Category Archives: Consumer affairs

‘I’m 37, I’m dying and this is how I spend it’

Former recruitment consultant Rob Anderson on how he organises his finances – and why he isn’t keen on bucket lists

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

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Source: gad

EDF UK profits hit by fall in sterling and nuclear prices

Pound’s decline against euro costs French firm €608m as home energy usage also drops

French state-owned energy firm EDF reported falling profits, including a downturn in the UK due to falling prices for nuclear power, improved energy efficiency among its household customers and the slide in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote.

Profits in the UK division, which includes EDF Energy, slumped by a third to €1.035 (£920m) as sales dwindled by €579m to €8.68bn, partly because UK customers pay their bills in pounds but the company reports its results in euros.

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Source: gad

Why did easyJet cancel our booking … but fail to tell us?

If we had turned up we would have been denied boarding – I’d like to know if I can make a claim

In December I booked an easyJet flight for my girlfriend from Agadir, Morocco back to London (Gatwick) and, because it was less than 30 days before departure, we checked her in and printed the boarding pass.

The day before her travel I noticed, by chance, that the money had been refunded to the credit card and I became suspicious. The easyJet website showed no booking.

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Source: gad

Venice restaurant that overcharged tourists faces £17,000 fines

Official checks find Osteria da Luca breached safety and food description rules, reports say

A restaurant in Venice that charged a group of Japanese tourists €1,143 (£994) for four steaks Florentine, a plate of mixed grilled fish, two glasses of wine and mineral water faces fines totalling at least €20,000 (£17,400), according to local media.

The La Nuova di Venezia newspaper said police and local authority checks carried out at the Osteria da Luca near St Mark’s Square uncovered breaches of health and safety and food hygiene regulations, as well commercial code infringements including issues over the accurate description of goods.

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Source: gad

Ryanair: passengers fight for expenses if flights are delayed

Solicitor says dodging legitimate claims are not ‘isolated incident’ but ‘company policy’

When Linda Fisher booked a three-day break in Berlin to visit her boyfriend last August, Ryanair was the cheapest option. But she has paid a high price for choosing the budget airline. The flight took off late at night after a delay of just under three hours and, half an hour before it was due to land at Berlin Schönefeld, passengers were told that they were being diverted to Hanover. Noise restrictions meant that flights could not land at Schönefeld after midnight, a fact the crew would have known at take-off. If she had been informed in time, Fisher says, she would not have boarded. Buses were promised to take the passengers on the three-hour journey to their original destination. However, when they reached Hanover at 1am there was no transport in sight and no staff to direct them.

“Our only option was to get a taxi costing €500, or to rush from the airport on the last train to Hanover Central and then to get the overnight train from there to Berlin,” she says.

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Source: gad

The Amazon worker: paid £18,000 to shift 250 items an hour

Aaron Callaway is 24 and works four nights a week alongside robots in the retailer’s warehouse

If I’ve learned anything from doing this job, it’s that money can’t replace time. I work four nights a week in an Amazon warehouse near my home in Southend-on-Sea. It’s quite a cold place to work and, apart from two half-hour meal breaks, I’m on my feet for 10 and a half hours. I scan the items the trucks bring in from distributors and place them into the right cart for the robots to take to the correct place in the warehouse.

I have to put away each item in 15 seconds or less, and get through 250 in an hour, or I’ll be given a warning by a manager. Stepping away from my station to, say, get a drink of water can have a big impact on my performance.

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Source: gad

It's in the jeans: US fashion goes back to denim's glory days

Catwalk revival of old styles immortalised by Hollywood stars sees surge in jeans market

The jeans market is booming again as the US turns back the clock to denim’s glory days. 2017 saw the largest year-on-year growth in the sector since 2013, pulling in over $95bn (£67bn) worldwide compared with $91bn the previous year while sales of premium designer jeans doubled its growth.

Observers believe shoppers are deciding to try other styles beyond the skinny silhouette that has been so popular for more than a decade. This season styles hark back to authentic American selvedge denim and come straight-legged, stiff and in a deep indigo hue.

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Source: gad

Nearly 1m tonnes every year: supermarkets shamed for plastic packaging

Exclusive: Guardian investigation unwraps truth about supermarket plastics after big brands refuse to divulge packaging secrets

Britain’s leading supermarkets create more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste every year, according to an investigation by the Guardian which reveals how top chains keep details of their plastic footprint secret.

As concern over the scale of unnecessary plastic waste grows, the Guardian asked Britain’s eight leading supermarkets to explain how much plastic packaging they sell to consumers and whether they would commit to a plastic-free aisle in their stores.

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Source: gad

Customer service: what were the best and worst firms in 2017?

Readers have complained about travel, phone and financial companies among others. Here are the repeat offenders

This was the year in which Parking Eye became the UK’s most hated company (at least judged by our mailbag). British Airways managed to go into near-complete meltdown, and hotel, car hire and other travel-related problems dominated the Consumer Champions column.

In our annual roundup of the issues faced by Guardian Money readers over the past 12 months, we sadly have to report that 2017 saw us receive more letters of complaint than ever before.

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Source: gad

Amazon Echo, Google Home or Sonos One: which smart speaker should I buy?

Voice-control devices that can play music, answer questions and buy goods are one of the hottest gifts this Christmas. Here’s what they can do – and our pick of the best buys

Smart speakers are set to be the hottest Christmas gift this year. On Black Friday, Amazon dropped the price of its core Echo product to £79 (it is back up to £90 now), while Google slashed the cost of its Home device from £129 to £77.50 at most outlets (it is also back up now). Meanwhile, Apple is promising to launch its version, HomePod, although the price point is rumoured to be significantly higher.

With the pre-Christmas launch of the Echo Show, which ups Alexa’s game with a built-in screen, are they the next must-have device? A simple voice command can fill your room with music – and change tunes whenever you wish. They will answer questions on a vast range of topics, set alarms, tell you the weather and what your commute holds in store. Some can order almost any goods over the internet for delivery within hours or days. Hooked up with other devices, they turn lights on and off and control the heating. But they have also been accused of making fake purchases and snooping on your conversations.

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Source: gad2