Episode 3 Rip Off Britain


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Episode 3

Live episodes of the consumer series. Viewers reveal how they have lost their savings after companies targeted their pension pots.


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the programme and thank you for coming and thank you for watching,

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and up next it is Rip-off Britain. We will see

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Welcome to another live edition of Rip Off Britain with some

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devastating examples of the kind of pension fraud I'm sorry to say is on

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the rise. Savings built up over years and years have effectively

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vanished, leaving people tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket

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and facing, when you look at it, a very uncertain future. The thing is,

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you may well be approached by companies offering plans for your

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money so we're going to have advised to let you decide and recognise if

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they really do want to make your pension grow or just disappear

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altogether. We asked you to tell us what has

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left you feeling ripped off and you contacted us in your thousands.

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You've told us about the companies you think get it wrong and the

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customer service that simply isn't up to scratch. Once they've got your

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money, they are not interested in coming back to you or to give you

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customer service. You've asked us to track down the scammers who stole

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your money and investigate the extra charges you say are unfair. I think

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prices are going up and nobody is actually doing anything to improve

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that. And when you've lost out but nobody to blame, you've come to come

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to us to stop others falling into the same trap. Just leave me alone!

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So whether it is a genuine mistake or a blatant rip-off, we are here to

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find out why you are out of pocket and what you can do about it. Your

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stories, your money. This is Rip Off Britain.

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Hello, and welcome to the halfway point of our week

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We're loving being here - and we're thrilled by the response

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we've had on the topics we've covered so far.

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Yes, I'm delighted to say we've been inundated

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So many thanks to everyone who's taken the trouble to get in touch.

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And we hope you'll do it again today!

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If you are going to do it, it is very simple.

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ripoffbritain@bbc.co.uk is the best way you can

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Or we're on Facebook - just look for BBC Rip Off Britain.

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And we're sure you'll have plenty to say about the subjects we'll be

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with wedding season about to get under way - we'll see if some venues

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might be pulling a fast one by holding onto the money if you end

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We'll also be asking if the smart meters we're

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all being encouraged to install are always quite as clever

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And my friend Aled Jones will be telling us why he leaves everything

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We'll be back outside with our experts as they get

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to grips with more of your problems at our pop-up advice clinic.

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Today it's personal finance whizz Sarah Pennells and our legal expert

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Gary Rycroft who'll be stepping up to the plate.

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There they were, standing by ready to answer your questions later in

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the programme. But before all that,

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new figures from the City of London Police show that more

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than ?8 million was stolen from our collective pension pots

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during the month of March. That's ten times as much

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as was taken in the previous month. But those figures -

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however shocking - Because after seeing this report,

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it's the impactof losing those savings that will stick

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in your mind the most. My heart hit the floor. It was

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devastating. I don't really know where my money is and I'm just

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scared that half of it could of gone, three quarters. I have no idea

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where it is at. Both these men should be making the most of the

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money they've paid into their pensions all their working lives but

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they're not because, effectively, their money has gone. And if you've

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got a pension, there may be people targeting yours in a similar way.

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But, for John Fowler from Harrow in west London, it began in 2012, when

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he received a call out of the blue from somebody describing themselves

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as a pensions advisor. Normally cold calls I give short shrift to. I'm

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not rude but I just say "No thank you" and put the phone down. Since

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he knew who I was and where my pension was, that's when I thought,

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if they knew where it was, maybe somebody at that side of it was

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quite happy for them to approach people. It gave it a bit of

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legality, I suppose. John was told the pension he had had with a

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previous employer, with ?212,000, wasn't performing well and could be

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invested more wisely. Not only that, the caller said that right now John

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could have a tax-free lump sum from his pension of ?75,000. I couldn't

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believe my luck and because my daughter had been through

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university, my son was in university, I had a car that was

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older than myself, the windows were falling out, and if I was sitting

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outside sometimes, I thought we would get the windows done, which we

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had been bidding for years, and the car. I thought, I can get a car now.

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John agreed to transfer his pension pot to a particular company and was

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given his lump sum. The rest of his money, he assumed, was being

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invested wisely but in 2013, he was shocked to learn that following an

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investigation the pensions regulator had appointed new trustees to the

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scheme and a key part of their role was tracking down what has happened

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to investors' money - in other words, it wasn't clear where his

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savings had gone. I told my wife and she said, what does that mean? I

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said, I think I've done something really stupid. I think I've

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transferred into a company and they've wandered away with our

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money. My heart hit the floor. It was devastating. It isn't just my

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pension fund, sorry. It's my wife's as well. It is our pension-fund. And

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I had stupidly, you know, chucked it the way. But, believe it or not,

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worse was to follow. It turned out that the lump sum John had received

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wasn't, as he'd been told, tax-free. He would only have been eligible for

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any tax-free sum if he had been 55 and, sadly for John, he was just

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short of that. So HMRC slapped him with a huge tax bill. He would have

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to pay back over ?41,000, 55% of the lump sum he took out on the advice

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of the company. It is just distressing because it is on my mind

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all the time. I go to bed worrying about it. Wake-up worrying about it,

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and worry about it during the day as well. Of the ?212,000 pension pot

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that John had diligently saved for years, it seemed only 33,000 is

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left. Meanwhile, two of the directors of the company had simply

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gone on to set up another company. There must be some mechanism that

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would allow them to catch these people and bring them to task. How

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they are walking around free at the moment, I don't know, with all that

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money gone missing. Just ridiculous. But it seems John is just one of a

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string of people whose pension pots were decimated after they got

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involved with 5G Wealth Management. At the pensions regulator, Andrew is

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in charge of tackling pension fraud and scams. First of all what I did

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was to attract about ?60 million of pension money from innocent

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consumers and legitimate pension schemes and they invested that in a

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variety of overseas unlisted and unregulated investment vehicles.

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When we intervened, that 60 million had dwindled to less than ?1

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million. Three weeks ago, the pensions regulator announced it had

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banned the directors of 5G Wealth Management from going near anyone

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else's pension ever again. But that is bittersweet news for John, who is

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no closer to knowing if he will oversee the rest of his money again.

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We got in touch with the directors of 5G Wealth Management Limited. One

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of them chose not to comment for legal reasons, and the others didn't

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get back to us at all. But the pensions regulator has a huge task,

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tackling pension fraud, with so many people's savings having been

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targeted. We know from the police that they get a lot of reports of

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fraud and theft in relation to pension schemes. If you total it

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altogether from the various agencies, you get to a number that

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is many billions of pounds. Some people would say it is as high as 9

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billion or 10 billion. The answer is, we don't really know. A lot of

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people are really embarrassed if they have been scammed. They don't

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like to tell their family or admit it to their friends and they don't

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even tell the authorities about it, so I suspect that the true number is

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very much higher than the numbers we know about. Another person who has

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lost their savings through a different company is Gary Bradley

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from Manchester. He only realised what had happened after we

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highlighted on this programme how this type of fraud had increased

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since 2015, when the industry introduced greater freedom on

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investing your pension. At almost to being able to breathe because you

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think, my goodness, what's about to happen here? Seeing that story got

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Gary thinking. I ended up seeing this pension scam that was on there

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and the more they went through these two case studies, the more I started

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thinking I'd gone down a similar Avenue. I hadn't met the people I

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was supposed to meet, it was all done on e-mails. And you're

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thinking, these people have lost all their money. Am I going down the

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same way? Have I gone down the same Avenue as they have done? Gary had

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transferred just over ?54,000 from his pension pots to a company that

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cold called him. He signed the paperwork in this very bar. He knows

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his funds were transferred abroad but now the company he dealt with no

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longer exists and he has been getting letters from another

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company, saying his money has dwindled away to talk I don't really

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know where my money is. I know where I think it has gone. I have some

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paperwork from these people who have got it and it could possibly still

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be with them but you just want to put it in a place and have them look

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after it for you and I'm just scared that half of it could have gone,

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three quarters, I have no idea where it is that. To help Gary try to find

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out where his money is, we've enlisted our family Freud lawyer. --

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fraud lawyer. I understand they had some concerns about the type of

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pension schemes you were looking to move your money to. They had

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concerns about the places it was going because they may be a bit

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risky, and they thought, if you move them to these places, you could end

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up losing money as well as gaining it. The whole thing to do with the

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risk, and they said all the right noises. But I was still convinced

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that I thought the one I was told, that these were the places that were

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going to make is the best amount of money for a frozen pension pot, so I

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was quite happy with continuing at that time. But whatever the company

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promised, where the money has ended up is uncertain. I can say from

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experience of investigating these cases, when you are having to deal

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with parties overseas, if they are dishonest they know how to frankly

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fob you off, they know how to tie you up in circles. You go around and

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you just can't get to the bottom of it. That was their plan. Because you

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are overseas, they may not listen to any court orders we have over here

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or pay attention to those. The sad truth for Gary is that once you lose

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track of your money in any pension fraud or scam you are unlikely to

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see it again, which is something the pensions regulator sees frequently.

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Our mission really is to try to prevent people from getting into the

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scam in the first place, to make them aware of the hallmarks of a

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scam, to stop them making the transfer. Once the scammers have got

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your money, the chances of getting it back are very, very low indeed.

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That's why the organisation has a website with simple advice on how to

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spot if a scheme is a scammed. We've got this need to check list at the

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bottom which sets out what the hallmarks of a scam are, so if they

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bothered me a free pension review, if you text that box, it is almost

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certainly a scam. Guaranteed return on your investment is the hallmark

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of a scammed. Exotic sounding investments overseas is a favourite.

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I click submit and that says, that is a scam. Run, basically. Andrew is

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clear that one thing above all should sound alarm bells. No

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reputable pension company will cold call you or come knocking at your

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door or send you unsolicited texts. Any kind of unsolicited contact in

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relation to pension schemes should be illegal. That won't stop it

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happening but it allows us to say to consumers, if anybody contacts you,

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it is a scam, definitely, because it is against the law to do it, so that

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would help enormously. All this is too late for John, of course, though

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he has his own tips on how to avoid falling into the trap he did. My

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advice is just, do your checking. The internet is a fantastic

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resource. You can really go through all the different avenues that are

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available to you instead of actually listening to some sweet talking scam

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artist on the end of a phone. They promise you the world and deliver

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you nothing. I think it is worth reiterating the advice from the

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pensions regulator. Whatever you do, don't be seduced

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by the promises of anyone contacting you out of the blue

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about your pension - however convincing

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the line they spin you. We all felt so sorry but it is

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savings that are hard to get and how to hold onto. Sorry for the family.

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Well, a ban on cold calling about pensions has been mooted,

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And, in the meantime, do let us know if anyone's

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targeted your savings - particularly if they might be trying

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If you can forewarn viewers that is the first line of defence.

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Meanwhile, you sent us plenty of comments

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You'll remember we revealed how used car

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dealers may be breaking the law by not telling you about any

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outstanding safety recalls on the vehicle you're buying.

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Which prompted all manner of car-related emails.

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One was from Denis Williams - a former policeman -

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who got in touch to emphasise that under the Consumer Protection from

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Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, anything that may affect a decision

:15:31.:15:33.

to purchase must be declared at the point of sale.

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He reckons that's something not all car dealers may want you to know!

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I think our report yesterday showed that.

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We also talked about the tactics some retailers use

:15:48.:15:49.

And David Ashbridge emailed to say he occasionally buys things

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from TV shopping channels - where presenters excitedly tell

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you how fast you need to act if you don't want

:15:59.:16:00.

David thinks they should be compelled to make clear how many

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items are actually in stock - perhaps with an icon in the corner

:16:05.:16:07.

of the screen that goes down every time one is sold.

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That way viewers will know exactly what the true situation is.

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David, interesting idea but who knows - perhaps

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as the number went down, it would just add to the pressure?

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And you may recall we discussed flight

:16:22.:16:27.

delays yesterday too - after which Jen and Ian Aldridge

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told us they'd been delayed five and a half hours a couple

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But they got nothing back because the holiday company said

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it was due to a bird striking the plane - and therefore

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They ask, is that really a genuine excuse to not pay compensation?

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To which the answer I'm afraid is now yes, after a test case

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in the European Union Court of Justice confirmed the point

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Next this morning, chances are you've had a letter

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encouraging you to get a smart meter fitted to keep better track

:17:07.:17:08.

But some of you have asked whether those meters are smart

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enough when it comes to switching supplier.

:17:14.:17:15.

I have come to fit your meter. With more than 5 million devices fitted,

:17:16.:17:26.

Smart meter installation is well under way. You will be able to see

:17:27.:17:30.

exactly how much energy you are using. As this advert shows smart

:17:31.:17:36.

meters are aimed at making our lives easier by helping us keep track of

:17:37.:17:41.

the energy we are using and on the whole the idea seems to have gone

:17:42.:17:47.

down very well. I have got one and I think it is fantastic. It makes you

:17:48.:17:51.

turn things off. Use things like this. I do not fill the kettle like

:17:52.:17:57.

I used to. I have just had a smart meter put into a flat we have and we

:17:58.:18:01.

are not always there though it is handy that I do not have to always

:18:02.:18:07.

keep going and reading my meter downstairs. Because I have this

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meter installed I tend to switch the lights off and I will say to my

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wife, do not leave the lights on in the kitchen, switch it off and let

:18:16.:18:20.

us try to save some money. The aim is that every UK home has the smart

:18:21.:18:29.

reader installed by the end of 2020. Peter from a price comparison

:18:30.:18:32.

website believes the idea is a good one. The benefits of a smart meter

:18:33.:18:37.

are they provide information to the supplier for the consumption of

:18:38.:18:40.

energy in the home. From a customer point of view it means the end of

:18:41.:18:44.

estimated bills because it allows the supplier accurately calculate

:18:45.:18:51.

how much the customer spending. This man loves converted mill outside

:18:52.:18:56.

Sheffield and energy prices is something he has been wary of

:18:57.:19:01.

particularly in the winter. A large part of your expenditures for gas

:19:02.:19:04.

and electricity so the more you can save the better. About three years

:19:05.:19:10.

ago we noticed the prices were going up so much and we were trying to

:19:11.:19:15.

think of ways of reducing the cost. He was interested when his supplier

:19:16.:19:19.

British Gas told about a new way he could monitor his energy consumption

:19:20.:19:24.

even more closely. We had a lot of pressure to have a meter from the

:19:25.:19:28.

energy company that we were with at the time. The thing that convinced

:19:29.:19:34.

us in the end was that on a number of occasions the rural Michigan is

:19:35.:19:40.

by the energy company of our meters. Our neighbour's meters were close to

:19:41.:19:44.

ours and often they would read the wrong meter and it would take

:19:45.:19:48.

several months to sort out and get the Bell correct. Ken was careful to

:19:49.:19:52.

make sure that his new gadget would not become an issue if he chose to

:19:53.:19:55.

switch supplier again in the future. I asked the engineer who installed

:19:56.:20:01.

it whether or not we would have a problem if we moved another

:20:02.:20:06.

supplier. He said no, it would not be a problem. In fact nine months

:20:07.:20:12.

later when Ken fancied switching supplier it turned out it was a

:20:13.:20:16.

problem and his smart meter was not smart enough to work with SSE, the

:20:17.:20:21.

company he hoped to move to. We thought this would be a simple

:20:22.:20:25.

change however we spoke to SSE and said we had a smart meter and they

:20:26.:20:31.

said it is an incompatible system. Rather than have the hassle of

:20:32.:20:35.

getting his new supplier's smart meter installed he decided to stick

:20:36.:20:40.

with British Gas because he knows he is likely to switch suppliers again

:20:41.:20:44.

and cannot bear the idea of having to change his meter every time, even

:20:45.:20:48.

if that means he has been left without a meter that is no longer

:20:49.:20:53.

very smart at all. It means we have none of the functionality we had

:20:54.:20:58.

before. So that we have a monitor which is useless and everything has

:20:59.:21:02.

to go back to as if it was a -- manual meter. Ken thinks the rush to

:21:03.:21:10.

rule out manual meters it has not been made clear that a meter may

:21:11.:21:15.

only work with one supplier. I contacted the regulator and sent

:21:16.:21:18.

them an email saying that this seemed a ridiculous state of our

:21:19.:21:23.

fears and as this was a government initiative I had presumed that would

:21:24.:21:26.

be more effort put in the first place to make sure a standardised

:21:27.:21:31.

meter was used. We got in touch with his old supplier who denied that its

:21:32.:21:35.

engineer would have told him he did keep his smart meter if he switched

:21:36.:21:41.

but they told a smart meters are not just about easier switching but have

:21:42.:21:46.

a whole host of other benefits. It said it ensures that customers

:21:47.:21:50.

switching to British Gas to retain their smart services but when

:21:51.:21:54.

customers switch from British Gas it is up to the new supplier to make

:21:55.:21:58.

sure the smart benefits are maintained. His new provider SSE

:21:59.:22:04.

blamed the issues he and others had experienced on significant delays to

:22:05.:22:06.

the UK smart meter infrastructure going live. SSE said that it makes

:22:07.:22:13.

customers aware of this when they book a smart meter installation and

:22:14.:22:16.

both companies stressed that steps are being taken to ensure that in

:22:17.:22:20.

the future switching will not mean losing your smart meter

:22:21.:22:25.

functionality. Ken is not the only person to get in touch about there

:22:26.:22:29.

not so smart meter. We have also heard from you in Northampton who

:22:30.:22:35.

was to discover his smart meter would not function in smart mode

:22:36.:22:41.

after he switched suppliers. Stewart wrote to see how irritated he was

:22:42.:22:45.

when after changing to a cheaper tariff he found his smart meter was

:22:46.:22:52.

no longer quite so clever. One of the problems with the first

:22:53.:22:54.

generation of smart meters is that the information that should go

:22:55.:22:58.

between suppliers is not happening with some of those smart meters and

:22:59.:23:03.

in essence that is leaving customers in switching Limbaugh not knowing

:23:04.:23:05.

whether the right decision as to stay with their current supplier,

:23:06.:23:10.

which might mean they are overpaying, or move to a new

:23:11.:23:13.

supplier and potentially lose some of that smart functionality.

:23:14.:23:17.

Fortunately there is light at the end of the smart meter tunnel

:23:18.:23:21.

because it is expected that these early smart meters will be upgraded

:23:22.:23:26.

so they are smart enough to do the job if you switch supplier and a

:23:27.:23:30.

second generation of smart meters is being developed. These will

:23:31.:23:34.

eliminate the problem is the current generation of meters have and will

:23:35.:23:37.

allow consumers to switch supplier very freely. Unfortunately the

:23:38.:23:41.

second generation will only be implemented later this year and by

:23:42.:23:46.

that stage up to 10 million customers will be on the first

:23:47.:23:50.

generation of meter. At the moment smart meters only save the average

:23:51.:23:54.

customer ?11 a year but it is hoped it will rise to ?43 by 2020.

:23:55.:24:02.

Consumers say it is not always clear that the benefits of those smart

:24:03.:24:05.

meters will not always transferred to a different supplier. I felt so

:24:06.:24:11.

strongly about this than I am not somebody who normally complains but

:24:12.:24:14.

there seems to me crazy because you lose out.

:24:15.:24:22.

Well, Smart Energy GB, which describes itself as the voice

:24:23.:24:24.

of the smart meter roll-out, says that even if customers do

:24:25.:24:27.

temporarily lose some smart functionality after switching

:24:28.:24:29.

supplier, they'll be switching with more confidence,

:24:30.:24:30.

because they'll have an accurate picture of their previous energy use

:24:31.:24:33.

and therefore be better able to choose the right tariff.

:24:34.:24:42.

It says eight out of ten people with a smart meter

:24:43.:24:45.

Well, joining me is Lawrence Slade from Energy UK, which represents

:24:46.:24:48.

Lawrence, we've sparred many times on energy prices,

:24:49.:24:51.

so it's nice to be talking about something else.

:24:52.:24:54.

I do, I have a smart electricity and gas meter. What are the advantages?

:24:55.:25:05.

They are great. We moved house and change supplier and I kept my smart

:25:06.:25:10.

functionality and it gave us a guide as to how the house, how efficient

:25:11.:25:15.

it is and allowed us to save quite a lot of money. You're one of the few

:25:16.:25:19.

where the functionality remained because some say 6 million, some say

:25:20.:25:25.

a million, on the first batch of smart meters, they are not

:25:26.:25:29.

functional. This is a huge programme. 53 million metres or

:25:30.:25:35.

something in that nature. We are at the beginning of the programme and

:25:36.:25:39.

while I share very much your contributors' frustrations of losing

:25:40.:25:43.

that smart functionality there are programmes under way to make sure

:25:44.:25:47.

you get that back and I want to make sure no one is put off switching.

:25:48.:25:54.

You do not have to have your meter replaced. I am about to query my gas

:25:55.:25:58.

bill and when the gas man came he said you have to put in a smart

:25:59.:26:02.

meter. How much of a role with that cost me? About ?60 as an

:26:03.:26:09.

installation fee including your bill in the same way as your current

:26:10.:26:14.

meter cost. It would be on my bill. At my stage in life I am looking at

:26:15.:26:21.

the figure, ?43 by 2030, I will be in a box by then. It seems a small

:26:22.:26:26.

amount of saving. It is about saving and helping you understand your

:26:27.:26:30.

efficiency and making sure you get accurate bills all the time so every

:26:31.:26:34.

month of you want to pay by direct debit you are paying for the energy

:26:35.:26:39.

you use so you're not rubbing up debit or credit with your company.

:26:40.:26:47.

You can understand your energy better, get accurate bills and pay

:26:48.:26:52.

for the energy you are using... What I do not understand, why it was a

:26:53.:26:57.

meter not made that would do all? We are all being encouraged to switch,

:26:58.:27:03.

why did you not make a meter that would fit everything? It is a

:27:04.:27:06.

development of the meter so these were the first meters rolled out

:27:07.:27:10.

nationally and a under way now to looked how we can make sure you keep

:27:11.:27:17.

the smart functionality. When? As I discovered for some companies it is

:27:18.:27:20.

there now and it will be rolled out over others over the next months.

:27:21.:27:26.

Somebody said later this year, is that accurate or will it be next

:27:27.:27:31.

year? Towards the end of this year, air early next year, it is a huge

:27:32.:27:35.

programme that has had some challenges. We are talking about

:27:36.:27:41.

moving from analogue meters effectively to digital meters and

:27:42.:27:45.

they will give more benefits as we get down the line. Thank you. I am

:27:46.:27:51.

sure I will see you again. I look forward to it.

:27:52.:27:54.

Well, all this week our experts have been tackling your problems

:27:55.:27:57.

We have all decided that by 2030 will not be in your box, you will be

:27:58.:28:08.

on the box! Simon Marcus, who's had trouble

:28:09.:28:17.

trying to sort an issue Simon, your home had damp

:28:18.:28:20.

proof coursing installed by the previous owner and it came

:28:21.:28:23.

with a ten year guarantee. So why hasn't the company

:28:24.:28:26.

honoured its guarantee Tell me what the problem is. When I

:28:27.:28:32.

bought the property I was told was a guarantee and there has always been

:28:33.:28:36.

our problem with damp since I bought it. I was told it was guaranteed.

:28:37.:28:45.

The guy said because I do not have a physical copy of the guarantee that

:28:46.:28:50.

I cannot do anything about it. It is quite frustrating. It must be

:28:51.:28:55.

because you have no physical proof this work was done. I have an

:28:56.:28:58.

invoice that purchased the guarantee but I do not have the guarantee

:28:59.:29:05.

itself. What is your advice? It is all about the paperwork. If you are

:29:06.:29:10.

told there is a guarantee get the paperwork, and then make sure it is

:29:11.:29:15.

assigned to you because you have to have a legal relationship with the

:29:16.:29:19.

man who bids in the dump row. Should that be in the huge document we sell

:29:20.:29:23.

it when we sell our house giving the new purchaser all the information

:29:24.:29:28.

they need? Yes, the property information form. The seller should

:29:29.:29:32.

disclose guarantees, the conveyancer should get a hold of the copy and

:29:33.:29:36.

explained to you how you can get that assigned to you. You have to

:29:37.:29:40.

have the benefits of the guarantee personally to claim later. Brilliant

:29:41.:29:45.

advice for in a buddy watching. In the meantime you should talk because

:29:46.:29:49.

he should be able to give you advice.

:29:50.:29:54.

Hopefully we will have a better outcome to this one with Sarah

:29:55.:29:58.

because we've had a letter from Margaret, who can't be with us

:29:59.:30:02.

today, but she has a problem with a prepaid virtual visa card for

:30:03.:30:08.

shopping online. I don't know what that is. These prepaid cards are

:30:09.:30:12.

very similar to a debit card that you use the shopping. Charity-macro

:30:13.:30:15.

key differences. The first is that you can only spend money you've

:30:16.:30:18.

loaded up on in advance and the second is, you don't get physical

:30:19.:30:22.

card but in your wallet or purse, you just get the details online.

:30:23.:30:26.

Margaret says that the problem is that many of the shops she's tried

:30:27.:30:30.

shopping won't accept the card because she's not been using it,

:30:31.:30:34.

they are now charging her a fee because it is inactive and she wants

:30:35.:30:38.

to stop the card and get all her money back. What can she do? The

:30:39.:30:42.

problem with these cards is that many of them do have these either

:30:43.:30:47.

for loading up or if you don't use them. The card company has actually

:30:48.:30:50.

said they will help Margaret to close her account and they won't

:30:51.:30:54.

charge her. All she needs to do is give some additional information and

:30:55.:30:58.

to redress for compliance reasons. I can understand why she was

:30:59.:31:01.

frustrated because having looked at the terms and conditions, it does

:31:02.:31:04.

seem to imply you can use it anywhere visa card is accepted but I

:31:05.:31:09.

will be keeping an eye on them just to make sure they do close her card

:31:10.:31:12.

as they promised. Sarah is on the case so we will get that result!

:31:13.:31:15.

Thank you very much. That's it from the Piazza. It's all yours!

:31:16.:31:21.

Lots of consumer stories are making news again today.

:31:22.:31:22.

Most papers report on the latest inflation figures, which show prices

:31:23.:31:25.

rising at their fastest for four years.

:31:26.:31:31.

You can see here the Guardian cites two main reasons for that,

:31:32.:31:34.

Electricity Costs And Air Fares Push Up Inflation.

:31:35.:31:40.

I smiled at her story in the Daily Mail today that says that eggs are

:31:41.:31:44.

so good for you that they should be on the script and. I agree with that

:31:45.:31:47.

because I love eggs and always have but when you read on in this report,

:31:48.:31:51.

it is based on a study by the British egg industry council. Well,

:31:52.:31:59.

you would expect them to say that but I do food programme last year

:32:00.:32:03.

and the professor in question said an egg has everything in it that you

:32:04.:32:07.

would want, even better than a stake. That is unexpected news! Have

:32:08.:32:15.

a look at this headline. Figures say that an rise in adolescent obesity

:32:16.:32:20.

is down to teenagers being hooked on their mobiles. No surprise there but

:32:21.:32:24.

what does stand out is that it is you girls in Scotland that are

:32:25.:32:28.

number one in the world for that. I wonder how they arrived at that!

:32:29.:32:32.

They are probably not watching, they are on their phones.

:32:33.:32:37.

Well, all this week we're updating some of the stories we've featured

:32:38.:32:39.

And here's the latest on a couple more.

:32:40.:32:43.

One of the biggest consumer stories of last year was the news that 5

:32:44.:32:47.

million tumble dryers manufactured by one of the biggest names in the

:32:48.:32:53.

business, Whirlpool, were at risk of catching fire. Investigators

:32:54.:32:55.

discovered they had been linked to at least 750 house fires since 2004.

:32:56.:33:02.

A review discovered potential safety issues where excess fluff in the

:33:03.:33:06.

dryers could catch in the heating element. As we reported in our last

:33:07.:33:10.

live series, one such fire in the home of John Wood from Hampshire led

:33:11.:33:17.

to the death of a family pet, Holly. I broke down in tears that night. I

:33:18.:33:22.

have been for the past few nights after that. The wife was devastated

:33:23.:33:27.

because it was our first family pet that we had together. It was a

:33:28.:33:31.

member of the family. The problem affected models sold under the

:33:32.:33:36.

Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit brands, manufactured between 2004 and 2015.

:33:37.:33:42.

Once it was discovered, whirlpool embarked on the biggest safety alert

:33:43.:33:47.

in British history. Good afternoon, you're through to whirlpool,

:33:48.:33:51.

speaking to Heather, how can I help? At the company was criticised for

:33:52.:33:54.

the advice it was giving for customers while it was waiting

:33:55.:33:58.

further dryers to be checked and modified. Whirlpool insists that the

:33:59.:34:02.

drivers are still used to -- dryers are still safe to use the meantime

:34:03.:34:07.

but just to be sure, the company has told customers not to leave their

:34:08.:34:10.

appliance unattended when it is switched on and to check out through

:34:11.:34:14.

the filter after every use. But on this programme, after a dramatic

:34:15.:34:18.

blaze in a tower block in Shepherd's Bush, London Fire Brigade's head of

:34:19.:34:23.

investigations disagreed. London Fire Brigade believes they should

:34:24.:34:25.

change their advice to their customers, that they should not use

:34:26.:34:29.

those tumble dryers until they have been fixed by one of their

:34:30.:34:33.

engineering team. In February of this year, Whirlpool did finally

:34:34.:34:37.

change its advice. The company issued a new statement telling

:34:38.:34:40.

owners of affected models to unplug it and not use it again until the

:34:41.:34:44.

necessary modification had taken place. The company says safety is

:34:45.:34:49.

always its number one priority and that it has gone to extraordinary

:34:50.:34:53.

lengths to trace owners of the affected products and rectify the

:34:54.:34:58.

issue. It also says an independent review has confirmed that it has

:34:59.:35:03.

acted responsibly. You can find out how to check if your dryer is

:35:04.:35:04.

affected on our website. In April last year, we met these

:35:05.:35:16.

unhappy brides, both of whom were horrified when the caterer they had

:35:17.:35:19.

booked for their wedding failed to deliver the food she promised. It

:35:20.:35:25.

was really, really embarrassing and devastating for us. I did a lot of

:35:26.:35:28.

crying and no bride should have to go through that. Following that

:35:29.:35:33.

report, it emerged that those two brides were among no less than 700

:35:34.:35:39.

customers all let down by the same company, Bake A Cake Catering

:35:40.:35:44.

Services, with a funeral and birthday parties world as well as

:35:45.:35:49.

weddings. You shouldn't feel, oh, my wedding was ruined because I didn't

:35:50.:35:53.

have any food, but it is part of the whole day and it is a day that I

:35:54.:35:57.

should have been looking forward to, not dreading. And in March this

:35:58.:36:01.

year, the woman behind the business was jailed for three years after

:36:02.:36:06.

pleading guilty to several counts of fraud. The judge described her

:36:07.:36:12.

actions as irresponsible, cruel and deceitful. Her husband was also

:36:13.:36:14.

jailed for laundering the proceeds. Well, as someone knee-deep

:36:15.:36:21.

in planning a wedding myself, Actually, that is not true, my

:36:22.:36:29.

daughter is doing all the planning and I am just signing the checks!

:36:30.:36:32.

I must confess that story filled me with horror.

:36:33.:36:34.

But catering isn't all that can go wrong with a wedding.

:36:35.:36:37.

And with me to discuss that are wedding expert George Watts

:36:38.:36:39.

George, ?25,000 as the average spend on a wedding. That staggers me to

:36:40.:36:49.

drop it is crazy and quite often people spend their whole life saving

:36:50.:36:52.

for a wedding and with their families. It is a big investment so

:36:53.:36:56.

you do have to spend wisely. You will find in some cases just

:36:57.:37:01.

mentioning the word wedding adds 40 present a certain venue so you have

:37:02.:37:05.

to watch carefully. What about the issue of the deposit? Supposing you

:37:06.:37:08.

have to cancel your wedding, but because you have fallen out of love

:37:09.:37:11.

with your intended but perhaps there has been a drama of illness or

:37:12.:37:22.

something in the family, you have no alternative but to cancel, and yet a

:37:23.:37:24.

lot of these companies won't give you back your deposit, even if you

:37:25.:37:27.

give them lots of motors? The important thing in the beginning is

:37:28.:37:29.

to check the schedule of payments and also the deposit, because it

:37:30.:37:32.

should be quite a small deposit. Most good venues will just take a

:37:33.:37:36.

small deposit in the beginning, so then if you do need to cancel, you

:37:37.:37:40.

are in a better room to negotiate and barter what you can get back.

:37:41.:37:45.

Gary, what is the legal position? Obviously, wedding companies are

:37:46.:37:47.

entitled to be payback for their expenses but it has to be fair so if

:37:48.:37:51.

you are cancelling three months before, you may be looking at losing

:37:52.:37:55.

all the deposit, 12 months may be quite a lot of it but 18 months,

:37:56.:37:59.

certainly not, that's not fair. Wedding companies would be able to

:38:00.:38:01.

resell the date and mitigate their loss that way. Say you've given them

:38:02.:38:06.

plenty of notice and they are still playing hardball, do you have any

:38:07.:38:11.

redress? It is all about the terms and conditions, which should be

:38:12.:38:13.

explained to you at the outset. It is not very romantic but sit down

:38:14.:38:16.

and look about contract because that will be the basis of your argument

:38:17.:38:19.

with the wedding venue and that should be explaining to you have the

:38:20.:38:23.

deposit will be repaid. Gary used the word not very romantic but,

:38:24.:38:27.

actually, you would endorse that. You've got to be very hard-headed.

:38:28.:38:31.

You have to be very hard-headed. I have known venues charge to cut up

:38:32.:38:36.

the wedding cake it up if you don't want a white tablecloth, you have to

:38:37.:38:39.

pay extra, if you want the party to go on past midnight, you have to pay

:38:40.:38:43.

extra. It is so important to look after those venues. Thank you very

:38:44.:38:47.

much indeed. Next, it's time to reveal

:38:48.:38:50.

the spending secrets But, as a consumer,

:38:51.:38:52.

is his head in the clouds? He's been a household name for over

:38:53.:39:04.

30 years. So we're a few days into the season of Lent. If you given

:39:05.:39:07.

something up or have taken something on, our opening hymn should give you

:39:08.:39:11.

some strength and encouragement. Aled Jones began his career as

:39:12.:39:15.

Britain's most famous choirboys and now presents radio and TV programmes

:39:16.:39:22.

including Songs Of Praise. He still makes records and on a recent album

:39:23.:39:25.

even duetted with recordings of his 15-year-old self. Allott, literally,

:39:26.:39:33.

you travel all the time, whether it is in this country or abroad, so who

:39:34.:39:38.

looks after all the bills and the Finance in your household? OK, time

:39:39.:39:42.

to come clean, Gloria. Who do you think doesn't it? My wife! I am

:39:43.:39:47.

hopeless with money. The way I see it is, as long as I'm earning money,

:39:48.:39:51.

then I can spend it, but how it all works, without my wife I would be in

:39:52.:39:57.

a ruin. Do you never check the bills are anything? Would you know what

:39:58.:40:01.

your electric and gas bill is? No, my wife does it all. Even when I'm

:40:02.:40:05.

in arrest in the bill comes, sometimes I just pay without even

:40:06.:40:09.

looking. That's so bad, isn't it? Does your wife do that on your

:40:10.:40:14.

behalf? Yes, she is there in every aspect of bills and where the money

:40:15.:40:17.

goes in the household. I'm quite lackadaisical. I've never told

:40:18.:40:24.

anyone that! Do you ever go shopping together? She's completely useless

:40:25.:40:28.

at shopping. I'm really, really good at shopping. If anyone wants to

:40:29.:40:34.

check out your outfits, I'm your man. Love that one, Gloria, maybe

:40:35.:40:41.

not that one. Mum and Dad worked really hard. Dad was an engineer,

:40:42.:40:45.

Mum was a teacher so we weren't loaded. I think dad was very much a

:40:46.:40:53.

saver. Did he teach you to save? No. I know you got two children, one

:40:54.:40:58.

daughter, one son. Do they ever ask you to go shopping with them or to

:40:59.:41:02.

take them shopping? My son is not interested at all. The only shop in

:41:03.:41:06.

his life is one that sells bricks that go on top of one another, you

:41:07.:41:10.

know where I'm going with this? He lives for Lego so would be much

:41:11.:41:13.

easier in the grand scheme of things if I just gave Tampa sent my wage to

:41:14.:41:22.

Denmark! It honestly would. -- 10% of my wage. It is lovely to see you

:41:23.:41:25.

because I have been seeing you since you are in short trousers and you

:41:26.:41:29.

had lovely knees either men! Thanks a million.

:41:30.:41:35.

He is such a nice boy! We have to say apologies if anyone was offended

:41:36.:41:38.

by an odd, that one of our contributors made on the pop-up shop

:41:39.:41:41.

this morning! Sarah Pennells and Gary Rycroft

:41:42.:41:43.

are still with us, poised to answer some of the questions you've sent us

:41:44.:41:46.

while we've been on air. One for you and maybe you, Gary,

:41:47.:41:52.

about the fact that he went into jury service and lost ?700 for the

:41:53.:41:56.

two weeks he was in court because employer wouldn't pay. Is that

:41:57.:42:00.

right? It is a great thing to do jury service, it is what we should

:42:01.:42:03.

all do in a civilised society, and you should be paid for it so he

:42:04.:42:06.

needs to have a word with the court service and they will advise him

:42:07.:42:10.

where he needs to go. Sarah, I have one for you. Mick Buchanan has got

:42:11.:42:14.

one for us. He bought hot air balloon tickets for ?260 but every

:42:15.:42:18.

time he calls to book the flight is cancelled because of bad weather.

:42:19.:42:22.

They won't give him a refund because he has on-board insurance. Help, he

:42:23.:42:26.

says. This is a real problem with hot air balloon rides because, as

:42:27.:42:29.

you can imagine, the weather has to be very calm, it can't be windy, and

:42:30.:42:33.

there are cases where people have bought these as gifts and then can't

:42:34.:42:36.

take the right. Unfortunately, the terms and

:42:37.:42:50.

conditions of these contracts normally say that these rights are

:42:51.:42:52.

weather dependent. What companies generally will do is extend the life

:42:53.:42:55.

of the voucher. Some of them, if you've cancelled over a long period

:42:56.:42:58.

of time, we'll give you your money but the that is and ex-grazier

:42:59.:43:00.

payment and not something they to do by law. He might have to wait until

:43:01.:43:04.

he is 120? Wait for a sunny day! I have a comment from Lorna Curran.

:43:05.:43:07.

She says something that sums up what we are all about which is on the

:43:08.:43:11.

pension story we told you about earlier. She says she has been

:43:12.:43:15.

contacted by somebody offering a free pension review. Suspicion! She

:43:16.:43:19.

said it was due on Friday and she will now decline and I think that is

:43:20.:43:24.

a very good decision, Lorna. Well done. We've given you hopefully lots

:43:25.:43:29.

of good information today but it's all we've got time for on this

:43:30.:43:33.

programme but we will be back tomorrow, asking when we buy things

:43:34.:43:37.

on social media, where everything is all about likes and how many friends

:43:38.:43:40.

you have, are we all too quick to let down our guard?

:43:41.:43:43.

We'll also be looking at why the age at which child discounts give way

:43:44.:43:46.

to the full adult price can vary so wildly.

:43:47.:43:48.

And we'll see why broadband speeds still aren't always

:43:49.:43:56.

Have a good day and we will see you in the morning. Goodbye.

:43:57.:44:01.

As viewers reveal how they have lost their savings after companies targeted their pension pots, what has happened to all the money?

Plus why some viewers have been left frustrated by the smart meters that aren't quite as clever as they had hoped.

More problems are resolved at the pop-up shop, there is advice to avoid being short-changed when planning a wedding, and another well-known face reveals their consumer secrets.