Episode 1 Rip Off Britain

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Episode 1

Live episodes of the consumer series, featuring a look at how phone fraudsters can make their texts appear to be from a familiar and trusted number.

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But now on BBC One, back with a new series


of consumer investigations, it's over to Gloria, Angela


And welcome to the start of one of our very special weeks of live


Today, we'll be looking at two big stories in the news.


One of them that global cyber attack.


And the other, the companies charging up to ?23.97 a minute


Well, we've got their number all right.


And what's being done to keep those costs down?


We asked you to tell us what has left you feeling ripped off and you


have contacted us in your thousands. You told us about companies you


think get it wrong and the customer service that is not up to scratch.


We are all just numbers at the end of the day. Profit comes before


anything else and that's all that matters. You have asked us to track


down scammers who stole your money and investigate extra charges you


say are unfair. Why can't they give you the price it should be. They try


and charge as much as you can. When you have lost out but no one is to


blame you come to us to stop others falling into the same trap. When it


comes to customer services, it's dreadful. Whether it's a rip-off or


a genuine mistake we are here to find out why you are out of pocket


and what you can do about it. Your stories, your money, this is


Rip Off Britain. Good morning and many thanks


for joining us on one of the weeks of Rip Off Britain that,


I must say, we all love the best. And that's because being live we can


get your comments right away on the stories that matter


most to you. As ever, our team of


experts is standing You can e-mail us at


ripoffbritain@bbc.co.uk. Well, I'm sure you'll have plenty


to say on that directory inquiries And indeed on the other topics we've


been looking into on your behalf. We'll be unpicking a new scam that


any one of us could be fooled by. Just wait until you see


what the fraudsters And with the news over the weekend


dominated by that huge cyber attack on the NHS,


we've advice on what to do We've also been testing out wi-fi


on the go after a disgruntled train traveller told us he's fed up


of paying a fiver a pop for a service that, he says,


just isn't reliable. All that, plus consumer champion


Dominic Littlewood tells us why And outside we'll be


opening our pop-up advice clinic where our experts will be tackling


some of your problems. I'm not sure what the collective


word for a group of experts is, so I'll just say we've a whole bunch


of them out there today and they're going to be answering some


of your questions later First, though one of two big stories


we're looking at today that are very much in the news,


the rising cost of those And it's not just us who think


the charges are getting out of hand. ?5. 61 for a 20-second call.


?103 for a 27-minute call that the person making it had agreed to have


connected. You have sent us a steady stream of


complaints about the cost of a call to directory inquiry services. But


in recent months some of the prices involved have spiralled and gone far


beyond what many would consider a reasonable charge for finding out a


phone number. What a great day today. It is. In Southport Mike is


great friends with his father-in-law Ron. Last October 88-year-old Ron


received an unusually high phone bill he turned to Mike for help. You


are younger than me. You are more experienced. He had been charged ?68


for an 18-membership call to the directory inquiries number, a call


he couldn't remember making. When I first saw the bill I was shocked. I


couldn't believe it. I was very worried. Got upset about it and I


rang Mike. It turned out that that what had happened to Ron was


something that's caught out a lot of people. He had been trying to call


the local hospital but after misdialing one digit he got a


recorded message suggesting he call a 118 service for the number he


really wanted. So Ron had done just that, not appreciating that when he


then agreed to have his call put through to the hospital the entire


cost of his chat would be charged at a directory inquiries rate, in this


case, ?10. 47 for the first minute and then ?3. 49 for every minute


thereafter. Ron had called the 118 number


without realising he was ringing a directory inquiry number. He didn't


know. I think the charges are unbelievably bad. How can anybody


possibly justify ?6 a minute or thereabouts for a call to anything?


I wouldn't pay that if I was ringing Australia. I think people like Ron


here are very vulnerable to this sort of thing, older people who are


used to people behaving more honestly than people sometimes do


nowadays. They're almost too trusting.


And, for Mike, the point isn't so much how Ron ended up using this


particular service, but the amount it ended up costing. Basically,


these people should not be allowed to get away with charging these


amounts. Regulation should be in force to specify a maximum charge


per minute. Vulnerable people are being hit with ridiculous charges


which they can ill-afford to pay and there's no way out of it.


The company behind the 118820 number has been criticised for its pricing


before. Back in 2014 it was fined ?60,000 for several breaches of the


regulator's code, including fair treatment of customers, and the


prominence of price information. The company is now dissolved and


when we contacted its former director he declined to comment.


But of course it's not just one directory inquiries number that has


had high prices. And that's something about which Martin James,


who works for the complaints website Resolver, has real concerns. He is


particularly worried when he hearse stories like Ron's. A lot of the


complaints we see at Resolve are in relaelgs to misdials where one


number can result in you being directed through to a premium rates


line. These businesses must let you know before they connect you or when


you call through to them what your potential charges might be or the


fact they could be quite high but the fact that people are still using


them suggests that those warnings simply can't clear enough. So how


have we got into this position? You may remember the days when to call


directory inquiries all you had to do was ring 192. That number was


operated by BT initially for free. Then later at a fixed price of 40p a


call. In 2002 the regulator decided to do away with BT's monopoly


leaving the door open for independent companies to compete for


the market. It was predicted it would drive prices down. In fact,


the opposite has happened. In many ways deregulation was that great


promised land but it didn't deliver very much for many people.


Competition should mean exactly that, competitive prices. We ended


up with was a lot of competition looking at different ways to charge


more money for people. Around 430 companies now offer a directory


inquiries service. Most of them begin with the numbers 118. But the


price you will pay with each of them can vary considerably. The most


expensive charge we found is ?23. 97 for the first minute of a call. As


stoningishly eight different directory inquiries companies are


known to have been charging this. Currently the market is dominated by


two giants which take up around 80% of the business.


The first remains BT. And although the company has more than one way of


searching for a number, it is best known service is on 118500. Call


that number and you will pay an initial charge of ?2. 75. Plus, a


cost per minute of another ?2. 75. So a total of ?5. 50 for a one


minute call. As for the other main player, well,


over the years we have probably all seen the ads.


# If you are someone new and need help... Who you gonna call...


A call to 118118, otherwise known as The Number, will cost you ?8. 98 for


the first minute, a charge that has risen by 2145% since 2003. And the


phone operator could charge up to 5p a minute on top of that cost. While


the ads do state these charges it seems we haven't all taken on board


how much a typical inquiry will cost. As was made clear when we


asked some shoppers in London to tell us how much they thought they


would pay for a one minute call to this particular number. I reckon it


would cost about this much. That's what I expect to pay. I wouldn't be


surprised if it was that one. This is what I think. It shouldn't be


higher than that. I would say probably 99p. I would say ?1. 98. I


would go for... This one. But when we revealed the true cost it caused


quite a stir. I would never have thought it was


that much! Shocking! I could buy meat for dinner for the family and


have change. That is shocking. Wow. No way! Oh my God! It's actually a


lot, yeah. I wouldn't expect it to be that much. I would never do that.


Internet is free. While it is true that most phone


numbers can be found online, directory inquiries remains a


valuable service for many, including some older people and those who


aren't online. But not every company makes charges


clear when you call. They're only obliged to do so if they go on to


connect you. So some people using the service may not know exactly how


much it costs or how quickly charges can mount up.


Older people are traditionally more likely to use directory inquiries


services and are disproportionately affected by these potential charges.


If you are used to trusting a telephone number you call through


to, and it seems straightforward, you would have no reason to believe


the charges would be as high as they could be. And certainly 93-year-old


Annie from Manchester had no idea how she ended up having to pay such


a huge amount. Her Goddaughter Mary got in touch with us ever Annie, who


is hard of hearing, received an unexpectedly large bill after


unwittingly calling a 118 number. I was so shocked when you got this


bill, Annie. I couldn't believe you paid so much for this bill. Then


when I investigated, I mean, it stood out straightaway, because it


was ?67, over ?67 for an 18-minute call. I called down to see Annie and


she was in a terrible state. She was really in a dreadful state saying


about this phone bill. Of course it gave me a shock. She decided what to


do with it. I just paid it and that was it. Just wanted to get out of


trouble! Annie had been trying to speak to


someone about a fault on her line. And she has no idea how it was she


came to phone the directory inquiries number 118080, run by a


company called Simuex. Nor was it initially clear why the call went on


so long but Mary doesn't think it's right that a call of this nature can


end up costing so much. I just don't know how it is completely legal.


It's so unfair, you know, Annie lives alone and it needs to be


stopped. We contacted the company that runs


the number Annie called. It told us that calls to this line are charged


at 3. 60 per minute which it said isn't high compared to the


outrageous charges that have become the industry norm. Annie's high bill


must have been because she agreed to have her call connected, so it was


all charged at a higher rate. But the company stressed the costs are


made clear in the call so that customers can decide whether to


continue. We also contacted the two market


leaders, BT and The Number. BT, which provides 118500 pointed


customers to its free online directory inquiries. And to its


lower priced no-frills 118700 service that costs ?1. 45 a minute T


said the price of calls to 118500 ensures BT can provide a quick,


accurate and professional directory inquiries service.


And The Number, which runs 1118118 didn't get back to our e-mails or


calls but has previously said it offers a range of services at


different price points because while for some speed and convenience is


paramount, for others, it may be cost.


But if you don't have access to the internet, there are ways that you


can get a number without costing you money. For example, The Number


offers an entirely free automated service line. That is if you don't


mind listening to an advert before getting the number you are after.


BT also offers a free directory inquiries number for people with


disabilities although to use it you do need to fill out a form to be upt


countersigned by a GP. Back in Southport after his father-in-law


Ron's experience, Mike would like to see the regulator take more action.


Lots of vulnerable people are being charged ridiculous amounts of money


for short phone calls and in most cases they've no idea they're being


charged that amount. This needs to be sorted and sorted now.


Well, I'm glad to say he may well get his wish.


We've been talking to the regulator Ofcom about this for some time,


and it too is concerned over 118 prices, as the cost of more


expensive services has risen significantly in recent months.


So Ofcom has just announced it will look into these as part


of a Call Cost Review, to ensure people are protected


from higher prices, and indeed any unfair practices.


I am one of those people who use that, I don't Google. I am horrified


at the price. I will never do it again. When you say Ofcom will bring


out this report are they going to crack down on charges?


I don't see the words "crack down" in what they've told us.


But Ofcom says callers should expect to be told very


clearly what prices are - and that they are getting


So it's going to consider whether we get that,


It expects to publish detailed plans around that later this year.


What really shocked me in that report wasn't just


the cost of the calls but the sheer number


of companies all offering a directory enquiries service -


I'm sure it will help with that Ofcom review to know what YOU think.


And some of you have been telling us while we've been on air.


Chris Todman said his elderly, disabled mother always uses


Directory Enquiries and agrees to be connected. By so doing, her last


quarterly bill included nearly ?400 of charges. Janet, who is also


watching, has come up with a good point. How hard would it be to make


it law for premium rate lines to have a recording of the price before


the call starts? Well, I'm sure we'll return


to this topic again. But, next this morning,


another way of staying connected... You may be using it


to contact us right now. And, if you're out and


about at the moment, you may well have to PAY


for the service. But is it reliable enough to give


good value for money? Wi-Fi has revolutionised the way we


communicate. So much so that we now expect to be online rebel we are,


outside the home or office and even on the move. Train, bus and tram


services across the UK increasingly offer Wi-Fi services. Communications


manager Smith Harper has been among those telling us their Wi-Fi


experience has not so much been wonderful but distinctly wobbly. He


regularly travels on the virgin West Coast line between Manchester and


London. When they brought in Wi-Fi I'd thought, great. Be able to do


work and stay connected in this hyper connected world. The first


time I tried it, I was, that didn't really work. Smith says things did


not get better which he finds frustrating put up the Wi-Fi he is


trying to use is not free from. Virgin charge him ?5 every trip. I


e-mailed them and said I had been on this train journey trying to do my


e-mails and have not been able to do it I have my money back? Virgin


would not refund the money. Record showed that during the journey he


had got online and use much more data than is allowed and it's fair


usage policy. I went back and forth with them. They then tried to say


you have downloaded all these megabytes. I can't say I haven't


done that but the e-mail itself just does not work. Smith could not


understand how he could possibly have used as much data as virgin


said. As far as he was concerned he could barely send an e-mail. The


company told him this could be caused by such factors as programmes


running in the background, system updates all streaming movies. He was


adamant he had not done this. I thought, it's a fiver, it's not


worth losing any sleep. It niggles and it is a frustration. We want to


see if the train Wi-Fi is as patchy as Smith claims? We are joining him


on the train from Manchester to London and we made sure that there's


nothing running on his laptop which would use updater. I'm going to give


Virgin Trains one more chance. To test the connection, Smith will be


trying to link up with technology expert Graham wild to see how the


Wi-Fi is performing. As Smith sets off on his train, Graham is heading


to the BBC's New Broadcasting House in London where he will be ready to


receive Smith's Munich and is. I am on the internets I have a speed test


running. -- communications. It is perfectly fast enough to make most


things work. The Wi-Fi at the BBC and that most homes and offices


connects to a fixed, physical source. The Wi-Fi on trains work


through the mobile phone networks which can be unreliable. Imagine


sharing four and six Mobile internets connections between 300


people. Sometimes there are places where there is no mobile signal from


any operator. There it will not work at all. Let's see how Smith gets on.


I'm just leaving from Manchester Piccadilly on the way to London. I


will look into the Wi-Fi and see what happens. Smith pays ?5 for


24-hour 's worth of Wi-Fi access. As he leaves the more populated areas,


is internets connections start to the Syria -- deteriorate. I am


coming up with the request, please try again later. Nothing on


Facebook, e-mails. I cannot even go on the BBC website. It


disappointment. As the train comes into Stoke, the Wi-Fi springs back


into life. To see if any of his communications have got through, he


gives Graham a call. How are you? How is short train journey? I have


been struggling to get messages to you from Facebook or e-mail. I had


something when you set off from Manchester but nothing since then. I


did send G1 since then. I wonder where it went too. I think it may


have got lost in the ether. I will have to check my e-mails. I have one


from you now, so I replied back to that one. Fantastic. While some rail


companies charge, on others you can get it for free. On this virgin


train that Smith uses there is no Wi-Fi charge for passengers in first


class. We know it is a real bone of contention for many of you that in


this day and age you ever have to pay for Wi-Fi at all. I never paid


for it on the trains. I have before but it was bad so I did not do it


again. If you are not in a good place, you feel like you are being


ripped off. I have used it on trains before but it is better on the


mobile. The laptops you do not get a good signal or usage. What about


other forms of transport like coach travel? Graham is going to try for


himself the Wi-Fi on national express. He tries to get onto the


BBC website. It has loaded quite quickly. That took about a second or


so. Mobile coverage along major roads and motorways and so one is


much better than it is along the railways, especially in rural areas.


That means it is actually a little bit easier for coach companies to


offer good Wi-Fi than it is for train companies to do that. So,


comes up for coach travel. When a grey and Smith meet up at Euston


station in London, Smith is still very unhappy with his experience on


the train. -- Graham. It was pretty poor. That has been my experience on


Virgin Trains before. The good news is that services like that will get


better. The new technology called 5G is much faster and it will make a


difference to your Wi-Fi experience. There are special radio networks is


being built alongside the railway especially for use for the train. I


guess there is good use coming down the track. To use a very cheesy


analogy, yes, there is. Well, Virgin Trains accepts


their Wi-Fi doesn't fully meet customers' needs,


but told us that though they want all customers to have free,


fast and uninterrupted Wi-Fi, unfortunately - as the company


relies on mobile phone networks for the internet -


there's often a very limited service in rural areas,


cuttings and tunnels. They say they're working


with mobile phone companies to improve the signal,


and in the meantime have introduced a free, on-board entertainment


service which lets customers stream movies and TV without


the need for Wi-Fi at all. Well, difficulties with getting


connected are one thing, but - staying with problems online -


the big story over the weekend was that global cyber assault


that targeted the NHS. It's been described


as an historic moment - Joining me now is the the BBC's


technology correspondent, Even the headlines today are a


wake-up call for the world. 200,000 organisations in 150 countries.


Reducing it down to people like myself who are not very good on the


website at all, how does the ransomware really manifest? This is


the biggest type of cyber crime we are seeing. A recent statistics


showed 50% of all offences shown to the police now relate to cyber


crime. This is the most serious. What happens is you somehow get


malicious software on your computer. The next thing, a message pops up on


your screen and says all of your files, your valuable data, is


locked. The only way to get it back and unlock it is to pay a fee to the


crooks, a ransom. They are quite clever in a way. They do not ask for


huge amount of money. Was speaking to a charity and months ago. The


manager said they had had one of these ransom things and it was only


like 400 quid, proportionately not that much. He said he paid it. He


hated himself to pay but he said it would have taken three months


because he was not backed up properly to get the info and the


cost of an spurt would have cost far more than 400. -- and expert. I


think it is sadly the trees. It has taken a global assault. Lots of


organisations have experienced this. There are simple lessons around


this. You should be keeping your data backed up. You should have a


separate hard drive you plug into your computer from time to time,


backing up your data. If the worst happens, you should be all right. In


this particular case, the one we are hearing about over the weekend, it


is mainly directed at large organisations. That is who has the


kind of networks where this sort of thing can spread quickly put a bid


is not targeted at individuals at home. Would you pay the ransom? I


would not be falling for it in the first place, Gloria. You can see why


there is a tent Asian to do that. What one hears sometimes is that


these criminals are pretty well organised and they will unlock your


data if you pay the fees. They know their business. The important thing


out of the conversation is to make sure you are backed up and up to


date with the companies say. People could have avoided this had they


applied a regular Microsoft security update back in March.


Well, as Gloria said, that story is still all over the papers,


with worries about what other businesses and people might


The front page of The Mirror is warning Web Hackers to Strike Again.


It goes on to have two full pages of the story inside. It says we are


under cyber attack and this is the greatest threat to civilisation


since World War II. Probably less of a threat is this story. Busy water


can make you fat. That can trigger a hunger hormone which makes you


overweight. The Mail is following up


on suggestions that Amazon may allow refunds on low-cost items


WITHOUT you needing The company wouldn't


comment but certainly that It means you get the refund and the


item as well. Good idea. And finally the FT says Pension


Fraud Losses Hit Record High - that's something we'll be looking


at on Wednesday's programme. Well, all this week we'll have


updates on some of the stories we've And I'm afraid we've uncovered


a whole new twist to a scam we've You may remember a scan we first


told about in 2015. Fraudsters have found a convincing to make take


calls appear to be from a genuine, trusted number for that they can use


widely available at two show a number as coming from, for example,


your bank. These two people received an unexpected call and it showed up


on their phone as being from their bank, Santander. The number that


showed up on my phone was the same number as the back of the Santander


card. That convinced me he must be from the bank. We thought that that


is it. It cannot be anything else. They were about to become victims of


what is called number spoofing by disguising the number they are


really calling from to look like one we know. Criminals are able to get


around the fact that we're all becoming more wary about who might


be on the line. In this case got it meant they could convince the couple


their bank accounts were at risk from fraudsters and they should move


their money elsewhere. I was in a panic we were losing our money. He


said from your cash Isa, we'll move that first found we will take a


whole lot out. Trish transferred ?50,000 into supposedly safer


accounts that belonged to the fraudsters. The realisation they had


been conned hit couple hard. My overall feeling is devastation, to


be honest. I did go down into a depression afterwards for quite a


long time because we have lost a lot of money. I was thinking, that is


our retirement fund gone up the creek. I did feel... I felt really


stupid to have been conned. The bank was able to recover ?27,500 of the


couple's money. They were left ?22,500 out of pocket. As Trish


Adudu authorise transactions, the bank said it could not accept any


responsibility for the losses. There has been a further development. In


February this year, a man was jailed 18 months for his part in this scam.


Unfortunately, as with many scams, this one has continued to evolve and


now fraudsters are not only using this method to trick people with


calls, they are doing it with texts as well.


Well, with us to tell us more about this new version of the scam


is fraud lawyer Arun Chohah and Claire Pearson who,


I'm sorry to say, fell victim to one of these fraudulent texts.


To the tune of ?71,000. That's awful. Terrible. Why did the whole


thing seem plausible? I received a text message on a thread of genuine


text messages which I thought were from my bank. I had no reason to


believe this wasn't a real message from my bank. What were they asking


you to do? How did they approach it, they talked about a possible fraud?


They said is this your transaction, this is a possible fraudulent


transaction, did you make it? Call this number. I was in a rush, I


panicked. I was seven months pregnant. I thought I have to get


this sorted quickly. Rang the number from the text message. It was all to


do with the length of time they kept you on the phone, wasn't it? Yeah, I


spoke to the guy for half an hour. Went through a full security check.


Cancelled my debit card. At the end of the phone call I was ?71,000


short. They had been milking your account. While I was on the phone. I


imagine this is a story you have heard before, something similar,


Arun. Her bank has taken very hard line with her, saying you did this


to yourself, therefore, it's not a fraud that we can say we will


compensate you. Do you think that's being harsh? To an extent I think


it's being harsh. The criminals are out there intercepting text messages


and telephone calls but banks do have monitoring software, they have


the ability to delay transactions. So, I think there is more banks


could do. But I suppose their worry is opening the flood gaits to saying


they could do that and take responsibility. What about us as


individuals, what are the dangers we should be looking out for and what


should we never do? This new-age type of attack, you have to take a


moment and consider the situation. Don't react swiftly. If you are


going to make contact with your bank because you see something like this,


call the number on the back of the card, don't use the same phone you


received the messages from, use another phone. Banks aren't going to


ask you to transfer money to an account they set up. They're not


going to make you part with money to deliver a card. Take time and keep


control of the situation. Do you think if you heard that before it


would have helped you in your situation? Yes. I wish I had taken


five minutes to stop and think. I would be in a different position.


It's great to be wise after the event. Sorry for what happened to


you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that story with us. Thank


you, Arun too. Well, all week our experts will be


tackling your problems in our pop-up Yes, our experts are already


busy getting stuck in. Personal finance expert


Sarah Pennells is here along with Lyma Blay who's had rather


a lot of trouble with, and indeed Tell us what happened


when yours developed a problem. Yes, that's true. It was faulty. It


was considered faulty. Taken away and essentially we didn't have a


fridge for ten days until it was replaced. Ten days for anybody


without a fridge is pretty bad, in kaur case there was a reason why you


needed that fridge. At that point I had a 12-month-old baby who was on


antibiotics that had to be kept cold and milk and food and so forth. It


was really hard. You did eventually get a replacement fridge number two


after ten days. Sarah, what are the rules carding -- regarding


replacement or moneyback when you have a problem with something you


need like a fridge or oven. The law is clear, as the fridge went wrong,


soon after she bought it, if it had gone wrong within 30 days she should


have been offered a refund. She could have got a fridge the next


day. If they wanted to give a replacement, the laws is less clear


about how quickly you have to do that. But common sense surely would


tell you you shouldn't leave a mother and a young baby without a


fridge for ten days. Absolutely not. We know that they did replace it


after ten days. That also you feel developed a problem. Yeah. You went


back to Samsung. We have spoken to Samsung and they say they have sent


an engineer and he can find no fault with the fridge. However, because


they believe they believe customer satisfaction is paramount for them


they're going to replace that fridge so you are going to get fridge


number three. With luck, that one won't have a fault. Do tell fuss it


does because we would like to follow it up. Sarah, thank you very much.


Join me here. Over here is Andy Webb


from the Money Advice Service and Christine Barnwell who's had


quite a drawn out process trying to We won't get into all of the detail


of what happened but there was something very interesting


you were told when you eventually tried taking it up with your


credit card company. I missed the opportunity, the window


of opportunity was too late. What do you mean? They have a restriction on


how long before I can claim the money back. How long was that? They


told me 105 days. You were outside of that? I was, yes. Andy, in the


office we found this extraordinary because we had never come across


this before. We always assume if you have a problem with a credit card


that means that you have good protection. I don't think any of us


have thought that was a time limit on it. It's important to know we are


talking about disputed payments. Maybe you have been charged too much


or something you don't even recognise at all. Now, what they've


said is contact the person that's on there first of all and say what is


this charge and money back or whatever. You should also at the


same time contact the credit card provider as well because they'll be


able to tell you exactly what these windows are and you are not going to


fall out of time like we have here. It varies. Visa and Mastercard is


120 days. American Express is 105 days. That's when you have to put


your claim in and say I want my money back and hopefully you will


get that cash back for a disputed claim. Still got all that credit


card consumer protection we talk about like section 75, if something


doesn't turn up or it is broken you have longer to get money back. Who


would have known there was a time limit on anything we do with our


credit cards. Thank you very much, Christine, for flagging that up.


Thank you very much to our experts. Still lots of people here with us.


We are going back to the studio now. I love the idea that it's all live


and you can join us in the pop-up shop any day this week.


We'll be tackling more of your problems in our pop-up shop


And each day too we'll be sharing the spending secrets


First to spill the beans is this very cheeky chap.


He is known to millions from shows such as Don't Get Done, Get Dom and


Right On The Money which is back on BBC soon. When you pay for the


policy, do you pay in a lump sum? That's the wrong answer! It seems


Dominic Littlewood has always had it in him to be a consumer champion. In


his 20s he took three companies to the small claims court after getting


fed up with them fobbing him off. He won every case. So what are his


consumer secrets? Dominic, you are here because you are a red hot


consumer expert. I want to quiz you about you as a shopper. What is it


like when you go into the shop, do they recognise you and think oh-oh!


? A mile away they see me coming and the reaction is entertaining. One


example, this has happened a few times, people know I am a good


haggler, I haggled once on a backet of biscuits to prove you can get a


discount. The shopkeeper found it funny someone was bothering,


whatever it was 20 off a packet of biscuits. I did it to say look, you


can haggle. As long as you do it the right way you can do it, people will


have fun with it. Yeah, OK, it's a ?1. 50 packet of biscuits, so what,


have fun. You have been a consumer expert for ten years now. What's the


main thing you have learned in that time? One bit of advice I would give


to anybody, whenever possible pay for everything on a credit card.


Now, a few reasons for that. You have to have discipline. I have a


direct debit set up so every month it is paid off but benefit of paying


by credit card, straightaway you have protection, covered by section


75, which means if you have a problem and something goes wrong you


can go back to the credit card company and say this person isn't


honouring the warranty or anything, they'll step in so you have added


level of protection. If I buy a pint of milk in the supermarket, credit


card, credit card, credit card. Everything is covered. Job done. No


interest. Credit card companies probably hate me. We get a lot of


letters and so on from people who are aggrieved because they've paid


for something that hasn't worked out the way they wanted it to. What


would your recommendation be? For starters, keep calm. Keep cool. I


always try and do everything as a normal punter. For starters, when I


am on the phone to anybody I record all my calls. Have you noticed when


you phone up they say just to let you know, our calls are recorded for


training and exercise purposes. I say just to let you know so are


mine. Keep a record, it's brilliant because you can go back and say


yeah, I did say that or they said that. That helps, if you can't


record them make notes just so you have a diary of that, I tell you


what you need to fall back on it and if it is there, it's worth its


weight in gold. He is a real character.


He is. Two of our experts are still with


us. They're going to answer some questions. I have to thank Barbara


from Bradford and Robbie. This question to Sarah ray, how can we


stop nuisance calls from abroad, they're both already signed up to


stop unwanted UK calls. TPS does cut down on calls but doesn't get rid of


all of them, especially from those calls where they're from overseas


companies. Basically, the law changed a year ago and companies,


whether they're overseas or nr the UK, should display their number so


you can find out who is calling you and unfortunately sometimes they


display false numbers, this happened to me. The TPS only covers companies


that are registered in the UK. I would recommend if neither of these


wr are working and the calls are beginning to bug you, invest in call


blocking software, some are very effective. Thank you for that. A


question for you, Rory, from John. Morning, John. If the recent cyber


attack locks your computer, do you need to reinstall the operating


system even if all your files have been backed up, a lot of people will


want to know that? Absolutely. I should stress again it's unlikely


that people at home will be affected by this. It's mainly big


organisations. But if you are, I think you will have to reinstall


your operating system, take advice first. Because if you have a backup


of your files, the virus, the bug, may still be in your system and you


don't want to set it running all over again and possibly infect other


computers. For you, Sarah, from David. He wants to know if an


unmarried couple can get travel insurance, he and his girlfriend had


to come back early from holiday and insurers are not paying out because


they're not married. That's an odd one, some will class you as a couple


if you have been living together for six months or more. So I think the


insurers need to move with the times. There are some that will


cover you. I agree with that. Well, I have to stop


you there because I'm afraid we're Thanks to everyone who's


contacted us this morning. We'll be back tomorrow


with a shocking story anyone thinking of buying a used car really


won't want to miss. And we'll be looking at some


of the online tactics retailers use to make us hurry up


and spend our money. We'll see you back


here at 9.15am sharp.


This episode looks at how the cost of a directory enquiries call has rocketed, leaving some people with eye-wateringly high charges.

There is a new twist on an alarming phone scam - how can fraudsters make their texts appear to be from a familiar and trusted number?

A frustrated traveller tests the reliability of the train wifi he is fed up of paying for, and a familiar face reveals their consumer secrets.