation going on.
As a result, Tesco’s share price has fallen by 48% since the start of 2014.
Tesco are a complete shambles at the minute, but it is very, very difficult to feel sorry for them after they aggressively muscled out countless independent retailers out of the market over the years. So, in short – Haw Haw!
In fantastically shocking news that absolutely no-one was more than well aware of, price comparison sites have been accused for hiding the best deals because they’d rather promote the ones that serve them better. It’s almost like this hasn’t been going on for years!
The Big Deal website have started throwing accusations around (so lawyers, if you’d like to go to them instead of us, that’d be lovely) saying that five of Britain’s biggest price comparison sites are being deceitful.
Well, they’ve said that uSwitch never showed the cheapest deal over the Big Deal’s 13 week investigation, as well as regularly hiding three of the top five cheapest deals.
The sites use mechanisms to “hide deals where they ask users if they want to see deals they can switch to ‘today’ or ‘now’”, according to a statement from The Big Deal. By clicking ’yes’ to this option, the websites remove deals which don’t earn the price comparison sites a commission from the energy companies. Those just happen to be the cheapest deals. The Big Deal says that Money Supermarket and Confused automatically tick the ‘yes’ option.
They also say that Compare the Market and Go Compare automatically show users these results without asking the user, adding that “you have to go through several screens to ‘filter your results’ to see the cheapest deals.”
The bad news for these sites is that hiding deals could well be in breach of EU and UK law.
“Price comparison sites are worth hundreds of millions of pounds, make huge profits and with over 5 million people switching a year are a major part of the energy market,” said The Big Deal co-founders Henry de Zoete and Will Hodson in an open letter to the major price comparison sites. ”Yet there is no transparency to how they make their money or how much they charge. Polling by Populus found that 43% of people did not even realise that the sites charge energy companies a commission.”
uSwitch aren’t having it though, saying: “We are fully accredited under the Ofgem Confidence Code, meaning that our results tables are always ordered by the savings a customer can make in a fair, independent and unbiased way.”
“We are fully supportive of Ofgem’s decision to strengthen the code to ensure that all price comparison websites operate to the same high standard.”
Either way, if this is news to you, make sure you tinker with the settings on any price comparison site of any sort in a bid to make sure it is working for you, rather than the middle man.
Basically, if you’re a subscriber to the music streaming platform, you’ll be able to add up to four members of your family for £4.99 each. That means you don’t all have to have separate Spotify accounts at full price.
Spotify’s chief content officer Ken Parks said that a family plan was “one of the most asked for features from our audience”.
Of course, Spotify aren’t the first to do something like this in this field. Rival Rdio launched a similar thing in 2011, while in the States, Beats Music allowed you to add people to your account from January 2014 (they’ve since ditched the deal though, since they teamed up with Apple).
For Spotify, this could be a nice little earner as there are still a lot of people using the free, ad-supported version. According to the company, they have 40m active users, and 30m of those are using the free version.
This new family plan will launch in the UK within the next two weeks.
Sounds good doesn’t it?
Pensions minister, Steve Webb said he wants to help those tied to poor-value annuities: ”I know many people who have locked into an annuity are feeling rather bitter that they came just the wrong side of the line.”
“It’s been gnawing away at me and I want to say to those affected: I know how you feel. If it were possible for people who would rather have a capital sum than a regular income, in principle I would like to be able to help, and this is something the next government should have a look at.”
The government have pledged that, as of next April, savers who are about to retire will be given full discretion as to how they use the funds from their pension. If you’re over 55, you will be allowed to treat your pension like a normal bank account. Don’t spend it all at once though eh?
However, there’s a problem with those who have already bought annuities because they’ll be excluded from this rule as it stands. Webb continued: “If we accept the annuity market was broken, we also must accept it was so 10 years ago.”
The thing here is that Webb’s views haven’t turned into proper policies yet, so if you’re a codger, don’t get out the celebratory vodka just yet.
There’s also talk of policing the pension sector to ensure that savers get a fair deal and that something needs to be done about the high charges that chip away at funds during retirement.
Ever get the feeling that the government might ‘fix’ all this by simply putting the retirement age up to 230, so no-one has to worry about it?
A recent study by Google, into the voice-search habits of Americans, reckons that if you still type in your search request, then you are like, really old and should book Dignitas immediately granddad.
The Mobile Voice Study found that while teenagers are all fine and everyday about using voice search daily, only 41% of adults use it.
And out of that lot, 56% of the adults feel like a nob doing so.
Google also spotted that teens are happy just to use voice search willy-nilly. Right there. In front of you. Making anyone over the age of 20 wish they were dead. They don’t care.
Shall we gander at some of the other findings? You may be quizzed on it later, so best to be prepared.
40% use voice search to get directions;
32% use voice search to initiate phone calls;
39% use voice functionality to dictate text messages;
38% use voice search while watching television;
41% wish voice search could tell them where the TV remote was located;
23% use voice search while cooking;
51% of teens and 32% of adults use voice search ‘just for fun’;
27% use voice search to check the weather;
22% of teens use voice search in the bathroom.
Scott Huffman, Google’s Vice President for Conversational Search in a press release that accompanied the blog post, said: “Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that’s becoming ever more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones,”
“We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones. We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they’re getting very creative about how (and where) they use it. The study gives us great ideas about new ways we could help people – maybe even help them find their keys and other elusive objects.”
Some of you may think this is blindingly obvious, but households are wasting around £80 per year because they don’t switch their televisions and consoles off at night. We are, to the hysterical, A Nation On Standby!
If everyone stopped leaving things on standby, then the country could make savings of £1.7 billion a year according to the Energy Saving Trust.
The survey, ahead of Big Energy Saving Week, found that three-quarters of people polled were worried about their energy bills, so one easy way to reduce them is to make sure that you’re actually turning off gadgets and such, when you’re not using them.
Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “Whatever your age, gender or the size of your household: our research has found millions of us are unintentionally wasting electricity when we leave our gadgets on standby. It’s an easy mistake to make yet it costs us a fortune.”
“Televisions and games consoles are now among the primary sources of our everyday entertainment, yet when left on permanent standby they are costing £45-£80 a year.”
“I’m not suggesting we get rid. I’m urging people to take back control of their appliances next week and switch off when we aren’t using them.”
It isn’t just leaving stuff on all the time either. Older people are adding to their bills by having rubbish, old fridges. Decrepit appliances are more likely to have faults that make them inefficient. A faulty thermostat on a freezer could be adding £45 to your bills, annually. Getting rid of old-fashioned light bulbs and replacing them with energy efficient ones and halogen lights with LEDs could save you around £45 a year on bills.
And if that doesn’t work, then you should check your provider to make sure you’re getting the best deal from them.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Consumers can make a real difference to their electricity bills by improving energy efficiency at home and Citizens Advice and Energy Saving Trust are there to help. Shopping around for the best energy deal can also make a huge difference.”
“We’ve slashed the vast array of confusing tariffs, so it’s now easier to compare energy prices and switching times will be halved by the end of this year. Households could be saving a further £200 per year just by switching suppliers.”
So there you have it. Stop being daft and save yourself some money. It doesn’t matter if you care for the Earth or not – with the money you save, you could buy a substantial amount of booze, so you know it is worth doing.
In its boldest impression of ‘a shop’ yet, you’ll be able to purchase online before 11.45am and then collect at one of the company’s 500 collection points.
Also, as part of its ‘Pick-up Location’ programme Amazon also said that users will be able to order by 7.45pm to pick up from 6.30am the following day. It will initially be free to members of Amazon’s £79 per year Prime premium service and £4.99 per delivery for non-members.
Amazon reckons that this drives people back to high streets where they spend more money in other shops. Usually a few bob in Poundland and some slap-up sausage rolls from Greggs.
Chris North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk said “We know that customers want a variety of different delivery options and many are choosing collection from pick-up locations as their preferred delivery method. You can certainly expect us to continue to add more and more pick up locations to the thousands already in existence.”
“We know that Prime customers love fast delivery and the convenience to pick up their order at a time and place that suits them best,” said Mr North. He claimed “This new service brings together both of those great benefits.”
Amazon reckon they now have over 6000+ pick-up points, which themselves have doubled in number in the last year.
Want to get your loved one something special for Christmas this year? Maybe you want to get them a weekend break in Italy? Perhaps you want to buy them jewellery?
Or maybe you want to buy them some Ebola?
Well, if the latter is your thing, we’ve got just the thing as there’s an Ebola plush toy you can buy from a company called GIANTmicrobes®, who are dedicated to making toys “designed as a teaching tool to help small children learn about the importance of handwashing.”
It’ll set you back $9.95 for one a million times the size of actual Ebola, or if you’d like a gigantic version, that’ll cost you $29.95, with an additional $14.95 for the accompanying petri dish.
You’d be advised from avoiding taking your Ebola onto a plane though, for fear of men in frightening suits coming to throw you off onto the airport tarmac.
Click here if you want to buy one.
They say: “From 11 April 2015, Sainsbury’s are changing the way you earn Nectar points, so you’ll earn 1 point for every £1* you spend in store and online at Sainsbury’s. You’ll also no longer receive 1 Nectar point for every bag you reuse in store.”
That little asterisk is their own addition, which means you can’t earn on fags and booze or ‘infant formula’.
So that means you’re going to earn less points when you shop with them.
They continue: “While this means you’ll earn fewer points on your shopping, you’ll still earn 1 point per litre of fuel as before. Plus, Sainsbury’s will be bringing you lots of new opportunities to boost your balance faster and more value when you spend your points. Look out for the Nectar ‘Thanks a million’ event in store from 17-19 October for starters.”
Sainsbury’s promise ‘Double Up’ promotions around Christmas, as well as promising vouchers which will be worth more than a quid per point, providing you want to go to the cinema or eat at a Pizza Express.
For the full run down of what this means for you and your Nectar card, click here.
An unusually warm September was blamed on all this, even though they would’ve blamed it on wet weather if that was around. Basically, people don’t know why we’re not shopping as much as we used to. Maybe its because we’re skint?
The British Retail Consortium said that the year-on-year drop in consumer spending was the most pronounced since December 2008, but said that there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that spending on big-ticket items such as furniture continued to be strong.
Helen Dickinson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “In September, we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008, excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales.”
“Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012. However, demand for big-ticket items continues to be strong, with furniture outperforming all other categories.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turn around retailers’ fortunes and help them to sell their autumn-winter ranges.”
“The grocers had another challenging month, with further price cuts and promotions announced by most. With a rebasing of margins in the grocery sector throughout the year, this final quarter will see sales go to those who are most focused on their customers.”
Seems people really don’t want to buy boxes of chocolate and great slabs of fudge from them. Especially when you can get a load of chocolate boxes from the supermarkets and the like?
Besides, kids probably don’t want chocolates any more – they’re all too healthy and would rather you buy them a blender to make kale drinks and a Nike+ band so they can dribble on about their running habits online.
Anyway, Thorntons sales are down by nearly 12% in the first quarter of trading, and their shares are dropping too, as popular as Those Turkish Delight Ones You Get In Assortment Boxes.
However, the company is still confident as they continue to remodel the way they do things, as they look to become a wholesaler, rather than a high street retailer. Thorntons will still be in business, but it looks like they won’t be doing much business through their own shops.
Where will nana buy her peanut brittle from now?