Swinson swings for payday pirates

27 06 2013

UK CONSUMER ISSUES

Consumer minister Jo Swinson has called a summit to investigate if greater regulation is needed to control payday lenders.

The industry is currently under the remit of the Office of Fair Trading, who is set to hand control over to the FCA next year. In March of this year the OFT proposed referring payday lenders to the Competition Commission believing there to be: ‘evidence of deep-rooted problems in how lenders compete with each other’.

They also accused lenders of:

  • lenders failing to conduct adequate assessments of affordability before lending or before rolling over loans
  • failing to explain adequately how payments will be collected
  • using aggressive debt collection practices
  • not treating borrowers in financial difficulty with forbearance.

Swinson has invited payday loan companies, financial regulators, debt charities to the meeting. Among the topics being discussed it is expected that the powers the FCA will have when they take over regulation next…

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Insurance ambiguity brought by new Act

19 06 2013

UK CONSUMER ISSUES

Insurers are being advised to make sure they are up to speed on the Consumer Insurance Act (CIA) which came into effect earlier this month.

The CIA is a big boost for consumers as they are no longer duty bound to disclose everything relevant about their application.  The onus will now be on insurers and brokers to ask the right questions, though claims will still be forfeit if it is found the claimant deliberately withheld information.

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There have been a few voices raised in concern about the ambiguity the CIA has brought between insurers and brokers. Martin Oliver, chief executive of brokers A&A Group, says that insurers are not being clear with brokers as to what is expected of them. “I can only remember seeing one document on this issue from an insurer as to what they expect to see. The activity around this has been patchy but these…

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Consumer rights bill marches on

15 06 2013

UK CONSUMER ISSUES

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The new consumer rights bill continues to work its way into the law of the land and this week consumer minister Jo Swinson has outlined some of the measures to be included. The aim is to streamline eight rather complicated pieces of legislation into one, while doing more to include online downloads and streaming services.

Swinson said: “For too long the rules that apply when buying goods and services have been murky for both consumers and businesses. The situation is even worse in relation to digital content. It is about time consumers knew what their rights are and businesses had clearer information on what is expected of them when problems inevitably do arise. That is why we have put clarity and fairness at the heart of the proposed consumer bill of rights.”

Among the more important points are the measures being made to clear up any ambiguity in the…

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7 06 2011

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911 conspiracy clap-trap

5 06 2011

I recently went through a painfully idiotic discussion with, an otherwise highly intelligent, friend of mine. He put me onto the Zeitgeist films which I was finding interesting if not a tad debatable until…. they started on 911 conspiracy theories.

When discussing the films (via the medium of Facebook instant messenger) to my horror I discovered my learned friend believed this nonsense. At first I thought he was joking but no. My dear friend believes that the US government not only were responsible for flying the planes into the towers but also that they had the building rigged to explode. On top of this he backs the idea that there was no plane at the Pentagon or in Shanksville. He found the official Bin-Laden line unbelievable.

That is unbelievable compared to the notion that the government went to all the trouble to rig the towers to collapse (because flying two planes into them was not enough to convince the civilised world to go to war over oil). But when it came to the Pentagon they decided just to blow it up and pretend there was a plane. This is the US government, why did they not just fly a plane into the Pentagon? Why pretend there was one? Why do that on top of what happened in New York? What was the fourth plane in Shanksville all about?

Maybe they ran out of money after the New York element? I mean the US government must plan all their conspiracies on a budget? Maybe they went over budget on the explosives to bring down the towers but they had a lot left over so decided instead of ruining a perfectly good plane on the Pentagon attacks they would just use up the excess explosive? Or maybe (and I think this is the one he could have won me over with) they stored the left over explosive from New York in the Pentagon but forgot to unplug the timer and they went off with the rest of them? After all this meticulous planning did they get the sense this wasn’t enough?

“Hey I ain’t happy with this plan yet boys, ideas?”

“Maybe we should also pretend a plane crashed into a field Mr. President?”

“My word Joe, give yourself a raise.”

“Thank you very much Mr. President.”

“Actually you can’t, we used up all the money on the explosive.”

“Awwwww.”

He made the point to me that if I ask any pilot of a 737 or a 777 they would tell me how difficult it is to fly a plane directly into a building. I responded that I didn’t know any pilots of 737s or 777s and perhaps I could discuss it with the pilot they had discussed it with. It turns out they didn’t actually know a pilot.

And the US government did all this to start a war over oil? Yes because the US has always had a policy of make sure everyone is on side before they make a move. Anyway off to war they went in the famously oil rich country of Afghanistan. But why didn’t they save themselves all the trouble and just pretend to go in under the guise of removing the Taliban? No one would have believed that is why they were doing it but we could all have lived with the lie that they were acting out of wanting to protect the people of Afghanistan from a human rights crisis.

On the question of the Iraq war and their oil, why would the Bush administration, after carrying out the 911 attacks, pretend that Bin-Laden was in Iraq? Leave the Afghanistan’s out of the picture. If we’re willing to believe he was behind the attacks we’ll believe he’s in Iraq.

Finally there is the question of the number of people involved in the conspiracy. My friend spoke about air traffic control doing nothing, so they were all in on it. Who flew the planes into the towers? Obviously highly trained 737 or 777 pilots, quite happy to sacrifice their lives so America can have some more oil. Whatever else you do don’t forget the Jews who didn’t go to work that day, they were all in on it too.

In fact I’m beginning to feel like I’m the only person who wasn’t in on it.

Last word to Charlie Brooker.





American interview

3 05 2011

Here is an interview with Marcus Massner about about the challenges facing the industry and what paywalls will do.





Europe keeping an eye on us

3 05 2011

The Murdoch led paywall move is begining to attract more interest.