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Mindpix Corporation Announces Co-Production Agreement with Lerer Media and Mission One Voice™
LAS VEGAS, May 10, 2013
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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...
Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...
Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday
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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...
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LAS VEGAS, May 10, 2013
People who live abroad will no longer be entitled to a British state pension based solely on the employment record of their spouse, under government plans.
Read the original: UK block on overseas spouse pensions
Summer Music Festivals and Live Music Stations Available to Everyone, for Free
Read this article: TuneIn Brings Live Music Experiences to the World
BT Sport signs Manchester United’s Robin van Persie to be the publicity face of its advertising campaign for its live Premier League broadcasts.
More here: Man Utd star van Persie signs for BT
Live App Hack Showcases Today’s Emerging App Threats, the Need for Mobile App Integrity Defense, and How Apps Are Hacked at Blazing Speed in Three Minutes or Less; Infosec Attendees Receive Exclusive Mobile Application Integrity Protection Handbook
From mis-selling and big bonuses to supporting the arms trade, we talk to disenchanted people who sought out an alternative
Barely a month goes by without another tale of a major UK company mis-selling to customers, dodging taxes, or generally behaving badly. Among the most notable, Barclays was fined £290m last summer as banks were caught rigging market rates and, earlier this month, energy giant SSE was slapped with a record-breaking £10.5m fine for mis-selling.
But is all this bad behaviour by corporations having any affect on customer behaviour? Apparently so. A steady stream of disillusioned consumers are seeking out better alternatives among the small providers who still know how to value their customers and deliver on their promises. We talk to five of them about their experiences.
Screen printer Jane Foster, 43, makes toys, quilts and cushions using vintage fabric. When she started eight years ago she sourced fabrics on eBay and sold her wares through the site as well, but has since turned to Etsy.
Etsy is a site designed to showcase and sell a wide range of hand-crafted goods supplied directly by the maker. Originally started in the US by a craftsman, it now has followers in Britain and the rest of Europe.
“It gives me confidence buying on Etsy as you get background on the seller, see pictures of them in their studio and it makes you trust them more,” says Jane who lives in Totnes, Devon with her five-year-old daughter Polly and her partner Jim Palmer, 63.
“I bought a lot of vintage fabric on eBay before it got so huge. Now it’s often not accurately described or arrives stained and in poor condition. And I’ve struggled in the past to get a refund. eBay used to be quite cheap but now everyone is charging more.”
She also doesn’t shop on Amazon except when she’s looking to add to her collection of second-hand children’s books: “I like to help small, independent booksellers, but you do get bombarded by emails from Amazon.”
As a student at the University of Birmingham, Philippa Parry, 25, opened a bank account with NatWest.
She is doing a post-graduate degree in sustainable development run by a London charity, Forum for the Future. But it was when she was working in Barcelona for three years at a business school that she started to question the ethics of Britain’s big banks.
“There were so many examples of where they were not acting in people’s best interests with the banking crisis and bailouts. Why haven’t more heads rolled and why are they still getting big bonuses?” she says. “I was also concerned about what they were doing with my money, whether they were supporting the arms trade and not trading ethically.”
She looked at different options for an ethical bank on campaign site Move Your Money. She chose the Co-operative Bank when she moved back to the UK in August, a switch that went through smoothly.
“It’s a little difficult when I need to cash a cheque as the Co-op hasn’t got branches in my area,” says Philippa who lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. “But most of the time I do online banking. Customer service is always great, I don’t have to wait for ages and the people I speak to are always pleasant. But it’s more about ethics. That’s what bothers me.”
Sales account manager Kate Brooks, 37, has experience of two major energy providers – nPower and EDF – and felt she was always treated as though she was a nuisance whenever she contacted either.
“I was really fed up with their attitude,” says Kate who lives in a three-bedroom house in Polegate, East Sussex with her partner Fred Faust, 56, and their eight-month-old baby Oscar. “They always made me feel like I was in the wrong if I rang up, even if it was simply to provide my meter reading. The people on the end of the phone just seemed to be reading from a script and I was always put in a long queue before getting through.”
She looked around and found Ovo Energy, a smaller provider. Not only was it one of the cheapest in the market for her but she liked the way they presented themselves.
“Ovo came across as keen, open and honest, and I liked that they explained about how they invest in renewable energy,” she says. She applied to move through uSwitch and found the whole process very easy.
“I’ve been so impressed with them I’ve been telling other people about them including my Dad.”
This time last year Joanne O’Connell made the decision to live for a year supermarket free. “I had ethical qualms about shopping in a supermarket, and it’s not even that cheap, so why bother?,” she says. Twelve months on and O’Connell – who you can follow on Twitter at @byesupermarkets and who wrote about her experiences online at guardian.co.uk/money/blog – is still supermarket free.
“When I started I wasn’t sure if I could manage for a fortnight, and when friends asked me how I’d celebrate the end of my challenge, I used to say ‘with a major blowout in Sainsbury’s',” she says.
“But what a difference a year makes. Swerving the supermarkets has forced me to change my approach to buying, growing and cooking food. I am spending less, but also eating better, healthier meals.”
To achieve her goal, O’Connell used the year to grow a lot of her own produce. She also took to foraging for food, such as nettles, and learnt to bake bread. For dried foods and other essentials she took to bulk buying from a wholesaler, which she says saved her around a third on supermarket prices.
IT developer Onkar Pathre, 31, was disillusioned with Virgin Media when he moved a month ago to his new home in Crystal Palace in south-east London with his wife Priya, 29, a dentist.
He was part way through an 18-month contract with Virgin for broadband, TV and landline but, despite wanting to stay with Virgin, he was told he’d have to cancel his existing contract and start a new one.
There was a charge of £174 for discontinuing the service and he would have to pay £24.99 a month on his new 18-month contract. And the fee only covered broadband and phone because Virgin couldn’t provide TV in his area.
“I’d been with Virgin for more than three years but it wasn’t prepared to simply switch the service to my new address. A friend told me about Utility Warehouse,” he says.
“It doesn’t advertise, just relies on word of mouth. And it pays the termination charges if you switch to them. I don’t have to take out a contract for broadband, so I can leave at any time.”
It turns out Pathre was given the wrong advice by Virgin and he should have been able to move without paying the disconnection charge. However, he has no regrets.
His new deal works out cheaper – costing £14.99 a month for the landline and £3.99 for the first nine months, rising to £7.99, for 14MB broadband. “The customer service seems very good so far,” he says.
LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – April 6, 2013) - As part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Chris Hadfield will answer questions live from the International Space Station.
The body which collects and distributes song royalties for artists finds live music revenue was down by 15% from 2011 to 2012.
View original post here: Olympic Games hits live music income
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