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    The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

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    papa_umau
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    The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

    Post by papa_umau on Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:04 pm

    Dear Papaumau

    Barclays promises to settle PPI claims

    Barclays has said it will pay out compensation to everyone to whom it sold payment protection insurance and who made a complaint before 20 April.

    Customers will be reimbursed the total value of all premiums plus 8% interest.

    The bank said the move would affect tens of thousands of customers, particularly those put on hold during a recent judicial review.

    Barclays said it was the first bank to pay out PPI compensation on a "no-quibble" basis.


    Hidden card charges for travel tickets to be banned

    Travel companies have been ordered to end the use of hidden surcharges for passengers paying by card.

    In response to a super complaint earlier this year by Which?, the OFT has ordered the travel industry to make all debit or credit card charges clear immediately.

    It also wants the law changed to abolish altogether charges for using debit cards.


    A call to Swift Advances plc customers

    On Thursday June 23rd the Office of Fair Trading issued what is known as a ‘Determination’ on Swift Advances plc’s Consumer Credit Licence. They are currently operating on the strength of their Licence issued on 13th April 2005 which expired in April 2010. The OFT refused to automatically renew their licence and began an investigation following a campaign by disgruntled and determined campaigners. This led to a temporary hold in issuing a new licence and has now been finalised by this determination which Swift Advances plc will have to abide by to the letter or their licence could be revoked altogether to trade.

    The call being made now by CAG is to ask everyone who has or had a 2nd charge loan from Swift Advances plc who have any issues with their charges, understanding their documentation or feel they have been badly treated, either by having been forced into repossession with unexplained charges or harassed through litigation and costs to make a complaint NOW to the OFT as each and every complaint has the potential of costing Swift Advances plc a cool £50,000 if proved they have acted irresponsibly.


    Insurance disclosure rules about to change

    Under government plans proposed in the new Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill, insurers would be required to ask more relevant questions of consumers before issuing them with an insurance policy.

    Many people have been refused pay-outs after insurers discovered that the individuals failed to supply vital information when the policy was bought.

    Now the government wants to shift the emphasis from a duty on the consumer to disclose information, to insurers having to ask the correct questions.

    The law has changed little since 1906.

    The move has been welcomed by the Trading Standards Institute which has been campaigning for a change in the law, which it described as "heavily weighted against consumers".

    The TSI pointed out that insurers could currently refuse a claim, even if the customer had honestly and reasonably answered all of the questions that were asked when signing up.


    Hbos to pay £17m compensation over investment complaints

    Bank of Scotland customers are expected to receive £17m in compensation following mishandling of complaints about investment products.

    The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined the bank £3.5m after it rejected many complaints when they should have been upheld.

    Policies were often sold to older customers with little investment knowledge.

    The bank has apologised and will review thousands of cases.

    The bank, part of the Lloyds banking group, has agreed to review 8,614 rejected complaints relating to investment advice given from February 2004 to the end of 2009.

    The typical investment during this period was between £20,000 and £30,000.

    The review is expected to lead to compensation payments of more than £17m, with £2.4m already having been paid out by the bank.

    This was triggered because the Financial Ombudsman Service received appeals from investors who argued that their complaints had been rejected wrongly.




    High Court rules that terms in thousands of gym contracts are unfair

    The High Court judgement handed down last week in the Ashbourne Management gym case is an important decision for consumers and may have an effect reaching well beyond the health and fitness industry.

    The main points of the judgment are that the judge said that it was

    * unfair to impose 3 year minimum contracts and said that contract durations of 12 months were quite sufficient.
    * unfair to refuse to allow customers to terminate their contract by giving notice to the gym.
    * unfair to report customers or to threaten to report them to the Credit reference agency where the term requiring payment is unfair.



    Loan fee scams to be stopped by OFT

    Dishonest credit brokers that demand upfront fees for loans they have no intention of arranging will be closed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

    The measure is part of a general crackdown by the regulator following a complaint from Citizens' Advice.

    The charity said some unscrupulous firms were cold-calling thousands of potential borrowers and offering loans in return for hefty fees.

    The OFT is making it mandatory for fees to be refunded if a loan is not agreed.

    Hollow Demands: CAB 'Uncivil Recovery' Update

    Why do high-street retailers allow their agents to extract money from often vulnerable individuals with seemingly hollow threats of court action and escalating costs?

    The available information suggests that the practice recovers a tiny proportion - less than 0.2 per cent - of the £4.4 billion annual cost of crime to the retail sector, yet it causes untold misery to hundreds if not thousands of entirely innocent shoppers.

    It is time to bring such unfair practice to an end.
    Since this was published, solicitors acting for Boots have issued a county court claim (for £137.50) against Maia, the CAB client featured in Uncivil recovery (see the May 2011 update).

    This would appear to be the first such court claim (i.e. relating to a low value, pre-set, fixed sum demand) issued by a retailer client of RLP since the handful seemingly issued in 2001, none of which actually went to trial.




    New penalties for vehicles without insurance

    The new Continuous Insurance Enforcement, introduced earlier this year, is now being enforced by the DVLA.

    If you own a vehicle and it is registered in your name then it must be insured at all times.

    If you don’t want to use the vehicle, then you must contact the DVLA to declare the vehicle off the road. By making a formal Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and sending this to the DVLA along with your tax disc, you can ensure you are complying with the new law.

    From the end of June 2011, the registered keepers of vehicles that have no record of insurance on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) or a SORN, will be reminded of the law change with a warning letter in the post. They will have to take notice of this or face penalties.

    As the registered keeper of a vehicle that has no insurance, you could face:
    - A £100 penalty;
    - Your vehicle being clamped seized and destroyed;
    - Court prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000; and
    - The Police will also continue to seize vehicles that are driven without insurance – different penalties apply for this offence.



    OFT: Revised debt management guidance published

    The OFT has published for consultation revised guidance for the debt management industry.

    The guidance update follows a review of compliance in the sector which found, amongst other things, widespread problems with misleading advertising and the quality of advice given in the fee charging sector.

    Together with targeted OFT enforcement, the revised guidance is designed to address the issues identified by the review.

    Today's guidance sets out the standards the OFT expects of debt management businesses and makes clear they must:

    be fully transparent about the service on offer and fees charged

    explain to consumers both the risks and benefits of each proposed solution

    not use misleading names or advertising, including misleading web-based adverts, and

    ensure that the advice provided is in customers' best interests.


    ICO gets greater powers to curb spam and cold calls

    The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been given stronger powers to bring companies breaking the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) to heel.

    From 25 May, the privacy watchdog will be given powers under the PECR to levy fines of up to £500,000 on the most serious offenders of unsolicited marketing phone calls, texts or spam.

    Telecoms companies and internet service providers (ISPs) will also have to inform the privacy watchdog and their customers of some instances of personal data breaches.


    These amendments to PECR, which also includes new rules on tracking cookies, are being put in place so that the UK complies with new European data privacy laws.

    Telecoms companies and internet service providers (ISPs) will also be required work with the ICO when investigating companies suspected of breaching the new law.



    Repossessions continue to rise

    The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported 9,100 repossessions in the first quarter of 2011, a rise of 15 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2010.

    Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive said:

    "These figures show that homeowners are really buckling under the combined pressures of high living costs, stagnant wages and VAT rises."

    Repossession really is a nightmare for those involved and if you're heading in that direction then you need to seek advice urgently if you're to stop the process.

    The Home Repossessions forum on CAG has a remarkable record in getting repossessions suspended.

    Which? - Your Voice for Better Banking. Have your say until 4th July 2011

    Which? and the Independent Commission on Banking hosted a joint event on May 24th for consumers to have their voice in the banking debate.

    Several Caggers attended and you can read Caro's report here

    The full ICB interim report 'Consultation on reform Options' (over 200 pages, but readable) or an 8 page executive summary can be downloaded here

    You can still have your say until 4th July 2011 and we urge everyone to take this rare opportunity to comment on the report while they can.




    Which? unfair overdraft charges campaign

    Which? have also launched a campaign asking people to email their MPs, urging the government to take strong action against the banks over unarranged overdraft charges.

    There's a template you can send as it is, or you can personalise it.

    It even finds your MP for you so very easy to do.

    Debt management firms holding on to cash

    A Debt Management Plan (DMP) is an arrangement between you and your creditors which a debt management company manages for you.

    You repay your debts at a rate you can afford and the company helps remove the stress by dealing with your creditors.

    But it can go horribly wrong.

    Some debt management companies have been holding on to clients' cash rather than paying it to creditors, a BBC investigation has found and the practice has left heavily-indebted families thousands of pounds worse off.

    Anyone with debt problems should read these guides before entering into a DMP

    Looking for a debt management Plan? Please ensure that you don't end up paying for it.





    High Speed Two - For or Against ?

    HS2 or High Speed 2 as it's being called is a planned high speed rail link from London to the North. The plan for the initial 1st phase is to construct a line starting at London Euston Station which will then exit London and continue to Birmingham. Once near Birmingham a spur will take the line into the city centre, with the main line itself connecting to the West Coast Main Line (WCML) near to Lichfield.

    Do you have any strong points of view or will the route will affect you.

    You have until the end of July to make your voice heard.




    CAG helps put loan shark behind bars

    A former champion boxer turned loan shark has been ordered to pay back more than £260,000 of his ill-gotten gains.

    Michael Morris, 41, was jailed for four years in July 2010 for running an illegal lending firm from Armstrong's Boxing Gym in Salford, which he owned.

    The former British super-featherweight champion will be now made to pay back assets totalling £268,992 to the courts or face an additional three years in prison.

    He was brought to justice following an investigation by the North West Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team, after being alerted by CAG.

    At one point CAG were contacted by the Illegal Money Lending Team, asking if we could close the thread so as not to jeopardise their case

    Money from his assets will be recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act.








    _________________
    Best of regards

    Papa......


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    Angie baby
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    Re: The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

    Post by Angie baby on Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:26 pm

    That's a lot of reading Papa, but it is good stuff if you take the time to take it all in.

    The "CAG" or Consumer Action Group does a great job about sorting out our consumer rights. It does and even better job than the Office of Fair Trading, ( OFT ), does.
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    papa_umau
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    Re: The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

    Post by papa_umau on Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:57 am

    Yes babe, the CAG group do an extremely good job for us and I think that they should be better known to many more people on and off the internet.

    To this end I go to the trouble to reformat and re-publish their newsletter to me here on ROB.

    More strength to their elbow I say !


    _________________
    Best of regards

    Papa......


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    Angie baby
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    Re: The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

    Post by Angie baby on Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:52 pm

    We could do with more "champions of the people" out there like that !

    Mind you I do believe that our political servants do watch what is going on in places like this and on CAG, on the internet, as they know just how powerful the internet can be.

    If they are listening, here is a message for David Cameron:

    "Why don't you get a grip and start to think about the ordinary people of Britain instead of just your friends in high places as if you don't you are going to be wondering why you are back in opposition PDQ".

    Now I feel better Papa...Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind here.

    Hurrah for Papa ! cheers
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    papa_umau
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    Re: The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

    Post by papa_umau on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:45 am

    Thanks ever so much babe !

    Something tells me that after all of the News of the World hoo-haa David Cameron is squirming in his shoes because he has been seen to be too close to the N.O.W. and to Coulson, Brooks and Murdoch.

    In fact, I noticed today that Ed Miliband is to push for a parliamentary delay for the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB until after all of the enquiries and police action has been completed.

    See THIS.

    It will be interesting to see how this one works out !



    _________________
    Best of regards

    Papa......



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    Re: The latest newsletter from the Consumer Action Group.

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