The consumer series hears from the drivers struggling to declare their cars off road - is the DVLA listening? Plus, the advertising promises made by mobile phone companies.
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They DVLA, you cannot win. The Xbox, you cannot play. Tesco, it can't
count. Plus Aviva, Ryanair, Barclays and Love Film? You will
not like their sales matters. It is Watchdog, the programme you cannot
Hello, good evening, welcome to Watchdog live as usual from
Television Centre. Tonight, the DVLA threatening drivers with
penalties and bailiffs. Want to appeal? You will be looking.
expression was, I'm sorry, we have given you a fixed penalty, pay up
or else. I felt as if I had been ripped off. Also, Microsoft says it
is infallible, so why is it making a pig's ear of the Xbox Live
service? Motorola claims this smartphone is life-proof. Tell that
to owners whose handsets have smashed. And Love Film are signing
you up to move the rental deals, they need to change the script.
Here is a film I love, Royal Navy. It has a great influence on my work.
If you do try to convince people that pipes are full of scales,
don't be surprised if you find some down there along with fines and
bills. We are swimming with the big fish tonight, First Active Drainage
Limited. We have put the bait on the hook, will they buy it?
First, the DVLA issuing penalties, threatening drivers are bailiffs.
Fine if they have broken the rules, what if they haven't? Last year we
showed how the DVLA tried to prosecute motorists to get their
cars off the road even when the owners had sent the correct
paperwork to skip road tax. They hoped a court ruling would change
things. It hasn't. This is a statutory off-road notice
that drivers must send to the DVLA if they are not planning to use
their vehicles after their annual road tax is due. Trouble is, when
some drivers send it off, they still get into trouble. They wrote
back basically and said, no, you are guilty of not checking up to
see that we had your copy, and you are fined �80. If the DVLA does not
acknowledge receipt of the form, they insist it is your
responsibility to contact them and chase it up, even if it is the DVLA
who have lost it. Madness, according to this motor cyclist.
told them I had sent it on time, I sent it in August, but they did not
believe me. They basically called me a liar. The DVLA threatened
Duncan with a penalty and he said he would see them in court, where a
judge ruled he was in the right. He said the DVLA had no statutory
power requiring anyone to contact them should they not receive an
acknowledgement letter. So, if a judge has declared it is not your
responsibility to chase up the DVLA for its own mistakes, why are we
still getting complaints? Put simply, the DVLA has ignored the
judge's comments. In response to a Watchdog Freedom of Information
request they told us they have issued over three-quarters of a
million late licence penalties since April last year. Asked if
they had changed any procedures in light of the Duncan judgment, the
answer was short, no. The trouble with Duncan's case was it was
decided in the county court. They do not set any precedent.
Presumably the DVLA believe that because the law has not changed,
they should not change procedure. The issue is that procedure was
wrong in the first phase was stopped despite that, the DVLA
continues to pursue drivers with figure and was recently given new
powers to chase them for unpaid insurance as well as tax. Should it
take on this responsibility before it as a iron out problems with its
existing role? -- before it has ironed out problems. This man sent
out his form last year but seven months later received an 80 pound
penalty. I felt I had no option but to pay it, with a threatening
letter from the bailiff company stating that if I did not pay the
�80, all that would happen is the cost would increase. Paul is
adamant he did nothing wrong. If the form was lost, he says it is
the DVLA's fault. But, like many drivers, he found it is a case of
his word against theirs. Has anything changed since we last
reported on this? The DVLA did promise Watchdog that they would
start sending out additional reminders to give motorists further
opportunity to avoid penalties. That, at least, should have helped.
But not according to Stephen, who received his first reminder last
October. I decided to be a fair weather motor cyclist, so I
declared it off road and put my motorcycle away and thought it was
done and dusted. Three months later, the DVLA wrote again. Not with a
second reminder, but and 80 pound penalty for not sending his form.
knew what I had posted it. I categorically, 100% sent it. I got,
it has got to be a mistake. It has got to be a mistake. The DVLA
offered Stephen the chance to appeal. He did but without success.
The expression was, I'm sorry, we have given you a fixed penalty,
paid up or else. I felt as if I had been ripped off. The DVLA to have a
procedure to deal with such disputes. Anyone unhappy with their
penalty notices may have their appeal heard by an independent
complaints assessor. But who decides whether the complaint
should be referred to them? None other than the chief executive of
the DVLA. DVLA complaints procedure seems to lack any transparency
whatsoever. The steps are laid out on the website, so far, so good,
but it is not clear as to what they investigate at each stage. If you
are lucky enough to have had the chief executive look at your
complaint, the answer is still, by and large, no, you are in the wrong
and the DVLA are the judge, jury, they are even the executioner.
DVLA have told us that since July 2010 they have received 2224
complaints from drivers who have had issues taxing or declaring
their cars off road. 42 of those people ask for their case to be
referred to the independent complaints assessor. How many did
they pass on? Just nine. Less than a quarter. John Williams had his
appeal heard by the independent complaints assessor. I felt quite
resolute in the way I was dealing with things, and I felt, maybe
naively, that if you have not done anything wrong than the outcome
will be in your favour. But any hope that the assessor would find
in his favour was misplaced. He sided with the DVLA.
Independent Complaints SSS sounds great, a guide that will get to
grips with it and sort it out, but his hands are tied. He can only
look at administration, unreasonable delays. He cannot look
at policy, a cannot investigate whether my form arrived or not.
assessor did criticise the DVLA's procedures and recommended John's
penalty should be dropped. letter I then had from the DVLA was
extremely insulting, effectively saying, we have not done anything
wrong, but more because of what they have said, we will let you off
on this occasion, but if you do it again we will have you next time.
Court judgments going against them and numerous law-abiding motorists
being penalised. Surely now the DVLA must listen and change the
system? Victoria Derbyshire reporting. With
me now, David Evans from the DVLA. You are still using male? -- and
losing mail. The law on taxing your vehicle is clear, you have to tax
it or declare it off the road. 4 million people a year managed to
tell us they have sold a vehicle, 80% online, without problem. It is
the best way to do it. And you are still forgetting to remind people?
Week issue 34 million reminders to people in the months leading up to
when they have to tax. But you have forgotten? No, after the event we
issued 4.000.002nd reminders since the gk -- chief executive sat here.
Let's not run away with figures. Supposing you have told the DVLA
that your car is coming off-road, sent in your form, but have not
done anything when they do not acknowledge it. You have not told
them, as you say here, you have got to let them know that you have not
received acknowledgement? If I have got the notification... Supposing
you have done the right thing, cent in the form, and the next thing you
know you have and �80 penalty? next thing you would have, if we
have not got you would have a reminder. Supposing you suddenly
got, as one of our people did, and �80 penalty? Get in touch and we
will make sure we have sent both reminders. Some of these people,
you get in touch or pay it because you are frightened of the �1,000,
the next one. We would make sure we sent but reminders to use. You have
just seen the evidence that you have not. We check the address you
are living at before anything else. You have just seen people who say
they have sent in their form, law abiding citizens, never been to
jail, you have sent in your form and now have to pay and �80 fine.
What next? 4 million people get this right. Never mind that, it has
not worked for these people! encourage people to do this online,
take any risk out of the latter getting to you. But they cannot
appeal! Supposing it is you and you have to pay �80 even though you
cent in the form, can you appeal? You at the DVLA decide whether it
can go to an independent assessor. We do a lot of work on it before it
gets to that point. But it is not working. We expect to resolve as
many complaints as we can and we resolve the vast majority. You are
expecting people to be the giving of your mistakes when you are not
the giving of theirs. We do a lot of work to discover what has gone
wrong -- you are not forgiving. David Evans, thank you.
If you want to declare your car off-road, the DVLA say the easiest
way is to do it online. Details are on the screen. Or you can call.
That way you get immediate acknowledgement that your
notification has been received. If you would like to comment on
this or any of tonight's stories, Coming up, enjoying Downton Abbey?
Hope the Aviva adverts are not spoiling it. And Love Film are
signing up campaigners -- signing up customers, getting their lines
wrong. Big corporations, so remote from
their customers. Your local family firm on the other hand, much more
in touch, they are on your doorstep, part of the community. It is
According to a recent survey we are more likely to trust a company if
it is a long-established and based nearby. So say hello to your ideal
firm of promise. -- plumbers. are a family run business.
local. Our customers live within a 300 yard radius. No need to
advertise, all word of mouth. We don't even have a phone. We just
shout. That is Mrs Jones. Come on. We have not use the van for years.
You see, local and family man, apparently just like First Active
Drainage Limited, not to be confused with others with similar
names. They claim to have been around since the 70s, odd since the
company was incorporated in 2009. They also claim to be local to
north London, handy for Daphne, who had a blocked drain at home in
Islington. Where are your drains? Just up here.
Water was coming out? It was. was it that made you go with this
company? They said it was local, I wanted somebody there quickly. It
was supposed to be a family company, established 35 years, I thought
they would be reliable and they said they could clear the drains
fast was stopped they said they charge �22.50 for the first half-
an-hour, rising if they had to use power equipment. Daphne agreed,
expecting a bill around �100. Bad move. The guy came round with his
homes, I left them to it, and later he came to the back door and
presented me with a bill for �540. I was furious. I said, this is
ridiculous, I know what the going rate is, you are cowboys. He got
his boss on the phone and said, -- and Assad, I will put this on
Twitter at which point he hung up on a. The power of Twitter is such
that the threat of it... I have never used that before. I don't
even know what Twitter is! Daphne sent him packing with less than
half the amount he asked for. Now, it is back aboard the drain a train.
Come with me, First Active Drainage Limited have plenty of other
customers to cheat him plenty of places because, while claiming to
be local to not London, they say they are local to other areas, too.
Gillingham in Dorset, home to this I hoped the page and I saw the
number on there, so I thought it must be local. A drain they share
with their neighbours became blocked. A workman, named Ryan,
spent three days washing out the gunk with a power hose. He dug up a
neighbour's patio, supposedly to replace a section of pipe. But did
he? We put a camera down to find out. Phil Brook will take a look.
Any evidence of that at all? No. actually paid here for something
that just hasn't been done. That's correct, yeah. And none just paid,
paid through the nose. The Buds settled on a charge of nearly �2,
00 -- � 2,600. What's that like going round asking your neighbours
for money? Hell. It was not good at all. Do you think that he actually
replaced this pipe? I don't know. I can't prove it. The only way to
find out is by digging down, I suppose. Well, we've had our man
stick his camera down your drains. We can say categorically that the
pipe hasn't been replaced. They've charged you for work that hasn't
been done. I'm not quite sure you've really grasped what's gone
on here. No, I don't think we have. It's affected us mentally and
physically. We've lost weight both of us, at least a stone. In all
their dealings with First Active Drainage Limited, the couple only
ever spoke to Ryan. When the final bill arrived it came with a letter
signed by a James Francis. There's a name worth remembering. Time to
serve the sewage all the way back to Dan.
A local company? Local is as local does. Doesn't mean anything mate.
We've got complaints right across the south of England, from Weymouth
in Dorset from west cliff on sea in Essex. I bet you have got nothing
from Watford. No, we haven't. We have got to go to Watford now. Why?
Because they claim to be local there too. Here is a house in
Watford with a pigeon, cameras, an actor and an expert with an
interest in mucking things up. Drain diva Bryan is creating a
blockage with compost and loo paper. Two days later it's caused a build
up. Time to call in First Active Drainage Limited. We charge 47.50
per half an hour for Labour. In the event we have to use 59.50 for high
pressure equipment. Do you think they'll get it out. Take a wild
guess. We'll tell you if you're right in about 15 minutes, which is
when we're expecting them to turn up. Remember, they only have to
unblock a drain, like our man here. They only need a rod with a plunger
at the end. It should only take 25 seconds. So simple, anyone can do
Well, almost anyone. By the way kids, don't go down drains, it's
flipping horrible. That goes for you too Anni.
Next Microsoft and the Xbox, the biggest selling games console in
the UK last year. It allows users to download new games and play
online against friends. But a growing number are discovering
Microsoft has banned them permanently. Why? It won't tell you.
Appealing the decision? Impossible. The reaction? Outrage.
35 million users worldwide. Players the length and breadth of Britain.
Xbox live is a great way of testing your skills and keeping in touch
with your mates. To be able to connect with friends and play
together, without needing to go to each other's houses, which isn't
always possible, when you do live in a rural area, it's a life line.
A life line that suddenly snapped. Over the last few weeks scores of
users have told us they've been cut off. Their consoles prevented from
connecting to others online. Microsoft says they violated their
possible. When I turned on my Xbox and found it was banned, I felt
really upset and annoyed. We were accused of tampering or doing
something wrong with the account or violating their terms. When I spoke
to Microsoft there was no doubt in their mind that it was my son at
fault and as a result it wasn't necessary for an appeals system
because they weren't wrong. I just couldn't believe the arrogance and
the fact this they would not move on their point of view. The bans
have been issued by Microsoft's mysterious enforcement team whose
job is to stop Xbox users from breaking the rules like tampering
with the console, committing online fraud or repeatedly breaching the
none of these things? Fplgts I knew I didn't do anything. They wouldn't
tell me when, why or what I had done. Microsoft were adamant that
they could not be at all the. is Microsoft saying to customers?
Posing as the parent of a user, whose console had been disconnected,
we called customer services three times. Each time they were quick to
blame us for the ban. Trust me, there has to be some reason. Maybe
can you talk to your son. Maybe there's something you didn't know.
As for trying to prove our innocence, no chance. Unfortunately
there's no way to appeal it. The only thing once it's been banned,
that means the console's kind of dead, so to say. You can only buy a
new console if you want to play online again, OK? No, not OK. Any
other suggestions. The worst case scenario you will buy him a new
console for Christmas or something like that. What if there was the
faintest possibility that, you know, Microsoft itself might have got it
wrong? I can assure you, Sir, we have lots of calls about bans. In 1
hundred% of the cases the ban team is meticulous and always right.
Come again? They're always right. So now we know. Microsoft is
infallible. Who'd have thought it. If you're a customer, you will have
been given that impression. We were less sure. We called them again,
this time as watchdog. And? turns out, they were wrong, after
all. Fabulous! Yes just three hours after our call, Microsoft put up
They have reversed some of the bans and gave affected users three
months free Xbox live sup skripgs, plus 1600 Microsoft points around �
25 in compensation. Good job team.
Sadly, that's come too late for those users like Maxine, and her
11-year-old son James, who went out and bought a replacement Xbox to
get around the ban. We have two identical Xbox consoles and it was
a waste of money, basically. It was also too late for Jo, Stuart -- Jo
Stuart Matthews and her son. decided to go out and buy another
console because they said they wouldn't reverse -- reverse the ban.
I wasn't prepared to give them any more money. So we decided to buy a
PlayStation, which cost �170. received an e-mail from Microsoft
admitting their mistake. The ban was being lifted and their console
reconnected. I was really angry because all along they've told us
they didn't make mistakes and it was something Ben had done, which
had caused a lot of tension in the family. I wouldn't have bought the
console if it wasn't for their advice, so I think they should pay
for it. What are Microsoft going to do? Fplgts not much. They say the
advice from customer services was to buy a new Xbox not another brand
of console. So she won't be compensated. Those would bought a
new Xbox 360 before September 23 will be reimbursed for the price of
the new console as long as they can provide proof-of-purchase. The bans
were issued between August 29 and September 9. They deeply regret any
inconvenience this may have caused. Anyone affected should call their
support line. Next Love Film, the movie sup
skripgs service owned by Amazon, delivering DVDs to the doors of 1.7
million members, but it wants more people to sign up. Sales reps are
operating in shopping centres, offering free trials, discount
vouchers and unlimited DVDs. Too good to be true?
It's Sunday and that means one thing, settling down with my latest
delivery from Love Film. Perfect! The movie phenomenon
everyone's talking about. They were dreamers looking for Britain's
largest range of film, then came Love Film.
With over 70,000 tight tolz choose from, including movies exclusively
streamed as part of your sup skripgs. Sounds unmissable, but
what about the reviews? First one courtesy of chick flick fan Lexi, a
sales rep offered her a free trial for 30 days. What does that
involve? You get three movies for �5. You don't pay for the first 30
days and then after that �5 goes off your account every month. The
rep asked me for bank card details but they assured me it would be
charged after the first 30 days. checking her bank statement she saw
that Love Film had charged her almost immediately. She demanded an
answer. They told me that wasn't the deal it was three months for
the price of one so �5.99 had been charged to my account. I wasn't on
a 30-day free trial. I feel misled. After several e-mails Lexi got a
refund, a relationship that started well but ended messily.
Never mind, this is a double feature, so how about something for
the boys? Action thriller fan Ryan signed up to Love Film in April.
The rep told us we had 14 days to cancel. Most weekends I bought
movies any way. I thought I could go home and cancel if I wanted to.
He told me there was a link to cancel online. When he tried to
cancel online he couldn't. The web page directed him to a telephone
number. Spoke to customer service. He said there's no point in
cancelling, money's been taken and I wouldn't have a refund. I
realised I'd been missold this deal and there wasn't 14 days' cooling
off period. They had taken the money from my account the day that
they signed me up. After a call, and several e-mails, Ryan was also
refunded. But watchdog has received dozens of complaints about sales
practices and heard from more than 40 with cancellation problems. We
need to see what's going on. Oh, a spy film. Looks interesting.
This Autumn, Watchdog presents Love Film sales reps the movie you
cannot afford to miss. Two researchers coming to shopping
centres near you. Is that the best you can do, Chris?
Yeah! Charming. We spoke to six repz at four
different shopping centres around the country. All tried to sinus up
to a 21 day free trial or three months for the price of one. There
were first rate performances on the sales pitch. What's to think about?
Do you have to ring your boyfriend and see if he's got a pair? This
represent got his lines wrong? it easy to cancel? Go onto my
account and click cancel. Sounds convincing enough. I'm on the "my
account" section of the website. I'm going to try to cancel, by
clicking here. When I get through it says, that I have to call a
telephone number. So it's not like cancelling
Facebook then. But don't worry as according to the reps you're not
tied into anything. We don't bind you into anything. It's not a
contract? It's not a contract. contract? Wrong again, a Love Film
subscription is a legally binding contract, but every rep we spoke to
told us it waents. Now a contract comes with terms and conditions,
did any of the reps mention those? Not one. Had they even read them
themselves?. They won't charge me automatically? No, no. Untrue. At
the end of an interductery offer Love Film will begin billing unless
you cancel the account. At least there's the DVDs to look forward to,
how many would we get? The best offer is �5.99 for three months.
many as you want? Actually it's four a movement And what else?
get a �40 wine voucher. Great, if it was true. What we got was a �15
supermarket voucher and notd quite the same ring to it. It seems to me
the sales reps have been overselling services by putting
information in a very misleading way and leaving out very important
information. Doing that is potentially a breach of the
consumer protection from unFairtradeing regulations 2008.
Thank you Mark. Your review comes eight months
after Love Film had this TV ad banned. Can you have movies
streamed straight to your internet enabled TV. For implying streaming
was part of a free trial offer when it wasn't. So a misleading ad and
now misleading sales rep. What's Love Film's response to the
critics? Do we have a result? In response to our report, Love
Film have now suspended face-to- face selling by third party agency
involved. That will remain in effect will they review the sign up,
cancellation and training processes. They apologise to those who have
had a bad experience and ask anyone who's concerned at the way
membership was sold to them to contact this free phone number 0800,
Still to come: Dodgy offers from Tesco caught on cameras and the
Defy smartphone. Life-proof, says Motorola, so how does it explain
this? Back to First Active Drainage
Limited. Described in this north London directory as a local family
firm, it is also described as such in this Bristol directory. The same
with Brighton and Southend. In fact, we found their advert in 42 Local
Directories with each one saying they are based in that particular
area. So are they omnipresent? Can they transcend time and space? His
human cloning now a reality? There is a place for such fundamental
questions, and it is called the Watford.
It is also where we have set up a house with regulation old lady,
regulation expert and a drain with a simple blockage. All it needs is
a quick plunge, but First Active Drainage contractor Paul is
quitting already for extra machinery. Will I need any jets?
it is blocked out the front, you generally well. Will he not even
try a simple rot? On top of �47.50 for every half-an-hour of labour,
he will charge for using his own power jet. It makes it over �100
for half an hour's work, which is rather excessive. You don't expect
this sort of thing from a local family run business, do you? But it
isn't, it is based nowhere near here. How will he explain that?
Paul? The offices are bounce out. thought it was local? -- the
offices are down south. My family, we have been working like relatives,
Wake up, because you are in time for the Rogue Traders drain
clearing race. It does not get more exciting than this. On the left,
our man fell, on the right First Active Drainage's Paul with an
hourly rate of �214. Two drains, the same type of blockage. Phil and
Paul have their equipment in, having a good feel around. Phil is
pumping hard, making his what do the work. Paul's hose is looking
limp. And Phil has come first. There widow. Who writes this felt?
The blockage gone in 25 pulsating seconds. Any news on the run up?
What is he up to? -- the runner up. It looks like he is purposefully
wasting time. He is not doing anything. He should have easily
finished this job by now and left the property. 32 minutes after
arriving, Paul clears the drain, but he can still smell something.
Many. It is totally scaled up, it needs a d scale. I really need that
turns if you don't, this will back up again. He does not know what
scale they have got because he has not put a camera in. We have, and
we can say there is no scaling problem present. No concern to Paul,
who spends two hours and four minutes on the job. And that will
be... �465.23. And then I have got VAT on top of that? It is money For
Auld road for the government, 20%. He is blaming the government. This
Bill should have been �57, he has charged �558.27. This position is
not down to the coalition. What have we found out? It is clear
First Active Drainage Limited employed a similar job stretching
techniques whether in Islington, Gillingham or Watford. And then the
family thing. We have family in between... Even after this tortured
explanation, it is not clear who runs the company and whether it is
a family concern. It is a family, what is their name? I don't know
yet -- if it is a family. On paper, the director is Joseph Ashford, but
the guy dealing with the complaints is James Francis. Where are they
based? On the invoice, Southampton. How about this, we call them out
again in Southampton. We might get a family member, who knows?
We need an old lady, a very smiley one, plus a house with secret
cameras, you can see what is going on, and we need to lift the lid on
this drain and put in our usual mix to create a blockage. Leave it to
set for one day and like a teenage boy's internet access, it is
temporarily blocked. The water has built up and we have created a
blockage. There is a relief, nothing worse than an unrealistic
blockage. Time to call First Active Drainage Limited again. Who will
they send? It will probably be the wry end. The same that visited the
Rob and Liz! Will charge 22 pity pounds -- �22.54 half-an-hour and
if we used high-pressure equipment, an additional �59.90. Half the
price of Watford, why would that be? Hold on, that is why. There is
two of them. I am worried we will end up paying for two people to do
the work of one. Two people charging �22.50 each comes to �45
for half-an-hour, virtually the same rate as Watford. And they have
the same stretching technique, too. There is no need for the jet, that
can be clear with a plunger in less than a minute. So we will pay �59
each half an hour for a power jet we do not need. But are we any
closer to the family? Are you part of the family? Yes, my dad started
off the company. His son has just taken over because he has got older
now, so my older brother has taken over. So his dad's son is his
brother? Why didn't he say that in the first place? Just like last
time it takes around half an hour to clear the drain and once again
they are keen to grow this job by saying the drain needs more work.
What we will do, when the line has been full of sewerage, it builds up
scale in the pipe. If we don't clean it, the next lot will stick
to it. He has seen the water ago, he knows that the drain is clear.
There is no justification for jetting that train. He has done, at
most, five or six feet. We are paying for work he has not done,
but worse, paying for work that did not need to be done. Come in.
their rates, clearing the drain should have cost �27 but when they
add the cost of the jet, the extra man and the necessary work that was
not carried out, it is... �239 a team. But he is not finished, he
recommends Our Lady recommends -- replaces the manhole at the end of
the drive for �975! Would you recommend he has that done, is it a
necessity? We always do it. The man whole does not need to be replaced,
but he leads thinking we will call him back to do the work. And, do
you know what? I think we might. I and when we do we will have a
little surprise for him. It is the least we can do after he reeled us
in with his bail. If you have kept track of his costs, rates and VAT,
then congratulations, you know your maths. Maybe you can help us out
Just a few photographs you have sent in since last week's story
about a journalist who said he was ordered to stop noting down dodgy
multi-buy offers at Tesco. Tesco told us it was not company policy
and customers were free to write -- to take photos and write notes and
you have taken them up on the. None of those offers add up and
when they make a mistake, the multi-buys always cost more, never
less. Sometimes buying in bulk costs exactly the same, like this
one just in. Cheese and bacon potato skins, one for two pounds 50,
two for a fiver! Test goes say they have invested �500 million to help
customers save money -- Tesco say. Tens of millions of shelf edge
labels I invest also errors can occur but they are rare and they
work hard to keep them to a minimum. By a calculator, Tesco.
The Motorola Defy, a smart phone advertised and life-proof --
advertised as life-proof. As a hugely successful TV star, I
work hard and I play hard. I expect my mobile phone to do the same.
Based on a television advertisement, the Motorola Defy is the phone for
me. The Motorola advert, lots of beautiful people, dropped my phone,
it seems OK. They are jumping in the swimming hall! The phone is
getting wet, it does not seem to matter. Who are we kidding? Not
many people live like that. This is the sort of party I get invited to.
If Motorola are prepared to sell us an exaggerated version of life, are
they also selling exaggerated claims about the Defy? According to
the advert this phone can survive a night on the tiles, but can it
survive the more mundane things of Sadly for some Defy owners, their
phones were not as life-proof as the adverts make out. I was walking
down the road, and I went to crouch down, my phone slipped out of my
pocket and landed on its side and smashed the screen. I called
Motorola and they advised me it was not their liability and I need to
pay to get it fixed. I only had the phone for two months. His brand new
Defy was unusable after eight weeks, but Sam's smashed after eight weeks.
Mike Soper was only half a metre off the floor, but they said it
would cost �60 to repair the friend. I said, you are advertising a life-
proof phone, they show it dropping on to a dance floor, which would be
harder. So, six weeks was Sam. How long did Donna's life-proof phone
last? We had it for three weeks, we selected it having seen the advert
on television. It was accidentally dropped and the screen it smashed
completely. She took it back to the store and they were completely
shocked at the state of it because they had representatives from
Motorola banging the phone against a desk to show how sturdy they were,
and they suggested we contact Motorola. I felt the advert was
misleading and would they not at least cover the cost of repair?
They said no to everything. One of the strange things about the advert
is it claims to be scratch resistant. But the video footage in
the advert shows it being dropped prove, not just on any carpet put
on hard stone, and that is unusual because these claims contradict.
The adverts made a bold claims, but so does Motorola's head of
marketing. Here he is boasting the phone's designed to combat against
their lead -- daily wear and tear. But when you write to Motorola to
complain, their customer-service representatives do not seem so
We are having mixed messages from Motorola. On one hand they say it
is life-proof and on the other, mealie dust group, water-resistant
and scratch resistant. -- near lead dust proof. It comes down to how
you live your life. The Motorola Defy is tougher than some phones on
the market but not as tough as other to offer phones on the market.
It has some sturdy fit to us like - - features, like a rubber bag, and
it is made from the same toughened glass as other smart friends, so
there is nothing unique. Some of our viewers have had screens
shatter after just a couple of weeks. They lead pretty normal
lives. What should Motorola do? you are going to try to sell a
phone as tougher than other phones, they should offer a better service,
better customer support, that matches up to the life-proof claim
they are making. We know that smartphones will not always be able
to handle everything life throws at them, but as Motorola are selling
the Defy at life-proof, shouldn't they offer help when their brand
Lovely message. Tough o night. Motorola have apologised to the
customers featured and to anyone else experiencing similar problems.
Contact details for the company are available on our website. They
stand by the claims in the marketing campaign and say specific
drop, water tests were performed. These concluded that the chance of
a drop resulting in a crack screen was one in a thousand. They say
four million hand sets have been sold worldwide and reported
incidents of cracked screens represent less than 1% of all Defy
users in the UK. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch about that
story. Here's a few more: Planning to get the new Ryanair card to
avoid booking fees? Careful before using it to buy anything else. The
airline says anyone paying for flights with the new cash passport
will be exempt from the fees, all other passengers have to pay that's
�6 per person per flight. Now it's emerged if you use it for goods and
service as broad, it will cost you 5.75% of each transaction. There's
a �2 fee for with drauling from ATMs and �2.50 inactivity fee if
you don't use the card for six months. The airline says it's free
to purchase and top up, making it one of the most competitive prepaid
cards available. And it's free to use on Ryanair dotcom. Where else
would you book a Ryanair flight? Barclays, putting customers' needs
first according to their strategy and business model. Britain's most
complained about bank, according to the Financial Services Authority.
New figures show it received 250,000 complaints in the first
half of this year with more than half of those upheld. In second
position, Lloyds TSB. With 180,000 complaints. And in third, Santander
with 168,000. It's the second year in a row that Barclays has topped
the complaints table, although the number is down on 2010. Chief
executive Antony Jenkins says the bank apologises for its mistakes
and corrects them quickly. He says, delivering excellent service is
their goal every single day. So it's a pity they're getting 1,300
complaints every single day. Downton Abbey unexpected events,
dramatic twists, hardship and suffering and that's before the
programme starts. Fans of the ITV series have flooded the internet
complaining about the sponsorship ads from insurance giant Aviva, the
ones that run before and after each episode lots of times in the breaks.
They tell the story of a motorist who's been involved in a nasty
accident and then loses his job. Depressing, say angry viewers. The
ads are ruining our enjoyment. They've put us off aveefya. There's
even been a complaint to the TV regulator Ofcom. Aviva says it's
considered the content of the films carefully and as the story builds
in the coming weeks viewers will see a positive outcome. Perhaps the
actors another one who gets to have his way with lady Mary?
Of course he will, because that actor is clearly a biker.
Time for our final visit to First Active Drainage Limited now. Not to
be confused with companies of a similar names.
Exactly. They claim to clear your drains fast, when they don't. They
claim to be local, when they're not. And they claim to be a family firm,
a fact we've yet to establish. So, First Active Drainage Limited, who
do you think are you? Well we know who at least one of them is the man
who deals with complaints. Here's his signature, James Francis.
I've heard of him. You mentioned him earlier. Correct. We've done
some digging around and found out that his full name is James Francis
Dean. What do you think of that, James Dean? James Dean? No, never
heard of anyone with that name. Really? OK, he's obviously not the
live fast, die young James Dean, but he does drive a Porsche. And
he's got a reputation as a bad boy. He's previously been banned by the
Financial Services Authority from running mortgage companies, after
failing to prevent his business from being used to perpetrate
financial crime. As has his father Peter Francis Dean, who was fined
�17,500 for the same offence and he just happens to own this building.
It's an office in Bournemouth, to which we tracked First Active
Drainage Limited. Finally, a family connection. And it seems, a company
big fish. Before we get to that, I need to deal with a little fish,
remember Ryan, who stung the Buds and who came out to us in
Southampton? This Ryan. It's full up with muck. What we're going to
have to do is jet it. Oh, right. They build up scale in the pipe.
Scales, oh, there's an idea. So Ryan from First Active Drainage
Limited is about to turn up. When he turns up he's going to look down
the drain and when he looks down the drain, he's going to see this.
Hello Ryan, I'm a brown trout. If that doesn't put the willies up him,
I'm not sure what will. So they've just pulled up. Tom is playing the
householder and I'm on stand by. Ryan, how are you doing? Yeah, good.
Is it blocked again? A few times since. Cue talking fish. Hello Ryan,
I'm a brown trout. I've been released into the wild. What the
Talking fish. Hello Ryan, BBC rogue traders, good to see you, when I
look down a drain, all I see is things I'd rather not see. When you
look down, you see hundreds or thousands of pounds waiting to be
taken from people for jobs which don't need doing and actually you
don't end up doing. That's right isn't it, Ryan? That's what First
Active Drainage Limited do. That's what you do. You take money off
people for jobs that you don't end up doing and didn't need doing in
the first place. Are you going to move mate? Thousands of pounds you
take. Those people can't afford it either. And now for the big fish. I
need to catch up with either Josef Ashford or the man we've seen
running things James Francis Dean. It's 7.40, we're in a van, in the
car park of a fitness centre, somewhere near Bournemouth. James
Francis Dean is inside there. There are conflicting reports at the
moment. He may be doing dumbbell presses or doing a bosu crunch, we
just don't know wha. Should happen in a short while, is he exits the
fitness centre and we ask him questions like, how can First
Active Drainage Limited be local in over 40 different telephone
directors -- directories? That and many other important questions.
That's what we're waiting for. Hello James. How are you doing?
Where's the Porsche, that's the first thing we're worried B you
seem to have gone with a van today. The Porsche, is that gone? You'll
understand when you say you're being local in over 40 different
telephone directories it's difficult for people to understand
where you're from. I think you need to take it up with the owner of the
business. Yeah there's the owner and the guy who runs it. You're
going to tell me it's Jo. That's right. I'm the manager. You're the
guy who writes the letters. You're the guy who answers the phone.
You're the guy who runs the business. No, not correct. You are
the guy who will be aware, or you should be, that your guys are going
out, failing to use rods, which is the cheapest and easiest way to
do... I think erm... What we do is end up paying hundreds of pounds a
time for teen idgeers to put a hose down a drain, when there's a
cheaper and quicker way of doing it. I think maybe you should highlight
those facts to me and maybe you should take it up to the owner of
the business. We'd love to meet Joe and we can talk through these
problems, because you know, it seems to us that you are the one
running the business. James Francis Dean continues to deny running the
show, but doesn't seem to be able to take us to anyone else who does.
You will be aware of the complaints that come into you for overcharging,
massive overcharging. Would you like to see a list of the
complaints that have been dealt with or are you picking out a
hatful and then trying to make me look bad on television, which is
what you're doing. Now you've sprung it on me. You're sending out
guys... That's a false accusation. Can you move your arm please now.
You're sending out guys... Move your arm. Are you going to leave
now snfrplts I'm depoing leave now. -- I'm going to leave now. That's
James Francis Dean of First Active Drainage Limited, based in
Bournemouth, just so we're clear, not anywhere else, as far as we're
aware. James Francis Dean, also known as James Francis and also
known as James Dean, one would think. Today a rebel without a
Porsche. We have heard from Josef Ashford.
He did confirm he's the managing director. He says his father
started the business 35 years ago, building up a good reputation in
Bournemouth, Southampton and the New Forest. It's since become a
limited company. It has operatives in every area in which they
advertise. He says he and his father have been sick, limiting
their involvement. But he confirmed that James Francis Dean has
managerial responsibilities and that Peter Francis Dean owns the
building from which they operate. Work that out. I'll make James
Francis the latest pin up in our rogue gallery.
Time for texts and e-mails. Loads of you getting in touch about the
DVLA, saying you didn't get any reminders about those SORN forms.
You just received a penalty. Unhappy Love Film customers too,
including father bill Haymaker, a priest, who took up the supposedly
free offer, but was charged and then told there would be no refund.
A man of the cloth. You don't do that. Here's another great Tesco
offer, Cadbury's Roses the price was �10, now it's �10.40. Thank you
Tesco. Brilliant. Keep sending us your stories and tippoffs. Visit
the website. Click where it says "your story" or if you wish, write
to us. The address is on your screens now.
Coming up next week, Lloyds TSB, saga, if you're insured with them,
you may with in for a shock. Hot point, sales of this fridge freezer
went with a bang. Very appropriate. And British airways to fly, to
Watchdog hears from the drivers struggling to declare their cars off road. Is the DVLA listening? Plus, the mobile phone companies whose advertising promises don't come up to scratch.