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.
Browse content similar to Episode 2. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Comet, making promises it can't keep, First Choice selling resorts
that aren't finished, and buy this at Cineworld? They're making a
profit you won't believe. Plus, Heinz, Pepsi and the RAC - it's
Watchdog, the programme you cannot Hello, and good evening. Welcome to
Watchdog. We're live, as usual, from Television Centre. Tonight,
Comet telling customers their warrantee covers everything. Don't
you believe it. I'm just angry and disappointed that they actually
sold me something that was actually of no use to me. At all. Also
tonight, First Choice - it gave this resort ten out of ten. Really?
It wasn't even finished, plus Cineworld, Odeon, Vue charging a
fortune for popcorn. You'll be astonished at the mark-up. Pepsi -
its multi-pack cans have shrunk from this to this. According to the
company, it's because of us women. I am not a woman, which is why I
put this week's hidden cameras inside the gent's, where we found
this rogue coming up with some novel ways to spin out a job. Check
out the Bruce Lee moves. Mind you, he didn't want us to
think he was time wasting, so he Yes, say hello to Mohammad Shamrez,
better known as Sam, but also known as Tony. We've a lot more footage
like that, and tonight we're planning a special screening just
for him, so join us, as we play it again - Sam. First, though, Comet -
248 branches in the UK selling everything from settles to fridges
to sat-navs to plasma screen TVs. They have probably tried to sell
you an Extra Care Service Plan. Are these worth the money? Is Comet
selling them correctly? What do you think? Electrical goods - expensive,
delicate and temperamental - so how can you get some piece of mind when
buying them, putting an end to the headaches of call-out charges and
replacements? The Comet Extra Care Service Plan could be the answer.
It covers the cost of repairs or replacement for up to five years
depending on the type of product you buy. Sounds perfect, but it
isn't. Ask Dan Curran, a salesman persuaded to them buy one for his
new TV. The cost of the extended warrantee was �250. The guy did
tell us if anything went wrong with the telly, they would replace the
TV to the value we purchased it. Earlier this year a shadow appeared
on the screen. When a Comet engineer couldn't fix it, they
replaced it, worth �200 less than he'd originally laid out. After
contacting them, they told us the extended value of the TV was done
on a specification and the specification was far superior than
the one we purchased. I feel angry. Wrong advice about replacements and
also about repairs - when Joy bought her laptop in June 2010,
Comet assured Heros Collonges warrantee covered accidental damage.
Eight months later her daughter dropped it on the stair, and it
stopped working. I said to her, don't worry because I have taken
out the extra cover, but when I called Comet, they told me they
wouldn't repair or replace the laptop as it didn't cover me for
accidental damage. I am just angry and disappointed that they actually
sold me something that was actually of no use to me. Comet never did
repair her laptop, but they did accept they had given her wrong
advice and agreed to refund her Warrenee payments, but have they
learnt interest their mistake? Apparently not. Following a flurry
of similar complaints, we decided to check out their sales tactics
ourselves. Cue the Watchdog mystery shoppers.
On a tour of 15 Comet stores across the country, they told staff they
were looking to buy a TV, a fridge freezer or a washing machine, and
every single time those staff began selling Comet's extended warrantee,
the Extra Care Service Plan. have this service care plan that I
would recommend for anything you Not true, unfortunately. Misuse is
not covered, neither are a few other things, like damage by vermin,
although at this Nottingham store, Cosmetic damage like scratches is
also excluded, which must be news to this staff member in this
Out of the 15 stores we visited, staff in eight of them told us we
would be covered for problems that the warrantee specifically excludes.
Six failed to mention any of the exclusions at all. There were other
claims too, like this in Comet's Reassuring, yes, true, no. In fact,
at every Comet store we visited, staff gave uss a few, misleading or
insufficient information - all of which are potential breaches of the
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, 2008. I am
concerned about misleading information being given to
customers as to the contents of the policy and what is covered. The
second concern relates to information that customers are not
being given. The policy contains a number of quite significant
exclusions, and these are not being told to customers. So why are they
getting it so wrong? We've heard from an employee who has told us
they're under pressure to persuade customers to buy the extra care
warrantees. He showed us this document issued to some staff. It
lays down the target of selling two extended warrantees per shift,
warrantees, as we have seen, are sometimes being missold. In the
instances I have seen, I believe that there are some case -- cases
where there are misleading actions and where there are misleading
omissions that could cause an average consumer to buy the product
when had they been given the full information about the product, they
may not have well so decided. told us they carry out ten million
transactions a year with a vast majority of shoppers pleased with
the high standard of service provided. But our mystery shoppers
certainly aren't. Come and play at Comet. "Come and
play?" How about playing by the rules? Riz Lateef reporting there.
We asked Comet about the customers featured in that film. They say
they regret not having met their expected levels of customer care in
both cases, although they did believe each was resolved. They say
all customers who buy the Extra Care Service Plan must read and
sign a document setting out the terms and conditions before
purchase. They then have a 45-day cooling off period in which they
can cancel. Comet deny pressurising staff to sell these. They're sorry
for any occasion when a customer is unhappy, and as a result, they're
implementing refresher training on their extra service plans for all
staff. To coment on that or any of tonight's stories, you can e-mail
Meanwhile, a huge response to last week's story about soaring
household fuel bills. Remember the graphs. The big six energy
companies insist they're in competition, yet we showed how they
consistently increased their prices in line with each other. Compared
to last year the average family is paying 18% more for gas and 11%
more for electricity. So thinking of cutting down your energy use?
Listen to this - Scottish Power customers have contacted us to say
that it's low users who are being penalised the most. That's because
the company does something known as frontloading. It's raising the cost
of the first 225 units of electricity that you use by nearly
30%, but the units used after that - well, they hardly go up at all.
So in other words, the less electricity you use, the bigger the
percentage rise in your bill? Correct, and it's the same for
those who get their gas from Eon. They're being hit with a whacking
31% increase for the first 2,680 units, but the rise for units used
after that is only 9%. What's the defence? Both companies say that
all our bills incur fixed costs, things like the price of the metre,
transportation and getting the energy into our homes, and then
they look to recover those costs through the initial energy we use.
Meanwhile, if you're struggling with your energy bills and need
advice, a reminder of that Home Coming up, First Choice - it gave
this aqua park ten out of ten - not the way we add up. Our score is
nought out of ten. Plus, motorists left stranded and told to drive
home in dangerous cars by the RAC. Now, we have had lots of experts on
Rogue Traders, expert bodgers, expert time wasters, but for the
overcharger, we have had to wait until tonight. Express Plumbing
Limited of Bedford - not to be confused with businesses of a
similar name, and they've perfected a way of getting money out of you
than you'd ever thought possible. It's very clever - almost the work
Now, this is a show I have always fancied doing. The trouble is
Johnen John Humphries shows no signs of retiring, still, might as
well get in a bit of practise while I'm waiting.
Your name is Tim, and your specialist subject is Express
Plumbing Limited. He wanted his leaky boiler. Sam replaced it with
a motorised head. Was the boiler fixed when he left? No, we had to
pay another engineer �225 to fix I. We have spoken to other plumbers.
How much were you charged? �1,406. Correct. Tim, put your money in the
lavatory. This man called the company in May
to fix his leaking loo. The same Sam the plumber said he'd fix the
leak by fitting a plastic cap there. Your time begins now. How long was
Sam at your home? 40 minutes. Correct. We spoke to five local
plumbers. They said the job should cost �74.70. What was yours final
bill from Express Plumbing? It was �509.94. Correct. So there's two
contestants who have thrown their money down the drain. What about
number three? Your name is Andrew, and your specialist subject is -
Express Plumbing Limited. Andrew phoned Express Plumbing
Limited when water began dripping if his kitchen ceel, but by the
time they'd arrived it had stopped. Express Plumbing Limited claim
they're an honest company. Where can you see this statement? On the
company's website. Correct. Plumber Sam said he'd need to lift the
floorboards to investigate further. Andrew said no. So Sam left after
40 minutes, with a surprise. How much were you charged? �414.
Correct. Andrew, put your money into the lavatory. So a bog full of
catch, three unhappy customer, one seemingly dodgy work man and no
passes. That there is a plumber with a history of overcharging.
I'll start it, so I'll begin. What do we need now? I know this. We
need a house. We need a team member, or actor, to behave as a
householder, and we need a round of drinks for the team. I'll have to
take the first one - actually, I'll need a lot of cameras. We have the
Holy Trinity of rogue traders, house, old lady, secret traders.
Now, here's the plumber who has come along to fix the boiler.
hello there. Yes, do come in. Is it Tony? Yes. Hang on. All our
complainers had a plumber called Sam. Is Tony going to be any
better? It's a simple problem. This has fallen off. It seems so, as his
diagnosis is correct and his bill, not that bad. But this is odd
because we kept getting complaints about the company, so we call them
out again to a different house. With a member of our team, Tom,
playing the owner, and plumbing expert Danny Davis has reviewed the
action. Here is the fault for Express Plumbing Limited to fix -
the robe urt doughnut ring that sits between the system and the loo
pan is leaking. All it needs is replacement. Thank goodness the
emergency plumber is here. Ring or Hold on, did you say Sam? Are you
and Tony the same bloke? Actually, yes, and the real name is Mohammad
Shamrez, director of Express Plumbing. But today he is being Sam.
But is he being honest? Delayed his at the bottom, and when you flush
He has spotted the problem, should be a pretty easy job from here.
agreed on the phone to a whopping half-an-hour rate of �95, as it was
an emergency. So we are counting the cost from the moment he arrives.
How long should the job last? should take no longer than an hour.
An hour and a half would be the top end. 90 minutes. Just long enough
for Tom to rustle up a home-made pizza. Will he make it before Sam
is finished? He might do if Sam carries on like this. He has the
siphon there, it flushes the water into the toilet from the system.
Why he needs that, there is one in the toilet that works perfectly.
The bolts have come off with ease but Sam is in no hurry. Unlike Tom,
We can see there the doughnut. That is all that needs replacing, the
black rubber ring. Remember, this is a simple job, but Sam seems
determined to complicate it and stretch it out like pizza does.
has an operating valve, it is what fills the system with water but it
Someone has used silicon on this, you are not supposed to use
silicone. To be on the safe side, I would be better of changing it all
in one go. Somebody may have done that, but it is not affecting the
operation of these parts. So the parts are a necessary and, frankly,
so is this. -- the parts are unnecessarily. Sam, Tony, or
Mohammed obviously fancies himself as a kung-fu king, and when it
comes to time-wasting he reigns supreme. See how he manages it
later after the small, perfectly formed, Chris Hollins.
Charming. I love you the way you are.
And the good news is that at least I am not getting any smaller. Not
that you are telling us about more shrinking food. Remember, last week,
we featured Innocent smoothies, bachelor Cup a Soup and Cathedral
City cheddar, reduced inside but selling for the same price --
Batchelors' Cup a Soup. We have more, Cadbury's Roses, lighter
because they have 11 less chocolates in the 10th. What
flavours are missing? It looks like a very from tin to tin, but in that
one we are missing a few toffees. love the toffee, so much in common.
It is an outrage. That is what customers are selling because they
are paying the same price for the tin. Cadbury said the chocolates
are excellent value for money but they have had to make the
chocolates -- made the tins smaller because of rising prices. We have
Heinz Farmers' Market soup, down a whopping 22%. And the excuse was
that? They blame rising raw material prices but saving you can
have an improved recipe which helped towards a five day fruit and
veg requirement. And no doubt they have no control over the retail
price? That is right. And finally, Pepsi. Josie Hodges by a multipack
every week, 24 cans, 330 ml each. Last week, same-store, same price,
but hands were just 250 ml. Pepsi say the smaller cans have not
replaced the older ones, they are still available, and once again
they do not control the price in shops. But here is the best bet,
they have launched a new cans in response to consumer research that
says many people, especially women, would prefer the option of a
smaller tan. So it is down to you. Thank you, Pepsi, of course we
prefer spending the same money on a smaller car and.
Next, the RAC and that reassuring # Just like me, they long to be
The oldest motoring organisation in the country with more than 7
million members. They say every journey is important to them.
# Just like me, they long to be close to you... #.
Don't you hate it when this happens? You are in the middle of
nowhere, no doubt in a brush, and your car breaks down. -- no doubt
in a rush. Try to fix it yourself? Good look, you need and expect.
Which is why people join a motoring organisation like the RAC. They pay
their money and expect them to be there in their times of stress.
Isn't that right, Lesley? I was driving down the motorway and Mike
Carr engine cut out. When he called the RAC, they did not recognise him
on their system -- Mike Carr engine. It took several phone-calls to
convince them he was a member. was a freezing cold February night,
my life was put in potential danger. So he is not a happy customer. What
about Max Gilbert? Might clutch cable broke, so I called the RAC on
the premium rate number. I was on hold for 10 minutes and ran out of
credit so I decided to push my motorcycle across town to use a
phone there. I eventually got an answer, but I was told someone
would be with me within an hour. But they were not. In fact, a
mechanic took an hour and-a-half to arrive. The wrong kind of mechanic,
in the wrong kind of trip. It was a man with a normal fan that would
attend to cars, and very little knowledge of motorcycles. I was
countries as to why the wrong person had been sent out and
annoyed, -- I was confused. It had started to rain and the frustration
had grown and grown. It was around 3.5 hours until I got someone
capable of taking the bike away. Breaking down? Frustrating. Bad
customer-service? Infuriating! Your recovery service leaving you
stranded? You are kidding, aren't you? Sadly not. 18-year-old on a
free man broke down on the N11 and called the RAC full recovery. It
took the repair man nearly an hour and a half to arrive. And when he
did? They gave me two options, pay a private company to toe my car,
which would cost �155, or upgrade for �35 to get me back home. So she
paid the �35 to upgrade and get towed back to a mother's house. All
OK then? About 10 minutes into the genet, he got a call from what I
presume was his boss saying, what are you doing? -- 10 minutes into
the journey. He said, taking her home. The boss said, why? Get her
to pay the �155 or drop her off at the lay-by. The RAC later admitted
that the patrol man should not have offered the upgrade but had said to
drop her in a safe place. He dropped her in a lay-by. I was so
scared, I didn't know where I was, it was those very. I was frantic, I
did not know where she was, it took me an hour to find her. To see her
sitting in that car, I was livid. I could not believe they had just
dropped her. So instead of rescuing their
members by the roadside, the RAC are standing some of them up and
letting others down. As for being close to you, sometimes they would
rather just deal with you over the phone and even then the advice they
give can be dangerous. We were driving to the Lake
District to go walking, and we were just coming in to a service station,
Rebecca was driving. Pulled up the handbrake and it came off in hand.
I phoned the RAC expecting them to come out as they had in the past
when I had a problem, and they put me through to a technician who
basically told me it was mechanically sound to drive and I
should drive to the nearest garage, over 10 miles away. Driving without
a working handbrake is not only unsafe, it is illegal. Under the
Road Traffic offenders Act 1988, all parts of the law-breaking
system need to be in working order. The chances of having a hefty fine
for this is unlikely if you are heading to a garage. The bottom
line should be, is this? It is not safe to be on the road with a
faulty handbrake or emergency brake, as it is known, that is what it is
therefore. Would you use the RAC in future? Not at all, I have lost
confidence. Whatever they did now they could not restore my
confidence. I certainly will not be using the RAC in future. It has
been a total trauma. The advert shows this gentleman coming to the
rescue. It is not true, it is sad they do not treat their customers
directly. After these stories, they might
also want to rethink that lyric. The RAC has offered sincere
apologies to all of those we featured. It says it has acted
promptly to understand the reasons for each complaint and the lessons
learned will help prevent similar mistakes in the future. It says all
four occurred in the last six months, when it received more than
1.7 million breakdown calls and tapped over a million customers.
The average time to attend was 48 minutes.
Next, First Choice, one of the biggest travel companies in the UK
but no stranger to Watchdog. In May, we caught them taking bookings for
an aqua park in Sharm el-Sheikh that was not finished. We are sorry,
they said, the political unrest in Egypt caused building delays. Four
months on, same resort, another unfinished hotel? More unhappy
holidaymakers. What is the good of heat if you
cannot cool off? Especially if you are taking the children on holiday.
The millions of families booking their summer breaks, hotel pool
facilities are high on the checklist and there is plenty on
offer in the First Choice brochure. There are some really good looking
hotels here, all with water parks in sunny locations all over the
world. Here is one, the tropic Kana resort in Sharm El-Sheikh. It has
an unlimited on Side Water Park, 35 slides, great photographs, and a
young lad he called Tomic who claims to have been on every ride
and gives it 10 out of 10 -- called Tommy. What more could you want?
Proves it has been built would be nice. Call me suspicious, but First
Choice have performed for taking bookings or parks that are not
complete. This was another resort in Sharm el-Sheikh that we featured
in our Last Series. First Choice accepted bookings for the resort
months in advance and missed the deadline for opening it twice. It
did finally open in late May, but those who arrived earlier were
greeted with this. Lovely. They would not make the same mistake
again, would they? We booked the holiday online, we booked it about
January, and we were due to go on 19th May. When we got there on the
transfer bus, you could see scaffolding, a building site.
they would make the same mistake again. PS. This is the water park
that greeted them at the resort back in May. The representative
told them they should have received an e-mail saying the park was
unfinished before they threw out. We did receive an e-mail but it was
just a countdown to say, 30 days until you go, here are your holiday
essentials. No e-mail about the water park not being opened. They
paid �1,500 for their holiday. First Choice later offered them
just �10 each in compensation. It was a similar story for Clare
Thomas and her family, who built the Park in March and this is what
greeted them in May. All First Choice have offered them is �150
compensation for Clare's �1,500 holiday. I did get it, the
brochures have been out since last year as there is nothing to save
the slides had not been built. pictures are not labelled as
artists' impressions, and it says, you will find all sorts of slides
and shoots. And of course, we have Tommy there who has tried them all
But how can he mark slides that don't even exist? Customers are
asking similar questions on First Choice's Facebook site, the site
that has been advertising different opening dates all summer - four
different opening dates, in fact. Infuriating and frustrating, but at
least the online information was accurate. If you contacted the
company by phone, that wasn't always the case. Our researchers,
posing as holiday-makers, called them as late as July the 20th.
First Choice told us that the water park was definitely open and that
it had really good reviews. So why when we actually flew out to the
resort two-and-a-half weeks later were we greeted by this - parts of
the resort closed off, only half the 35 slides open, and building
work still clearly in progress? In fact, none of the slides in the
children's section were ready for use. When we arrived, we were told
that it wasn't completed. The only thing that was completed were the
slides that were for over 12-year- olds. So if your kids were over 12,
at least they could use the slides? Not necessarily. It said the adult
slides were available but had not been health-and-safety-checked by
First Choice, so they could not recommend we use them at all. Tommy
rates a ten out of ten. I can't understand how it can be reviewed
and rated that when it hasn't been built yet. It's really
disappointing. What's the latest news from out
there? On checking a couple of days ago, we were told the adult and
children's sections are both fully opened. Only four months late,
then! And after the kids have gone back to school.
Meanwhile, it seems the stress of the job has taken its toll on First
Choice's slide tester Tommy. He's gone from a rather youthful-looking
chap in the 2011 brochure to what looks like a greying 40-something
in the next brochure. Maybe he knows Watchdog is after him. He's
got a few questions to answer. How does Tommy plead? Well, as far
as the brochure's concerned, it's guilty. First Choice say they've
changed the wording in the new edition. They say their failure to
include phrases Leichhardtist's impression or planned appearance
was an exceptional mistake. What about the delayed opening? They
blame the workers in Egypt. Customers who booked were given a
choice of staying at another resort, cancelling and getting a refund or
switching to another property. They say they usually contact people
according to their departure date but say this caused confusion on
their Facebook site. They say they're sorry about the mixed
communications from their communications team. OK. Coming up:
going to see a weepy at any of these cinemas? If the movie doesn't
make you cry, I promise you, the price of the food should. Back to
Express Plumbing Limited of Bedford. Boss Sam is stringing out a loo job
so he can claim his exs torsionate fees. Will rehe finish it before
researcher Tom has finished his 90- minute meal? In a race against time,
Tom seems to be winning. In the kitchen, the pizza smells lovely.
Upstairs in the bathroom, something smells fishy.
Why is he making those sounds? What? Those sounds that make it
wasting has made him hungry. Now, maybe it's the smell of the pizza,
which is cooked and ready after one hour and ten minutes - oh, yum! As
we stuff our faces, Sam finally gets on with fitting our new parts,
been here, and he's finally said that he's actually finished.
done, all sorted and working fine. There you are, no leak? No leak,
totally dry. A result which could have been
achieved in a much shorter time at a much cheaper price.
What's the damage then? �700.97. Well, drain my hose - �700
including parts and VAT for a job that should have cost �82 according
to five local plumbers we called. Somebody say Whoa! Whoa! That's a
lot, isn't it? Not only that, he left us with a
leak where there wasn't one before. Some would say we have this rogue
bang to rights, but it's still not enough. Are you serious? I am
always serious. I'd like to see Sam - or Tony - doing his thing all
over again, then I would like to take sounds from the first job he
did, set them to music, and play the whole lot back to him on a big
telly. To make him realise in a moment of epiphany he has been
filmed all the time. Exactly, and we'll film that too.
same expert. So Danny, tell us about the frault you're going to
set today? Very simple, one ball valve cock, whatever you want to
call it. All I am going to do is adjust the arm in here so water is
going to keep flowing longer than it normally would and it will
overflow - simple but effective. Away you go. Simple to fix too. All
he needs is a new float valve. The job shouldn't take longer than an
hour. As for the music, that's DJ Drag It Out, also known as
researcher Hannah, who will confront Sam with the video
evidence and teach me to dance like a young person, but before that,
can she complete her 60-minute set before he finishes his very
expensive bathroom job? He's quoted us �110 per half hour for his
labour, which is staggering, would you say? Uh-huh. Sam is it? Yeah,
that's it. Sam's clock starts ticking from the moment he steps
through the door, so ours will as diagnosis. All he needs to do now
system down. This is going to take a whole lot longer than it should.
That's bad news for us, but no problem for Sam who is an expert
time waster. He settles down as the water, and our money, drains away.
Meanwhile, our DJ is well into her set which comprises mostly of happy
house and handbag trans. MUSIC
I am 100% certain that this is drained down now, so he should just
be getting to the job in hand. seen zombie flicks where people
move quicker. There is nothing Hang on a minute. There is
something happening. 28 minutes into the job, it looks like Sam has
spotted our cam. Have we been rumbled, Sam?
Well, you'll have to keep watching to find out, won't you? We'll be
going to the bathroom again in ten minutes. We hope we can hold it in
until then - the excitement, that is. A quick update on your texts
and e-mails. Lots of you getting in touch about shrinking food. Here is
one, Georgina Turner has been in touch about Cadbury's Animal
Chocolate Biscuits. The multipacks used to contain eight 20-gram pacts.
It's now been changed to six 22- gram packets, but the price is the
same. Also Muller-light yogurts are down in size, but no price change.
Have there been any e-mails about your swimming shorts with pink
flowers? Yes, there is lots of e- mails about that, so we'll have
Speedos next week. So exciting. Next, cinema popcorn, no smaller,
but the price, a lot bigger, at least since Rick Wakeman last
visited. I used to love going to the
pictures - ornate old cinemas, classic movies, matinee idols. All
right. All right! I am not that old. Mind you, I can remember the days
when cinema snacks didn't cost a fortune. I'll have some popcorn,
please. Sure. That's �4.50, please. How much? That's daylight robbery.
Yep, we all know cinema popcorn is expensive, but lately, it's become
even more so. Take a deep breath - here's what the three largest
chains charge for a small portion in London. At Vue, a small box is
�4.70 or �3.15 per hundred grams. At Odeon, a small box is �3.95 or
�5.27 per hundred grams. And then there's Cineworld. Their small bag
is �4, which works out at a whopping �6.45 per hundred grams!
think it's ridiculous, so expensive, especially when you're taking three
kids with you. I think it's terrible when you just want to the
get in and watch a movie quickly. You can go to the supermarket and
get something ten times less of the price. It ruins it. Of course, we
don't have to bite, but we are a captive audience, and if we fancy a
snack during a movie, the cinemas have got us exactly where they want
us. In fact, one chain, Cineworld, seems a bit too keen on eliminating
any competition. We went to the cinema as sort of a friends and
family group, and we were shocked when the children's bags were
searched. My friend had some popcorn she had brought from home.
Subsequently, we weren't allowed to take it in. Obviously, the cinema
realise if people bring their own food and drink, they won't make as
much profit. So how much money are they making out of popcorn? I
combined this ready-made bag from the supermarket for just 91p per
hundred grams, yet if you buy a small portion, Cineworld sell
theirs for a massive �6.45 per hundred grams. If this is what
they're flogging in the foyer, that would be a 600% mark-up. But of
course, it's even higher than that because the cinemas buy their
popcorn in bulk from whole salers. Will those same wholesalers sell to
individuals? I'm after a rather large quantity of popcorn and some
boxes. Actually, a few of them will as
long as the order is big enough. By making a bulk order, we managed to
get pre-popped popcorn for around 33p per 100 grams and 10p for the
small boxes that go with it. That means if I were to make up a 62-
gram portion of popcorn, similar to this Cineworld bag, then that would
be 21p for the popcorn, plus the price of the box, a total of 31p.
Now, remember, Cineworld sell this size for �4. Now, using these sums,
that would deliver them just under a 1,200% mark-up. Very tasty! But
according to some, that still doesn't reflect what the cinema
chains make. Well, if you can get hold of popcorn of 33p per hundred
grams, it's obvious these cinemas are going to be getting it even
cheaper, and their margin is going to be higher, but we have to bear
in mind the price of a ticket doesn't recover their costs. They
have the building costs. They have staffing costs. They need to make
money from concessions, and that is the reason that the margins are so
high. That's right. The cinemas charge these prices on the ground,
so they'd make loose otherwise, which seems odd to me, as last year
cinema attendances hit one of their highest rates for 25 years. In 2010,
we bought 169 million tickets. That's a lot of people. They all
need feeding, and I reckon they Welcome to my popcorn stand, where
you can buy popcorn for just 31p. At least, I thought you could. A
slight oversight on my behalf. Tens out that because of my working for
the BBC, I am not able to sell it. -- it turns out. So I will have to
give it away instead. Free popcorn! Come and get your grumpy old
popcorn! There you don't. Want some free popcorn? Save your pocket
money and buy your mother a present. 31p, bat is all each box costs may.
If I shifted 100 a day and sold them for what the multiplex does, I
would clear �2,500 a week. It beats playing the piano for and it thing.
A few responses, Vue saved their pricing is in line with other
venues and well food and drink is an optional extra, customers are
welcome to bring their own snacks to the cinema. That is the case
with Odin, and say they offer a range of deals -- with Odeon. One
consists of popcorn, a drink and sweets for �2.99. Cineworld say
they offer great value compared with other activities and the price
of popcorn is affected by things other than just the draw costs of
the ingredients. But why are Cineworld searching people's backs?
They say it is for other reasons, security, stamping out piracy. They
do ask people not to bring in their own food and drink but have
apologised for the surge, saying it could have been done more
sensitively. -- for the search.
Moshi Monsters. If your kids are between six and 12 you are probably
sick of hearing those words. The free internet game and social
networks fight has become a phenomenon with 40 million
registered users in the UK -- social networking site. Children
are given a cyber monster to look after and those who pay a monthly
membership they have access to a virtual zoo where they collect
Monster pets called moshlings. But the makers Mind Candy have
introduced a new monster, Dustbin Beaver, see what they did? He
completes the set but can only be collected if children agreed to pay
an additional �32.99 a year to subscribe to the Moshi Monsters
Magazine. Mind Candy admit there have been complaints, and say they
are trying to come up with a solution that is fair to everyone,
but parents want the magazine subscription plans thrown out. Over
to you, dustbin. Feeling under the weather? Don't
rely on your smart phone for help. Researchers at the University of
Bath found 6,000 apps offering advice for health problems, but
more than two-thirds of them were created with no input from medical
professionals. Some of the most popular ones claimed to have
control pain, focusing on my brains, backache and arthritis, but
researchers say there is no regulatory body monitoring the
quality of the advice, which could be misleading. Which would explain
why this has not cured my man cold. A crispy chicken fajita dinner
sounds nice, looks delicious. One problem, no chicken. Makers Old El
Paso tried to persuade us to buy the Fahey ticket with this mouth-
watering advert. -- the for heater kit.
Introducing mouth-watering for heaters. -- fajitas. Crammed with
chicken, lettuce and sour cream. But look at the text, chicken not
included, and neither was the letters of sour cream. Not good
enough, say the Advertising Standards Authority. From now on,
Mexican is off the menu, the advert has been banned.
Back in Sam, also known as Tony, also known as Mohammed, boss of
Express Plumbing Limited of Bedford. His name is confusing but don't get
theirs mixed up with anyone else's. We have seen him time wasting, we
have seen him over charging, but, That is interesting, he is looking
in all of the corners of the room. At this point we were expecting him
to run downstairs and confront us, but he does not. Maybe he does this
in every house he visit? Looks like he is continuing to do his job.
Checking his e-mail has taken us past the half-hour mark. We are now
on �220 just for Labour, of which there has not been much. While our
many cop shows the cost per second, Sam charges for the whole half-an-
hour the moment it starts. The good news is that we are not paying for
I'm just going to put bat there. That is better. -- to put that
Did he just spit on the floor? Did he? Yes.
OK, the hour is up, you can stop dancing.
She may have finished to 60 minutes set and the off of oxygen, but Sam
is a long way off. He has not decided where to fit the new part
and is still racking up �110 for every new half-an-hour. It looks
like he is trying to put the valve in the other side. Is there any
need for that? None whatsoever. is worse than useless. Why? He may
have removed the over fly which would mean if this fails in the
future it would not overflow outside, it would come in the
property. Said this could lead to the bathroom flooding? -- so this
Batted it, look at that. In to the 4th half-an-hour -- that is it. The
job should have taken an hour but he charges us for two hours after
taking an hour and three-quarters If the new valve ever fails, the
water will flow inside. Thanks, Sam. Do you know how much? We checked
ourselves with five local plumbers, who said it should cost �82.
�628.60. It is clearly time for me to make an appearance, just as he
was asked to stay to watch a little What is going on? �628. Tony, Sam,
or should we call the Mohammad Shamrez? It was almost worth �628
for the most astonishing display of time-wasting I think I have ever
seen, which included yawning, stretching, it included the kung-fu
moves, it included staring at nothing in particular. Easy as you
go. It is a bit of a tricky corner, this one. OK, you are clear. See
you! At this point I would normally make a pithy closing remark, but
suddenly this one wants to see me again.
In what planet could you possibly charge �628 for what you did and
did not de there? Who read the book To Ten was told a rate of �110, you
probably had it recorded -- whoever booked it was told. You have left
us with a job with no overflow pipe. If it overflows, it will go in the
room. No, what type of thing is put in there? They don't go wrong.
never go wrong? Day never go wrong. It is more to do with the time that
you spent sitting on the lavatory. I got delayed putting that a foul
on there. Delayed like this? What was this about -- putting the valve
on there. The other thing you cameras need to know, it is not as
simple as turning off the stopcock and changing the valve, because the
water was coming from the cold water storage system. There is an
isolation valve in the airing cupboard. Well that is new, there
is rarely an isolation valve for the whole system. You never looked,
so you never found it. It is very rare, ask any plumber.
He denied everything, including calling himself Tony.
I am not Tony, you spoke to someone else. I have never called myself
Toni. Do come in, is it Tony? were there 34 minutes in all, a
good job he was not charging me for it. I am sure you do not have the
time for this, have a nice day, thank you very much. No shocking
next time, don't grab me next time. You know what I mean, I didn't like
it. That is a window into... It was shocking, the way you grab people.
Please don't do that again. Have a nice day. Thank you, goodbye.
There des Mohammad Shamrez, back of two cuckoo land, or wherever else
they think it is acceptable to charge as much as he did for as
Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, we can confirm Sam is called Sam,
short for Mohammad Shamrez. Still a long way off Tony. We have received
a number of letters from his company which say that Sam knew he
was being filmed and saying he denies leaving us with a leap at
the second property and replacing part unnecessarily. They admit they
are more expensive than your local plumber but say they spend
thousands on advertising and all of the engineers have an iPad. Lucky
them. They tried to get an engineer out within one or two out was so
they say they provide a specialist service. So are we, letting you
know about people like Mohammad Shamrez, the latest phase on our
Rogue Traders Gallery. -- the latest phase.
Not the are unhappy with the extended warranties being sold by,
it -- a lot of you are unhappy. We have had text messages from some
Comet employers, very interesting and we may come back to that later
in the series. Lots of e-mails about the RAC, mostly from people
and say they had the same sorts of experiences.
Cinema-goers are unhappy, not with the movies but the price of the
food, not just popcorn but �4 they did buy it for a hot dog with
Portadown catch-up -- �4.35 for a hot dock with watered down in
ketchup. Keep sending those in to us. You
can click on the website or you can Thank you.
Next week, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, they mis-sold hundreds of PPI plans.
If you are using a company to get your money back, you could be
fleeced again. Lancome, Maybelline, air brushing
persuades you to buy. Who else is making sneaky claims?
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.