Episode 2 Watchdog


Episode 2

The team looks at hidden camera footage exposing misleading sales practices at a major high street chain, uncovers unfinished hotels, and reveals the mark-up on cinema popcorn.


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Transcript


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Comet, making promises it can't keep, First Choice selling resorts

:00:15.:00:21.

that aren't finished, and buy this at Cineworld? They're making a

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profit you won't believe. Plus, Heinz, Pepsi and the RAC - it's

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:00:34.:00:49.

Watchdog, the programme you cannot Hello, and good evening. Welcome to

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Watchdog. We're live, as usual, from Television Centre. Tonight,

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Comet telling customers their warrantee covers everything. Don't

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you believe it. I'm just angry and disappointed that they actually

:01:02.:01:08.

sold me something that was actually of no use to me. At all. Also

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tonight, First Choice - it gave this resort ten out of ten. Really?

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It wasn't even finished, plus Cineworld, Odeon, Vue charging a

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fortune for popcorn. You'll be astonished at the mark-up. Pepsi -

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its multi-pack cans have shrunk from this to this. According to the

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company, it's because of us women. I am not a woman, which is why I

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put this week's hidden cameras inside the gent's, where we found

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this rogue coming up with some novel ways to spin out a job. Check

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out the Bruce Lee moves. Mind you, he didn't want us to

:01:46.:01:56.
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think he was time wasting, so he Yes, say hello to Mohammad Shamrez,

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better known as Sam, but also known as Tony. We've a lot more footage

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like that, and tonight we're planning a special screening just

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for him, so join us, as we play it again - Sam. First, though, Comet -

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248 branches in the UK selling everything from settles to fridges

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to sat-navs to plasma screen TVs. They have probably tried to sell

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you an Extra Care Service Plan. Are these worth the money? Is Comet

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selling them correctly? What do you think? Electrical goods - expensive,

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delicate and temperamental - so how can you get some piece of mind when

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buying them, putting an end to the headaches of call-out charges and

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replacements? The Comet Extra Care Service Plan could be the answer.

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It covers the cost of repairs or replacement for up to five years

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depending on the type of product you buy. Sounds perfect, but it

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isn't. Ask Dan Curran, a salesman persuaded to them buy one for his

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new TV. The cost of the extended warrantee was �250. The guy did

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tell us if anything went wrong with the telly, they would replace the

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TV to the value we purchased it. Earlier this year a shadow appeared

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on the screen. When a Comet engineer couldn't fix it, they

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replaced it, worth �200 less than he'd originally laid out. After

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contacting them, they told us the extended value of the TV was done

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on a specification and the specification was far superior than

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the one we purchased. I feel angry. Wrong advice about replacements and

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also about repairs - when Joy bought her laptop in June 2010,

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Comet assured Heros Collonges warrantee covered accidental damage.

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Eight months later her daughter dropped it on the stair, and it

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stopped working. I said to her, don't worry because I have taken

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out the extra cover, but when I called Comet, they told me they

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wouldn't repair or replace the laptop as it didn't cover me for

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accidental damage. I am just angry and disappointed that they actually

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sold me something that was actually of no use to me. Comet never did

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repair her laptop, but they did accept they had given her wrong

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advice and agreed to refund her Warrenee payments, but have they

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learnt interest their mistake? Apparently not. Following a flurry

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of similar complaints, we decided to check out their sales tactics

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ourselves. Cue the Watchdog mystery shoppers.

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On a tour of 15 Comet stores across the country, they told staff they

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were looking to buy a TV, a fridge freezer or a washing machine, and

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every single time those staff began selling Comet's extended warrantee,

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the Extra Care Service Plan. have this service care plan that I

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:05:14.:05:21.

would recommend for anything you Not true, unfortunately. Misuse is

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not covered, neither are a few other things, like damage by vermin,

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although at this Nottingham store, Cosmetic damage like scratches is

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also excluded, which must be news to this staff member in this

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Out of the 15 stores we visited, staff in eight of them told us we

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would be covered for problems that the warrantee specifically excludes.

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Six failed to mention any of the exclusions at all. There were other

:06:05.:06:15.
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claims too, like this in Comet's Reassuring, yes, true, no. In fact,

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at every Comet store we visited, staff gave uss a few, misleading or

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insufficient information - all of which are potential breaches of the

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Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, 2008. I am

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concerned about misleading information being given to

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customers as to the contents of the policy and what is covered. The

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second concern relates to information that customers are not

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being given. The policy contains a number of quite significant

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exclusions, and these are not being told to customers. So why are they

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getting it so wrong? We've heard from an employee who has told us

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they're under pressure to persuade customers to buy the extra care

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warrantees. He showed us this document issued to some staff. It

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lays down the target of selling two extended warrantees per shift,

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warrantees, as we have seen, are sometimes being missold. In the

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instances I have seen, I believe that there are some case -- cases

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where there are misleading actions and where there are misleading

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omissions that could cause an average consumer to buy the product

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when had they been given the full information about the product, they

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may not have well so decided. told us they carry out ten million

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transactions a year with a vast majority of shoppers pleased with

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the high standard of service provided. But our mystery shoppers

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certainly aren't. Come and play at Comet. "Come and

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play?" How about playing by the rules? Riz Lateef reporting there.

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We asked Comet about the customers featured in that film. They say

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they regret not having met their expected levels of customer care in

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both cases, although they did believe each was resolved. They say

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all customers who buy the Extra Care Service Plan must read and

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sign a document setting out the terms and conditions before

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purchase. They then have a 45-day cooling off period in which they

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can cancel. Comet deny pressurising staff to sell these. They're sorry

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for any occasion when a customer is unhappy, and as a result, they're

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implementing refresher training on their extra service plans for all

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staff. To coment on that or any of tonight's stories, you can e-mail

:08:43.:08:53.
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Meanwhile, a huge response to last week's story about soaring

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household fuel bills. Remember the graphs. The big six energy

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companies insist they're in competition, yet we showed how they

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consistently increased their prices in line with each other. Compared

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to last year the average family is paying 18% more for gas and 11%

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more for electricity. So thinking of cutting down your energy use?

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Listen to this - Scottish Power customers have contacted us to say

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that it's low users who are being penalised the most. That's because

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the company does something known as frontloading. It's raising the cost

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of the first 225 units of electricity that you use by nearly

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30%, but the units used after that - well, they hardly go up at all.

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So in other words, the less electricity you use, the bigger the

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percentage rise in your bill? Correct, and it's the same for

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those who get their gas from Eon. They're being hit with a whacking

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31% increase for the first 2,680 units, but the rise for units used

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after that is only 9%. What's the defence? Both companies say that

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all our bills incur fixed costs, things like the price of the metre,

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transportation and getting the energy into our homes, and then

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they look to recover those costs through the initial energy we use.

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Meanwhile, if you're struggling with your energy bills and need

:10:19.:10:29.
:10:29.:10:29.

advice, a reminder of that Home Coming up, First Choice - it gave

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this aqua park ten out of ten - not the way we add up. Our score is

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nought out of ten. Plus, motorists left stranded and told to drive

:10:39.:10:48.

home in dangerous cars by the RAC. Now, we have had lots of experts on

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Rogue Traders, expert bodgers, expert time wasters, but for the

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overcharger, we have had to wait until tonight. Express Plumbing

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Limited of Bedford - not to be confused with businesses of a

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similar name, and they've perfected a way of getting money out of you

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than you'd ever thought possible. It's very clever - almost the work

:11:10.:11:20.
:11:20.:11:32.

Now, this is a show I have always fancied doing. The trouble is

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Johnen John Humphries shows no signs of retiring, still, might as

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well get in a bit of practise while I'm waiting.

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Your name is Tim, and your specialist subject is Express

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Plumbing Limited. He wanted his leaky boiler. Sam replaced it with

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a motorised head. Was the boiler fixed when he left? No, we had to

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pay another engineer �225 to fix I. We have spoken to other plumbers.

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How much were you charged? �1,406. Correct. Tim, put your money in the

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lavatory. This man called the company in May

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to fix his leaking loo. The same Sam the plumber said he'd fix the

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leak by fitting a plastic cap there. Your time begins now. How long was

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Sam at your home? 40 minutes. Correct. We spoke to five local

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plumbers. They said the job should cost �74.70. What was yours final

:12:44.:12:54.
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bill from Express Plumbing? It was �509.94. Correct. So there's two

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contestants who have thrown their money down the drain. What about

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number three? Your name is Andrew, and your specialist subject is -

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Express Plumbing Limited. Andrew phoned Express Plumbing

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Limited when water began dripping if his kitchen ceel, but by the

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time they'd arrived it had stopped. Express Plumbing Limited claim

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they're an honest company. Where can you see this statement? On the

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company's website. Correct. Plumber Sam said he'd need to lift the

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floorboards to investigate further. Andrew said no. So Sam left after

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40 minutes, with a surprise. How much were you charged? �414.

:13:34.:13:44.
:13:44.:13:45.

Correct. Andrew, put your money into the lavatory. So a bog full of

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catch, three unhappy customer, one seemingly dodgy work man and no

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passes. That there is a plumber with a history of overcharging.

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I'll start it, so I'll begin. What do we need now? I know this. We

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need a house. We need a team member, or actor, to behave as a

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householder, and we need a round of drinks for the team. I'll have to

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take the first one - actually, I'll need a lot of cameras. We have the

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Holy Trinity of rogue traders, house, old lady, secret traders.

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Now, here's the plumber who has come along to fix the boiler.

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hello there. Yes, do come in. Is it Tony? Yes. Hang on. All our

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complainers had a plumber called Sam. Is Tony going to be any

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better? It's a simple problem. This has fallen off. It seems so, as his

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diagnosis is correct and his bill, not that bad. But this is odd

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because we kept getting complaints about the company, so we call them

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out again to a different house. With a member of our team, Tom,

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playing the owner, and plumbing expert Danny Davis has reviewed the

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action. Here is the fault for Express Plumbing Limited to fix -

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the robe urt doughnut ring that sits between the system and the loo

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pan is leaking. All it needs is replacement. Thank goodness the

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emergency plumber is here. Ring or Hold on, did you say Sam? Are you

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and Tony the same bloke? Actually, yes, and the real name is Mohammad

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Shamrez, director of Express Plumbing. But today he is being Sam.

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But is he being honest? Delayed his at the bottom, and when you flush

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He has spotted the problem, should be a pretty easy job from here.

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agreed on the phone to a whopping half-an-hour rate of �95, as it was

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an emergency. So we are counting the cost from the moment he arrives.

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How long should the job last? should take no longer than an hour.

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An hour and a half would be the top end. 90 minutes. Just long enough

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for Tom to rustle up a home-made pizza. Will he make it before Sam

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is finished? He might do if Sam carries on like this. He has the

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siphon there, it flushes the water into the toilet from the system.

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Why he needs that, there is one in the toilet that works perfectly.

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The bolts have come off with ease but Sam is in no hurry. Unlike Tom,

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We can see there the doughnut. That is all that needs replacing, the

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black rubber ring. Remember, this is a simple job, but Sam seems

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determined to complicate it and stretch it out like pizza does.

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has an operating valve, it is what fills the system with water but it

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Someone has used silicon on this, you are not supposed to use

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silicone. To be on the safe side, I would be better of changing it all

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in one go. Somebody may have done that, but it is not affecting the

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operation of these parts. So the parts are a necessary and, frankly,

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so is this. -- the parts are unnecessarily. Sam, Tony, or

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Mohammed obviously fancies himself as a kung-fu king, and when it

:17:38.:17:42.

comes to time-wasting he reigns supreme. See how he manages it

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later after the small, perfectly formed, Chris Hollins.

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Charming. I love you the way you are.

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And the good news is that at least I am not getting any smaller. Not

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that you are telling us about more shrinking food. Remember, last week,

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we featured Innocent smoothies, bachelor Cup a Soup and Cathedral

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City cheddar, reduced inside but selling for the same price --

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Batchelors' Cup a Soup. We have more, Cadbury's Roses, lighter

:18:16.:18:20.

because they have 11 less chocolates in the 10th. What

:18:20.:18:26.

flavours are missing? It looks like a very from tin to tin, but in that

:18:26.:18:33.

one we are missing a few toffees. love the toffee, so much in common.

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It is an outrage. That is what customers are selling because they

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are paying the same price for the tin. Cadbury said the chocolates

:18:41.:18:46.

are excellent value for money but they have had to make the

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chocolates -- made the tins smaller because of rising prices. We have

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Heinz Farmers' Market soup, down a whopping 22%. And the excuse was

:18:56.:19:01.

that? They blame rising raw material prices but saving you can

:19:01.:19:05.

have an improved recipe which helped towards a five day fruit and

:19:05.:19:09.

veg requirement. And no doubt they have no control over the retail

:19:09.:19:16.

price? That is right. And finally, Pepsi. Josie Hodges by a multipack

:19:16.:19:23.

every week, 24 cans, 330 ml each. Last week, same-store, same price,

:19:23.:19:28.

but hands were just 250 ml. Pepsi say the smaller cans have not

:19:28.:19:32.

replaced the older ones, they are still available, and once again

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they do not control the price in shops. But here is the best bet,

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they have launched a new cans in response to consumer research that

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says many people, especially women, would prefer the option of a

:19:44.:19:49.

smaller tan. So it is down to you. Thank you, Pepsi, of course we

:19:49.:19:53.

prefer spending the same money on a smaller car and.

:19:53.:20:03.

Next, the RAC and that reassuring # Just like me, they long to be

:20:03.:20:13.
:20:13.:20:14.

The oldest motoring organisation in the country with more than 7

:20:14.:20:18.

million members. They say every journey is important to them.

:20:18.:20:28.
:20:28.:20:40.

# Just like me, they long to be close to you... #.

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Don't you hate it when this happens? You are in the middle of

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nowhere, no doubt in a brush, and your car breaks down. -- no doubt

:20:49.:20:54.

in a rush. Try to fix it yourself? Good look, you need and expect.

:20:54.:21:00.

Which is why people join a motoring organisation like the RAC. They pay

:21:00.:21:05.

their money and expect them to be there in their times of stress.

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Isn't that right, Lesley? I was driving down the motorway and Mike

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Carr engine cut out. When he called the RAC, they did not recognise him

:21:18.:21:26.

on their system -- Mike Carr engine. It took several phone-calls to

:21:26.:21:31.

convince them he was a member. was a freezing cold February night,

:21:31.:21:36.

my life was put in potential danger. So he is not a happy customer. What

:21:36.:21:42.

about Max Gilbert? Might clutch cable broke, so I called the RAC on

:21:42.:21:46.

the premium rate number. I was on hold for 10 minutes and ran out of

:21:46.:21:51.

credit so I decided to push my motorcycle across town to use a

:21:51.:21:56.

phone there. I eventually got an answer, but I was told someone

:21:56.:22:01.

would be with me within an hour. But they were not. In fact, a

:22:01.:22:05.

mechanic took an hour and-a-half to arrive. The wrong kind of mechanic,

:22:05.:22:10.

in the wrong kind of trip. It was a man with a normal fan that would

:22:10.:22:14.

attend to cars, and very little knowledge of motorcycles. I was

:22:14.:22:17.

countries as to why the wrong person had been sent out and

:22:17.:22:22.

annoyed, -- I was confused. It had started to rain and the frustration

:22:22.:22:28.

had grown and grown. It was around 3.5 hours until I got someone

:22:28.:22:36.

capable of taking the bike away. Breaking down? Frustrating. Bad

:22:36.:22:40.

customer-service? Infuriating! Your recovery service leaving you

:22:40.:22:46.

stranded? You are kidding, aren't you? Sadly not. 18-year-old on a

:22:46.:22:52.

free man broke down on the N11 and called the RAC full recovery. It

:22:52.:22:55.

took the repair man nearly an hour and a half to arrive. And when he

:22:55.:23:01.

did? They gave me two options, pay a private company to toe my car,

:23:02.:23:09.

which would cost �155, or upgrade for �35 to get me back home. So she

:23:09.:23:14.

paid the �35 to upgrade and get towed back to a mother's house. All

:23:14.:23:20.

OK then? About 10 minutes into the genet, he got a call from what I

:23:20.:23:28.

presume was his boss saying, what are you doing? -- 10 minutes into

:23:28.:23:34.

the journey. He said, taking her home. The boss said, why? Get her

:23:34.:23:42.

to pay the �155 or drop her off at the lay-by. The RAC later admitted

:23:42.:23:46.

that the patrol man should not have offered the upgrade but had said to

:23:46.:23:50.

drop her in a safe place. He dropped her in a lay-by. I was so

:23:50.:23:56.

scared, I didn't know where I was, it was those very. I was frantic, I

:23:56.:24:01.

did not know where she was, it took me an hour to find her. To see her

:24:01.:24:06.

sitting in that car, I was livid. I could not believe they had just

:24:06.:24:10.

dropped her. So instead of rescuing their

:24:10.:24:14.

members by the roadside, the RAC are standing some of them up and

:24:14.:24:19.

letting others down. As for being close to you, sometimes they would

:24:19.:24:23.

rather just deal with you over the phone and even then the advice they

:24:23.:24:30.

give can be dangerous. We were driving to the Lake

:24:30.:24:35.

District to go walking, and we were just coming in to a service station,

:24:35.:24:39.

Rebecca was driving. Pulled up the handbrake and it came off in hand.

:24:39.:24:44.

I phoned the RAC expecting them to come out as they had in the past

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when I had a problem, and they put me through to a technician who

:24:48.:24:51.

basically told me it was mechanically sound to drive and I

:24:51.:24:57.

should drive to the nearest garage, over 10 miles away. Driving without

:24:57.:25:02.

a working handbrake is not only unsafe, it is illegal. Under the

:25:02.:25:06.

Road Traffic offenders Act 1988, all parts of the law-breaking

:25:06.:25:10.

system need to be in working order. The chances of having a hefty fine

:25:10.:25:14.

for this is unlikely if you are heading to a garage. The bottom

:25:14.:25:19.

line should be, is this? It is not safe to be on the road with a

:25:19.:25:25.

faulty handbrake or emergency brake, as it is known, that is what it is

:25:25.:25:30.

therefore. Would you use the RAC in future? Not at all, I have lost

:25:31.:25:34.

confidence. Whatever they did now they could not restore my

:25:34.:25:40.

confidence. I certainly will not be using the RAC in future. It has

:25:40.:25:44.

been a total trauma. The advert shows this gentleman coming to the

:25:44.:25:48.

rescue. It is not true, it is sad they do not treat their customers

:25:48.:25:55.

directly. After these stories, they might

:25:55.:26:01.

also want to rethink that lyric. The RAC has offered sincere

:26:01.:26:05.

apologies to all of those we featured. It says it has acted

:26:05.:26:09.

promptly to understand the reasons for each complaint and the lessons

:26:09.:26:13.

learned will help prevent similar mistakes in the future. It says all

:26:13.:26:17.

four occurred in the last six months, when it received more than

:26:17.:26:20.

1.7 million breakdown calls and tapped over a million customers.

:26:20.:26:27.

The average time to attend was 48 minutes.

:26:27.:26:30.

Next, First Choice, one of the biggest travel companies in the UK

:26:30.:26:35.

but no stranger to Watchdog. In May, we caught them taking bookings for

:26:35.:26:39.

an aqua park in Sharm el-Sheikh that was not finished. We are sorry,

:26:39.:26:45.

they said, the political unrest in Egypt caused building delays. Four

:26:45.:26:49.

months on, same resort, another unfinished hotel? More unhappy

:26:49.:26:54.

holidaymakers. What is the good of heat if you

:26:54.:26:59.

cannot cool off? Especially if you are taking the children on holiday.

:26:59.:27:03.

The millions of families booking their summer breaks, hotel pool

:27:03.:27:06.

facilities are high on the checklist and there is plenty on

:27:06.:27:10.

offer in the First Choice brochure. There are some really good looking

:27:10.:27:14.

hotels here, all with water parks in sunny locations all over the

:27:14.:27:23.

world. Here is one, the tropic Kana resort in Sharm El-Sheikh. It has

:27:23.:27:28.

an unlimited on Side Water Park, 35 slides, great photographs, and a

:27:28.:27:32.

young lad he called Tomic who claims to have been on every ride

:27:32.:27:38.

and gives it 10 out of 10 -- called Tommy. What more could you want?

:27:38.:27:45.

Proves it has been built would be nice. Call me suspicious, but First

:27:45.:27:47.

Choice have performed for taking bookings or parks that are not

:27:47.:27:53.

complete. This was another resort in Sharm el-Sheikh that we featured

:27:53.:27:57.

in our Last Series. First Choice accepted bookings for the resort

:27:57.:28:02.

months in advance and missed the deadline for opening it twice. It

:28:02.:28:06.

did finally open in late May, but those who arrived earlier were

:28:06.:28:12.

greeted with this. Lovely. They would not make the same mistake

:28:12.:28:19.

again, would they? We booked the holiday online, we booked it about

:28:19.:28:24.

January, and we were due to go on 19th May. When we got there on the

:28:24.:28:31.

transfer bus, you could see scaffolding, a building site.

:28:31.:28:36.

they would make the same mistake again. PS. This is the water park

:28:36.:28:42.

that greeted them at the resort back in May. The representative

:28:42.:28:46.

told them they should have received an e-mail saying the park was

:28:46.:28:50.

unfinished before they threw out. We did receive an e-mail but it was

:28:50.:28:55.

just a countdown to say, 30 days until you go, here are your holiday

:28:55.:29:01.

essentials. No e-mail about the water park not being opened. They

:29:01.:29:05.

paid �1,500 for their holiday. First Choice later offered them

:29:05.:29:10.

just �10 each in compensation. It was a similar story for Clare

:29:10.:29:14.

Thomas and her family, who built the Park in March and this is what

:29:14.:29:21.

greeted them in May. All First Choice have offered them is �150

:29:21.:29:26.

compensation for Clare's �1,500 holiday. I did get it, the

:29:26.:29:29.

brochures have been out since last year as there is nothing to save

:29:29.:29:34.

the slides had not been built. pictures are not labelled as

:29:34.:29:38.

artists' impressions, and it says, you will find all sorts of slides

:29:38.:29:43.

and shoots. And of course, we have Tommy there who has tried them all

:29:43.:29:53.
:29:53.:29:57.

But how can he mark slides that don't even exist? Customers are

:29:57.:30:03.

asking similar questions on First Choice's Facebook site, the site

:30:03.:30:06.

that has been advertising different opening dates all summer - four

:30:06.:30:13.

different opening dates, in fact. Infuriating and frustrating, but at

:30:13.:30:16.

least the online information was accurate. If you contacted the

:30:16.:30:22.

company by phone, that wasn't always the case. Our researchers,

:30:22.:30:25.

posing as holiday-makers, called them as late as July the 20th.

:30:25.:30:29.

First Choice told us that the water park was definitely open and that

:30:29.:30:36.

it had really good reviews. So why when we actually flew out to the

:30:36.:30:40.

resort two-and-a-half weeks later were we greeted by this - parts of

:30:40.:30:45.

the resort closed off, only half the 35 slides open, and building

:30:45.:30:49.

work still clearly in progress? In fact, none of the slides in the

:30:49.:30:54.

children's section were ready for use. When we arrived, we were told

:30:54.:30:59.

that it wasn't completed. The only thing that was completed were the

:30:59.:31:05.

slides that were for over 12-year- olds. So if your kids were over 12,

:31:05.:31:10.

at least they could use the slides? Not necessarily. It said the adult

:31:10.:31:13.

slides were available but had not been health-and-safety-checked by

:31:13.:31:17.

First Choice, so they could not recommend we use them at all. Tommy

:31:17.:31:21.

rates a ten out of ten. I can't understand how it can be reviewed

:31:21.:31:25.

and rated that when it hasn't been built yet. It's really

:31:25.:31:27.

disappointing. What's the latest news from out

:31:27.:31:32.

there? On checking a couple of days ago, we were told the adult and

:31:32.:31:36.

children's sections are both fully opened. Only four months late,

:31:36.:31:40.

then! And after the kids have gone back to school.

:31:40.:31:45.

Meanwhile, it seems the stress of the job has taken its toll on First

:31:45.:31:51.

Choice's slide tester Tommy. He's gone from a rather youthful-looking

:31:51.:31:58.

chap in the 2011 brochure to what looks like a greying 40-something

:31:58.:32:01.

in the next brochure. Maybe he knows Watchdog is after him. He's

:32:01.:32:07.

got a few questions to answer. How does Tommy plead? Well, as far

:32:07.:32:10.

as the brochure's concerned, it's guilty. First Choice say they've

:32:10.:32:16.

changed the wording in the new edition. They say their failure to

:32:16.:32:19.

include phrases Leichhardtist's impression or planned appearance

:32:19.:32:24.

was an exceptional mistake. What about the delayed opening? They

:32:24.:32:29.

blame the workers in Egypt. Customers who booked were given a

:32:29.:32:33.

choice of staying at another resort, cancelling and getting a refund or

:32:33.:32:38.

switching to another property. They say they usually contact people

:32:38.:32:41.

according to their departure date but say this caused confusion on

:32:41.:32:45.

their Facebook site. They say they're sorry about the mixed

:32:45.:32:48.

communications from their communications team. OK. Coming up:

:32:48.:32:53.

going to see a weepy at any of these cinemas? If the movie doesn't

:32:53.:33:03.

make you cry, I promise you, the price of the food should. Back to

:33:03.:33:06.

Express Plumbing Limited of Bedford. Boss Sam is stringing out a loo job

:33:06.:33:15.

so he can claim his exs torsionate fees. Will rehe finish it before

:33:15.:33:21.

researcher Tom has finished his 90- minute meal? In a race against time,

:33:21.:33:26.

Tom seems to be winning. In the kitchen, the pizza smells lovely.

:33:26.:33:31.

Upstairs in the bathroom, something smells fishy.

:33:31.:33:35.

Why is he making those sounds? What? Those sounds that make it

:33:36.:33:45.
:33:46.:33:48.

wasting has made him hungry. Now, maybe it's the smell of the pizza,

:33:48.:33:54.

which is cooked and ready after one hour and ten minutes - oh, yum! As

:33:54.:34:00.

we stuff our faces, Sam finally gets on with fitting our new parts,

:34:00.:34:10.
:34:10.:34:22.

been here, and he's finally said that he's actually finished.

:34:22.:34:28.

done, all sorted and working fine. There you are, no leak? No leak,

:34:28.:34:32.

totally dry. A result which could have been

:34:32.:34:37.

achieved in a much shorter time at a much cheaper price.

:34:38.:34:46.

What's the damage then? �700.97. Well, drain my hose - �700

:34:46.:34:51.

including parts and VAT for a job that should have cost �82 according

:34:51.:34:55.

to five local plumbers we called. Somebody say Whoa! Whoa! That's a

:34:55.:35:00.

lot, isn't it? Not only that, he left us with a

:35:00.:35:03.

leak where there wasn't one before. Some would say we have this rogue

:35:03.:35:09.

bang to rights, but it's still not enough. Are you serious? I am

:35:09.:35:14.

always serious. I'd like to see Sam - or Tony - doing his thing all

:35:14.:35:17.

over again, then I would like to take sounds from the first job he

:35:17.:35:22.

did, set them to music, and play the whole lot back to him on a big

:35:22.:35:27.

telly. To make him realise in a moment of epiphany he has been

:35:27.:35:31.

filmed all the time. Exactly, and we'll film that too.

:35:31.:35:41.
:35:41.:35:53.

same expert. So Danny, tell us about the frault you're going to

:35:53.:35:57.

set today? Very simple, one ball valve cock, whatever you want to

:35:57.:36:01.

call it. All I am going to do is adjust the arm in here so water is

:36:01.:36:05.

going to keep flowing longer than it normally would and it will

:36:05.:36:10.

overflow - simple but effective. Away you go. Simple to fix too. All

:36:10.:36:15.

he needs is a new float valve. The job shouldn't take longer than an

:36:15.:36:21.

hour. As for the music, that's DJ Drag It Out, also known as

:36:21.:36:24.

researcher Hannah, who will confront Sam with the video

:36:24.:36:28.

evidence and teach me to dance like a young person, but before that,

:36:28.:36:33.

can she complete her 60-minute set before he finishes his very

:36:33.:36:39.

expensive bathroom job? He's quoted us �110 per half hour for his

:36:39.:36:49.
:36:49.:36:49.

labour, which is staggering, would you say? Uh-huh. Sam is it? Yeah,

:36:49.:36:52.

that's it. Sam's clock starts ticking from the moment he steps

:36:52.:37:02.
:37:02.:37:05.

through the door, so ours will as diagnosis. All he needs to do now

:37:05.:37:15.
:37:15.:37:16.

system down. This is going to take a whole lot longer than it should.

:37:16.:37:21.

That's bad news for us, but no problem for Sam who is an expert

:37:21.:37:27.

time waster. He settles down as the water, and our money, drains away.

:37:27.:37:32.

Meanwhile, our DJ is well into her set which comprises mostly of happy

:37:32.:37:36.

house and handbag trans. MUSIC

:37:36.:37:40.

I am 100% certain that this is drained down now, so he should just

:37:40.:37:48.

be getting to the job in hand. seen zombie flicks where people

:37:48.:37:58.
:37:58.:37:59.

move quicker. There is nothing Hang on a minute. There is

:37:59.:38:04.

something happening. 28 minutes into the job, it looks like Sam has

:38:04.:38:08.

spotted our cam. Have we been rumbled, Sam?

:38:08.:38:12.

Well, you'll have to keep watching to find out, won't you? We'll be

:38:12.:38:16.

going to the bathroom again in ten minutes. We hope we can hold it in

:38:16.:38:20.

until then - the excitement, that is. A quick update on your texts

:38:20.:38:24.

and e-mails. Lots of you getting in touch about shrinking food. Here is

:38:24.:38:31.

one, Georgina Turner has been in touch about Cadbury's Animal

:38:31.:38:36.

Chocolate Biscuits. The multipacks used to contain eight 20-gram pacts.

:38:36.:38:42.

It's now been changed to six 22- gram packets, but the price is the

:38:42.:38:52.
:38:52.:38:53.

same. Also Muller-light yogurts are down in size, but no price change.

:38:53.:38:57.

Have there been any e-mails about your swimming shorts with pink

:38:57.:39:03.

flowers? Yes, there is lots of e- mails about that, so we'll have

:39:03.:39:08.

Speedos next week. So exciting. Next, cinema popcorn, no smaller,

:39:08.:39:12.

but the price, a lot bigger, at least since Rick Wakeman last

:39:12.:39:16.

visited. I used to love going to the

:39:16.:39:26.

pictures - ornate old cinemas, classic movies, matinee idols. All

:39:26.:39:30.

right. All right! I am not that old. Mind you, I can remember the days

:39:30.:39:34.

when cinema snacks didn't cost a fortune. I'll have some popcorn,

:39:34.:39:44.

please. Sure. That's �4.50, please. How much? That's daylight robbery.

:39:44.:39:48.

Yep, we all know cinema popcorn is expensive, but lately, it's become

:39:48.:39:52.

even more so. Take a deep breath - here's what the three largest

:39:52.:40:02.

chains charge for a small portion in London. At Vue, a small box is

:40:02.:40:12.
:40:12.:40:13.

�4.70 or �3.15 per hundred grams. At Odeon, a small box is �3.95 or

:40:13.:40:19.

�5.27 per hundred grams. And then there's Cineworld. Their small bag

:40:19.:40:29.
:40:29.:40:39.

is �4, which works out at a whopping �6.45 per hundred grams!

:40:39.:40:43.

think it's ridiculous, so expensive, especially when you're taking three

:40:43.:40:46.

kids with you. I think it's terrible when you just want to the

:40:46.:40:52.

get in and watch a movie quickly. You can go to the supermarket and

:40:52.:40:58.

get something ten times less of the price. It ruins it. Of course, we

:40:58.:41:03.

don't have to bite, but we are a captive audience, and if we fancy a

:41:03.:41:07.

snack during a movie, the cinemas have got us exactly where they want

:41:07.:41:16.

us. In fact, one chain, Cineworld, seems a bit too keen on eliminating

:41:16.:41:21.

any competition. We went to the cinema as sort of a friends and

:41:21.:41:26.

family group, and we were shocked when the children's bags were

:41:26.:41:30.

searched. My friend had some popcorn she had brought from home.

:41:30.:41:36.

Subsequently, we weren't allowed to take it in. Obviously, the cinema

:41:36.:41:40.

realise if people bring their own food and drink, they won't make as

:41:40.:41:45.

much profit. So how much money are they making out of popcorn? I

:41:45.:41:50.

combined this ready-made bag from the supermarket for just 91p per

:41:50.:41:55.

hundred grams, yet if you buy a small portion, Cineworld sell

:41:55.:42:03.

theirs for a massive �6.45 per hundred grams. If this is what

:42:03.:42:10.

they're flogging in the foyer, that would be a 600% mark-up. But of

:42:10.:42:15.

course, it's even higher than that because the cinemas buy their

:42:15.:42:20.

popcorn in bulk from whole salers. Will those same wholesalers sell to

:42:20.:42:26.

individuals? I'm after a rather large quantity of popcorn and some

:42:27.:42:30.

boxes. Actually, a few of them will as

:42:30.:42:35.

long as the order is big enough. By making a bulk order, we managed to

:42:35.:42:40.

get pre-popped popcorn for around 33p per 100 grams and 10p for the

:42:40.:42:46.

small boxes that go with it. That means if I were to make up a 62-

:42:46.:42:52.

gram portion of popcorn, similar to this Cineworld bag, then that would

:42:52.:42:58.

be 21p for the popcorn, plus the price of the box, a total of 31p.

:42:58.:43:05.

Now, remember, Cineworld sell this size for �4. Now, using these sums,

:43:05.:43:14.

that would deliver them just under a 1,200% mark-up. Very tasty! But

:43:14.:43:18.

according to some, that still doesn't reflect what the cinema

:43:18.:43:27.

chains make. Well, if you can get hold of popcorn of 33p per hundred

:43:27.:43:30.

grams, it's obvious these cinemas are going to be getting it even

:43:31.:43:35.

cheaper, and their margin is going to be higher, but we have to bear

:43:35.:43:39.

in mind the price of a ticket doesn't recover their costs. They

:43:39.:43:43.

have the building costs. They have staffing costs. They need to make

:43:43.:43:46.

money from concessions, and that is the reason that the margins are so

:43:46.:43:50.

high. That's right. The cinemas charge these prices on the ground,

:43:50.:43:56.

so they'd make loose otherwise, which seems odd to me, as last year

:43:56.:44:02.

cinema attendances hit one of their highest rates for 25 years. In 2010,

:44:02.:44:07.

we bought 169 million tickets. That's a lot of people. They all

:44:07.:44:16.

need feeding, and I reckon they Welcome to my popcorn stand, where

:44:16.:44:22.

you can buy popcorn for just 31p. At least, I thought you could. A

:44:22.:44:26.

slight oversight on my behalf. Tens out that because of my working for

:44:26.:44:33.

the BBC, I am not able to sell it. -- it turns out. So I will have to

:44:33.:44:39.

give it away instead. Free popcorn! Come and get your grumpy old

:44:39.:44:45.

popcorn! There you don't. Want some free popcorn? Save your pocket

:44:45.:44:53.

money and buy your mother a present. 31p, bat is all each box costs may.

:44:53.:45:01.

If I shifted 100 a day and sold them for what the multiplex does, I

:45:01.:45:05.

would clear �2,500 a week. It beats playing the piano for and it thing.

:45:05.:45:10.

A few responses, Vue saved their pricing is in line with other

:45:10.:45:13.

venues and well food and drink is an optional extra, customers are

:45:13.:45:18.

welcome to bring their own snacks to the cinema. That is the case

:45:18.:45:24.

with Odin, and say they offer a range of deals -- with Odeon. One

:45:24.:45:30.

consists of popcorn, a drink and sweets for �2.99. Cineworld say

:45:30.:45:33.

they offer great value compared with other activities and the price

:45:33.:45:37.

of popcorn is affected by things other than just the draw costs of

:45:37.:45:45.

the ingredients. But why are Cineworld searching people's backs?

:45:45.:45:50.

They say it is for other reasons, security, stamping out piracy. They

:45:50.:45:54.

do ask people not to bring in their own food and drink but have

:45:54.:45:56.

apologised for the surge, saying it could have been done more

:45:56.:46:03.

sensitively. -- for the search.

:46:03.:46:07.

Moshi Monsters. If your kids are between six and 12 you are probably

:46:07.:46:12.

sick of hearing those words. The free internet game and social

:46:12.:46:15.

networks fight has become a phenomenon with 40 million

:46:15.:46:19.

registered users in the UK -- social networking site. Children

:46:19.:46:24.

are given a cyber monster to look after and those who pay a monthly

:46:24.:46:28.

membership they have access to a virtual zoo where they collect

:46:28.:46:31.

Monster pets called moshlings. But the makers Mind Candy have

:46:31.:46:36.

introduced a new monster, Dustbin Beaver, see what they did? He

:46:36.:46:40.

completes the set but can only be collected if children agreed to pay

:46:40.:46:46.

an additional �32.99 a year to subscribe to the Moshi Monsters

:46:46.:46:50.

Magazine. Mind Candy admit there have been complaints, and say they

:46:50.:46:53.

are trying to come up with a solution that is fair to everyone,

:46:53.:46:57.

but parents want the magazine subscription plans thrown out. Over

:46:57.:47:03.

to you, dustbin. Feeling under the weather? Don't

:47:03.:47:07.

rely on your smart phone for help. Researchers at the University of

:47:07.:47:12.

Bath found 6,000 apps offering advice for health problems, but

:47:12.:47:16.

more than two-thirds of them were created with no input from medical

:47:16.:47:20.

professionals. Some of the most popular ones claimed to have

:47:20.:47:24.

control pain, focusing on my brains, backache and arthritis, but

:47:24.:47:27.

researchers say there is no regulatory body monitoring the

:47:28.:47:31.

quality of the advice, which could be misleading. Which would explain

:47:31.:47:36.

why this has not cured my man cold. A crispy chicken fajita dinner

:47:36.:47:41.

sounds nice, looks delicious. One problem, no chicken. Makers Old El

:47:41.:47:45.

Paso tried to persuade us to buy the Fahey ticket with this mouth-

:47:45.:47:51.

watering advert. -- the for heater kit.

:47:51.:48:01.
:48:01.:48:04.

Introducing mouth-watering for heaters. -- fajitas. Crammed with

:48:04.:48:08.

chicken, lettuce and sour cream. But look at the text, chicken not

:48:08.:48:12.

included, and neither was the letters of sour cream. Not good

:48:12.:48:17.

enough, say the Advertising Standards Authority. From now on,

:48:17.:48:24.

Mexican is off the menu, the advert has been banned.

:48:24.:48:29.

Back in Sam, also known as Tony, also known as Mohammed, boss of

:48:29.:48:33.

Express Plumbing Limited of Bedford. His name is confusing but don't get

:48:33.:48:39.

theirs mixed up with anyone else's. We have seen him time wasting, we

:48:39.:48:49.
:48:49.:48:55.

have seen him over charging, but, That is interesting, he is looking

:48:56.:49:05.
:49:06.:49:14.

in all of the corners of the room. At this point we were expecting him

:49:14.:49:19.

to run downstairs and confront us, but he does not. Maybe he does this

:49:19.:49:26.

in every house he visit? Looks like he is continuing to do his job.

:49:26.:49:36.
:49:36.:49:43.

Checking his e-mail has taken us past the half-hour mark. We are now

:49:43.:49:49.

on �220 just for Labour, of which there has not been much. While our

:49:49.:49:53.

many cop shows the cost per second, Sam charges for the whole half-an-

:49:53.:49:59.

hour the moment it starts. The good news is that we are not paying for

:49:59.:50:09.
:50:09.:50:16.

I'm just going to put bat there. That is better. -- to put that

:50:16.:50:26.
:50:26.:50:28.

Did he just spit on the floor? Did he? Yes.

:50:28.:50:38.
:50:38.:50:43.

OK, the hour is up, you can stop dancing.

:50:43.:50:48.

She may have finished to 60 minutes set and the off of oxygen, but Sam

:50:48.:50:53.

is a long way off. He has not decided where to fit the new part

:50:53.:50:58.

and is still racking up �110 for every new half-an-hour. It looks

:50:58.:51:01.

like he is trying to put the valve in the other side. Is there any

:51:01.:51:09.

need for that? None whatsoever. is worse than useless. Why? He may

:51:09.:51:12.

have removed the over fly which would mean if this fails in the

:51:12.:51:16.

future it would not overflow outside, it would come in the

:51:16.:51:23.

property. Said this could lead to the bathroom flooding? -- so this

:51:23.:51:33.
:51:33.:51:40.

Batted it, look at that. In to the 4th half-an-hour -- that is it. The

:51:40.:51:46.

job should have taken an hour but he charges us for two hours after

:51:46.:51:54.

taking an hour and three-quarters If the new valve ever fails, the

:51:54.:52:00.

water will flow inside. Thanks, Sam. Do you know how much? We checked

:52:00.:52:08.

ourselves with five local plumbers, who said it should cost �82.

:52:08.:52:16.

�628.60. It is clearly time for me to make an appearance, just as he

:52:16.:52:26.
:52:26.:52:46.

was asked to stay to watch a little What is going on? �628. Tony, Sam,

:52:46.:52:53.

or should we call the Mohammad Shamrez? It was almost worth �628

:52:53.:52:57.

for the most astonishing display of time-wasting I think I have ever

:52:57.:53:03.

seen, which included yawning, stretching, it included the kung-fu

:53:03.:53:09.

moves, it included staring at nothing in particular. Easy as you

:53:09.:53:17.

go. It is a bit of a tricky corner, this one. OK, you are clear. See

:53:18.:53:24.

you! At this point I would normally make a pithy closing remark, but

:53:24.:53:29.

suddenly this one wants to see me again.

:53:29.:53:34.

In what planet could you possibly charge �628 for what you did and

:53:34.:53:40.

did not de there? Who read the book To Ten was told a rate of �110, you

:53:40.:53:46.

probably had it recorded -- whoever booked it was told. You have left

:53:46.:53:51.

us with a job with no overflow pipe. If it overflows, it will go in the

:53:51.:53:58.

room. No, what type of thing is put in there? They don't go wrong.

:53:59.:54:05.

never go wrong? Day never go wrong. It is more to do with the time that

:54:05.:54:09.

you spent sitting on the lavatory. I got delayed putting that a foul

:54:09.:54:15.

on there. Delayed like this? What was this about -- putting the valve

:54:15.:54:21.

on there. The other thing you cameras need to know, it is not as

:54:21.:54:26.

simple as turning off the stopcock and changing the valve, because the

:54:26.:54:31.

water was coming from the cold water storage system. There is an

:54:31.:54:34.

isolation valve in the airing cupboard. Well that is new, there

:54:34.:54:40.

is rarely an isolation valve for the whole system. You never looked,

:54:40.:54:45.

so you never found it. It is very rare, ask any plumber.

:54:45.:54:48.

He denied everything, including calling himself Tony.

:54:48.:54:53.

I am not Tony, you spoke to someone else. I have never called myself

:54:53.:55:00.

Toni. Do come in, is it Tony? were there 34 minutes in all, a

:55:00.:55:05.

good job he was not charging me for it. I am sure you do not have the

:55:05.:55:10.

time for this, have a nice day, thank you very much. No shocking

:55:11.:55:15.

next time, don't grab me next time. You know what I mean, I didn't like

:55:15.:55:22.

it. That is a window into... It was shocking, the way you grab people.

:55:22.:55:32.
:55:32.:55:32.

Please don't do that again. Have a nice day. Thank you, goodbye.

:55:32.:55:36.

There des Mohammad Shamrez, back of two cuckoo land, or wherever else

:55:36.:55:41.

they think it is acceptable to charge as much as he did for as

:55:41.:55:51.
:55:51.:55:57.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, we can confirm Sam is called Sam,

:55:57.:56:01.

short for Mohammad Shamrez. Still a long way off Tony. We have received

:56:01.:56:05.

a number of letters from his company which say that Sam knew he

:56:05.:56:09.

was being filmed and saying he denies leaving us with a leap at

:56:09.:56:13.

the second property and replacing part unnecessarily. They admit they

:56:14.:56:17.

are more expensive than your local plumber but say they spend

:56:17.:56:21.

thousands on advertising and all of the engineers have an iPad. Lucky

:56:21.:56:26.

them. They tried to get an engineer out within one or two out was so

:56:26.:56:30.

they say they provide a specialist service. So are we, letting you

:56:30.:56:36.

know about people like Mohammad Shamrez, the latest phase on our

:56:36.:56:39.

Rogue Traders Gallery. -- the latest phase.

:56:39.:56:45.

Not the are unhappy with the extended warranties being sold by,

:56:45.:56:49.

it -- a lot of you are unhappy. We have had text messages from some

:56:49.:56:53.

Comet employers, very interesting and we may come back to that later

:56:53.:56:58.

in the series. Lots of e-mails about the RAC, mostly from people

:56:58.:57:02.

and say they had the same sorts of experiences.

:57:02.:57:06.

Cinema-goers are unhappy, not with the movies but the price of the

:57:06.:57:11.

food, not just popcorn but �4 they did buy it for a hot dog with

:57:11.:57:20.

Portadown catch-up -- �4.35 for a hot dock with watered down in

:57:20.:57:25.

ketchup. Keep sending those in to us. You

:57:25.:57:35.

can click on the website or you can Thank you.

:57:35.:57:42.

Next week, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, they mis-sold hundreds of PPI plans.

:57:42.:57:46.

If you are using a company to get your money back, you could be

:57:46.:57:51.

fleeced again. Lancome, Maybelline, air brushing

:57:51.:57:55.

persuades you to buy. Who else is making sneaky claims?

:57:55.:58:00.

Anne Robinson and the team take a look at hidden camera footage that exposes misleading sales practices at a major high street chain, uncover unfinished holiday hotels, and investigate the true mark-up on cinema popcorn.


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