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Wilmslow Express - - CITY LIFE LOCAL -

is­sues. IGEL Mor­gan con­tin­ues look­ing at some re­cent con­sumer

Mas­sive fines for nui­sance calls and texts.

Im­pos­ing fines of up to £500,000 on the com­pa­nies be­hind cold calls and nui­sance text mes­sages is to be­come eas­ier un­der changes to the law be­ing made by the gov­ern­ment.

The move fol­lows tens of thou­sands of com­plaints about cold call­ing.

Cur­rently, firms can only be pun­ished if the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner can prove a call caused ‘sub­stan­tial dam­age or sub­stan­tial dis­tress’.

But from April 6, that legal re­quire­ment is to be re­moved.

The ICO has raided a call cen­tre in Hove thought to be re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing mil­lions of nui­sance calls.

The busi­ness is be­lieved to be us­ing au­to­matic di­alling tech­nol­ogy to make four to six mil­lion recorded tele­phone calls a day about debt man­age­ment or pay­ment pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance.

The calls are made anony­mously, are sent with­out con­sent and it is im­pos­si­ble to opt out of re­ceiv­ing them.

The ICO will now con­sider what ac­tion is nec­es­sary in or­der to com­pel the or­gan­i­sa­tion to com­ply with the rules re­gard­ing recorded tele­phone calls.

On­line courts could re­solve smaller claims.

Low-value civil court cases in Eng­land and Wales could be dealt with by an on­line dis­putes sys­tem, a re­port rec­om­mends.

The pro­posed on­line dis­pute res­o­lu­tion scheme would be sim­i­lar to the one used by on­line mar­ket­place eBay to di­ag­nose and re­solve dis­putes.

On­line fa­cil­i­ta­tors would be used to help par­ties reach an agree­ment, and if that failed, on­line judges would rule on cases with­out the need for courts to be booked or for the par­ties in­volved to ap­pear in per­son to give ev­i­dence. The re­port, from the coun­cil’s on­line dis­pute res­o­lu­tion ad­vi­sory group, sug­gests con­duct­ing a pi­lot, ahead of an an­tic­i­pated full roll-out in 2017.

Shop­pers have been warned to be­ware of coun­ter­feit olive oil.

The in­cen­tive for fraud has in­creased be­cause the woe­ful olive har­vest has left a short­age of the fruit re­quired to make gen­uine oil – while the re­sult­ing ris­ing price has in­creased the prof­its that can be made from sell­ing fake bot­tles. Con­sumers should be par­tic­u­larly wary of olive oil that ap­pears ‘too cheap to be true’.

On­line mo­tor­ing of­fences plea ser­vice launched. A ser­vice al­low­ing mo­torists in Eng­land and Wales charged with sum­mary mo­tor­ing of­fences to en­ter a plea on­line is be­ing launched by the gov­ern­ment.

Peo­ple charged with a mi­nor mo­tor­ing of­fence such as speed­ing or not hav­ing in­sur­ance will be able to en­ter a plea 24-hours-a-day via a se­cure web­site.

The grad­ual roll-out of the ‘Make A Plea’ scheme from March fol­lows a suc­cess­ful pi­lot in Greater Manch­ester. Warn­ing: Ex­pect an in­flux of copy-cat sites from the same bot­tom-feed­ers who rip off the un­sus­pect­ing by charg­ing for some­thing you can do for free.

NHS mi­nor ail­ment ser­vices. Some phar­ma­cies run a mi­nor ail­ment ser­vice, which means they can sup­ply medicines for cer­tain con­di­tions on the NHS with­out hav­ing to visit your doc­tor first.

If your phar­macy runs a mi­nor ail­ment ser­vice for eczema, for ex­am­ple, it means your phar­ma­cist can sup­ply medicines for this con­di­tion and you’ll only pay the stan­dard pre­scrip­tion charge.

If you’re ex­empt from pay­ing pre­scrip­tion charges – for ex­am­ple, be­cause you’re over 60 – you won’t pay for the medicine at all.

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