Tasty solutions for food delivery troubles

picture of Chinese takeaway food laid out on plates on tableHave you ever ordered a takeaway that has taken significantly longer than advertised to deliver?

A consumer is totally within their rights to reject the order when it arrives. Consumers have a right to a discount on the order if they decide to keep it.

pizza pieces Takeaway troubles? How to get your appetite back.In fact, if the delivery was so late that the consumer has had to order another takeaway at additional cost to the original order, they could argue that in law they are entitled to the difference too. One must be reasonable, so the delay would need to be unreasonable and within the delivery company’s control.

Any food delivery company not delivering when promised would be in breach of a number of laws.  Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) services should be carried out with information given verbally or in writing to the consumer which is binding where the consumer relies on it. Any service must be carried out within the agreed time. Secondly, The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (amended 2014) (CPUTRs) prohibit trading practices that are unfair to consumers and there are bans on Misleading Practices.

You may already have paid for the delivery before it arrives and the find it difficult to get the refund/discount. Take a picture of the delivery with the time and making copies of any evidence showing the delivery time. (Always make a note of the time you placed the order). Then write to the manager of the company with who you paid the money whether this is the actual delivery company or not, your contract is always with whom you paid your money.

Give details of date, time of order and time of delivery with any evidence. State that the company is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and The CPUTRs (using the information above). State that should you not be fully satisfied with the response then you will take the matter further which will include but not be limited to informing Trading Standards and detailing your experience on relevant review sites. You could even threaten the Small Claims Court but few people would carry this threat through. Quoting your legal rights in this way usually gets the redress you are owed!

If you are still unhappy you can always write to the CEO, contact details for CEOs can be found at www.ceoemail.com. The CEO won’t necessarily respond personally but the matter will be escalated and taken more seriously. If more people started to complain and assert their legal rights then service would have to improve or companies would go under from providing refunds and discounts. As for companies who repeatedly breach the CPUTRs a breach is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine and two years’ imprisonment!

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!



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How to look a Gift Horse in the mouth…

Know your rights on unwanted Christmas gifts

2 wrapped presents on green background can I return this please?

Over the Christmas period many of us will be given presents that sadly we don’t want.

I’ve been answering questions from consumers about what their rights are.

1) Will stores take back any item?
There is no legal obligation for any trader to give a refund or exchange for an item (unless it has breached consumer law often referred to as “your statutory rights”). Many of the larger companies will do though out of good faith and because it makes them appear customer-friendly!

2) Do all stores have an extended return policy over Christmas time, or do I need to check first?
There is no legal obligation for a trader to do this (unless the item is faulty) so you should check on the receipt or on the company’s website.

3) Is there a way that I can get around ‘exchange-only’ or ‘store-credit-only’ policies?
If the item is faulty or not as described then these policies are illegal, as they breach the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If there is no problem with the item then be grateful for the exchange or store credit, as it is more than the store is obliged to legally do.

Christmas jumper on green background unwanted present your rights

4) If an item has been reduced in the sale, can I demand that I am refunded the full price paid for an item?
No, you will need to prove that the full price was paid. The proof will be your receipt.

5) What are my rights if the item is faulty?
You will still need a proof of purchase but under the Consumer Rights Act you are entitled to items of “satisfactory quality”. If the item is returned within 30 days of purchase, the retailer must give you a full refund. After 30 days the retailer can offer a repair or exchange.

6) Are my rights different if the item was bought online?
If the item was bought within 14 days and you can ask the giver for the receipt you can then return the item. Whether you have to pay return postage or not will depend on the terms and conditions of the website. However, if the item is faulty you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act in the same way as above and you would be able to reclaim the cost of the return postage. Some items are not covered by the cooling off period, such as bespoke items, flowers, fresh food.

7) I ordered an item online for a present but it came too late. Am I stuck with it?
Not necessarily. If you paid for a delivery to arrive before Christmas then you are entitled to your money back. If the item had no set delivery date but took over 30 days, that would be deemed unreasonable and so again you could expect a refund. You have the 14-day cooling off period mentioned above but if the company did not meet its obligations for delivery then you are entitled to the cost of delivery and return for the item. Your Rights, Mail Order, Online and Deliveries.

If you are unable to return the item, please think about regifting or donating to charity. More ideas for what to do with unwanted presents see What to do with the ghost of Christmas Present?

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


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Think before you sign – top 10 tips for saving on subscriptions

Think before you sign

Don’t fritter away your hard-earned money on unwanted subscriptions

top 10 tips for savings on subscriptions with picture of contract

It’s National Consumer Week and this year’s theme is “Before You Sign.”

Citizens Advice research revealed this week that in just three months consumers spent an average of £160 on unwanted subscriptions, including gym memberships, television and online streaming services. The consumer organisation also found that between June and August 2017, 9 out of 10 people were initially refused by companies when cancellation of an unwanted subscription was requested.

So what are your rights and the best ways to deal with these subscriptions? Here are my top 10 tips.

1) Be aware of the “free” and very cheap trials of subscriptions. Most, if not all, will ask for payment information when you sign up. Set yourself a reminder to cancel a day before the first payment is due.

2) Check the cancellation rights before signing up to anything but be aware that you may still be able to challenge these in certain circumstances.

3) Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, you are entitled to a 14 day “cooling off” period, so if you have signed up to something off premises (e.g. online) you can cancel with no penalty.

4) Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, consumers are protected from unfair contracts. So, for example, if a company says that you must give 6 months’ notice to cancel a subscription, that would be unfair.

5) The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2014 state that companies must provide accurate and sufficient information for consumers to make a purchasing decision. For a practice to be unfair under these rules, they must harm, or be likely to harm, the economic interests of the average consumer. For example, when a shopper makes a purchasing decision he or she would not have made had he or she been given accurate information.

6) If you are going to sign up to a subscription, try and use Direct Debit where possible. With Direct Debit, a company cannot change the regular payment amount. Using a Direct Debit or credit card is known as a Continuous Payment Authority which can be of varying amounts which can be changed without your consent.

7) When you cancel with the company, also inform your bank to ensure that the subscription payment is cancelled. You will then also be covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee, which ensures a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society if a mistake is made.

8) Check that the site is genuine. The website address should begin with “https”, have a padlock symbol, a full correspondence address (not a PO box number) and any trade logos should be genuine. Also, search the Internet for reviews and check for warning signs like lots of grammatical errors or a domain name that uses a well-known brand/product but isn’t the official website or ends in .net or .org as these are rarely used for online shopping sites. You can also check who registered the domain via the com website.

9) If you want to cancel, do so quickly and in writing so you have evidence. If you are prepared to discuss the matter because you want to haggle for example, telephone helpline numbers cannot cost the consumer more than the basic rate, so no 084 and 087 numbers. If companies do use these then they are in breach of the The Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and Ofcom regulations.

10) When writing to cancel, provide all details of the policy/memberships etc., dates of subscriptions and request that the cancellation is made with immediate effect. Name the laws above and describe how the company is in breach, if relevant.

More at How to challenge terms & conditions (even those you’ve agreed)

Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For masses more information, advice, tips, consumer laws and template letters get the GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!




The Advent of Folly

Zoella 12 day advent calendar and others and legal rights



The Zoella Advent Calendar has gone on sale, priced at £50.

£50 for crying out loud… Now, to be honest, when I heard about this I had to look her up on Google. She’s a beauty vlogger for teens. Anyway, the cost is ridiculous. Guess what you get for £50? You never will so here’s the list:



candle 130g
cookie cutter x 2
jotter pad
key ring
room spray 30ml
stickers and
a votive)

I thought it was bad enough that it cost £50 when I thought it was 24 or 25 days but it’s only 12! Half a calendar! HALF. Many people have costed out the items and it comes to less than £20 if you bought the items from places like Primark and eBay.

Twitter is an amusing place. Put in #Zoella and there are some very amusing and poignant tweets and masses of them.

Boots is a respected brand. It should have thought twice about this before joining up with Zoella to con, for that is what it is, kids, young people and their parents out of so much money.

Half a calendar
So 12 days huh? Someone can’t count. Or indeed doesn’t understand the word “advent”. The Oxford English dictionary describes it as “The first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays”. (One could argue that other advent calendars with only 24 or 25 days may not have 4 Sundays but actually very few say “December Advent calendar”! So no-one has to start on the 1st December you should actually start on the 1st day of advent. Anyway, I digress…).

But it may be good to share this little idea. Perhaps all the customers of the Zoella advent calendar might like to return theirs with all the contents and demand a refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 because it is not as described. It is not an “Advent” calendar. Go on do it and let me know how you get on!

Other advent calendars
Many other advent calendars are available. But see if you can beat the advent calendar at Fortnum and Mason. This gem, priced at £165, plays music when you open each of the doors. But….. it comes unfilled!!

Sad really, seeing the development of commercial advent calendars. (Remember the days when you loved the 24th because that day it was a double door nativity picture?!) Then there’s the WH Smith “calendar of erasers”, an advent calendar filled with rubbers. Just why?

Andy Webb from BeCleverWithYourCash.com asked and hasn’t yet found an answer, although this was my favourite response:

I suppose some little kids love collecting them. But everso slightly unimaginative?

Even Greggs are coming out with advent calendars! But the Greggs calendar isn’t filled with yummy chocolates, it’s filled with paper vouchers to exchange for pastries and sausage rolls!

I suppose there is the line “Never miss an opportunity”, but it’s not clear yet whether those vouchers equal more, less or the same as the amount they cost yet! Much as I love pastry and cream cakes and much more so than the next person, do I really want to be encouraged to go to Greggs every day?! The walk won’t burn off the calories!

Really the only good one has to be the Aldi 24 days “bottles of wine” advent calendar for a penny less than Zoella’s half advent calendar. It’s already sold out though…

The advent alternatives
1)    Consider making your own advent calendar for your offspring. You may like to do what we are doing in our household, which is the Reverse advent calendar. It’s a campaign supported by UKMoneybloggers where we put some food or toiletries each day in a box and at the end of the month give it to our local foodbank. Perhaps Boots might like to think about donating a whole load of beauty products and toiletries to all the food banks local to their branches?

2) You could also try Cass Bailey, Frugal Family blogger’s Alternative Christmas Advent Calendar. I absolutely love this idea, It’s about making your own traditions and doing something for yourself/family/friends etc. You can put in your own ideas, it is great. Check it out.

3) I’ve just printed a Kindness calendar from Eileen Adamson Your Money Sorted They are such easy simple little things that are just lovely.

Frankly, I find the rise in beauty product advent calendars and their prices staggering. That’s maybe because I need more than an advent calendar’s worth of products to make me look human. But that aside, I think consumers need to consider very carefully what’s inside these things before buying. Seriously, Google “beauty advent calendars” it’s shocking and in these days when people are struggling to feed their families, sickening. Looking around, it’s clear that Zoella’s isn’t the most expensive, although it may be the poorest value.

One 5 star review of the Zoella product surely has to be sarcasm. SURELY? “So I bought this for my 7 year old daughter and she loves it, she had hours of fun with the star cookie cutter and don’t forget the confetti and its cheap as well really helps a single mother!” Seriously? I’m just donating a box full of Play-Doh stuff to the charity shop, loads of cutters in there, probably cost you a few quid!

Superdrug has excellent reviews on their same priced make up calendar whilst Boots are dreadful! Go look! Lots are being reduced too so clearly aren’t selling well. It took rather a lot of condemnation on social media and the media to get Boots to reduce this one for another reason. Apparently, as of a few hours ago today (14/11/17) Boots responded to the criticism of the calendar:

“We are sorry to hear that the price of the Zoella 12 Days of Christmas Advent                          Calendar has disappointed a number of customers, we always listen to feedback.”

a spokesperson for Boots told Digital Spy. Maybe they thought half price because it is HALF A FLIPPING CALENDAR?!

The Zoella’s advent calendar review
This amused me. If you don’t mind swearing and can sit through an 8 minute long review, this is brilliant. Let it be a lesson to anyone else wanting to rip off kids, young people and their parents! An honest review of everything inside, have a look before you are tempted to buy!

I think I’ve only subscribed to a couple of consumer organisations on Youtube and no-one else. Today I subscribed to JaakMaate‘s channel. His witty sarcasm is right up my street!

My favourite is his review of number 8. Obviously. If you want to take on his idea for number 8 see Tips and if you want to write to the Boots bosses the contact details are here

Zoella response
Here is Zoella’s video response to the criticism. Please don’t torture yourself by watching it all I have set it to go from her response to the criticism of her half advent calendar. You will see that Zoella says that she only had input regarding creativity on “great products” (remember many of these products are available in Primark and Wilko for less than £1) and worked on it for a year and had nothing to do with the pricing. Here are my thoughts on this:

1) She has ownership of the brand name, so why would she allow a contract to go ahead where she has no say in the pricing which reflects on her brand?

2) She’s made quite a bit of money in the past, are we to believe that she doesn’t know how business works?

3) No business, Boots and hers included, would discuss development of a product for a year without talking about projected sales and profits.

So, either Zoella doesn’t have a clue about business and is only making £1 a calendar or her response is just everso slightly disingenuous?

Boots response
I asked Boots to comment on the 12 days and on Zoella’s claims in the above video. Boots failed to comment on this and a spokesperson for it added to the above with only…

“We will be offering the product at half price during our Christmas promotion, where             the calendar will be on sale for £25.00 from Thursday 16th November.

The Zoella lifestyle advent calendar is full of 12 exclusive treats which are all clearly               listed on boots.com and cannot be purchased separately.”

Have you bought her product? Are you happy with it? If so, you must have more money than sense. Hopefully, if you were happy, you are now outraged that not only was she part of a campaign to fleece children, young people and their parents, she is now trying to wriggle her way out of it by pretending she knows nothing about how business works.

Show us the contract, Zoella. Put your not so hard earned cash where your mouth is.

How to challenge terms & conditions (even those you’ve agreed)

The One Show today covers Terms and Conditions. Who reads them? Would you follow them if told?

There are pages and pages of small print. How many of us tick the box that says “Agree to terms and conditions”, only to fall foul later when we need to complain?

The Government thought so too and there was a call for evidence from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills for consumers to provide feedback regarding their experiences. The open consultation ended on 25 April 2016 but there is still no response. I’ve requested details of when this will be forthcoming but as yet not heard anything.

So what can you do in the meantime if you feel that the terms and conditions you agreed to actually turned out to be unfair? Don’t worry, all is not lost!

Consumer Rights Act 2015 and unfair contracts
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) creates a ‘fairness test’ to stop consumers being put at unfair disadvantage. A term is unfair if it tilts the rights and responsibilities between the consumer and the trader too much in favour of the trader. The test is applied by looking at what words are used and how they could be interpreted. It takes into consideration what is being sold, what the other terms of the contract say and all the circumstances at the time the term was agreed. There is an exemption for the essential obligations of contracts – setting the price and describing the main subject matter – provided the wording used is clear and prominent. There is also an exemption for wording that has to be used by law. If you have been misled into making a decision that you would otherwise not have made then the company is in breach of this law.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (amended 2014) (CPUTRs)

For a practice to be unfair under these rules, they must harm, or be likely to harm, the economic interests of the average consumer. For example, when a shopper makes a purchasing decision he or she would not have made had he or she been given accurate information or not put under unfair pressure to do so.

The regulations prohibit trading practices that are unfair to consumers. There are four different types of practices covered:

A general ban – on conduct below a level which may be expected towards consumers (honest market practice/good faith).

Misleading practices  a practice misleads through the information it contains, or its deceptive presentation, and causes, or is likely to cause, the average consumer to take a different transactional decision specifically; general misleading information, creating confusion with competitors’ products or failing to honour commitments made in a code of conduct.

Aggressive sales techniques using harassment, coercion or undue influence– significantly impairs, or is likely to significantly impair, the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct in relation to the product through the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence – and  thereby causes him to take a different transactional decision.

31 specific practices (that would be two long boring pages of  post! It is pretty thorough though and all of them are listed in the book ). 🙂

How to use
Say for example, your mobile ‘phone is constantly losing signal and you can’t use it like any customer would want to, that is a breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 because it has not supplied you with services carried out with reasonable skill and care and you have every right to terminate the contract. If however, the company tells you that in the terms and conditions of the contract that you signed, you can’t break a contract early under any circumstances, that’s a breach of the above laws, because they have not kept to their side of the bargain! In fact, the telecoms sector is downright awful for customer service so here is some more advice on them. All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers.

Another example. You were told that you could have a free cup of coffee and cake for giving your email address. You signed up. You had your coffee and cake they then tell you that in the terms and conditions you have to clean the floor. You argue that you didn’t know but they say “It’s in the terms and condition”. Tough. For them. Under the CRA it could be an unfair contract, because cleaning the floor could be considered as worth more in payment than the coffee and cake (maybe it would depend how big the floor was?!) But under the CPUTRs it is a big fat breach. You would argue that you were misled into giving your email address.

When you complain use the Top 20 Tips.

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