Episode 1 Watchdog

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British Gas, huge profits, Ikea tall stories, plus Innocent


Smoothies, Twinings Tea and that Dukan diet, it's Watchdog, the


Hello and good evening, welcome to this new series of Watchdog. We are


live, as usual, from Television Centre. Tonight: Soaring gas and


electricity bills, bad news for customers, billions of pounds in


profit for the companies. How do they justify it? The head of Energy


UK which represents them all here is here to answer. Also, the Dukan


diet, it whipped Carole Middleton into shape but a few things you


need to know if you want a body like hers. Plus, Ikea, cans willing


orders, upsetting customers, telling porkies. And MSC, celebrity


cruises, Cunard want you to tip staff before you even board your


cruise. Here is a tip if you are planning


to leave your car at the airport don't hand over the keys to this


company. Or they may drive it over the speed


limit, hello, 69 in a 40! Or have a chat at the wheel or even use it as


a bedroom. No wonder some owners come home to find their cars in a


worse state than they left them. Tonight we are going to bring those


airport parking rogues down to earth but be warned it's going to


be a bumpy landing. First, energy prices. Gas up by an average of 18%,


electricity 11%. The typical household bill now �1,200 a year.


Here is the puzzle. Wholesale costs, what the companies pay for their


energy, dropped over the summer. The streug regular -- -- industry


regulator is investigating whether the energy suppliers are giving


customers a fair deal. Here is Chris.


Feeling the heat over fuel bills? I certainly am. The price of


cooking, washing, lighting and heating has hit an all-time high.


Just as we are preparing for darker nights and colder weather. How


about that for timing? And this, the energy companies


announced their increases just as the price they pay for fuel was


falling. In fact, one of them, Eon announced a 18% gas price rise for


its five million customers on the same day that wholesale gas fell to


its lowest price of the year. Like them all the other main


suppliers buy their gas and electricity on the wholesale market,


where prices this summer were the lowest they had been since November


2010. Annoyed by that? Wait until you hear this. We have actually


seen prices in 20 2011 at the wholesale level about a third of


what they were at the peak in 2008. But yet we are paying historically


high prices and it's no wonder that people are asking whether or not


that's a fair price they're paying. Yes, you heard that right. Your


bills may be at a record high, but your suppliers are paying 30% less


for their energy than they were four years ago. Now that's a lot of


figures. I have barely just started. So I have my mate here, Benjamin, a


a street artist who is going to make lovely graphs and some experts


there who are going to explain all. First, that comparison between what


the energy companies pay, and what they charge. This graph on top


relates to electricity. The one below gas. Both cover the period


from January 2007 to the present day, wholesale prices in blue, the


price you pay in red. OK, I have the two beautiful graphs


here. Pretty much mirroring each other. I have noticed 2008-2009 a


whopping increase in the costs of our energy. What happens after


that? OK, what we are seeing here is the effects of the recession and


the impact on wholesale price. The massive slowdown in the commodity


prices, we have seen a period of volatility at a lower price from


the peaks in 2008. Compare that with the red line, the consumer


bill, you are seeing a period of relative stability over that period


but you can see the discount is small compared to the movement in


the wholesale price. What we have seen the last 12-18 months is an


increase in consumer bills at a time when the wholesale price has


moved lower. Critics liken these price movements to a rocket and a


feather. When wholesale prices rise, household bills go up like a rocket.


But when they fall, those same bills come down as slowly as a


feather. Just look how the red line hardly moves, even when the blue


line goes down. There are other reasons we are all


paying more. Dwindling north sea reserves mean companies have to


increase imports, distribution costs are rising, and the


Government's ordered them to invest billions in green measures. But


there's another factor, one the energy companies don't usually


mention. We have a good old- fashioned bar chart here. Centrica,


parent company of British Gas, their profits, how are they doing?


There's a general upward trebd in - - trend in the company's


profitability over the years. made �1.6 billion profit in the


first half of 2010 and �1.3 billion in the first six months of this


year. This one is almost as tall as you, this profit up here in June 10.


When we say healthy profits we are talking thousands of millions of


pounds, that's that's doing very well. What's important to note is


that Centrica is not alone in terms of healthiness of its profits,


similar performance has been seen by the other five of the big six


suppliers. Yes, just six suppliers who between them dominate 99% of


the market. No wonder, say critics, profits are so high.


The companies themselves say there is healthy competition in the


industry. Two years ago they they gave us almost 200 different


tariffs to choose from. Now they're offering 400. If you want a better


deal, they say, just shop around and switch. But are all these


tariffs more likely to confuse rather than help us?


Let's talk tariffs. This is a typical one offered by NPower. It's


the 45 tariff, you get a gift voucher to spend. But what about


Gas is charged at 9p for the first 4 572kilo watt hours. And 3p for


additional units. It says its based on a quarterly variable direct


debit and you also get an annual discount and energy bonus discount.


It varies depending on whether you Yes, I am just as confused as you.


But what about this lot? Is there anything on there you understand?


Um... No! Not really. It's complicated, isn't it? Really


complicated, yeah. For an older person for my mum definitely.


say an older person, you don't even know what's going on! There can be


no excuse to have hundreds of tariffs. It's the same gas and


electricity, it does the same job. They want to mystify people. It's


all mumbo-jumbo to me. If you manage to wade through all the


tariffs on offer, you may wonder why you bothered. Yes, you can make


a significant saving if you are changing a supplier for the first


time. But what then? You know those hundreds of tariffs, the difference


between the very best and the very worst is just �22 a year for dual


fuel customers. There is competition but not so much in


terms of price at present, it's based more on areas such as energy


efficiency measures, for example. Offering certain types of metring


or insulation. Most people will price competition. Indeed.


they're not getting it? Not in the current structure, no. So a lot of


figures and a lot of reasons to ask if the fuel bills you are getting


are fair. The companies say they are. They also say there's no


reason for the Competition Commission or the politicians to


change things because the energy market is already competitive and


working just fine. But wait until you see our last graph. This lot


just have. Here is that graph. Each coloured


line represents the prices kharblged by -- charged by the six


different energy companies over the last three years. As you can see,


they've been moving their prices up and very occasionally down, almost


exactly in tandem. Remember, these are the same company who is say


there's healthy competition in the industry. From this it looks like


there's very little choice at all. OK, with me now Christine McGourty,


director of Energy UK which represents the six big suppliers.


You call that competition? Well, it's totally wrong to suggest


there's no competition. These companies are fierce rivals. One


key thing that was missed out of your programme is that the gas


price in the wholesale market, where the companies have to go to


buy the stuff they sell to us is up 40% this year and in the all


companies have put prices up, they don't put them up by exactly the


same amount at exactly the same time. The key thing is that they


have to buy the stuff on the international market. I spoke to


our analyst today, including one on the film and prices now peaked this


week are at a three-year high. is a creepy coincidence? The prices


are lower than they were in 2008. It's inexplicable to people paying


for fuel why their prices are going up. You can understand that times


are difficult for everyone. They might be struggling with a load of


household bills and no one wants to see prices going up. In addition to


the wholesale price, which makes up about half of your bill, there's a


load of other costs. You referred to them in the film, green taxes,


cost of the metre, the network. And all those are going up too. We have


one of the most competitive markets in Europe, if not the world. We


have the cheapest gas price... other thing that people don't


understand, perhaps you can explain, the profit line doesn't seem to


waver in the same way. �4 billion profit by RWE, British Gas will


double profits probably from last year. It's interesting to see the


ones you mentioned. There are other companies, it's a diverse market.


Some years some do better than others. Some were making losses


this year, them was talking about a possible redundancy programme of


about 10,000 jobs going. So it's a very mixed picture and as you


referred to, we are expecting these companies to come to Britain and


make the investments in the power plants we need to keep the lights


on for the future. I don't think it still explains why our prices, our


fuel is going up, when fuel prices are coming down, doesn't make any


sense. Every time you explain, the first thing you say is that


wholesale prices have gone up. Wholesale prices have gone up


dramatically. They're at a three- year high. It's not just those


prices, it's all the other things in the bill. They're still only


where they were in 2008. They're at a three-year high now. In 2008 was


a crazy year, they all -- the oil price went through the roof. There


was a peak for a small period of time. The thing viewers need to


know is that they can make big savings by switching around. You


mentioned there was only �20,... They can save �200 by shopping


around. The tariffs, which you are referring to, can I take one at


random. Dual fuel, customers will receive a discount of tier two


consumption charges of 0.196kilowatt hour, prata across


billing period. Consumption rates and night rates where applicable up


to a maximum of �40 a year. Could you explain that? We have been


talking to... Could you explain that? I can't deny that sounds


confusing, no doubt about it. That's what what they all read like.


How can we make savings when this may as well be in another language.


There's lots of ways to switch and save money. The switching sites, as


an example I went on one and in ten minutes, it might take ten minutes


to locate the last bill and you - they help you make sense of it.


Which, for example, have a good one. The detail, of course, can be


confusing and the companies accept that. We have talked to people,


they've told us they like the varied choice of tariffs there is


out there. The language, you know, we are looking at that. I have to


move you on. Can I talk about people trapped in what's called by


the Government fuel poverty, which means that their income is so low


that 10% of it goes on fuel, it's nearly one in five. What we are


looking at is grannies shivering, unemployed not being able to afford


prices, what are you going to do We have held a lot of people


through this whole plan, we have spent 150 million, a lot of schemes


to help them. I have to stop you there. Thank you.


You can see the individual companies's responses are now


website: to comment on this or any other stories, please send any e-


Coming up, Ikea making false claims about watchdog. -- about Watchdog.


And at the Dukan diet, a big help to Carole Middleton, a let-down to


others. Back from your holidays? Leave your


car at the airport? Maybe you used a valet, or a meat in a great


company. Hopefully, not like the one we are featuring tonight. One


that promises a professional service, and his promises are just


Life, as I'm about to discover, is full of mysteries. What are we


doing here? I decided it would be so. We are going to meet some


unhappy customers, but we are going to do it my way. Hey? What you have


been at mucking about, I have been busy. I am available for hire. This


It turns out that all the time I have been working with him, he has


been secretly studying for his And hiding the truth is also the


subject of our story tonight. Set at the UK's biggest airport. On


average, 180,000 passengers used Heathrow every day, many leading


their cars in the hands of people they have never met. Total


strangers. Until tonight, because we present SecurePark Heathrow


Limited, not to beat confused with companies to have very similar


names. Here are a few of their customers. Check out their


expressions. They have some serious complaints. I got back to find


paint on the car. It had been poured on the roof, it had rained


on to the windscreen. This was a substantial amount? Yes. Not a


holiday snaps he was expecting. But things get worse. When the guy


handed back the keys, did he make any mention of this? No, he tried


to scrape it off, he tried to do it with the khaki before giving it to


me. So you have got to the paint, and scratches as well, on your car,


which was supposed to have been parked securely? Yes. He called the


boss, who had another surprise up his sleeve. He didn't introduce


himself, walked up to the vehicle, spat on the windscreen, tried to


wipe off the scratches. Nice. Here is the man himself, caught on


camera. One of the bosses of SecurePark Heathrow Limited.


said, I have cleaned it off with my spit. I said, no, you can see the


scratches clearly, it has gone into the glass. At that point, he said I


was being too fussy. Other fussy customers have found cracks India


windscreens, and dents in the sides of their car. This family came home


to find part of their car missing altogether. We were just leaving


the airport, my husband said, this sounds really noisy. What did it


sound like? Like a tank. Quite hard to miss. My forced first -- at


first thought was, maybe the exhaust has gone. You get home and


find a really big hole, where they should be a convertible stop the


catalytic converter was missing? large section of the exhaust pipe


as well. That is remarkable. would never think he would leave it


in the car-park and someone has stolen the catalytic converter.


wouldn't disagree! Mind you, at least the rest of the car was there.


Another customer came back to find his vehicle had been stolen


altogether. This family were initially quite pleased with


SecurePark Heathrow Limited's service. We even gave them good


feedback. 30 days later, we get tickets through the post, parking


tickets, �120. Where had it been parked? It was the High Street in


Slough. I love Slough Town Centre, but it is not secured. How did the


company respond? Fate contacted one of the boss man. He said, send me


all the documents we have got. We sent everything to him, and since


then, we haven't had anything. are the guys involved in running


the company. Dominic Almond and Matthew grunt. Neither has given a


cities factory explanation to any of the customers we have spoken to.


You see now why they look so stern! That sounds bad. Airport parking


should be secured. That is real! It is definitely not business as usual,


then. We have no house, no actor, we just need some cars, these will


do. All of these, rigged with trackers and secret cameras. Out


gorges team will hand them over to SecurePark Heathrow Limited, and we


will see what happens to cars they are supposed to look after. Who are


you? I and Tim, the expert. I have got the map. What do we do next?


put our cards in. And then we see where they end up. Expert Pym, what


should we expect? Are locked compound, security lighting and


cameras, no unauthorised access. The car should be driven straight


there and back. So what will happen to our cars? When we put them in.


Come-on, obviously something bad. It certainly is. If Dan have any


pilot's licence isn't enough to Speeding, mobiles at the wheel, and


falling asleep on the job. All in your car! Our secret cameras are


ready for play back a little bit later.


Next, Ikea, the world's largest furniture retailer, with huge


stores throughout the UK. In July it offered this made-to-order sofa


online, normal price �1,800, reduced it to just �204. A quarter


of the price. Not surprisingly, customers applied in droves. Ikea


accepted their orders, debited money from their cards, and gave


them delivery dates. Great, until they started contacting customers,


telling them they wouldn't get any sofas after all, claiming the


models were out of stock. Strange, seeing as they were supposedly made


to order. Even more strange when some customers discovered Ikea were


still selling them in stores in Europe. They contacted the camp ash


macro company, demanding it honour their orders in the UK. Ikea


refused, but promised refunds and give cards. It also sent e-mails to


customers who have threatened to take their complaints to Watchdog.


Did we agree to that? What do you think? Probably know. Correct. So


why did I care say we had? company has given us an apology. It


said these were unverified e-mails, in other words, not authorised from


above. No confusion or offence was intended, and customer service


training will be improved as a result. What about the so for


deals? Are it is a genuine error meant a significant number of


orders went through the system, well beyond the number of sofas it


had available for sale. It accepts it has let customers down, giving a


�50 gift cards for the inconvenience. Further gift cards


equivalent to 30% of the value of their orders. It is also determined


to deliver on its promises in the future. A lesson for any companies


wanting to use the Watchdog name without approval, don't! Next, the


Dukan, the diet of toys for pepper and Carole Middleton. Subscribing


to the online personalised plant was a bit more costly than the book.


So, three months, around �90. Worth Come on, who watched the royal


wedding and didn't dream of having a figure like that? All that? And


how many he did straight for the nearest bookstore to by the Diet


Book of the year? The Dukan diet, developed by Dr Pierre Dukan, gives


you 350 pages on the Virgin of high protein, low carbohydrate meals.


Plenty of water and lots of bran. It sold more than 250,000 copies in


Britain, leading to massive press coverage. But what if you like your


diet advice to be more personal? You can always turn to the Dukan


website, which promises unique and a truly personalised weight loss


coaching. A personalised relationship. And they promise that


Dr Pierre Dukan, that's him, personally monitor your progress


throughout your tailor-made coaching experience. Nice to meet


you. All this comes at a price, up to �1 a day, for as long as they


estimate it will take to achieve your so-called true weight. And to


keep that weight off. Bad value, according to some Watchdog viewers,


who also found the personal touch lacking. I signed up for six months,


for �107. I regretted it almost immediately. The instructions were


not clear, I was hoping for the personalised insights and guidance.


It wasn't a personalised to me at all. One of the questions was, how


motivated did you feel? When I said I felt very motivated, it said, you


are clearly very motivated. To go through a hole questionnaire like


that and to get fed back to you what you fed them, seems a waste of


money. After complaining, he received a refund. But he and


fellow subscriber Karen also received some strain -- strange


messages from Dr Pierre Dukan If the waste product stagnate, your


engine will go out. Like a lot left in the embers. Perhaps the doctor's


messages might be clearer if, before launching a website in the


UK, David Payne -- paid more attention to the translation. It is


not just the crammer, look at the But enough of that. Adding a new


dimension to the programme. What about the one on one advice? The


personal monitoring from Dr Pierre Dukan that customers are paying for.


I don't find any evidence that he monitors my progress. When I e-


mailed the support team to complain in general about the lack of


monitoring, they said to me that Dr Pierre Dukan only provides advice


in very specific cases, and this was just not to this factory to me.


I'm not surprised. A programme that can cost more than �100, with a


cross the border advice and bizarre musings, in poorly written English,


it can't be like this for everyone, can it?


Rebecca and four of our resort just signed up for the plan. The first


four days of the plan is known as the attack face, no cops, only


protein and some oat bran. -- no carbs.


This is the questionnaire. 91 questions that will determine my


personal plan. When did your weight start to become perturbed?


Perturbs? Moving on. Your physical activity. What type of protocol do


you associate spontaneously with yourself. I don't know, running? A


bath? The website gives me my target weight. I now have to submit


a report of my progress every evening. I must also follow their


news. Tonight, smoked salmon and cream cheese parcels, and green tea


and Ormond to finish. That took more time than I would normally


have. I don't think I would be able to do that twice a day. Looking at


the menus for lunch and dinner, I think it is to be pointing. They


are very expensive. Not only that, but a lot of them were not


anglicised, so very popular in French cuisine, but not for the


English palate. Although you do have the option of excluding


What sort of thing did my daily e- mail advise? Remember I am still in


the attack phase when I supposedly can't eat vegetables. You eat in


front of the television too often. Eat before you settle down to watch


TV, and start off with impact foods, such as vegetables, salad, or soup.


Why are you saying start with vegetables when you know I can't


eat vegetables for four days and it's killing me!


In the midst of this I began to experience one of the diet's well


known side-effects, constipation and as it was the weekend being


good was getting tougher. It's day five, it's a Saturday and Saturdays


are when I usually eat lots of crisps and drink wine. I wanted to


e-mail my coach to get support through this time. This is very


strange, there usually a button where you can submit a question and


that button has disappeared and there's a message saying that


customer services are only there from Monday to Friday and not at


the weekend. Oh, Dr Dukan, just when I needed you most you deserted


me. So, no answers to questions. But there are still the daily e-


mails. Trouble was, they often offered baffling and very general


instructions. Move forward in single file. So you don't wake up


the wild beasts around you which you and I know just give bad advice.


And whenned instructions -- when the instructions were personal,


they were very personal. Make love more often. Or go and have a


massage. My Watchdog colleagues were also receiving similar


messages and while the instructions were supposed to be personal, three


of them received exactly the same one.


More seriously the website didn't seem to be taking notice of all our


team's daily progress reports. It congratulated one researcher for


handling the attack phase with real gusto and recommended she move on


to the next phase of the diet. Great, except that she hadn't


reported any weight loss or even submitted a daily report. I think


it's incredibly worrying if someone is advanced on a diet without


having that feed back and communication because you don't


know whether the individual is going off message or not and that's


a potential health risk. And as for Dr Dukan's claim to be present on


the site for one hour per day including weekends to answer


questions, well, he wasn't. For the past month it's actually been his


assistants, Sonia, Kathy, and Marie. It seems like you are paying a lot


of money for a comment that's not always personalised or relevant to


your particular circumstances. The information available online was an


confusing. The exercises appear good but you can get them for free


elsewhere on the web. Overall I would say it's a careless and


confusing website and doesn't seem to deliver on the promises that it


claims. The good news, I stuck to the diet


and exercise plan and lost 4lbs in 14 days. The bad, it cost me �100


upfront whether I stuck to the diet or not. Really I could have lost


just as much weight and saved a lot more time simply by reading the


book. You look fabulous in a wig. Thank


you, my favourite was the red one. Be careful, he has announced his


engagement, he is getting married and that's devastated millions of


female viewers. You can be my bit on the side. I am devastated as


well. OK. This is from Dr Pierre Dukan himself. He is upset to hear


some dieters using his online coaching service in the UK are


unhappy and humbly apologises and gress the service can be further


improved and it will be, he is concerned that people who may need


to lose weight may now be discouraged from using his methods


because a survey has shown that the vast majority of users have a


positive experience and reach their true weight. What about the


personalised service people are paying for? He says this relies on


what he calls artificial intelligence but does take into


account the detailed profile of each customer and their reports,


plus all questions are answered individually by his team. Unless


you ask one at the weekend when they've gone home? Yes, there's


been no answer to that but he does say if customers are unhappy they


have the right to cancel within seven days and those who have had


specific problems have been refunded. Coming up: The cruise


companies that want passengers to tip staff before they go on board.


Back to SecurePark Heathrow Limited now, a valet company that promises


to look after your car when you fly from the UK's largest airport. We


heard from customers who found cars damaged and parts or even entire


vehicles missing. What will happen? -- what will happen when we leave


our own cars there? A Toyota A Mercedes and an Audi


will hopefully answer that. Over the past month our team have been


handing over these cars to SecurePark Heathrow Limited, all of


them rigged with with secret cameras. Wherever the cars go, we


go too. What do we discover? Welcome to the state of the art


Rogue Traders Central command. Yes, it's an plane hangar.


Plane one is on the move. It's going down Sipson way. Where are we,


he has left the vehicle? It's a recreational ground? Yeah. Not a


private car park, public land owned by the council which they don't


even have permission to use. Tim, would you class that as secure?


Parking in a council owned car park is asking for trouble. It's full


access to the public. It's not secure, not fair. The car was there


for almost an hour before being moved on to a compound. Next, we


tracked the Mercedes. The real one, that is. They're supposed to drive


it to the secure car park and leave it there until we get back. But


hold on, what's this? Use the Mercedes Monday morning?


Use our car for their business? That's what it seems like. The


Mercedes then joined the Toyota in a compound off a main road where


they were both left for several days. A compound so secure that its


gates were left wide open during the day. The night before the cars


are due to be returned to us they're moved again.


Dan, reposition the Mercedes to Maple Avenue, please. What is


there? A normal residential street. Parking in residential streets is


not secure. Cars do get damaged, they get scratched and broken into


and stuff pinched out of them. anything could happen to it.


are right, Dan. The Mercedes was left in the street, while the


Toyota was driven to the council car park. Both unattended all night.


The next morning, almost three hours before our Mercedes was due


to be returned to us, it seems to have become a taxi for staff. So


that's what was meant by this: They're taking the Mercedes and


ferrying their drivers to and from Heathrow. This is en route to


Heathrow. This is ridiculous, you paid this company to look after


your car, you don't expect it to be used as a taxi. That's nothing.


Look at this. They're supposed to be looking after your car but check


out his right foot. Bad words. And aggressive driving. But not as bad


as speeding. We are tracking that, too. Look, check the needle. Hello,


69 in a 40! Speeding is completely unacceptable, apart from anything


else a customer could get a ticket in a few weeks. Then driving while


you are on the phone or phoning while you are on the drive. And not


just once. Isn't that illegal. is three penalty points.


Right, is there anything else they can do in our cars? Oh, hello! It's


sleepy buy bye-byes. If you are going to have a kip, you might as


well in a Mercedes. Finally, on their last run to the


airport we hear staff discussing This is lots of cars, they're being


trusted to keep secure and safe and they're parked on the front drives.


Yeah, that's customers' cars as What about our last car, the Audi


I feel like I have had someone's finger in my eye. We have been


busted. Yeah. Hi. Or maybe we haven't after all, because the next


day our tracker inside the Audi records one of the drivers doing


100mph in a 50 zone. Twice the speed limit, and an instant driving


ban. OK, enough is enough. We are back on the road, usually transport


this time. So we can find somewhere quiet to do what we call a piece to


camera. They're driving each other around, speeding, parking


insecurely and could be doing that in anyone's car. What are we going


to do? Find the bosses and put together intelligent and relevant


questions to ask them. OK, how are we going to find them? Well, we are


going to wait here. Just wait? All right. Just over here, actually.


It's nice. There's a rabbit there, look.


Well, we had to wait a while as it happened, because it turned out


that the company boss doesn't actually have an office at Heathrow.


He runs this pub, ten miles away. I am going to track him down there in


about ten minutes. I hope I don't get barred.


Now, just going back to our earlier story about soaring gas and


electricity prices. There is a free-phone number to call if you


are you are struggling with bills and want advice. It's the Home Heat


Helpline run by the energy companies themselves. The number is


on the screen now. We have a few texts and e-mails to


go through, mainly on that subject. A couple of tweets about the


confusing tariffs they offer. One says they might as well be in


another language. This viewer says it took her three weeks to


calculate the best one. And a few others saying they simply gave up.


So, lots more e-mails, keep them coming in. You know the addresses.


Thank you. Now a new series, old face, much older than mine, Rik


Wakeman is back. His subject tonight is tipping, no wonder he


looks grumpy. Tip, a bonus given in addition to


required payment. A gratuity or gift. A voluntary donation. Trouble


is, the whole thing is a minefield, who expects to be tipped? Do they


keep the money? The big question, how much do you give them? I look


somewhere in the area of ten to 15%, if it hasn't gone well, then


certainly I am fully prepared to walk out without tipping. I don't


mind tipping, I would tip on most occasions. It's not as prevalent


here as the States. I like to feel free to offer a tip or


acknowledgement if I want to. Whatever the sum, most people agree


that tipping should be a matter of choice. Mind you, if you visit a


restaurant in a large group it may be that you will have no choice.


Hey, you lot check out this bill! Many restaurants will charge a


service charge for a larger party, perhaps 6-8 people or more. A


typical service charge will be between 10-15%. A lot of customers


believe if they're unhappy with the food or the service they can have


the service charge removed from the bill. However, if the service


charge is a mandatory service charge, and it's labelled as such


on the menu, this forms part of the contract between the customer and


the restaurant. And the customer will be liable to pay the amount.


think I will eat alone in future then. If I went to Strada they add


a 10% charge, whatever the size of the party. At least it's


discretionary, so you can get it removed if you can take the


embarrassment of asking, that is. Until 2009 restaurant companies


were able to pocket service charges and tips, then use the money to top


up the pay of their staff. Some of whom were on less than the national


minimum wage. And a new law was supposed to change all that. You


might be surprised to learn that the tip you leave still doesn't


necessarily go to the staff, not all of it anyway. If you are paying


by card, many restaurants will take a slice as a so-called admin fee.


Of the ten biggest restaurants changes in the -- chains in the UK,


Do you know, there are some days are when I never seem to have my


hand out of my pocket?! Things could be worse, though. Could be


going on one of those. Yes, cruise ships. Passengers have always been


expected to leave hefty tips to the lowly paid Crewe. Now they are


being told how much did hip, before the ship has even set sail. We had


booked hour cruise with MSC Cruises, and in the small print, it said,


there will be a service charge, at $12 person, per day. We thought


that was our greatest. I went on a cruise with the Royal Caribbean,


and because we chose the taxable dining option, we have to pay �65


gratuity for my daughter. I don't believe any of us should be paying


gratuities up front, let alone an eight-month-old baby, who received


nothing for her money! We went on the Princess Cruises's website. We


looked at their policy on Rasheed - - committees, which dated each


person would be charged $11.50, we felt this was excessive. I pick the


principle of being told what you should pay for a service prior to


you're getting it is totally wrong. Marie and Ken got some of their


money back, but of the 10 biggest cruise companies operating out of


UK ports, eight now add an auto gratuity to all passengers on all


accounts. Prices range from a �4 per day to �9.20 per day.


concept of adding pips to your on- board account automatically


originated in America, where, of course, pipping his part of the


culture. But it is not here in Britain, or in Australia. And after


P&O Australia introduced the system, there was such an outcry, they had


to scrap it. Not much chance of other companies follow suit here.


In fact Fred Olsen have introduced or to gratuities on all of their


gratuities, while Royal Caribbean have just increased their daily


recommended Peps from �6 a 5p to �7.23. I am sure most passengers


don't begrudge paying pips for good service, but are some of these


customers not going overboard? Are you a good paper? 10%. I am a


great depart, I was once a waitress. I would give you 20%. A few


responses to that. Royal Caribbean say 60% of UK guests are happy to


pre-pay the gratuity. They add that their policy allows all crew


members to benefit. MSC Cruises and Princess Cruises say that so-called


Order gratuities are the fairest way for all crew members to benefit


and customers can amend the amounts on board. Based a customers can see


all details on their website and brochures before booking. All


passengers treated her dead charges reduced. His -- here are a few more


stories. Enjoy a cup as soup? You may have


to go on a four-day week. Batchelors have cut the number of


sachets in each box to four, to bring them into line with rivals,


apparently. The price you pay it in the shops hasn't gone down, though.


It comes after Dairy Crest admitted reducing the size of their


cathedral to teach at a packed but keeping the blocks the same length,


but making them narrower. But after Innocent withdrew their one Lisa --


one-litre cartons. They say they did set the price in the shops, but


that hasn't impressed customers on their website, whose verdict can


beats -- summed up in one word - guilty.


Kronenbourg 1664. Yes, a beer from the medieval city of Strasbourg,


eastern France, where according to the makers Heineken, the pace of


life is a hurried and the locals enjoy a relaxed two-hour lunch


break. This would be welcome in Manchester, where the Beero is


actually brewed. Heineken have defended the advert, saying the


beer has French heritage and is made Yuri -- re-using hops from the


Alsace region. But the ban has been -- advert has been banned, because


there is no French connection with Manchester.


Poynings, the company that launched at Earl Grey after 180 years, has


tampered with the recipe. The new flavour include citrus and extra


bergamot, and has outraged customers. Twinings insist the


latest a blend was the result of rigorous testing and customer


feedback. They have clearly not launched a peak -- sought the


Last call for boarding at Heathrow. SecurePark Heathrow Limited, to be


exact. We need to clear up a few things before our departure. Why


did this valet company drive one of our cars, at 100 miles per hour, in


a 50 his own? Why did one of their staff fall asleep in another? Why


were all three vehicles left unsecured? So many questions. All


of which need answers, and quick. I used my accelerating pointy fingers.


And look, he has got one too. Dominic Almond, the man his back on


a customer's car to get rid of paint from the windscreen. -- the


man who spat. How did that paint get on the car? Maybe it was an


accident. And the stolen catalytic converter? They don't sound like


accidents. Then there is Matthew grant. Both men seen to be calling


the shots. We know that Dominic is still involved in the company,


because when they delivered hour how deep, they were quick to blame


It seems that Dominic is in the wrong business, because Secure


Parking is definitely not their strong point. We checked out what


appears to be their main, secure compound. It was locked at night,


but when we visited in the day, the gates were wide open and there was


a sign of CCTV. You could drive straight in and touch the cars, we


even found customer flight details, in car windscreens. When we got 10


-- contacted the council, they told us the landowner does not have


permission to park the car here. Question time is approaching.


Heathrow Airport, isn't it lovely? What a beautiful day for it. We are


hoping to meet up with the bosses of SecurePark Heathrow Limited, and


to ask them why, when you go on holiday, your car could end up


having a holiday of its own? Like this. Just in a car-park in the


recreation ground. All this place, with the gate wide open to stop


these are all valid questions, we feel. Tracking down the bosses


isn't easy. But we did some digging, and found that Dominic Almond also


runs at this place, a pub in Old Windsor. Anyone fancy a pint? Hello,


Dominic. How are you doing? We want to talk about SecurePark Heathrow


Limited. Interesting term, it would suggest, that the parking is


secured, rather than left at any location that we have found here.


This, for instance, gates wide open, not secured. Easy access to the


public. This is outside one of your driver's houses. I don't run that


side of the company any more. what is your role? We understand


you're the boss, director, in charge? You are the face that get


to put up as soon as there is a problem. I will look into the


problems. There is a piece of paper that will detail all of them. But


they are the same problems customs have been talking to you about for


months, and when they come to you, they don't get an answer. We're not


talking about the little things, dense and scratches, we're talking


about whole vehicles being stolen. We're talking about parts. Can I


look into this and get back to you? Do you not think it would be nice


to look into it on the customer's behalf when the problem arises? We


can understand why there are problems with these cars when you


see the locations. I am not at the company recently. We know that is


not true, we know you have been It is your company, and you have to


take responsibility for it at the end of the day. Are you telling us


you have sold the company? I don't run the company, I am nothing to do


with that side of think so. We know that is not true. Can I get back to


you, I would like to get back to you and give you some proper


answers. When customers try and get in touch with you, you have given


them an address where they can't contact you. Can I look into this


and get back to you, I would rather do it properly? That would be


fascinating. I would like to do that. When you talk to your drivers,


can you make sure they're not driving at the time. I am not there


at the time, and Mike? We have seen your drivers on the phone, driving


without seat belts, just so you know, when you speak to them, up to


twice the legal limit, as well. can't comment on that, because of


the stick, I am not there. -- because obviously, I am not there.


Thank you very much. See you again, We have since tried, repeatedly, to


get that proper, formal response that Dominic Almond promised. But


we are still waiting. He said he wanted to go through the proper


channels. We are the proper channels. You are watching BBC One.


We have managed to speak to Hillingdon council, it says it is


investigating the use of its land for commercial purposes. And


intends to take action against any company found to be doing so


without permission. Not sure we will be able to avoid their


questions, Dominic. Meanwhile, take a bow. You become the first face on


our new rogues gallery. If you if you have been sending in


texts and e-mails. Loads contacting us about energy bills, especially


some wholesale costs, lower than they were three years ago. They


want to know why, and also, we have got loads of you are unhappy about


Chris companies wanting to paid Peps before you board. -- cruise


companies. Amanda says she booked a cruise for 20 Clough, but wasn't


allowed to book the flexible dining option unless the gratuities were


paid up front. If you tea drinkers, some say they like the new Earl


Grey blend, but many saying the old recipe was a fine, why bother


changing it? This e-mail, Miles went to New York, leaving his


Porsche with SecurePark Heathrow Limited, guess what, stolen. The


police managed to track down, when he got it back, his iPod had been


taken. How about that part as a venue for your wedding? -- that the


pup?. Keep sending us your stories. Just to visit our website. When you


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