Posts Tagged ‘prices’

Michael O Leary Ry 1208663i 300x276 Finally, a professor works out the Ryanair websiteThe mysterious algorithms that govern the Ryanair website have long baffled scholars, scientists and people trying to book a holiday. Not even Alan Turing could have cracked it.

But now, a new hero has emerged who can help us save money on our cheapo flights. His name is Claudio Piga, an economics professor from Keele University, and he’s devoted his life (well, some of it, anyway) to working out what the **** is going on with Ryanair’s ever changing prices.

Once it was thought that if there was an Easterly wind, you could get a return to Barcelona El Prat for £32.99. But if it blew from the West, they were £89.99. However, Piga has found an actual pattern, and has discovered that tickets are cheaper exactly TEN DAYS before your journey.

He also said that fares were bumped up by a shocking 50-75% in the last few days before departure, making last minute ‘bargains’ an impossibility. Planning ahead is a waste of time, too. If you book seven weeks in advance, you’ll pay more.

Of course Ryanair know that you might either want to book your holiday in good time, or do it on a whim at the last minute. But nobody has ever bothered to work out that low cost airline prices form ‘a U-shaped temporal profile.’ Until now.

Piga will present his findings – which are basically scientific proof that Ryanair are rip-off merchants – at the Royal Economic Society in Manchester this week. A Ryanair spokesman, of course, came out and said that the findings were ‘hopelessly inaccurate’ and that they sold tickets on a first come, first served basis.

Hmm. But who is more likely to be telling the truth? A learned professor of economics, or Michael O’Leary?

By 2020, your energy bill will look like a phone number. That’s the latest news from Which! who are predicting that energy companies will have to spend £118bn on updating ageing infrastructure between now and then.
energy bills 300x300 Annual energy bills set to rise by £600 a year, warns Which!

And are the energy fat cats going to take that out of their sherry bill or are we going to pay for it? Well, what do YOU think?

Which! has written to the Treasury prior to next week’s budget with a stark warning that the upgrade to the UK’s energy infrastructure could make bills skyrocket – leaving households with an average of £2000 a year to pay. And that’s a conservative estimate. If energy prices go up, we might be looking at a whole lot more.

Consumer firebrand Richard Lloyd has his pilot light set to stun, and said:

‘I don’t think consumers know that this is heading their way and that decision has already been made by the Government. This is a massive chunk potentially on everyone’s bills. This means one thing: that household bills are set to rise, and to rise for many people very steeply for the foreseeable future.’

Which! are campaigning for a full investigation into energy pricing. Meanwhile, we consumers will be quaking in our boots when the budget is announced, praying that we don’t get shafted even further.

The high street is now cheap as chips

March 5th, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

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.

falling prices The high street is now cheap as chips

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.’


Which! airport train service is the worst?

February 25th, 2014 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Getting a train from the airport to a nearby city is usually an expensive business, but it’s over to everyone’s favourite consumer gods, Which! to tell us which one sucks the most.

gatwick express 300x300 Which! airport train service is the worst?

And the accolade for the crappiest airport train service goes to…THE GATWICK EXPRESS, which scored 60/100. Why? Because, as anyone who has ever been on it can testify, out of all the airport train services, it’s bad value for money at an always shocking £19.90 each way for a journey that lasts about half an hour. And they don’t even put on nice shiny trains.

The Heathrow and Stansted Express also scored low for value for money – but while the Stansted Express is a terrifying £23.40 each way, it scored higher marks for luggage space and comfort.

The best, easiest and cheapest London journey by far was the Docklands Light Railway from London City Airport. (And the DLR is also good because you can sit in the front seat and pretend to drive it.) But then, only business class types and golden gods can afford to fly from City airport.

Outside of London, regional airports scored highly for their train services, with the top spot occupied by Virgin Trains, whose cheap as chips and highly efficient rail service from Birmingham costs only £2.40.

Which! say that passengers need to complain more about the standard of train services from the big London airports, otherwise we’ll continue to be fleeced. Ricardo Lloyd spat:

‘There are unacceptably wide differences in the levels of customer satisfaction for airport trains, with many people especially unhappy about the high cost of some express services. Train companies must do more to listen to travellers’ views, which is why we’ve launched a campaign to Get Trains on Track, calling for a better response to complaints.’

Another Which! campaign. Don’t these people ever SLEEP?

If you want to get on the property ladder without breaking the bank, you could do worse than to search for houses on rude sounding streets. According to a survey by some website or other called, houses with ‘ooh, you are awful’ saucy addresses can be £84,000 cheaper than ones on say, Acacia Avenue or Bluebell Drive.

slag lane 300x239 Looking for a cheap house? Look no further than Crotch Crescent…

So get yourself down to Fanny Hands Lane in Lincolnshire, or snap up a SEMI in Turkey Cock Lane. (GEDDIT? Yes, I’m sure you do). And there’s a bargain to be had on Slag Lane in Lancashire. That was pinpointed in the survey as the second most embarrassing-sounding street to live on, with 26% of the 2000 people saying they didn’t want a Slag in their address.

The most embarrassing street name in Britain, however, goes to Minge Lane in Worcestershire, which quaintly shocked 31% of respondents.

But even though ordering a pizza to come to Minge Lane or Cockshoot Cresecent might be a bit of a MOUTHFUL, the price differences might change your mind. A detached house on Minge Lane is £253, 389, compared to a whopping £325,000 in nearby street called Longfield. And Slag Lane houses go for around £20,000 less than those in the innocuous sounding Fieldfare Close, up the road.

And Annie Gray, a proud resident of the Fanny Hands Lane, says it’s worth living there for the LOLZ, anyway. In fact, the name was the reason she bought a house there in the first place.

‘If you’re ever ordering anything and tell people your address, as soon as you say ‘Fanny’, they know exactly where you mean.’

Whoops! Asda is in the doldrums

February 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

There’ll be no joyful patting of back pockets at Asda today, after they announced a disappointing 0.1% fall in sales in the 13 weeks to the 3rd of January. While 0.1% doesn’t exactly seem like a catastrophic figure, it marks the first fall in sales for the supermarket since 2010.

ASDA logo Whoops! Asda is in the doldrums

CEO Andy Clarke looked dolefully up from his Asda ham and pineapple pizza and made the usual comments about it being tough year, yadda yadda yadda.

‘It will come as no surprise that 2013 was a tough year for UK retailers and there’s little doubt that the UK retail market is undergoing significant and permanent structural change. Though the economy is showing signs of recovery, it is still susceptible to shocks and the benefit is not yet being felt right across the country.’

(Which, translated from Retail Speak, means ‘Aldi are better than us.’)

Having been blasted for artificially raising prices during the Christmas period so that they could offer Aldi/Lidl busting low prices in January, Asda don’t seem to be having much luck at the moment.
But it’s not stopping them from investing £200m in lowering more prices and spending £750m on a UK wide expansion programme.

But could it all be ill fated? Will the British public desert the Walmart-owned monster in favour of copycat Not Nobs biscuits and scuba diving equipment from our favourite German supermarket?

sale High street prices are deflating like a burst beach ballThe British Retail Consortium has announced the ninth month of deflation in a row, after retailers were forced to decrease prices to attract customers.

How low can you go? Well, prices are now 1% less than they were a year ago, as retailers resorted to desperate price cutting measures just to get punters through the doors.

As eagle eyed bargain hunters now demand discounts as their inalienable consumer right, and will browse the internet and go elsewhere for better value, high street prices have dropped like a drunken Sally Bercow onto a random guy in a nightclub. 1% might not seem like much, but it’s the steepest slide in prices since 2006.

Helen Dickinson of the BRC said:

‘Shop prices are falling at their fastest rate for seven years, a new record for our data. January is always a key month for sales and promotions, but discounts have been deeper and more widespread than last year and we are seeing this trend continuing.’

Prices in the January sale were 10% less than last year (WHOO!) with a 3.8% drop on the prices of furniture and carpets and a 1.8% drop in electricals.

Obviously, food has gone up and wages are stagnating, but who needs money and food when you’ve got a cheap PS4 and a massive DFS sofa?

House prices could go up by £13,500 this year

January 9th, 2014 5 Comments By Lucy Sweet

The Halifax have announced that by the end of 2014, the average home could be worth £187,000 – that’s a predicted 8% jump over the next 12 months.

For+sale+signs 300x198 House prices could go up by £13,500 this year

The Halifax added that monthly figures were often ‘volatile’, but quarterly figures showed a 1.9% increase- so there’s no doubt that there’s a housing bubble/upward trend continuing this year.

And sales are increasing, too, with the figure hitting the one million mark in 2013 – the highest since everything came crashing down in 2007. The property price index also showed that house sales were up for the seventh month in a row in November.

Of course, with healthy sales and fat profits comes that most precious thing of all – consumer confidence. In a poll by the Halifax, 51% of respondents said they thought 2014 was a good time to put their home on the market.

So, if it’s announced today that interest rates are staying put – as they’re expected to – then we’ve got ourselves another nice big bubble to live in – which will then BURST and leave us homeless and living in an Aldi carrier bag.

Enjoy it while it lasts!

Xbox One raise price of downloaded games to £50

December 11th, 2013 12 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Dead Rising 3 300x168 Xbox One raise price of downloaded games to £50Prices of video games have been creeping up like nobody’s business. Generally, when buying media, downloads are considerably cheaper, thanks to a lack of packaging and such. However, with games, it isn’t so.

With that, Microsoft have confirmed that download versions of the exclusive titles Ryse, Forza Motorsport 5 and Dead Rising 3 will now cost £50, after initially saying downloaded games would be £45.

“Yes, pricing for select digital content in some markets has changed since launch,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. ”Digital content pricing is subject to change and we may occasionally offer various deals or promotions. Ultimately pricing and promotions will vary by region.”

Third party games still vary, with Call of Duty Ghosts costing £55 to download on both Xbox One and PS4. FIFA 14 meanwhile is £60 on PS4 and £55 on Xbox One.

Prices for video games are in danger of pricing everyone out. Surely, there’s going to be some big price drops in 2014? Of course, keep checking our Deals of the Day for good prices on games, consoles and everything else.

ps4 300x196 PS4 games are all £50 and upward, just like the Xbox OneWith Steam working so well, some optimists figured that with the next-gen consoles, there would be a load of cheap downloadable games we could get our hands on. However, Sony are behind the PS4 and they don’t like value-for-money.

Prices have been announced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and the cheapest games are £50. If you’re a teenager, get a part-time job now or you’ll be playing nothing ’til the New Year.

FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are all going for £55 on PSN (Sony’s online marketplace), which are exactly the same price as the games on Xbox Live. Even PS4 exclusives – Knack and Killzone – are only £2 cheaper at £53.

Oddly, physical copies of games are going cheaper (around the £46 mark), which is strange seeing as there’s a manual, cover, box and Blu Ray disc. One thing that might be bringing the price down is that you can’t play games directly off the disc, instead, you have to install them, thereby making the packaging a big waste of everyone’s time.

“As PS4 and PSN have not yet officially launched in this region, nothing on the PSN is final, including pricing on the store,” Sony said. ”You will continue to see some prices adjusted over the next few days in preparation for launch on Friday.”

For bargains, it will definitely be worth waiting for 2014 to roll in because, as it stands, you’ll either be forking out loads of money or getting bored of the scant games available.

Are we looking at £2,000 fuel bills?

November 13th, 2013 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

article 1725351 07264249000005DC 817 468x286 300x183 Are we looking at £2,000 fuel bills?The National Audit Office has warned us all that energy bills could rise by around 50% over the next six years, outstripping inflation and basically leaving everyone in a position where no-one can afford to pay for it.

The NAO says in a report: ”The available projections suggest that increases in both energy and water bills will continue to outstrip inflation, on average, up to 2030.”

Angela Knight, chief executive for Energy UK, said that new research shows that energy prices could rise by 46% in the lead up to 2020. So, in short, from 2004, that means that prices will increase by 260%. By 2020, bills could be over £2,000.

Knight said: “The industry has become a lightning conductor for the general concern about the cost of living. As a result we stand accused for things that we do, for things that we don’t do, for things that we are responsible for and things that we are not … this is not an understood industry.”

Understood or not, we all know that prices are going up more sharply than wage increases and that any lack of transparency in the sector isn’t our fault. Bill prices haven’t been justified or explained and no-one seems to be doing anything about it, even though it looks like certain companies are indulging in flagrant blackmailing of the government by threatening further price rises if green levvies don’t change.

The NAO is recommending that the Treasury needs to publish the expected overall impact on our bills in a bid to promote transparency. Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “Government and regulators do not know the overall impact of planned infrastructure on future consumer utility bills, or whether households, especially those on low incomes, will be able to afford to pay them. It seems critical to know ‘how much is too much’, based on reliable information.”

Respite on train tickets prices in 2014

October 9th, 2013 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

traintrack 300x225 Respite on train tickets prices in 2014The Government have announced that they’re curbing train operators’ ability to increase ticket prices in 2014. Thus far, rail companies have been able to slap on an additional 5% to fares, provided the average rise of regulated fares is maintained at 1% above inflation. However, that will now be limited to 2%.

It isn’t a decrease, but it is better than a kick in the arse.

The rise in the new year will be based on the July 2013 RPI inflation rate, which means the old flexible system has gone, and thereby ending tickets going up by eye-watering amounts (some season tickets could have gone up by nearly 10% under the old rules).

This review was published today by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who said: ”By capping fares we are protecting passengers from large rises at a time when family incomes are already being squeezed. We will need to wait for the rail industry to calculate individual ticket prices for next year, but this cap could save some commuters as much as £200 a year.”

The review also looks at a potential end to paper tickets, flexible season tickets and a code of conduct for train companies in the hope that they’ll actually give passengers some confidence that they are getting the best deal for their journey.

McLoughlin added: “Today is just the start of a Government-wide programme to help hardworking people and reduce the cost of living. The Government will be announcing a range of initiatives to help put money back in people’s pockets over the next few weeks. Alongside this, the Government is investing over £16bn to transform our rail network, which will make sure we can respond to increasing passenger demand and drive forward economic growth that will help strengthen our economy.”

Npower have blasted British Gas for their Free Power Saturdays idea, claiming it’s a gimmick which will confuse customers.

npower 0 300x200 Npower slags off BGs gimmick then puts up its prices

Npower chief Paul Massara said: ‘We are looking at smart meters but we think at the moment Joe Public is more concerned about understanding their bill and the size of the bill. A ‘Free Saturday’ is more of a gimmick really. People will simply end up paying more during the week to make up for it.’

(Let’s just take a moment to digest that ‘Joe Public’ comment, which shows how slow witted he thinks we really are.)

So what’s npower’s helpful contribution to their customers? Well, it’s… a simplified bill. UNFORTUNATELY, though, 2 million customers will face an 11% increase in their standing charge for electricity this winter too. Apparently, the higher standing charge is intended to cover a £40 annual loyalty discount which is already in place.

Now, I know I’m only ‘Joe Public’ but I wouldn’t say that’s a very good gimmick, Paul. How about something a bit more snappy, like: ‘WAIT FOR DEATH WEDNESDAY’ or ‘FROZEN THURSDAYS?’

Despite the fact that Centrica have just announced a big sizzling, toasting, roasting, sweaty profit of £356m from the cold weather of 2012-13– British Gas say they can’t rule out price rises this winter.

British Gas 300x193 British Gas might put up prices this winter   again

As we all know, they raised fuel prices by 6% in the depths of November 2012, and the long run of cold weather and frozen spring saw customers using 13% more gas than usual. But instead of allowing their customers to benefit, BG are now mumbling something about the profit being absorbed by ‘substantially higher costs for environmental obligations and network charges.’

This is also after PROMISING customers they would use the benefits of their profitable winter to freeze prices. They announced that in May, but they didn’t confirm it, and now it seems they’re not going to bother.

Centrica’s finance director Nick Luff said the extra profits created by British Gas only equated to about an extra 70p per customer, so they wouldn’t be ruling out upping prices.

Looks like we’ll all have to wear extra big jumpers this winter. Or DIE.

Thanks, BG!

xbox reveal 540x303 300x168 Microsoft keeping Xbox One games the same price as Xbox 360

Microsoft have been having a bit of a nightmare, with people yelling at them for apparent ‘always-on’ internet needs for the Xbox One, as well as the notion that they’ll be putting an end to people buying second-hand games.

And so, in a bid to publicly win a few hearts and minds, the company have announced that they won’t put out first party titles any higher than an RRP of £50.

Which is still a load of money.

However, that is the same price as new games on the previous 360 platform, so something of a price freeze.

Of course, third parties will be allowed to charge whatever they want for games, so don’t expect Activision’s ‘Call of Duty’ to be cheap, especially when the demand is so large. Naturally, supermarkets and such will be offering discounts and packages , but we’ll just have to see what happens there.