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.