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  1. There is an interesting article in The Times Business section today about a possible debt bubble within the Debt Collection Agencies. Seems ironic! Search, using your favourite search engine, - The Times with "Questions are growing about a possible bubble in the debt industry" It claims financial experts are worried about the expansion of the debt purchasing industry is creating a bubble that will soon burst. They say that most of these 'toxic' debts have scant paperwork; time barred or belong to the poorest sections of our society. Therefore, they will find realising these potential assets will not work. That is they will have difficulty getting the money. Since these DCAs have borrowed heavily to purchase their port folios they will soon run into financial trouble. It goes on to say that these companies have become more aggressive ( and in a lot of cases illegal) in their activities to collect on these debts. They list some of the complaints inc. spitting in envelopes sent out to people. Yuck! Cabot, Lidorff, Intrum, Arrow, Hoist, Lowell are amongst some of the names mentioned as having unstable business models. Hedge fund managers are worried a lot of these companies will go bust. I wonder what will happen to all the debts purchased? sidley
  2. Found this in the Guardian today A young man committed suicide, for a debt that had escalated from 2 PNC's https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/30/debt-ridden-couriers-suicide-after-bailiff-visit-prompts-call-for-reforms#img-1
  3. When you hear a Judge crticise the management of a company like Thames Water for their bad behaviour, it reminds you of the poor agressive behaviour by water companies we see on CAG. E.g using High Court enforcement on debts owed by customers. Water/sewerage provision should never have been privatised, as there is no evidence to support greater investment by these companies in maintaining infrastructure. You hear reports of water leaks going unrepaired for many weeks, after being reported. Bills seem to increase every year. Excessive profits mostly end up going to foreign investors overseas, as most are foreign owned. About time it was renationised !
  4. Rather late in the day I've just noticed this document http://www.scoronline.co.uk/sites/default/files/high_level_prinicples_document_final.pdf which purports to set high-level principles for the Reporting of Arrears, Arrangements and Defaults at Credit Reference Agencies. You would think that this kind of document would be put together by the Information Commissioner after great thought and deliberation in his role as the guardian of the human right of privacy under article 8 of the Convention. Not so. This document was put together by the credit industry and then merely approved by the Information Commissioner who has been persuaded to write a foreword to the document in which he merely says that he will continue to express a "keen interest" in how personal data is processed by the credit industry. More amazing is the fact that this document which is drawn up by the credit industry – the very people that the Information Commissioner is meant to survey and to police, is intended to replace or supplement the Information Commissioner's own set of rules/guidance which he published several years earlier in 2007 -Data Protection Technical Guidance: Filing defaults with credit reference agencies I'm sure that some enthusiastic people will find interesting to make comparisons between the two documents. I will be interested to see what posts appear on this thread. However, one thing that jumps out at me is that in the 2007 document it says unequivocally that disputed accounts should not be the subject of credit file entries. In the 2014 document, it doesn't mention this but merely skirts around it by talking about accuracy. Also, in the 2014 document, I noticed that there is a requirement that 28 days notice be given before a default is entered. I'm not sure how this squares with the FAQ on the Information Commissioner's own website which says very clearly that a default without notice is generally not a problem. https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/credit/ Is this delegation or abrogation by the Information Commissioner? high_level_prinicples_document_final.pdf guidance_on_defaults.pdf
  5. The latest thing is the mis-selling of PCP car finance deals, according to the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB). They have said that lawyers have started to look at dealers and finance firms, to see if customers have been sufficiently informed about the higher interest rates for PCPs, and the like. With around a million cars being sold on PCP deals last year alone, if there's any deception found, this could be huge for the car industry, and indeed, very profitable for claims companies. If it is found that drivers have been poorly informed, or even deliberately mislead about PCP deals, there could be a lot of compensation flying around in the coming months. The NACFB said that two main things are being looked at. The first is that it is thought people taking out a PCP weren't warned that they'd be paying considerably more interest over the term of the loan, than the amount they'd be paying if they bought their vehicle under a hire purchase (HP) agreement. They're also looking at car salesmen, who may have told prospective buyers that, by considering PCP, they'll actually make a profit at the end of the contract, as the car they've bought is likely to be worth more than the final optional 'balloon payment' figure. http://www.bitterwallet.com/motoring/car-industry-faces-ppi-like-claims-92400
  6. So, despite all of the bleating, the hype, the threats, the smooth posting on these forums and elsewhere, BES utilities have been found to be in breach of several obligations of required industry standards. This will come to no surprise to a large number of people who had dealings with this shabby company and in particular it will come as no surprise to the victims who have suffered from the unjust bullying that they have received at the hands of BES utilities and which in some cases have even destroyed their businesses and their hopes and ambitions. I see that as usual, not only as a regulator taken his time in sorting this out, but the resulting sanction amounts to a mere slap on the wrist and produces no real motivation that any utilities company to do any better. Part of the reason for the limited sanction is that apparently BES utilities cooperated and also admitted the breaches – even though, there were only denials elsewhere. Of course, it makes business sense that when you've been caught out that it is best to put your hands up as quickly as possible and it seems as if this is what BES utilities have done to the regulator despite being in denial to their customers and elsewhere. It has now been left to BES utilities to approach their own customers with proposals of redress. Will they go about this in an honest and decent way? I'm sure that we will find out eventually on this forum and we invite all victims of BES utilities to come here and tell us whether they have received an approach and whether they are satisfied with the way that it is being handled. For people who are looking around for somebody to manage their energy supply, frankly we suggest that you avoid BES utilities for at least two or three years until they have established a track record of straightforward straight-dealing. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/investigation-bes-and-its-compliance-its-obligations-under-gas-and-electricity-supply-licences-standard-licence-conditions-7a-7b-7-14-and-21b-and-consumer-complaints-handling-standards-regulations-chsr-2008 BES utilities have previously come onto this forum in denial and also to assure us of their best intentions regarding their customers. I wonder if they have the bottle to come onto this forum now and to apologise and to explain to their victims what the next step is.
  7. Change in government’s energy policy blamed for job losses just as solar power eclipses coal in electricity generation I just do not get it,why? Article. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/10/uk-solar-power-industry-job-losses-government-subsidy-cuts-energy-policy
  8. I do find that that the bailiff advice part of the site has been taken over a little by 'industry reps' who often support wrongful actions by EA's or HCEO's, without any helpful advice for Joe Public about what they can do. The replies often supports the actions of their colleagues in the industry. I think this is something that the CAG site team should keep an eye on. People come to CAG for fair balanced advice, which should hopefully enable them to resolve their problem. If CAG allows the site to be taken over by anonymous industry reps, it could damage the reputation of the site and people may be more tempted to use 'interesting' advice offered elsewhere online. I know others offer advice which is more independent, but thought this needed to be said.
  9. Within the last 18 months I have changed Banks three times no less. Within days of opening the accounts, I have had to make formal complaints to all three. For each Bank, I set what I considered to be a just and reasonable amount, to compensate me for the issue complained of. I must admit,. a couple of Banks voluntarily increased the amount I claimed, knowing my claim to be so fair, given the cicumstances of the claim itself. The total number of claims agreed and settled has sadly exceeded 23 claims shared by all three. I am still with my original Bank and now they too have been served 2 complaints notices today. I am pleased to say (Not smuggly) that I have not failed with any of my claims. I have been truthful, patient, assertive and robust but certainly not rude. How has this guy been so sucessful ? You may well ask. Well before I answer that, I would ask that anyone who has also got similar experiances of the Banking industry in respect of their complaint acheivements to make a contribution to this post before I finally answer the above question I have put to myself for CAG users everywhere - Even the Banks themselves!. NodNod:wink:
  10. Hi, I'm just starting to get a handle on my finances after a sudden change of circumstances. I'm in around £8,000 of unsecured debt to various loans/overdrafts/credit cards/catalogues, and now my landlord (I'm a leaseholder) as such saddled me with an additional £2,500 debt which has tipped me over the edge. I'm in the process of opening a new Current Account and Saving Account with a Building Society and am now trying to rework my SoA so I can comfortably afford to repay these debts but also not have to get into further debt when the excrement next hits the fan. Up till now I've budget quiet tightly to keep up with at least minimum payments but when the car breaks, as it did over Christmas, I end up loading up the credit cards again and am back to square one. So I want to budget properly this time and save a little for such occurrences. I've been searching around both this site and various others (many linked to from here) and reading a lot of quality information, but I can't find the answer to one specific question...Just what is regarded to be the industry accepted allowances in a SoA? How much is reasonable for things like Sky TV, Hobbies or Holidays? What is acceptable to save for, like a new car in 4 years time, and what would be taking the proverbial? I want to make sure the figures I use are both realistic and acceptable. Thanks in advance for any advice offered.
  11. The Citizens Advice Bureau is calling on the Office for Fair Trading to immediately ban the payday lenders it says it has evidence of causing harm to borrowers. A six month investigation by Citizens Advice found evidence of a number of “unscrupulous” payday lender firms engaging in irresponsible lending, inadequate checks, harassment and refusals to agree on repayment plans. An analysis of 780 cases reported to Citizens Advice between November and May uncovered evidence of lending to people with mental health issues, people who were drunk at the time and borrowers under 18.CAB chief executive Gillian Guy says: “The payday loan industry is out of control and is acting as a law unto itself. It has showed a complete disregard for its customers. Many have been driven into debt by irresponsible lending and their debts ballooned as lenders put pressure on them to extend the loans.” The Citizens Advice payday loan tracker studied customer feedback on 2,000 payday loans, from 113 different payday lenders, from 26 November 2012 to 17 May 2013. The tracker monitors whether lenders are abiding by their own customer charter. The customer charter was introduced in July 2012, representing over 100 lenders and around 90 per cent of the total market. The aim was to improve background checks on applicants as well as improve their understanding of the potential borrowing terms. Seven in 10 borrowers, or 72 per cent, were found to have come under pressure to extend their loans while the investigation found evidence of lenders misusing Continuous Payment Authorities in order to extract money from bank account. The study found 95 per cent of lenders did not check that borrowers with repayment problems could afford to pay back the loan if it was extended. It uncovered evidence that 87 per cent of lenders did not ask the borrower to provide documents to prove they could afford to repay the loan, 95 per cent did not check borrowers with repayment problems could afford to pay back the loan if it was extended, and 54 per cent did not warn that a payday loan should not be used for long-term borrowing or to deal with money troubles. Additionally, 84 per cent of borrowers with repayment problems were not offered the chance to freeze interest and charges when they encountered repayment difficulties. During the same six month period 24,575 people sought online advice about payday loans from Citizens Advice Guy says: “The OFT has an opportunity to wipe out the distress caused by this industry and make sure it is transformed into a responsible short-term credit market. It is vital that, following the investigation, the OFT takes swift action to protect consumers from the harm caused by these unscrupulous lenders.” Link: http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/latest-news/citizens-advice-urges-action-on-out-of-control-payday-loan-industry/1071841.article
  12. City regulator to investigate whether insurers 'drag heels' when it comes to paying claims. The new City regulator will investigate whether insurers are "dragging their heels" when it comes to settling valid claims, and relying on the small print of policies to avoid paying customers. Martin Wheatley, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority said this investigation would form part of a wider "thematic" review into the insurance industry. Announcing this investigation he said that the number of complaints against insurance companies was rising "and more [of these complaints] are likely to be upheld in favour of the customer than ever before." He said this investigation would focus primarily on travel and household insurance claims, to see whether the process and claims culture at these firms was "fit for purpose". "It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to defend any company if it was found to be aggravating these experiences by dragging its heels – or trying to wriggle out of its responsibility to pay legitimate claims. Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/insurance/10061335/Insurance-industry-faces-claims-probe.html
  13. I have just received a copy of the following Press Release from CCR-Public Sector: MoJ begins bailiffs law meetings Tuesday, 19th March 2013 The Ministry of Justice has confirmed to CCR-Public Sector, that meetings have started in London, between the various interested parties, to move forward implementation of the government's proposals for bailiff law and certification overhaul. The working groups have started and include: · Debtor Group · Advice Sector · Enforcement Industry Group · Local Authority Group · Interdepartmental Working Group · The Enforcement Law Reform Group. Each working group has a selection of representatives, drawn from a wide range of government departments, enforcement companies and the debt advice sector, including Citizens Advice. Implementation of all changes, as the MoJ has previously said, will be in 2014. An official spokeswoman told CCR-PS last Friday: "The working groups will be meeting over a number of weeks, at the MoJ in London, to look in fine detail at the government's intentions, which have been based largely on the more than 200 responses to last year's bailiff consultation. It is the government's intention to rein in 'aggressive bailiffs' and ensure vulnerable debtors are treated fairly." MoJ minister responsible for bailiffs, Helen Grant MP, is heading the government team.
  14. The enforcement and advice sector were taken by surprise late this evening when news channels contacted them for interviews in connection with the Press Release issued to the media last night outlining how the Ministry of Justice plan to regulate the bailiff industry. Included in the Press Release are the following: Mandatory training scheme for bailiffs Bailiffs who do not follow the rules will be barred Stop bailiffs entering homes when children only are present Stop bailiffs using force against debtors. Bailiff will only be able to enter homes between 6am and 9pm Will also legislate on a set of rules and fees detailing when the bailiff can entry property, what goods they can take and a fees structure which will end excessive and multiple fees. Ensure vulnerable people will get assistance and advice Train bailiffs to recognise vulnerable people. The press release only provides a brief outline of the proposed changes and further details will be announced by the government in the morning. Interviews will be taking place on breakfast channels and radio stations in the morning so be sure to watch or tune in. Good night..........
  15. The industry has put forward a range of alternative Financial Services Compensation Scheme funding models to achieve a fairer way of levying regulated firms. The FSA’s consultation on reviewing the FSCS funding model, which closed last week, proposes increasing the annual limit of claims paid by investment advisers from £100m to £150m and calls for claims exceeding the annual limit for one class of firms to be met by a Financial Conduct Authority “retail pool”. It also proposes basing the levy on either one third of the claims expected over the next three years, or the costs anticipated for the following year, whichever is highest. More; http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/latest-news/will-the-fsa-change-its-mind-industry-puts-forward-fscs-proposals/1060826.article
  16. Britain's taxpayer-backed lenders are set to pay out at least £7bn to customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance - with the total bill for the banking industry topping £11bn. Lloyds Banking Group said on Thursday that PPI compensation costs would hit £5.3bn as it set aside a further £1bn against claims, while Royal Bank of Scotland is expected on Friday to confirm that its total bill is likely to be increased by £400m to reach £1.7bn. The provisions by the two state-backed lenders follow Barclays’ confirmation this week that it expected the PPI redress claims to total £2bn after it made a new compensation provision of £700m, on top of the £1.3bn it had already accounted for. Consumer experts at Which? estimated PPI is now on course to become the biggest mis-selling scandal in British financial history and said it expected the compensation bill to reach at least £12.3bn, exceeding by £500m the £11.8bn cost of pensions mis-selling. Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, said banks had been in “denial” about the scale of PPI mis-selling and called on lenders to be more open about how they were dealing with the scandal. “The banks must now come clean about how many more complaints they’re expecting, publish monthly updates on the amounts that have been paid back, and claw back bonuses from executive,” he said. More:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/banking/9649620/Banking-industry-PPI-bill-tops-11bn.html
  17. British banks have put forward proposals to reform the sector after a summer of scandal further battered the industry's reputation. Barclays called for a chartered institute of bankers in its submission to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. It would oversee a code of conduct and a register of banking professionals. It would have the power to strike off bankers who do not stick to the set standards, Barclays said. More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19681783 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards Report: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201213/jtselect/jtpcbs/writev/banking/banking.pdf
  18. High street banks have “lost their moral compass” and must “fundamentally change” their practices in order to restore the public’s battered confidence in them, a leading consumer group has warned. Which? has written to the new head of the British Bankers' Association (BBA), which represents the banking industry, urging him to raise levels of customer service in branches and make banks more accountable for bad practices. The group also warned Anthony Browne, who starts as chief executive of the BBA on Monday, not to give in to pressure from powerful banks to “defend the indefensible”. The public’s confidence in banks has been rocked by a series of scandals in recent months. Routine mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), the rigging of the Libor rate, IT meltdowns and the prospect of higher fees for current account holders have meant that trust in banks is “at an all-time low”, Which? said. The letter, which was written by Which?’s chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith and was sent yesterday, said: “In the wake of all the recent scandals in the banking industry there is a real crisis in consumer trust and confidence. We found almost three-quarters of people don’t think UK banks have learnt their lesson from the financial crisis – up from six in ten in September 2011. More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9510087/Banks-have-lost-their-moral-compass-consumer-group-warns-new-industry-chief.html
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