What's the problem with MSE? We'll get back to you.

16 February 2011

UPDATE: as has been pointed out in the comments, the Moonpig images were removed by the commenter, rather than MSE - we mistook the deletion as moderator activity. Our apologies to MSE with regards to that aspect of the story.

We don't really want to knock the Money Saving Expert forums, largely because they're an astounding force for good in terms of what they achieve for consumers. That said, we're becoming increasingly baffled by the editorial decisions of the site's moderators.

Yesterday, we received an email from avid Bitterwallet reader Rishi about a Valentine's Day 'blunder' by Moonpig.com, as described by a member of the MSE forums. We clicked through the link provided to find a very innocent post from a MSE forum member, but the images of the blunder in question had been removed by the moderators at the request of Moonpig.

From all the follow-up comments, it doesn't seem like a particularly outrageous gaffe by Moonpig.com, but the images were removed regardless. And that's a little odd, simply because if content is acceptable in context, there's no reason for it to be removed. It's an issue we bump into on a regular basis and, despite appearing to be some ramshackle attempt at a consumer website, we never acquiesce.

We only ask because it's not the first case of excessive moderation on the forums that's been brought to to our attention. For example, as part of our investigation into the scam retail website Splatt.co, we had cause to click through to Bloomin Direct. The type of complaints we'd received about both Splatt.co and Focus Clothing conning customers at Christmas, had also been directed at Bloomin Direct in previous years. MSE promised to investigate the issue, but then they've been doing so for nearly two years:

Bitterwallet - MSe forums

Plenty of forum members have asked since about why the thread is still blocked, and MSE has refused to comment. There may be a genuine reason for not investigating, but it hasn't been communicated to forum members.

17 comments

  • Speedy
    MSE is a commercial site run by a media whore and lost it's consumer roots a long while back. Most of the 'money saving tips' all feed through a network of commission based websites... but he does look so dapper on the telly box though doesn't he.
  • Nick T.
    Well done you! I'm sure my post on here a few months ago criticising the offhand attitude of Thomas Cook's woeful customer service - which I could support with evidence - was only pulled because of a "technical error". And I'm certain no other avid readers can cite examples of their posts being spiked either, can they? Hmm? Eh?
  • Confused
    You're aware, are you, that the initial poster removed the images themselves? It's nothing the MSE team have done so your story is factually incorrect. Look at the edit note at the bottom... Still, why let the facts get in the way of a good story eh? Another fine BW research piece. Think MSE might have something to say about this if you don't amend.
  • Confused
    Just to add for absolute clarification: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.php?p=41221506&postcount=33
  • Dick
    It says
  • Tom
    Martin Lewis changed the legal entity from a limited company to something else (can't remember what). The upshot is he's personally liable for any legal ramifications.
  • j b.
    martin lewis is a tool hope this helps
  • Paul S.
    Hi 'confused' - thanks for the comments; I've updated the story to reflect the point and am happy to apologise. The issue concerning MSE's two year investigation is still a valid point, however; MSE's staff have been in touch to say they're looking into the matter.
  • Confused
    Thanks Paul, agree on the latter.
  • zax
    Very sad to see that a popular independent forum is being brought to it's knees by a commercial company.
  • The B.
    At the end of the day it still a better site than HUKD, predominantly because it's not full of tossers on the quite the scale of said tosser site, which equates to a herd of elephants coming over the hill.
  • Ptr
    Pretty sure there is fuck all Independent about Media Whore Martin 'MSE' Lewis......
  • gordon g.
    Whats wrong with MSE?, you ask It's forums are full of wingers trying to blame everyone but themselves for the mountain of debt they have run up........... How's that for a starters?
  • Confused
    Those pesky wingers eh? I raise you Giggs and Lennon for your main course, and offer an "h" for pud...
  • mike o.
    The advice they give is shit and sometimes, in fact often, recommend people use a hammer to crack a nut. They big people up with all these ideas they have some high and mighty right to complain about everything and get some sort of financial comepensation. anyway, what was my point, oh yea, I cant remember which discount club it is, redsave, rewards first or shopper discounts, one of the 3 anyway. They have a lot of people complain about them on the forums that the mods immediately shut down on threats of being sued by the companys lawyers. Theres a big statement from the figurehead himself basically saying he agress its a con but they are acting within the law and their TnCs, so even him and his team of moaning so and so's cant do anything about it. Care to take that up BW?
  • hippy
    i went on that site once, read a couple of obvious statments about not getting into debt and then went elsewhere. I think the website is badly designed. information jumbled all over the place, the forums full of useless never ending twaddle and the guy thats constantly on the lorraine kelly show a d..k
  • dan b.
    so the overriding opinion of BW readers is that Martin Lewis is an CUNT - got to agree with that!

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