131 posts • joined 24 Oct 2011
Good only for White Goods
I find the Which? reviews useful for seeing what's on the market and what all the bells and whistles do. They seem OK on relatively straightforward things (e.g. the toaster will burn the toast if you use it again immediately) but they are often well out of their depth even on slightly technical thingies.
Not so long ago I was amazed at their review of DAB radios which completely failed to mention the need to check for the Digital Tick. Many well known retailers such as Tesco and John Lewis are still ripping off their customers by selling digital radios that can't receive the ever-increasing number of DAB+ transmissions in the UK, but Which? readers would be none the wiser.
If it has Alexa inside, I won't have it in my house.
Even if they give it away free of charge.
The Halifax website has a very obvious weakness: the password characters entered via the drop down menu are displayed permanently rather than momentarily.
Their 2FA is also poor because it relies on an SMS. They've never considered that mobile numbers can easily be hijacked.
It worked for me !
But I share your views about Capita.
Withdrawing their Implied Right of Access and warning them of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 will immediately stop ALL the threatening letters.
No-one needs to suffer harassment from TV Licensing if they don't need a licence.
You are under no obligation to respond, but if their threats and tricks become too tiresome (e.g. sending registered mail that has to be collected from the main Post Office) you can stop them by informing them that you have withdrawn their Implied Right of Access.
For good measure you can add that as they can no longer send the boys round, any further threats to do so will be treated as a breach of the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
I have an 0701 702 Flextel number for this. Even more expensive !
The Magic Bullet is Not Enabled
There is a straightforward way of identifying withheld and spoofed numbers, it's 1477 Automatic Call Trace. It stores the offending number at your local exchange for subsequent investigation and enforcement action. 1477 would be far easier than plodding through the ICOs website to report a nuisance call, and it's obviously the only way to identify withheld / spoofed numbers.
Unfortunately, there's an unhealthily cosy relationship between Ofcom and those they are supposed to regulate, which means that maximising call revenue is considered far more important than eliminating nuisance calls.
The result is that 1477 is never enabled by default, and you'll be extraordinarily lucky if anyone in your telco has ever heard of it. They'll doubtless insist that you mean 1471.
ALL the regulators are useless...
The ICO's website outage means that it's not possible to report yet another scam or nuisance phone cal, even if you think that reporting a spoofed or withheld number will achieve anything and you can be bothered to spend a fair bit of time so doing.
If the ICO, DCMS, Ofcom etc were any good they'd have mandated long ago that all telcos provide 1477 free of charge by default: Automatic Call Trace stores the REAL number at your local exchange for subsequent investigation and prosecution. But that would be too easy, wouldn't it?
You can have Amazon OR Privacy...
Amazon and privacy don't seem to go together.
I rapidly lost interest in buying a PC from them when I noticed that they register all of them on a police database, for my protection of course.
Shades of North Korea... I'd rather take my chances, thank you very much.
Re: iPlayer Radio
> I cannot think of any other legitimate reason they need to check.
They're trying to catch people without TV licences who watch BBC programmes via the iPlayer. Of course, it would be far easier to use the TV Licence number as a paywall password, but the BBC are petrified that would see the licence fee being replaced by subscription !
One big scandal seldom reported is that many big supermarkets (e.g. Tesco) and stores (e.g. Curry's) are still selling obsolete DAB radios that can't receive DAB+.
It's just a scam to make the Great Unwary buy twice.
Re: Cars are priority, but what about DAB?
Yes, it has something far better: TPEG. Conventional traffic info is old hat. You're likely to be stuck in the jam before you hear the warning, and most of the bulletin will refer to places you're not going. It also ruins the programme for the majority of people who aren't affected.
A satnav with TPEG is the answer. It receives info from Digital 1 every minute or so and, best of all, will re-route your journey to avoid the jams. Usually no subscription is needed, it's just a one-off fee built into the cost of the satnav.
@ Alan Brown
>"If you disagree with the fact that you have to keep opting out of the Royal Mail's unaddressed mail "service" (ie, their junkmail leaflets), or that finding the optout on their website is akin to stumbling on a filing cabinet in an unlit disused lavatory with a "beware of the leopard sign" out front., then you should be rattling the ICO's cage about it."
Unfortunately I can't see what the ICO can do about unaddressed junk mail delivered by RM. There's no breach of privacy or misuse of stored data just because RM push the same unwanted rubbish into your letterbox as they do for everyone else.
I suspect that the only legal remedy would be to withdraw RM's Implied Right of Access to one's property, but that would be something of an own goal because you'd then have to make endless trips to the sorting office to collect your own addressed mail !
Simply being on the MPS list won't stop Royal Mail pushing unaddressed leaflets into your letterbox, and they instruct postmen to ignore No Junk Mail stickers.
Instead, you need to opt out from their Door to Door junk every 98 weeks. It's a chore, but it usually works quite well.
Re: Junk confusions
Mark, I'm afraid you're the one who is confused, although it's hardly surprising given how devious the Royal Mail are in making it awkward and difficult to opt out !
The Royal Mail's opt out actually lasts two years (left click on the link way down at the bottom of the page), although you might want to re-register six weeks early because it seems that they are very leisurely in implementing requests.
However, I fully agree it should last as long as you reside at the relevant address. There's no need to re-register for the MPS, so the Royal Mail should follow suit.
You can easily STOP the nastygrams !
@ Will Godfrey
I didn't have a TV and just ignored the fortnightly nastygrams, letting them build up into a pile about two feet high. They became ever nastier, with pictures of courtrooms etc, and were sometimes disguised to look like bank PIN notifications or payslips.
On principle, I still kept ignoring them.
It might have been different if they had politely asked me to confirm that I didn't need a licence, explaining that there was no obligation whatsoever to respond, but they'd be eternally grateful if I would just return the enclosed post-paid declaration form: I might well have done so.
Eventually the goons started to send their nastygrams by Registered mail. As I was always at work when the postman called, that necessitated an unnecessary trip to the Head Post Office the following Saturday. It would have been tempting to keep ignoring them, but there was always the risk that one of them might be something I wanted (e.g. a bank card) or something I didn't want but needed to know about (e.g. a speed camera ticket).
Enough was enough, so many years ago I sent a letter withdrawing their Implied Right of Access (signed as The Occupier). For good measure I also stated that I was fully aware of the penalties for watching live TV without a licence so there was no justification for reminding me every fortnight and, as they could no longer send the boys round, continuing to send scary letters threatening to do so would be an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
Result: they confirmed they would never bother me again - and they haven't !
Re: 60 calls a person
Any junk call numbers are added to a list of unwanted callers.
You're probably wasting your time if you're relying on the displayed number or what 1471 tells you. The number will be probably be spoofed, and they'll use a different one every time, just like spammers never use the same email source address twice.
Re: 60 calls a person
Yes, the TPS list seems a good way for scammers and fraudsters to identify numbers that aren't spare or allocated to fax machines, burglar alarms etc and may well be answered by a vulnerable person.
Most of my nuisance callers don't ask for me by name, so the TPS could well be the source.
The Office of the Chocolate Teapot
Just like all the other so-called regulators, Ofcom and the ICO are utterly useless. They have an unhealthily close relationship with those they are supposed to regulate, and they don't want to fix the problem because they'd rather issue turgid reports for the next thirty years just to keep themselves employed and looking busy.
Why doesn't the dozy Ofcom simply mandate that 1477 (Automatic Call Trace) is made available free of charge on EVERY line? (They eventually decided to do this for Caller Display, but sadly it won't happen until October.)
1477 stores the originating number at the victim's exchange for enforcement action, even if it's been withheld or spoofed. It's simple, quick and far better than laboriously trying to report fake numbers to the ICO. But despite having been a standard network facility for decades, hardly anyone has ever heard of it, even within BT. Even worse, apparently it's only available on business lines.
Similarly, Ofcom should require all telcos to offer the equivalent of BT Call Protect free of charge; it shouldn't be available only from the most expensive telco.
So what's next?
Presumably there will be no more updates unless someone waves a magic wand and takes over.
Apologies for asking silly questions, but what are the options for Swift owners? Can it be updated from another source, or switched to a different operating system?
Or is it equivalent to running a laptop with Vista on it, usable but potentially increasingly dangerous, and good only as long as the battery lasts?
Shame, it did what it said on the tin
That's a great shame, it was good to have a 4G phone with a removable battery, FM radio, 3.5mm socket and two SIMs, all at a very competitive price. Waste a grand on an iPhone X and you'd get none of those basics.
I wonder whether any Swift updates and replacement batteries will now be available?
Yes, parking debts ARE enforceable !
If it's a private company it's not a fine, it's a debt.
But it's enforceable as this lady found out when she was hit with £24,500 for having parked outside her mother's garage (where no-one else could pay to park because it would have blocked access to said garage). So the parking company suffered no loss of income, and no-one else was inconvenienced. There was no victim.
She may have been more than a tad unwise not to challenge the notices, but the outrageous charge seems contrary to natural justice.
Welcome to rip-off Britain.
It's not just private operators...
The world's worst private operator was TfL. One Saturday night about 8pm I parked here at the back of a long row of cars (roughly where the yellow cone is, but there were none at the time) noting that the nearest sign said 'No Stopping 8am - 7pm'.
Came back at 1am to find the car was gone; nothing to say what had happened. Eventually found that TfL had towed it to a pound miles away in a desolate area without any public transport where there had recently been a series of murders. In the leafy darkness and with a car straddling the gap it was impossible to detect that what looked like one long bay was in fact two bays with VERY different rules: turned out that where I had parked was a 2-minute (sic) limit except for buses, even though it wasn't on a bus route.
Other similarly restricted bays nearby were clearly marked, but not the 'honeytrap' bay I used.
Worst of all although TfL towed 24/7 because it was so lucrative, their pound didn't release cars on a Sunday. Not much fun walking round London all night long in the wind and the rain when your coat's in the car, even less so if I'd been a young girl or had had a car ferry or flight booked for the Sunday.
Had to wait until Monday morning to pay an eye watering £260 to get the car back. TfL ignored my appeal, and the so-called independent adjudicator refused to do anything without the input from TfL.
Cowboy private operators seem paragons of virtue in comparison to Trouble for London.
It won't work, just like all efforts by so-called watchdogs to regulate dodgy companies, cold callers etc.
In particular, the British Parking Association is a complete waste of space. It doesn't even bother to wag a finger at Marks and Spencer about their use of an 0845 car park helpline that's been banned for years, and that they're also breaching Ofcom regulations by failing to warn of the rip-off charges.
Why they're pushing Smart Meters...
Am I the only one to notice the relentless push to force people to take up smart meters? There will be massive surcharges (aka taxes) overnight and when you use more than a few kW because the juice is obviously going in to your electric car.
Re: Ofcom is to blame
Agreed, Caller Display isn't a magic bullet, but call blocking hardware won't work without it. Anonymous Call Reject is almost a magic bullet because it blocks many unwanted calls without requiring expensive hardware.
The point I'm making is that victims need all the help they can get to block and report fraudulent / nuisance calls, but Ofcom and the ICO are just a waste of space. They shouldn't allow telcos to blackmail vulnerable telephone users into buying expensive network services that cost the telcos nothing to provide.
It's daft that the health service withholds numbers on data protection grounds: when they send letters, the envelope shows the patient's name and shouts NHS all over it, so they clearly haven't thought it through.
To avoid having calls rejected, they should follow BT's good practice and use a Presentation Number that when called says "The NHS tried to call you, but don't worry, we'll call again if necessary". Or if they're really concerned about privacy, it could just say "We tried to call you..." or "Sorry, this number does not accept incoming calls".
Ofcom is to blame
Why doesn't the utterly useless Ofcom insist that all telcos make 1477 (Automatic Call Trace) available free of charge to all subscribers, together with Anonymous Call Reject and Caller Display ?
Dialling 1477 during or after a nuisance call is far quicker than laboriously messing around trying to report them to the ICO's website, which is obviously a waste of time when the number has been withheld or spoofed. 1477 isn't fooled by any of this, it stores the REAL originating number at the victim's exchange for subsequent investigative action.
But most telcos have never heard of 1477 and don't make it available, and as usual Ofcom the toothless watchdog is still happily dozing in front of the fire.
Re: Hoover Free Flight Fiasco
Yes, in 1992/3 the Hoover Free Flight Fiasco offered two free flights to Orlando if you spent just £100 or more. They thought that only 1 in 8 would take up the offer and that they would buy add ons, but they were overwhelmed by demand from people who bought the cheapest product just to get the completely free flights.
As I recall, they phoned me one Thursday and asked whether I could fly the very next Tuesday. I well remember their disappointment when I instantly replied "YES !" and declined any add ons.
Stop falling for TVL's misinformation !
There still seems to be a widespread belief in the TV Licensing propaganda that you have to tell them if you don't need a licence, and that you have to let them in to your home in order to prove your innocence.
None of these myths is true. There is NO obligation whatsoever to communicate with TV Licensing or to let them in, except in the unlikely event that they have a valid search warrant.
Of course, the threat-o-grams will get ever more menacing, but if you don't need a licence you can happily ignore them or pop them into an unstamped envelope and send them back unopened.
But if the threats get tiresome, they can be stopped dead in their tracks (at least in England and Wales) simply by stating that they can't send the boys round because you have withdrawn their Implied Right of Access, and therefore that any further threats to do so will be dealt with under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
The date of 16 October is wrong.
The Westminster Hall debate will be held on Monday 20 November 2017.
Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...
>"The frequency doesn't bother me, I simply refuse to make any form of contact when it will (A) cost in terms of postage, or phone call, and (B) does not guarantee anything to stop them turning up to "inspect my home".
You can always email email@example.com, use the form at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/cs/contact-us/question.app or send an unstamped letter to Customer Services, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL. It's the address for cheque payment, so they will accept it.
Just tell them you have withdrawn their Implied Right of Access, and if they still keep threatening to send the boys round you'll take action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
That will stop them hassling you ! In any case, they do not have any right to enter your property without a search warrant.
Re: Don't call it a tax
You've forgotten the really obvious alternative - subscription.
No ads, no direct government control.
Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?
Another difference is that the essentials of education and healthcare can involve significant outlay at the times when they are needed, so a state scheme funded by taxation smooths the peaks and trough and makes it affordable for everyone all the time.
In contrast, PAYG TV is completely realistic because it's affordable. I don't like Murdoch, but at least you can choose whether to subscribe to watch his rubbish and he doesn't come banging on your door or send you to jail if you don't pay.
Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...
Brilliant ! But watch out, the Ministry of Food will pop round to invalidate your Ration Book...
Re: It is really easy to opt out now
There is no obligation whatsoever to communicate with TV Licensing: they imply that you have to tell them if you don't need a licence but that's not the case. Similarly, they have no right of entry except in the unlikely event that they have a valid search warrant. And mere possession of a TV in the UK does not require a licence, it's how you use it that counts.
However, if you don't have a licence you'll be hounded with ever increasing ferocity. If so, a letter (from 'The Occupier') withdrawing their Implied Right of Access and threatening action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 works wonders, and they will leave you alone for ever, not just two years.
Avoid Freeola - they don't even support 1471.
Re: Unicorn hunt
My local hospital withholds their number when robo-calling to remind of appointments, which means that an increasing number of these calls will be automatically blocked by BT Call Protect and suchlike.
They think they can't change it without having a new phone system, which they can't afford...
Re: And people wonder why we dumped our landline ?
TrueCaller should be banned by the ICO. It rifles through your contacts list, stealing the names of people without their knowledge or consent and then disclosing this personal information to people that they call.
But the ICO is totally useless, along with all the other so-called watchdogs, so absolutely nothing will happen.
Re: My decorator...
You DAB display will tell you that the DAB simulcast is mono whereas RDS will tell you th FM version is stereo.
My Wileyfox Swift happily receives FM when in Airplane Mode.
Re: Spawn of Satan
It's existed for years: it's 1477, Automatic Call Trace.
But good luck in getting it activated on your line, the call centre drones will deny all knowledge of it.
Bad designs still pollute the sky
Shame that no thought has been given to the installation in the photo. The angle of the 'Hitler salute' arm means that even though most of the light may be emitted perpendicularly from the luminaire, a significant amount will have an upward component which will be wasted.
We need a swingeing tax on all outdoor lighting installations that aren't full cut off, so that all the light is used usefully, thereby avoiding pollution of the night sky, light trespass and needless CO2 generation.
Spatial distribution is just as important as lumens per watt, but it's still overlooked.
The lessons of history...
... are that the lessons of history are not learned.
Aah, that probably explains why I was woken up at 0610 the other day by a Facebook SMS asking me to validate my Facebook account. I've never had a Facebook account and never will.
As usual, Ofcom has shown that it is far close to the telcos it is supposed to regulate and does absolutely nothing to help the consumer.