Communications regulator Ofcom is to ban repeated silent calls to the same household in the same day from early next year.

This follows more than 6000 complaints about the aggressive and customer-unfriendly marketing technique, caused by using automatic dialling equipment which abandons the call after the recipient has answered, if there is no sales person available to take it. Ofcom also want to raise the maximum fine for non-compliance from the current £50,000 to £1million, reflecting the size of the companies that have been caught making multiple silent calls.

There is a view that any silent calls give the practice of marketing a bad name and that they should be completely banned by Ofcom.


Barclays have had some bad press in the Daily Mail, for their bad financial advice.

The newspaper reported the story of a retired couple who lost almost £200,000 when they were advised by Barclays to switch £360,000 from a savings account into a risky stock market fund.

Also under attack is the bank’s sales commission structure whereby its sales agents get 18pence per £1,000 for advising customers to put their money into a safe cash ISA but £18.20 for every £1,000 they can persuade customers, known as “conquests” at Barclays, to invest in the far riskier stock market. In the example above the saleswoman concerned was paid more than £3000 by Barclays for communicating their dangerously bad advice.

Barclays also charge the highest rates of interest on overdrafts, at nearly 20%


Those marketing to women over 60 will be interested in the recent survey of 500 of them by the Daily Telegraph’s Stella magazine. The findings included:-

o Nearly 40% felt that having more time to do what they wanted was the best thing about getting older, with 50% feeling that deteriorating health was the worst.

o Nearly 20% wanted to improve their lives with financial stability, perhaps by winning the lottery, and 14% wanted to travel more. Continue reading


Is there any difference between a hotel offering “1,000 rooms for 1p a night” and offering “rooms from 1p”?

This is the question facing those wanting to bag a reported bargain from cheapo hotel group Tune, which opens its first UK property in South London at the end of August. Press reports claim there are 1,000 rooms FOR 1p, whereas the hotel’s web site states that there are simply rooms FROM 1p, which means there could be just two room-nights at 1p available over the eight-month stay period offered, with all the rest at more normal promotional prices. Continue reading


A survey of the eating out habits of almost 3,000 UK adults has found that the most popular places for casual dining are Wetherspoon’s, Harvester and Pizza Express, all of which offer a meal for around £5-6. In the case of Wetherspoons these prices also include a £2.50 pint of beer.

The Leisure Wallet Report by corporate advisers Zolfo Cooper also found that the number of customers who were more likely to visit a restaurant if it was running a price promotion had grown by nearly 40% over the past six months, while the number who used the vouchers from newspapers and the internet more often had risen by 30%, Continue reading


The pound and 99p shops now familiar on most high streets are seriously undercutting the major names.

Recently skin care products costing up to £8 in Boots have been found, re-labelled, for £1 in Poundland. And the same group sells a multi-pack of 12 bags of cheese biscuits for £1, against the £1 pack of only 7 bags offered by price-cutters Asda.


Consumer watchdog Which? has criticised Ryanair for charging £5 per passenger per flight for using a credit card, rather than charging the fee per booking, like other vendors do.

The system costs a family of four an additional £40 on a return flight with Ryanair, compared with £3.50 with easyJet and others.


Mugs commemorating the visit of US prezz Obama have been withdrawn from sale at the parliamentary gift shop in Canberra after it was discovered that his name had been mis-spelt as “Barrack”

Sadly Mr Obama cancelled his trip to the Antipodes, which could be just as well.

Reportedly just two had already been sold and will no doubt be appearing on auction sites for a lot of dollars any time now.


A seafood risotto recipe produced by celebrity cook Delia Smith as part of her completely impartial tie-up with Waitrose has been sharply criticised by those who have tried to cook it.

These include the team from BBC’s Watchdog, who pronounced it “disgusting” and “horrible” and consumer affairs journalist Harry Wallop, who noted in the Daily Telegraph that the ingredients, bought at Waitrose prices, cost £16, “congealed into a rather nasty and acrid, thick blob of rice, studded with rubbery bits of seafood”, and had his kitchen “smelling like a cheap Marseilles brothel”, a description for which those unfamiliar with such establishments will have to take Mr Wallop’s word.