A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.
Includes energy companies, mobile phone providers, retailers, banks, insurance companies,debt collection agencies, reclaim companies, secondhand car sellers, cowboy garages, cowboy builders and all the rest who put their own profits before you.
1.1 This website is owned by Reclaim The Right Ltd, 923 Finchley Road, London, NW11 7PE, and operates under the names Consumer Action Group, Consumer Forums, Debt Action Group and Bank Action Group. It will be referred to here as "The Group".
1.2 Please be aware that all advice on this website is provided informally by concerned volunteers.
1.3 The Group holds out no particular expertise or qualification.
1.4 The Group is not responsible for the views or actions of its users who post on this website.
1.5 The Group makes no guarantee of the accuracy of any of the advice or information which is provided on these pages and you are advised to apply your own judgment at all times or contact a qualified professional.
1.6 The Group is merely a campaign and support group.
1.7 Above all else, use your common sense, be respectful and reasonable to people and companies.
1.8 Bank and other company staff: Whether you like them or not, they are just doing their job. Please do not refer to these people in any personal insulting or offensive way. They are not the policymakers in their organisations and are only doing a job.
1.9 Hijacking: Please don't hijack someone else's thread, no matter how closely their story resembles yours. Start a thread specific to your case - that way it is easier for people to keep track of, and thus offer you better help.
1.10 Copyright Information
a) All information contained in this website, associated websites, and forum posts are copyright Reclaim The Right Ltd. If you wish to use the information on this site for publication elsewhere, then please email the administrators for permission.
b) When you post on this forum you retain copyright in what you write. However, by posting on our forum you grant us an irrevocable non-exclusive licence to publish what you have written. Non-exclusive means that you are fully at liberty to repeat or copy your posts elsewhere on the Internet. However by posting on our forum, you grant us permission to keep the material published on the forum. We may of course remove what you have written or exceptionally edit what you have written to make your post comply with any changes in forum policies as they develop from time to time. You agree to these conditions by registering with us and by posting on the forum. For these purposes, "the forum" means the website in general and includes The Consumer Forums and associated Internet addresses. This could mean that your post or extracts from it may appear in more than one place on the Site. You do not grant us any permission to publish what you write anywhere else on the Internet. That right remains solely with you.
1.11 Please understand that The Group has been formed, and is run by, concerned volunteers. However, we do acknowledge the kind help of the very generous individuals who contribute to the site by way of donations - indeed without such kind donations we would not be able to continue. If you feel that you would like to contribute to the expenses then please use the "Donations" button at the top of each page or contact site administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk).
1.12 Despite the use of the word "Member" from time to time as embedded in the forum software, there is no membership and persons registered with this group are “users” and enjoy no rights of membership. Users are extended the facility of this forum at the discretion of The Group owners. All users of this forum, including the Site Team, are just that, “users”. They are not associated with The Group or its founders - their actions are entirely their own and The Group cannot be held responsible for their actions. The Group's founders are BankFodder and Dave.
1.13 Please note that these rules and guidance also relate to the use of the website’s Personal Message (PM) facility, and the user's profile, signature and avatar.
2 WHAT ARE TEAM MEMBERS?
2.1 Our Team Members are here to monitor and where necessary move, edit, lock or delete threads/posts in order to protect the good of The Group. They may also be referred to elsewhere as "Moderators".
2.2 If a thread/post is moved, edited, locked or deleted... it will not be a personal attack on you. It will only be as a result of the guidelines below and will always put the site first. If you attempt to re-post information that has been unapproved then you will be in breach of the rules yourself and subject to further action as deemed appropriate, and as outlined in section 7.
3 FORUM POSTS
3.1 It is important to remember that posts made on this website are being made in the public domain, and will be visible to anyone who accesses the website. You should therefore think carefully about what you post, and avoid including anything within your post (or your user ID, signature, or public profile) that will enable people to personally identify who you are and/or where you live.
3.2 Please be aware that all posts made on a public forum are regularly archived by search engines and other on-line services which may hold copies for many years. Even if the post is removed from this website (or edited by you) the original may still be available to the general public as a cached copy. These cached copies are held by third parties (such as Google, Yahoo, Waybackmachine etc) and we have no control whatsoever on how long these are held, and who can gain access.
3.3 Please note that you may edit a post you have made (provided that your account is not subject to moderation or restriction) for a period of 10 minutes after posting - in order to allow for corrections on spelling etc, however you cannot edit a post after that time, or remove, rename, or edit a thread that you have started.
3.4 If you feel that a thread should be removed for legal reasons, please contact site administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk), with a link to the thread concerned, and details of why you consider the thread should be removed. Threads will not be removed simply because the issue has been resolved, or because a company does not want "bad publicity" to remain in the public domain.
3.5 A thread/post will be edited or deleted if it contains:
a) Xenophobia, racism, personal abuse, or incitement intended to cause disruption within a thread (commonly known as a "flame war")
b) Sexually explicit content, pornography, links to Pornography or links to other inappropriate sites
c) Touting for business in any way – including the posting of customer recommendations
d) Offering to advise members or asking members for advice by PM or email without good reason - If it is felt that a subject is "sensitive" and would be better discussed off-forum, we ask that members contact a member of the site team BEFORE asking for contact details. This rule is in place to protect our members from claims touts, and also to ensure that any advice given is open to debate, qualification, and where necessary, correction.
e) Advice that is likely, or could potentially, cause damage to another user either legally or financially.
f) Any form of unauthorised advertising or “spam”, advertising the sale of illegal bootleg material, and any type of pyramid selling or referral schemes
g) Any copyright-infringing content
h) Anything invasive to an individual’s personal privacy unless it is reasonable and proportionate to ensure the protection of consumers
i) Illegal, defamatory, or potentially defamatory statements
j) Any attempts to avoid moderation, and disregard for the interests of The Group
3.6 Swearing is generally subject to automatic censoring – however, mild versions of swearing (e.g. s**t) can sometimes be considered as acceptable subject to the context and location on the website. Offensive words, or over use of swear words, will result in action from the Site Team. Any deliberate circumvention of the swear word filter is prohibited. If you are unsure what constitutes swearing, don't type it.
3.7 In the “Bear Garden” forum, more leeway is given over the use of swearing and the nature of the topics discussed. However, the restrictions in section 3.5 will still be applied.
3.8 Where a post is edited, the date/time/moderator will normally be shown within the post, and any clarification of the action should be made directly to the Team Member concerned. If threads/posts are removed or unapproved, an automated message will be sent via the Private Messaging system.
3.9 The Group reserves the right to delete or edit any thread/post for legalor any other reasons.
3.10 A thread/post will be closed if:
a) There is persistent abuse of the site rules
b) It contains unacceptable behavior or anti community spirit
c) It contains totally off-topic discussion
d) It has content that is not salvageable by editing the thread/post
3.11 A thread/post will be moved to another part of the website if:
a) The topic clearly belongs in another forum
b) The posts in a topic move on to a subject more appropriate to another forum
3.12 What is “potentially libelous” as per rules 3.5(i)?
“Potentially libelous” is the term used to describe anything that cannot be proven by hard fact and something that may be considered damaging to the reputation of any individual, company or organisation.
Due to legal complications The Group could be considered liable for comments posted by users. The Group must therefore practice continued and consistent due-diligence to protect against potential legal action.
This may mean deleting or editing topics/posts containing this kind of content and taking the best action to stop anything potentially libelous being posted in the first place. For this reason any potentially libelous content will be removed immediately it comes to the attention of the Site Team – this is likely to be without warning or explanation. A review of the content will then be made by the site administration, and a decision made as to whether the content can be reinstated, or whether any other action is required.
The Group will not enter into discussion about its choices in these matters and the decision of The Group will be considered final.
Please be aware that the poster of a defamatory, threatening, or arguably threatening statement or remark may be liable for legal action, and that The Group is unable to protect the identity of any user who posts potentially libelous or defamatory comments. Recent caselaw has made it abundantly clear that Internet forums must pass on any information they hold which could identify the poster where litigation is genuinely being taken - or considered.
3.13 Please note that users are granted the privilege to post by the owners of the website. Membership does not infer any right to post, or use any of the site facilities, or any "right to reply" to any post or subject.
3.14 Whilst this is likely to be covered elsewhere within these rules, posts that contain comments intended to undermine another user, either personally or professionally, may be edited or removed, and the poster will be placed on moderation. Subsequent breaches of site rules may result in the user, and any associated users, being banned.
4 USER IDs (USERNAMES)
4.1 Please remember that your User ID (username) will be shown on every post you make, and therefore could be used to identify you if it contains your name, location, or a combination of the two - if you have no problem with that then fine. So long as your user ID is not in poor taste, offensive, or likely to breach site rules, any user ID is acceptable that has not already been issued and is acceptable by the software.
4.2 If you feel that you need to change your User ID, please contact site administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk) with your preferred new ID and the reason that you require the change. Please note that it is not possible to delete accounts, however we are happy to disable accounts and remove personal details from our database where a request is made to administration.
4.3 It is forbidden for a user to post “on behalf” of another registered user, without first requesting permission from site administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk). Posts made “on behalf” of users that are banned (or under any account restriction for breaching the site rules), will be considered as a breach of rule 3.5(j) and is likely to result in similar action being taken against your account.
4.4 Please note that usernames highlighted in GREEN are customer service representatives who have asked permission from site administration to monitor, and respond to, posts made. Please use your discretion when responding to these users. We have agreed to allow them to post as a means to helping users resolve issues more quickly, however they are not authorised to hassle users, and legally they are bound by data protection legislation from discussing your issue on a public forum - unless you give them permission to do so. If you feel that an authorised customer service representative is acting unlawfully, or is breaching the terms of their membership, please contact site administration (admin@consumeractiongroup .co.uk).
5 COMMERCIAL COMPANIES AND BUSINESSES, AND THEIR STAFF
5.1 It is accepted that companies and businesses may monitor discussions between users either directly relating to their experiences and treatment, or expressing their opinions about how a company or business may operate.
5.2 Whilst the Group will generally offer the opportunity to respond to discussions, it reserves the absolute right to restrict or block access without any notice, and without giving any reason for that decision.
5.3 Whilst the Group acknowledges that a company or business may wish to claim a “right to reply”, it is at the sole discretion of the Group to allow that right to be pursued on this website.
NB: Companies and business invariably have their own website, and access to the Internet and media, and therefore have a platform to promote their views. It seems reasonable that any “right to reply” should be reciprocal, and that where a company refuses to allow its customers a voice on their website, we should not be bound to offer such a voice on this website.
5.4 If a Commercial Company, or Business, wishes to post on the forum in a representative capacity, we ask that they first seek permission from site administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk). Failure to do so may result in posts being removed without notice whilst investigations are made to ascertain whether the user is acting with the full authorisation of the company or business concerned. Usernames highlighted in green have gone through this process.
5.5 Staff members of Commercial Companies and Businesses are welcome on this website for their own personal purposes. However, if you intend to enter discussions in support of your employer you will be subject to rule 5.4.
5.6 Any company, business, organisation, or any individual posting on behalf of a company, business or organisation, must adhere to Data Protection Legislation. Posts that contain personal data, such as (but not limited to) the name or contact details of a user who is posting under an anonymous username, details of money they are alleged to owe, court action that may be being considered or threatend, will be removed, and the site will cooperate fully with users who wish to take legal action, or complain to the Information Commissioner, about such breaches.
6 JOURNALISTS, MEDIA COMPANIES, CONSUMER & OFFICIAL BODIES, SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY PROJECTS
6.1 In order to verify that requests for help with news stories, investigations, surveys, research projects, etc., are genuine, we ask that an official request for permission be made to site administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk) BEFORE any posts are made, or any attempt is made to directly contact our users. Failure to do so may result in posts being removed without notice whilst investigations are made to verify that the request is genuine.
NB: We cannot advise more strongly that journalists and media companies contact administration to discuss the story/article/programme they are working on. There are numerous options open to ensure that you can access the information you need as quickly as possible, and by talking to us we can look at the best options to help you with your project.
7 ACCOUNT RESTRICTIONS
7.1 Users who post anything that is likely to require the intervention of the Site Team (see section 3) may find that their account is restricted in some way.
7.2 There are various options available to the Site Team when dealing with users who have broken site rules. These include (but are not restricted to) the removal of individual posts, restriction or removal of the site’s Private Messaging facility, moderation (meaning a user’s posts will be subject to checking prior to them appearing on the forum), and in more serious instances, a user may be banned.
7.3 If any action is taken against a user, any subsequent attempt to bypass moderation will result in a ban.
7.4 It is forbidden to share your account log-in details with another user, or to use another person's account to gain entry to the site. The Group reserve the right to place account restrictions on any user who permits others to access the site using their account.
7.5 Whilst we do not forbid the use of second accounts, we will restrict site access to users who create multiple usernames in order to abuse the process of forum postings - for instance when one account is used to give an apparent weight of opinion or to validate the statement of their other accounts. In such circumstances, both (or all) usernames may face restrictions.
7.6 The Group will not tolerate racist comments (no matter how innocent the comment may be), or any form of cyber-bullying, religious hatred, xenophobia, or any comments that could be seen as insulting to the beliefs and lifestyle of others. Any breach of this rule may result in the user being banned, and/or potentially more serious action being taken.
8 RULES RELATING TO COMMERCIAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL LINKS AND POSTINGS
8.1 If you sell products or services, you must not initiate posts or discussion on, or refer to, your business. You may also not discuss product pricing or availability of products.
8.2 Advertising or soliciting for any activity that may be construed as commercial is not allowed on the forums. Examples of this would include (but are not limited to):
a. Claims management services
b. Premium telephone lines and services
c. Websites / Companies that sell legal advice or documents
d. Traders (retail or wholesale) not specifically approved by CAG
e. Websites that purport to offer "free" advice, but in reality require payment to access information, or are conduits for claims management or any other commercial enterprise
8.3 Links to non-commercial and free advice sites are permitted, provided they are not posted by the owners of the site concerned, and that there is no direct financial gain involved with the recommendation.
8.4 Site owners may be allowed to publicise their site, however before any post is made, they should first seek permission from the website administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk) giving full details, and a link to the site concerned. Any posts made pending a decision will be moderated.
8.5 Any posts outside the scope of these rules may be edited or deleted without warning. The Group also reserves the right to remove any link posted on this website at the sole discretion of the Group. For the avoidance of doubt, this policy also includes links posted within a user profile or signature.
8.6 Please note that if a user does post any advertisements in breach of the above they are likely to face restriction of their account.
8.7 Continued disregard for these rules will result in the user being banned.
8.8 Please note that adverts posted on the website by the owners are intended to help fund the work of the site, and are for products that have been approved by the site owners. Advertisements that are shown as a result of clicking links, or are noted as being provided by an outside company (such as Google, Yahoo, Fastbox, Syndicated Searches, etc.) are not necessarily endorsed by the site owners, and users should use their own discretion when following these links and considering whether to use the service offered.
9 INTERPRETATION AND AMENDMENTS
9.1 The Group reserve the right to amend these rules at any time, and without any notice, in order to clarify and deal with new issues.
9.2 The group reserve the right to interpret these rules at its sole discretion. Use of this website is by the invitation of the Group, and that invitation can be withdrawn at anytime without any notice.
9.3 If a user has any issue with action that may have been taken against their account, then they should initially take it up with the Site Team member concerned. If they are unsure who took the action, or did not get a satisfactory response from the Site Team member, then they should contact administration (admin@consumeractiongrou p.co.uk). Your complaint will be dealt with in a timely manner, but you are reminded that any decision made in response will be final and non-negotiable. Repeated complaints about the same issue will be ignored.