Archive for the ‘Consumer rights’ Category
Heard about the time the Worcester News took on retail giant Asda, and won? If not, then you’re clearly not reading the Worcester News enough.
But first things first. Personally, if I bought an Asda chicken curry ready meal which was missing the ‘chicken’, I’d be mightily relieved rather than get all miserable and Gazette-Facey about it.
Worcester News, 23 February 2013 (story):
The chicken curry – with no chicken in it
A FURIOUS shopper has vowed never to return to a supermarket after he found his chicken curry contained no chicken.
Darren Ford bought the meal from Asda in St Martin’s Quarter, Worcester, on Monday as part of a £6 deal. But when his family sat down to eat the food on Wednesday night, they were shocked to find the curry contained just sauce.
The married father-of-one then had to spend a further £20 on a takeaway to feed his wife Louise, 14-year-old Tara and her friend. However, when the trained chef complained to Asda, they refused to reimburse him for the extra expense.
The 44-year-old, of Guildford Close, Ronkswood, said: “It’s not something we regularly do because I’m a chef, but as it was the Brits and my wife had been working all week we thought we’d have it.
“I put it in the oven and I’m looking at it and thinking, ‘Where’s the chicken?’. We had to spend £20 on a takeaway because I can’t drive and it was late at night. I phoned customer services to be told I was only going to get a refund and a £5 gift voucher. I’ve told them they can keep their gift card and I won’t be going in there again.”
Thankfully, the Worcester News stepped in and saved the day, in a dispute which I’m sure went all the way to Walmart HQ .
After your Worcester News contacted Asda, they upped their offer to Mr Ford to a £35 voucher. He said he would spend the gift card on “anything but food”.
Maybe he can visit the books section and use the voucher for some cookbooks. He is a chef after all.
Thanks to Ben Chisnall.
The Nether Regions is a blog which loves to dance. What we don’t love is the nagging feeling that maybe we aren’t very good at it. What we need is an objective analysis of our azonto; an external validation of our vogueing. Fortunately, a recent visit to a Lancashire dance studio has allowed us to get certified as fully qualified, professional lords of the dance. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it. Nothing can stop us now.
Chorley Guardian, 23 January 2013 (story)
School of dance was just a sham
THE owner of a Chorley dance school duped parents out of thousands of pounds for fake exams and ‘cut and paste’ certificates.
Natasha Jones, who owned The Ballet Academy, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to forging certificates from prestigious organisations, including The Royal Academy of Dance.
The court heard how the 35-year-old would charge anything from £27 to £108 for the exams, despite not being a registered member of the authorities.
Depending on your point of view, this is either a bleak tale involving the cruel deception of innocent children or a humourous reminder that a pushy parent and their money are easily parted.
There are two things that struck me about the story. The first is that parents in Chorley really are thick. As the article makes clear, it’s not like there weren’t hints being dropped harder and faster than drone strike missiles on a tribal wedding.
One parent told the Guardian how he became suspicious of the mother-of-three, from Boarded Barn, Euxton, after she gave him a certificate which looked like it had been made on a home computer.
“We would continuously be asking Natasha for the certificates after she had passed the exams and kids love that kind of thing.
“She would come up with all the usual excuses – that she had forgotten it, that she’d left it on her desk or that it had been locked in a classroom where she worked.
“I thought it was down to her being completely unorganised as she was a lovely lady and a good dance teacher, but when we eventually got one it looked like it had been cobbled together.
“It seemed like someone had just used cut and paste to make it, but even then I thought she probably couldn’t find the original so had made that to make up for it.”
Eventually it was revealed that Jones, who had started the school in 1997, didn’t belong to any of the dance examining bodies she had been claiming to be apart of, including The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, and the International Dance Teachers Association
Imagine a parent striding into the local police station, their voice trembling. “I’m here to report a crime” they utter, as they solemnly place a tear-stained piece of A4 on the reception desk.
There were probably murders going unsolved while the police got to the bottom of this mystery.
The second thing that gets me about this is that it really seems like a victimless crime. The ‘fraudster’ had been in business since 1997, and I’m sure a dance school doesn’t survive in Chorley for 15 years without being a fun and popular place for the kids. The parents don’t seem to have had any complaints about the standard of teaching. One mother had her son enrolled for eight years, and I bet he could pirouette with the best of them by the end.
So the kids were having fun learning to dance. None of ever failed the sham exams, and they must have felt pretty good seeing those certificates displayed on bedroom walls and kitchen fridges. Maybe the parents would have them framed, and after their offspring had gone to bed they’d look at the certificates and realise that they had raised a beautiful, capable child.
The fact that the certificates were ‘fake’ doesn’t make little Adam a worse dancer. It doesn’t make young Megan’s pride a less authentic emotion. It doesn’t mean that the children of Chorley were wasting their time. They were doing something they loved. Their certificate had the same appearance as a ‘real’ one, and performed the same function. Why then, is it inadequate?
The real criminal here isn’t Natasha Jones. It’s the parents and the police who pulled at the threads and exposed their children to the true horror: Reality itself.
For a nation of shopkeepers, the British sure know how to bugger up a business deal. The collapse of the Great British High Street. The untimely gold-flogging of Gordon Brown. The transfer dealings of Mark Hughes. And it’s that fetid space where sport and finance mingle which brings us our latest local antihero.
Dorset Echo, 21 January 2013 (story)
I’m stuck with 10,000 Lance Armstrong DVDs to shift
A POOLE entrepreneur is looking for creative suggestions after becoming stuck with 10,000 DVDs featuring disgraced former US cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Karl Baxter of Wholesale Clearance UK at Willis Way bought the discs before the seven times Tour de France winner’s name was fatally tarnished in a doping scandal.
Oh, Karl. You must be rueing that decision.
A rueful Karl said: “I bought the DVDs at a good price. The idea was to sell them in small job lots so traders could go on eBay, Amazon or car boot sales and sell them on.
“There was a slight amount of risk. There was suspicion but he wasn’t admitting to it.
“I was hoping the problem would die down and I would be able to find a home for them. Now I don’t think I would get a tenth of the money back.”
Karl, who sometimes buys bankrupt stock from stores that have gone out of business, said: “This is one of the few things I’ve managed to buy that has come back to bite me.”
Apart from all that clearance stock he once bought from a false teeth factory, presumably.
What Karl needs is a bit of entrepreneurial flair. That’s what’s going to get the country out of this economic crisis, after all. A successful small businessman would be able to turn this crisis into an opportunity. With the right idea, he could secure enough investment to dig himself out of this hole. So let’s hear it.
I could make a tower or build a big dominoes track for my three-year-old.
Thanks to @davidjamesevans
Imagine if the only thing lending a smidgeon of sanity to your provincial existence was the local branch of Burton, and then it suddenly closed down. Such is the plight of this poor mite from Tonbridge, Kent. A truly heartbreaking tale of teenage alienation, boredom and despair.
Kent and Sussex Courier, 28 January 2011 (story):
There’s nothing for us teenagers in Tonbridge
TEENAGERS from Tonbridge are forced to travel to Tunbridge Wells or Maidstone for shopping or “any kind of life”, according to a 17-year-old.
K College student Reece Heron has this week spoken out to raise the issues in the hope it will be a first step to change.
He has lifted the lid on what it is like growing up as a teen in the town after seeing Burton, the only shop he ever visited, announce its closure.
“All we’ve got to attract shoppers and tourists is New Look and the castle – there’s not a lot else,” he said.
“It annoys me when all I see is charity shops. Burton is going, so there’s pretty much nothing for me to go into now. I never say to my friends, ‘oh, let’s go to the British Heart Foundation for a browse’. It’s never my first thought.”
If it wasn’t for the Kent and Sussex Courier, Reece’s message might have been lost forever. But now, drunk on the attention that inevitably comes with starring in a quarter-page article in the local paper, he strides forward with a messianic sense of purpose and the confident belief that he can deliver true and meaningful change, i.e. a few extra chain shops in Tonbridge.
“We’d like to see Top Man, River Island, and other shops which Tunbridge Wells provides, but they’re getting rid of them in Tonbridge.
Reece is the first teenager, directly affected by the problem, to speak out in depth about the issue.
He added: “It’s a problem across the whole of Tonbridge, in particular for teenage boys and young men. For women you have New Look, Monsoon and shoes places, but the downfall is there’s nothing for guys.
“I don’t think many people of my age would open up about these sort of things because they think they don’t have a voice.
“But I see there’s a huge problem in the town and it needs sorting. Speaking out is my first step in trying to change things.”
This is exactly how Bono started.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is nothing more satisfying than successfully filling up with petrol to a precise pound. However, a conspiracy is afoot (or is it a leg?). The people of Greater Manchester are being systemically deprived of this glorious consumer sensation and are not happy one bit.
And doesn’t the letters page of the Manchester Evening News just know it…
Yes, this idea of a global retail giant collecting income without specifically doing anything for it is really quite groundbreaking.
So much so that there has even been a follow-up letter:
Always great to end a letter with a truism: pennies really do add up, ladies and gentlemen.
This is certainly a case of a salesman using too much ‘Force’.
I love this reference to the ‘Winsford woman’s answerphone’. I think it’s the new ‘middle England’.
Winsford Guardian, 22 September 2010 (story):
‘Darth Vader’ man found guilty
A 29-YEAR-OLD who left a message in the style of ‘Darth Vader’ on a Winsford woman’s answerphone has been found guilty of aggressive commercial practice.
On the opening day of the trial, the court heard how the defendant, who worked for Luton-based Forever Active, had called Valerie Rawlins, aged 57, on June 17 with the intention to sell her a mobility scooter.
Peter Moss, prosecuting, said: “The claimant was not a person who needed a mobility scooter.
“She remembered receiving a letter through her letter box and the defendant phoned at 12.03pm with a view to engaging her with the prospect of purchasing a scooter.
“She immediately said no because of the leaflet.
“She said ‘I do not want to buy one thank you, good bye’, and put the phone down.
Some wonderful lawspeak there: ‘…with a view to engaging her with the prospect of purchasing a scooter’. They make it sound so sordid. And rightfully so.
BUT IT DIDN’T STOP THERE. Oh no…
“Undeterred by that this defendant between 12.03pm and 12.15pm then embarked on a mission.
“He made his first set of calls in a 12 minute period and the calls became increasingly menacing.”
Mr Moss added that the defendant had threatened he may stop her benefits or pension if she did not buy a scooter.
He said that on a voicemail message Honegan had put on a false voice, and said: “It was a Darth Vader voice, a menacing voice, in which he said ‘we know where you are’.”
Honegan is to be sentenced on October 8, at Chester Crown Court.
Which of us hasn’t adopted a joke Darth Vader voice at some point in time…? It’s surely an everyday occurrence, and not really worthy of a sentencing. PC gone mad, etc.
Thank you to Peter Ball, no relation to Johnny.
You wait ages for a news story about bus timetable uproar, and then two come along at once.
Just look at these ANGRY seething raging locals in Scotland, with their arms folded like an evil troupe of school dinnerladies:
Barrhead News, 26 may 2010 (story):
Bus passengers hit out at bus firm
ANGRY residents are seething at the latest changes to Barrhead’s bus timetable.
Raging locals are fighting back against Arriva after the company cut the number of service stops in Auchenback.
The number three route now loops around the area instead of visiting all the streets and users claim that the cutbacks are causing big problems. [...]
Local woman Rita Connelly is also looking for answers: “They never consulted with us. We are the eye of the community and they never contacted us at all and they should have.”
The eye of the community? That’s a bit of an egocentric statement from Rita… doesn’t she realise there is no ‘I’ in community?
Oh wait, there is actually. Sorry.
More hitting out at and blasting bus timetables changes here. This time in Bloody Bournemouth.
Bournemouth Echo, 7 June 2010 (story):
Dorset bus user blasts timetable changes
A SHOP worker fears she may lose her job because of a “pointless” timetable change that will give her just 60 seconds to change buses.
She used to have around six minutes to spare between the two connecting services but, since Sunday, her first bus now leaves slightly later, leaving her with just one minute to change buses.
“I’ve got no chance of getting a comfortable connection,” she said. “I will be on a wing and a prayer as to whether I can make my 8am start at work.”
If she’s got a wing and a prayer to get about with then, frankly, I don’t know why she’s bothering with the 4a bus.
I wonder if this is too small an issue to bother the Prime Minister about?
“I didn’t know where to turn and I am livid about the situation so I decided to go right to the top and write to David Cameron. This is a serious issue now, it affects people’s lives.”
Well that’s that question answered.
Welcome to the aptly named town of Mytholmroyd, near Halifax, where primary school playground myths and irrational schoolgirl fears about taxation are worthy of news coverage.
Halifax Courier, 9 July 2010 (story):
Nine-year-old Anna’s second letter to PM
A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl is penning a scathing second letter to the Prime Minister after he dodged her question on taxes.
Anna Carnochan, from Mytholmroyd, was less than impressed with David Cameron’s response after she wrote to him about her fears that he was about to tax toys. Mr Cameron’s reply thanked her for her letter and wished her well – but skirted the issue in true politician style.
Anna said: “He didn’t answer my questions. But I’m going to write again and say you didn’t answer my questions and please answer.”
Anna put pen to paper after a friend told her there were plans to tax toys.
“She said they were going to put taxes on toys and seeing as it’s not Christmas or my birthday, and I only get £2 a week, it’s hard to save,” she said.
On one hand, it’s easy to sympathise with Anna’s fears because she probably knows the Tories despise ordinary people and adore regressive tax measures which punish the most needy in society. On the other hand, it appears she is disturbingly monarchist and driven only by downright selfishness. I just don’t know what to think anymore.
Her letter, which was read out in a school assembly, said: “Dear Mr Cameron, I’m not glad we have to pay our taxes out of toys because children my age, 9, have to pay out of our pocket money.
“I have thought of two ways of solving this problem: Get all rich people to pay triple what we have – except the Queen – and only pay taxes on food and grown-uppy things. From Anna Carnochan. PS: Please do not make us pay taxes on sweets and chocolates.”
Is this what we mean when we say we want our young people to engage with politics? Bollocks to that.
Some couples might feel embarrassed to find they get through more mattresses than the average porn studio, but then again, some might want to shout it from the rooftops.
Croydon Guardian, 21 July 2010:
An 18-stone man and his wife who have gone through four mattresses in less than three years are warning residents about a Croydon bed shop.
Ian Pike and his wife Susan bought a £900 bed from Benson for Beds in Purley Way, Croydon, in August 2007. Within six months the mattress had “collapsed on itself”, according to Mr Pike, but the company replaced it for free because it was still under warranty.
Thanks to C Edwards for testing the springs and providing the full article from the Croydon Guardian (click picture to read).
“I’m an 18-stone geezer so it needs to be a big bed. They even told me I was lying on it the wrong way. What does that even mean? I can’t levitate.”
They mean you should try not lying on it like a beached whale.
It’s worth nothing that the self-styled 18-stone geezer inexplicably passed up the opportunity of a “pushed from pillar to bed post” pun in the article. The matt-stress really must be getting to him.
Inevitably, it was only a couple of days until the Sutton Guardian picked up the same story and ran it with a great ‘Gazette Faces’ photo.
Will they ever sleep peacefully again? Perhaps if they had in the first place, they wouldn’t have destroyed four mattresses and find themselves in this situation.
Reader mistakes Huddersfield Examiner letters page for pitch in the Dragons’ Den shocker!
Thank you to Anna Holden.
Huddersfield Examiner, 24 June 2010:
A tissue, a tissue?
AN Examiner motoring column recently praised a vehicle for the provision of cup-holders accessible to both front and rear passengers.
All cars nowadays seem to provide cup-holders which I find moderately useful for holding spare keys or loose change – but I never drink and drive – not even soft drinks.
However, I have a real need for a holder for boxes of tissues. We are all familiar with plucking a clean tissue and the box declining to let go and swinging the thing about, trying to get it loose.
If a motoring columnist could take this issue up, perhaps others might follow suit and the manufacturers might eventually listen.
Arthur Quarmby, Holme
Arthur, I’ll tell you where I am…
…I’m urrrt, i.e. “I’m out”.