Monthly Archives:June 2017

Virgin Media’s early exit fees investigated by Ofcom

30 Jun 17
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  • Virgin charges a fee even if customers move to an area where it’s not available
  • Ofcom is investigating the provider to see if these exit fees are fair
  • This is Money has heard from several readers faced with £240 early exit fees 

Early termination fees of up to £240 paid out by Virgin Media customers are to be investigated by the telecoms regulator.

Virgin Media is the only major provider to charge its customers exit fees if they are forced to terminate their contract early because they move to a new home where Virgin broadband isn’t available.

Ofcom is investigating if these fees are fair and comply with the Consumer Rights Act, after receiving a number of complaints from Virgin Media customers.

Exit fees: Virgin charges a fee  even if customers move to an area where it's not available

Exit fees: Virgin charges a fee even if customers move to an area where it’s not available

The investigation will look into whether the penalty fees charged by Virgin Media for phone, broadband and TV contracts act as a disincentive for customers to switch providers.

It will also investigate whether the early fees comply with the rules in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on early termination charges. 

Exit fees are charged by all providers if you leave a contract early and they are required to be ‘fair and reasonable’ and to reflect the work carried out and the loss to the company of the contract ending early.

But Virgin Media works slightly differently to all of the other major providers.

It charges an early disconnection fee to customers if they end their contract early, even if the reason for ending the contract is because the customer is moving home and Virgin isn’t available in the new property.

The majority of other phone and broadband providers do not charge customers in this situation.

Virgin has its own fibre network and only properties connected to this are able to access the provider’s services. This is different to the other major providers, which all use BT’s Openreach network of cables.  

HAS VIRGIN CHARGED YOU AN EARLY EXIT PENALTY? 

Are you or have you ever been a Virgin Media customer and been charged an early exit fee for breaking your contract? 

This is Money would like to hear from you, contact: rebecca.rutt@thisismoney.co.uk

Several This is Money readers have contacted us about this issue. Josh Green contacted us because he was moving house and in the new property Virgin wasn’t available so he would have to move to Sky.

This would mean technically he was ending his contract early and therefore he was facing a penalty charge of £240 from Virgin, even though it wasn’t possible for him to stay with Virgin in the new house.

Virgin told Josh the fee was listed in its terms and conditions and after we got in contact with it the fee was lowered to £190.

However, Josh was still left with a £190 fee for moving house.

Within its terms and conditions Virgin states: ‘An Early Disconnection Fee is also charged when you move to another address during a minimum period, and don’t continue with Virgin Media services for any reason. This includes if we’re unable to provide our services at your new address.’

Ofcom is investigating Virgin Media to see if the early exit fees it charges are fair

Ofcom is investigating Virgin Media to see if the early exit fees it charges are fair

The fee charged can vary as it all depends on the package you are paying and how many months you have left on your fixed contract. Virgin told us the maximum charged is £240.

The investigation has only just been launched so it will be some time before a final ruling is made.

However, if Ofcom rules that Virgin Media has acted unfairly it could force it to change its terms and conditions and it may be the case that previous customers who have paid the early fee may be able to claim back this money.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: ‘We note Ofcom’s investigation into early termination charges and will work with them during the course of their inquiry.’ 

Dan Howdle, spokesperson for Cable.co.uk, said: ‘When moving house, the difference between terminating your contract with Virgin Media and terminating your contract with other providers (who all share BT’s Openreach network) is primarily one of availability. 

‘If you have a phone line – so that’s practically every house in the UK – you can get broadband of some description on Openreach (BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, others).

Unfair fees: This is Money has heard from several readers faced with £240 early exit fees

Unfair fees: This is Money has heard from several readers faced with £240 early exit fees

‘Since Virgin Media’s broadband network only reaches just over half of UK households, however, there is a good chance it won’t reach you, and Virgin Media’s current policy is to charge early termination fees irrespective of whether you’re physically able to continue your services at your new address. 

‘The policy is flawed. There are many reasons why a person may move house and not all are by choice, and if Virgin Media wishes to keep you as a customer the onus should be on it to provide continuity of service, not on the customer to compensate them for their loss.’  

If you’re a Virgin Media customer in a similar situation and you don’t think the fee is fair – you have the right to complain directly to Virgin via its official complaints process.

You’ll then have eight weeks and if by then it has not responded, or if you’re not happy with the response, you can escalate it further to an alternative dispute resolution service which will look into your case independently.

There are different schemes depending on the company involved and for Virgin Media you will need the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme.

If it rules in your favour it could ask it to lower or abolish the fee – however there are no guarantees this will happen. 

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Asylum seekers to be allowed by Canada to contest deportation

30 Jun 17
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Canada is giving an opportunity to stave off deportation, saying to some asylum seekers from Russia.

The Immigration Department says reports of violence against the community in Chechnya mean if they are forced to return people may be in danger.

The department claims if they received a decision that means people from Russia may be entitled to a risk assessment.

The PRRA, as it is known, allows those slated to claim they cannot be sent back to their country of origin.

The immigration minister has the authority to exempt all or some people, although currently can not apply for a PRRA for at least 12 months.

Refugee advocates have been pushing the government to make it more easy for members of the community that was Russian for and remain in Canada after reports appeared that bisexual and homosexual men were tortured and imprisoned in Chechnya.

Also on the Planet and Mail

Watch as Pride parades Occur across the U.S. (Reuters)

One in five households do NOT want a smart meter

29 Jun 17
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  • Consumers are worried about the way the data is collected with a smart meter
  • The meters are meant to help consumers save money on their energy bills
  • The Government has a target of 2020 for installing smart meters in UK homes
  • Britons are underestimating the amount they spend on energy by £250 a year

More than one in five Britons does not want to have a smart meter fitted into their home, new research has revealed.

Smart meters, which measure the amount of energy a home uses, are currently being fitted into households across the country.

The main reason given by those who say they don’t want one is data protection issues, with concerns over their information on their behaviour being gathered and the potential for smart meters to be a weak spot for hackers.

Data issues: Consumers are worried about the way the data is collected with a smart meter

Data issues: Consumers are worried about the way the data is collected with a smart meter

The Government has a 2020 target by which it wants all eligible UK homes to be fitted with a smart meter.

They work by sending information directly to your energy provider about how much energy is being used so customers no longer have to send manual readings.

But new research has shown that 21 per cent of Britons do not want to have one fitted and of these, 55 per cent said it was because they were worried about the way the data would be collected.

Other reasons given by the 2,054 people asked by Comparethemarket for not wanting one included 11 per cent of respondents saying they ‘weren’t familiar’ with smart meters and 10 per cent saying they seemed too complicated to install.

The data suggests that many of those asked do not yet have a smart meter fitted and are unaware of how they work and the benefits of having one, and therefore once the roll out is complete it’s likely the results could change.

The research also found that many Britons are underestimating the amount they pay for their energy bills.

GOT A SMART METER QUESTION?

Have you switched energy providers with a smart meter and did you encounter any problems doing so? We would like to hear your story. Contact: rebecca.rutt@thisismoney.co.uk. 

Do you have an energy question you would like to have answered? Contact: experts@thisismoney.co.uk with the subject line ‘energy expert’ 

The average monthly amount people thought they were paying was £64 or £768 per year, but the website estimates from its data that this figure is nearer to £84.92 or £1,018 annually.

The average cost of a standard variable tariff from a big six provider is £1,141, which the majority of UK will be paying for, while the cheapest fixed-rate tariff currently on the market is £850, confirming that the price most people pay is probably higher than the answer in this survey.

Energy prices have been rising steadily over the past year and five of the big six providers have announced at least once price hike already blaming rising wholesale prices and the cost of government programmes – including the cost they have to pay for the smart meter roll out.

Peter Earl, head of energy at Comparethemarket, said: ‘This research suggests that there’s been a failure to sell the benefits of smart meters to the wider public. 

‘High profile issues with the cost of the roll out, as well as compatibility and data problems with the first generation of smart meters, has meant that they’ve been in the news for the wrong reasons.

Smart energy: The Government has a target of 2020 for installing smart meters in UK homes

Smart energy: The Government has a target of 2020 for installing smart meters in UK homes

‘In principle, smart meters will help people keep a better track on their energy usage, engage more with how they use their energy, and get more accurate bills. 

‘There’s hope that the technology, which includes an easy-to-use interface and real-time reading capability, will help inform people on exactly how much they’re spending on their energy – which should really help households budget more effectively, given a lot of people currently think they’re paying less than they really are!

‘Although the teething problems have been well documented, once smart meters are in and working well, they will absolutely shift the energy industry.’

Claire Maugham, director of policy & communications at Smart Energy GB said: ‘Nearly seven million smart meters have been installed across Great Britain, and people who’ve had their smart meter installed already love them. 

‘Over eight in ten people who have smart meters would recommend them to friends and family, while the same number tell us they have taken at least one step to reduce the amount of energy they are using.

‘Security and data privacy are at the heart of this roll out: GCHQ was involved right from the start to design the measures that keep consumer data safe and secure. 

‘Twice each year we ask over 10,000 British consumers for their views and the latest data shows very low levels of concern in relation to security. Just three per cent of consumers raise this with us as a concern.’  

The smart meter roll-out has had several teething problems. The major issue is that different energy providers are using different types of technology, which aren’t compatible.

Therefore when you switch providers, your current meter may need to be turned off for a while – at which point you would need to go back to giving manual readings – until it’s set up with the new provider.

If you’re worried what might happen, call your energy provider and it should let you know if you’ll need a new meter installed, or if you can use your existing one.

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Canada Isn’t about ‘mortar and bricks,’ Trudeau tells critics of Canada 150 choices

29 Jun 17
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Justin Trudeau pointed as a good example of Canada 150 celebrations to the voyage of an icebreaker, but critics say he has missed the boat concerning a lasting legacy.

The minister clambered onto the coast guard ship Polar Prince to talk this summer, to scientists that are currently gathering information on the seas off three coasts.

Canada’s history less ‘Favorable’ for indigenous people: Trudeau (The Canadian Press)

He also encountered aboriginal crew members in the Canada C3 expedition in a small room devoted to reconciliation, and posed for tens of thousands of selfies as he toured P.E.I and New Brunswick from the run-up into the Canada Day weekend celebration.

Trudeau told a news conference that the administration has focused on people instead of buildings in Canada 150.

“I respect that individuals will be searching for different things to mark this milestone but I concentrate on Canadians, on the stories we tell each other,” Trudeau said, as he stood near Charlottetown harbour.

But the editor of Canadian Architect magazine, Elsa Lam, said in an interview the anniversary was short landmark structures that marked the 1967 Centennial, on the enduring.

Aside from an ongoing renovation to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa said she can not think of projects which might be recalled by the time the birthday rolls around.

“There is a whole smattering of tiny infrastructure projects which are not really legacy jobs,” she said in an interview.

Renovated the prime minister’s home to make it a model of structures the country might have aimed to bring in a museum for the City of Toronto, or have moved to create a national cultural center, she says.

Centennial investments in 1967 Financed some 860 buildings, including the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s, N.L., as Well as the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg.

Asked during a news conference about the criticisms, Trudeau said he makes no apologies.

“Our greatest strengths aren’t in bricks and mortar or even in the territory, but in the folks who share these communities that wish to construct a vibrant future together,” he said.

“Our government makes no apologies for the investments we made in Canadians themselves”

The minister pointed to capital which are currently giving families the chance.

Several of the federal funds have gone to finance “12 days of parties” that kicked off June 21.

That was National Aboriginal Day, the first of four events including Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24 and Canada Day on July 1.

Canadian Heritage has set the bar high for their achievement: “In honor of Canada 150, this year’s edition will be the most striking in Canadian history,” promises one government press release.

Lam says there was no vision a problem that extended back to the Harper government, for the anniversary.

“It was sort of catch-all how the program was framed. You could submit suggestions for cultural centers … but additionally submit an application for renovations to a cemetery or golf course or hiking trails. It was so wide in scope that anything could fit “

She said a lot of what was selected was “shovel-ready” endeavors, as opposed to larger structures.

“This is something which should have been started a lot earlier.”

Earlier Thursday, Trudeau and P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan sat outside a hotel near Cardigan, in which the prime minister told him he often hears from “fiercely proud” Island MPs in his caucus on many different issues, including the high cost of crossing the Confederation Bridge to the mainland.

People ranged to monks from a Buddhist community from Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay.

To Fredericton, Trudeau flew in the day to meet with athletes.

As with his trip to the Island, he spent approximately 40 minutes working his way through crowds of teenagers.

Most pushed to get the minister to present for selfies with them, although many wanted his autograph.

“It is really cool because he is our prime minister and we get to meet him,” said Sophy Lemieux, a 15-year-old badminton player in Greenwood, N.S.

“It is really cool I got a picture with him,” she said.

Trudeau ended the day with an ice cream social in the Saint John, N.B., suburb of Grand Bay-Westfield, together with a couple hundred party supporters.

“This is an extraordinary country. We have so much to celebrate in our past and for our future,” he told the crowd.

His trip to New Brunswick came before the state is visited by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

It will be the first trip since becoming leader to New Brunswick of Scheer.

— With files from Kevin Bissett in Fredericton

Italy’s visiting president says Europe is learning from Canada

28 Jun 17
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Italy’s visiting president says Europe is learning from Canada on how best to engage with the “novelty” that’s the Donald Trump administration.

President Sergio Mattarella states Canada’s example of looking for common ground with Trump can pave the way for good relations between Europe and the U.S. despite differences on refugees, climate change and free trade.

Trudeau meets with Italian Navy in Ottawa (The Canadian Press)

“Of course, this is a moment in time where we’re rethinking, perhaps, how we relate to one another, the way by which we interpret each other. And that is why the manner in which Canada relates to the novelty is interesting,” Mattarella stated in an interview Wednesday after a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill.

“I believe that Canada’s example can allow us to have good connections”

Mattarella reported the strength of their institutions and the people will guarantee their country is still a powerful ally of Europe.

But Mattarella stated Europe will be watching the internal political debates in the U.S. and the way Canada navigates its relations with a neighbor with which it shares an “intense” bond based on geography and history.

“The new U.S. government is going to need to be analyzed over time. We are going to have to examine the facts,” he said.

“There is a substantial debate occurring within the U.S. on a number of the recent policies, and we’ll be respectfully awaiting the final decisions that will be made.”

Mattarella said Canada and Italy share “full convergence” on both the coverage and the underlying values of climate change, the global refugee crisis and the value of free trade — the three regions where Trump diverges from the majority of America’s traditional allies.

He credited Trudeau for helping lend Italy “favorable and efficient support” during last month’s fractious G7 summit in Sicily in which Trump’s opposition to climate change laid bare a substantial transatlantic rift. He said Italy will return the favour year when Canada hosts the G7.

“We know we need to be open and inclusive. This goes for migration,” Mattarella stated.

“Naturally, it needs to be governed logically, severely. In addition, it applies to commerce because opening trade boundaries also fosters co-operation and it strengthens stability and peace.”

Mattarella stated he and Trudeau didn’t discuss Trump’s pursuit of an immigration ban on traffic from six majority-Muslim nations, which the U.S. Supreme Court partially reinstated this week before it hears complete debate on its own merits later in the autumn.

However he said Italy and Canada share a mutual comprehension of the tragedy in the center of the crisis.

“This is still another point that ties Canada to Italy, namely the capacity to realize that migration as a phenomenon cannot be disregarded. By saying it can not be erased, ‘You cannot come in. “’ Italy is with boatloads of fleeing people crashing its beaches, often from Libya, after tragic that is perilous crossings of the Mediterranean Sea.

Mattarella is about a visit to Canada that requires him to Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

He was feted at a state dinner at Rideau Hall by Governor General David Johnston, where the two heads of state celebrated their nations ‘shared values of diversity and inclusion.

Worst pet insurers named and shamed

27 Jun 17
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Allianz is the most complained about pet insurer, Financial Ombudsman figures show.

Customers made some 344 complaints about the firm — the underwriter for Sainsbury’s and Petplan policies — between April 2016 and April 2017. About three in ten were upheld.

RSA, which underwrites a million policies for More Than, Argos, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer policies, was the next most griped about.

Paw show: Customers made some 344 complaints about Allianz — the underwriter for Sainsbury’s and Petplan policies

Paw show: Customers made some 344 complaints about Allianz — the underwriter for Sainsbury’s and Petplan policies

The Ombudsman — which settles disputes between customers and financial firms — looked at 278 cases. 

Two in ten were upheld in favour of customers, on average.

Red Sands, the underwriter behind Animal Friends, was third, with 215 complaints. The Ombudsman upheld customers’ complaints in four in ten cases.

An Allianz spokeswoman says: ‘This represents a tiny proportion of our 1.2 million policies.’

RSA says it resolves the majority of issues immediately.

Red Sands and Animal Friends did not provide a response.

l.milner@dailymail.co.uk

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Information is accepted by feds on planned bunker near Lake Huron

27 Jun 17
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A proposal to bury tonnes of waste has moved a step toward a decision on whether the project can proceed.

Federal authorities say they are satisfied information they had asked for about the job has been supplied by Ontario Power Generation.

In a note to interested parties the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said it would start drafting a report to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who will have final say over the repository. The bureau will also update any conditions it believes if the plan receives the go-ahead should be levied.

The bureau said the public will find a opportunity to comment on the draft and any circumstances before her decision is made by McKenna. In addition, it said it plans to have its draft report available.

Years ahead, the proposal, has attracted the ire of scores of communities which claim it’s irresponsible to bury the low– and waste. They worry.

In 2015, an joint review panel concluded the Bruce site was suitable, putting the ball at the court of the government. Ottawa has delayed making any conclusions.

The agency requested information on sites that were potential to bury the waste this past year but was unsatisfied with the initial answer of OPG and requested information. Month the utility provided the data.

OPG, which insists that the proposition is secure and the best lasting storage choice, said Tuesday the new information indicates that building a storage facility elsewhere in Ontario would be damaging to the environment, drive prices considerably higher, and cause years of delay — without offering any security advantages.

Critics, however, are far from persuaded the utility has provided the government with information that was significant.

In a letter to the bureau, the group SOS Great Lakes claims the OPG report comprises information that’s vague, incorrect and dismissive of their threats. The team also repeats its opposition to what it calls a “dangerous and deeply flawed” project, and criticizes the “political process” involved in getting Kincardine in midwestern Ontario to act as a “willing host.”

“We find that OPG has in no way strengthened their case,” the letter states. “The basic flaws are still there in the further information.”

Currently projected to cost about $2.4-billion, the proposal involves burying hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of radioactive waste 680 metres below ground at a stone bunker situated about 1.2 kilometres from Lake Huron.

OPG would offer a seal to avoid any radioactivity and argues that the stone is stable.

But communities and environmental groups on both sides of this Canada-U.S. border argue such a facility could threaten drinking water for millions of people. Many politicians have called to intervene to block the project.

Also on the world and Mail

This Cold War bunker now shelters artwork (The Globe and Mail)

Where will your mobile network let you roam for free?

26 Jun 17
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  • Some phone operators have ‘fair usage’ caps
  • Number of countries where customers can use their phone for free varies from network to network 

British holidaymakers will no longer have to pay extra fees to use their phones in Europe, thanks to the introduction of new EU regulation earlier this month.   

Mobile users can now call, text and browse the web at no extra cost above their contract allowance.

However, each mobile operator has slightly different ‘fair usage’ caps their customers will need to be wary of. Plus each network casts their free-to-roam net to include different places.

We have rounded up all of the major network’s roaming policies to make sure you don’t get caught out and end up with a shock bill at the end of your trip.

Overseas roaming: Make sure you check your network's fair usage caps before you leave

Overseas roaming: Make sure you check your network’s fair usage caps before you leave

The new rules 

All networks must now scrap overseas charges in the all countries within the EU.

That means any data used or minutes and texts to the UK or within the same country cost nothing extra if they come out of your contract allowances or the cash you have topped up with. 

Watch out as there may be slightly different charges for calls or texts cross border and when you call EU countries from the UK.   

Most networks won’t require you to do anything, you will simply not be charged any extra to use your mobile while you are in these countries.

Watch out though, if you are a Pay As You Go customer you may have to buy a special add-on with your top-up money to activate it, but the costs will be the same whether using your phone at home or other countries within the EU.   

You will still need to be careful about data usage as most providers apply a ‘fair usage’ cap – a total amount you can use before it starts charging.  

Each network has a different policy on this (see below). 

Why are some networks offering more destinations than others? 

Some networks count the number of EU countries slightly differently, including islands or regions attached to some countries as a separate destination, while others count them together.

For example, some may include Madeira or the Canary Islands separately or under the umbrella of Portugal or Spain.  

Some destinations such as the Channel Islands, some Eastern European countries and the Isle of Man are not part of the EU and so technically providers don’t have to waive roaming fees. But many networks choose to nonetheless.

Some networks also cover countries in the European Economic Area. And there are a few that offer popular destinations further afield such as the US or Australia as part of the deal.

Here’s a list of all of the countries you can now use your mobile at no extra cost – alternatively scroll down to find out where exactly your includes.

FREE ROAMING DESTINATIONS
EU countries included by all      
Austria Finland, Latvia, Saint Barthelemy,
Azores, France, Lithuania, Saint Martin (French),
Belgium, French Guiana, Luxembourg, San Marino,
Bulgaria, Germany, Madeira, Slovakia,
Canary Islands, Gibraltar (UK), Malta, Slovenia,
Croatia, Greece, Martinique, Spain,
Cyprus, Guadeloupe, Poland, Sweden,
Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, The Netherlands
Denmark, Ireland, Reunion Islands, Vatican City 
Estonia, Italy, Romania,
Countries within EEA included by EE, O2, Vodafone, ID, Three, GiffGaff
Iceland  Norway  Liechtenstein   
Additional destinations included by EE, O2 Pay Monthly, Vodafone, Three, ID
Guernsey Jersey Switzerland (excluding iD) Isle of Man
Included by EE and Vodafone, ID, O2 Pay Monthly    
Monaco

EE 

EE is offering free roaming in 47 destinations – this is made up of the 28  EU member countries plus those in the EEA and some bonus destinations –  Switzerland, Monaco, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

Here’s a full list –  Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar (UK), Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin (French), San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Vatican City,Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.  

Those taking out one of its 4GEE Max plans also get free roaming in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand widening their net to 53 locations.

Fair Usage:

You can use up to 15GB of data with EE. Those who go beyond their contract limit or beyond the 15GB cap can buy an add-on. You get 100MB for 78p, 500MB for £3.90 and 1GB for £7.80.  

Swiss Alps: Switzerland is not covered by new EU rules, but some networks still include it

Swiss Alps: Switzerland is not covered by new EU rules, but some networks still include it

O2

O2 pay-monthly customers can use their allowances for free in 47 locations. Just as with EE this number includes both the EU and those in the EEA and some extra destinations.

Here’s the full list – Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Vatican City

Those with a pay-as-you-go SIM card will be charged to use their mobiles in Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Monaco and Switzerland, but Pay Monthly customers won’t.

Fair Usage

Pay as you go – The O2 website says that those on a £30 Big Bundle with a 20GB data allowance do have a cap for ‘fair usage’ while in Europe of 10GB. It costs 0.00597p per MB after that.

Pay Monthly –  You can use your whole data allowance. For extra data beyond your limit you can add a Bolt On – the options and cost are the same as if you were in the UK.

Vodafone

Vodafone was the first to announce a Roam Free deal back in April. It includes some non-EU destinations such as the Channel Islands and Switzerland, and unlike some includes holiday hotspot Turkey.

It also covers destinations such as Albania and Bosnia which have applied for EU inclusion but are not fully fledged members yet.

Here’s the full list – Albania, Estonia, Italy (inc Vatican City), Portugal (incl. Madeira), Austria, Finland, Latvia, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, France, Liechtenstein, Romania, Bosnia, French West Indies, Lithuania, San Marino, Bulgaria, Germany, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Gibraltar, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Monaco, Spain (incl. Canary Islands), Cyprus, Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden, Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark (inc Faroe Islands Isle of Man, Poland and Turkey.  

Fair Usage: 

There is no fair usage cap for Vodafone customers. 

As a Vodafone customer you can use all of your data allowance when travelling abroad. To add a bundle it costs £6 for 1GB and £10 for 2GB as a Pay Monthly customer, if you don’t buy one of these you pay £6.50 for every 250MB. 

Down under: ID won't charge you any more to use your mobile in Australia

Down under: ID won’t charge you any more to use your mobile in Australia

 iD

ID, an off-shoot of the Carphone Warehouse,  is offering one of the largest selections of destinations to all customers at 50.

These include – Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Réunion, Romania, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Vatican City. 

Plus those with a Takeaway Plan can also roam for free in the USA and Australia. 

Fair Usage:

The amount of data you can use will depend on what your limits are and how much you pay each month – you can check here.

But as an example, someone paying £30 per month for 10GB of data will have a cap of 7.68GB.

The charge for going beyond your limit is 0.076p per MB.

Three

Three will now offer the best choice of locations to use your mobile at no extra cost. 

It has announced that it is boosting its Feel At Home line up – available to all Advance Plan customers – with a further 2 destinations bringing the total to 60. 

There are 17 holiday hotspots outside of Europe including USA, Australia and Hong Kong and most recently Singapore and Brazil.

Pay-as-you-go customers and those on an Essentials Plan don’t qualify for free use in these places unfortunately.

Here’s the full list – 

Spain, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, France, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, Aland Islands, Norway, USA, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Vatican City, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Azores, Madeira, Réunion, Croatia, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Malta, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Singapore, Brazil, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin. 

Fair Usage: 

Those on All-you-can-eat packages won’t actually be able to use as much data, calls and texts as they want -the cap stands at 12GB.

As a Pay As You Go customer you can use your top-up to buy an Add-on which gives you an allowance to use overseas. It also comes with a cap, on data of 9GB.

Any data usage over these limits come with a surcharge of up 0.73p per MB ( 0.78p per MB from 1 July 2017)

Italian escape: You can now use your calls, text and data allowances  to contact the UK from all 28 EU member countries

Italian escape: You can now use your calls, text and data allowances  to contact the UK from all 28 EU member countries

Giff Gaff

Giff Gaff is a favourite among savvy mobile customers as it offers some of the cheapest deals on the market and doesn’t tie you in to a lengthy contract. 

Here is the full list – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. 

The network has applied some hefty charges when using your mobile in countries other networks include in their free-roaming net – Switzerland, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Monaco.

For example, a single MB of data costs 20p in Switzerland, calls cost £1 per minute and texts cost 30p.  

Fair Usage:

Once you use up your data allowance, you will be charged 0.78p per MB while roaming, or you can start your next plan early. 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Here are your rights when roaming outside the EU, according to consumer champion and author Helen Dewdney,

1) All mobile operators have to apply a cut-off limit once you have incurred charges for €50 (excluding VAT) – around £36 – worth of data per month, wherever you travel in the world, unless you choose another limit.

2) The provider must send you an alert to your phone when you reach 80 per cent and then 100 per cent of the agreed data roaming limit. Operators must stop charging for data at the 100 per cent point, unless you agree to continue to use data.

3) Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading (Amendment) Regulations 2014, the retailer must ensure the customer understands what goods and services are being provided and ensure that there are no hidden costs. If the paperwork does not comply with the new requirements the consumer may not have to pay. When retailers send you email confirmation of the purchase this must now include a full description of the goods and services purchased, including their characteristics and the full price including tax and any additional charges or delivery prices.

4) Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, traders must also provide services with reasonable skill and care. 

What will happen after Brexit?

There are no answers yet to what will happen after we leave the EU if no separate deal is reached over roaming charges but some experts think networks are unlikely to switch back to hefty fees. 

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at comparison site uSwitch.com, says: ‘As for the impact Brexit might have on roaming, this is still unclear, though any plans to revert back to a world of roaming at an extra charge would likely be unpalatable for consumers, and so seems an unlikely manoeuvre. 

‘The challenge for those providers who might want to steal a march will be in their ability to remain flexible in handling any changes resulting from Brexit. It’ll also come down to how.’ 

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Renewable energy tariffs could save you up to £272

20 Jun 17
alibhai
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Households can slash their energy bills by up to £272 and cut down their impact on the planet at the same time, by switching to a renewable energy tariff.

The average household will pay just £8 (around 2p-per-day) more to go green compared to the overall cheapest tariff on the market, according to comparison site uSwitch. 

Tonick Energy currently offers the cheapest renewable deal at £866 a year on average.   

These deals reduce the amount of fossil fuels that are burned to provide a household’s electricity supply. 

The news comes as 16 cheap fixed-rate energy deals come to and end this month, risking bill shock for those who don’t switch away before they are move onto one of these out of contract deals.

Green electricity: Most green tariffs match the amount you use with energy from renewable sources

Green electricity: Most green tariffs match the amount you use with energy from renewable sources

This year, five of the energy giants have upped the cost of their standard variable rate deals, affecting two thirds of the UK’s families languishing on these already expensive out of contract deals. 

Thousands of families therefore risk being shifted on to these deals this month, if they don’t act soon, as 16 fixed-rate tariffs are due to end (see below).

Now could be the perfect time for these customers to switch to a renewable tariff, according to uSwitch, with hundreds of pounds worth of savings up for grabs. 

Claire Osborne, uSwitch energy expert, says: ‘Green energy tariffs are now within easy reach of consumers who want to limit their carbon footprint but don’t want to break the bank. It currently costs just 2p a day to go green when compared to the cheapest deal on the market.

‘If your fixed deal is coming to an end this month, a green energy tariff could not only help mitigate your carbon footprint but could also save you some money. The seven in ten Brits languishing on an expensive standard variable tariff could cut their annual energy bill by an average of £272 by switching to a green tariff. Suppliers are offering more and more renewable energy options, so there’s now even more choice in the market.’ 

Green Energy deals are getting cheaper 

Traditionally energy companies charge a premium for green tariffs, but they are now much more affordable compared to the rest of the market, with 24 deals costing less than the average Big Six’s standard variable tariff.  

The cheapest renewable deal from Tonick Energy costs £866 per year, for the average household, £8 cheaper than the overall cheapest and non-renewable deal on the market from Green Network Energy at £858.

Tonik has the benefit of offering no exit fees and a £40 dual-fuel discount plus it pays customers 3 per cent interest on any in-credit balances – more than any savings account on the market. 

The company guarantees to replace each unit of electricity you draw from the grid with the same amount of renewable electricity. 

Households are increasingly looking towards greener sources of gas and electricity.

Source: uSwitch.com, correct as of June 19 2017.

Source: uSwitch.com, correct as of June 19 2017.

According to research from uSwitch, 24 per cent of bill payers would consider going green even it was more expensive, with 18 per cent willing to add £50 to their annual bills for a clearer conscience.

These green tariffs used to be more popular with suppliers in the past, however rules imposed by the regulator in 2010 slimming down the number of deals each provider could offer to just four meant that many suppliers dropped their renewable tariff options. 

But the last year has seen environmentally-conscious households options bolstered again as the number of green tariffs has more than doubled in the past year, from just 13 to 30. 

BEST BUY ENERGY TABLES
1 Green Network Energy GNE Italian Touch 12 Month Fixed V6 £858 Fixed £25.00 per fuel
2 Breeze Energy Breeze All Good June v1 £865 Fixed £25.00 per fuel
3 Tonik Energy Positive Energy V8 £866 Fixed
4 Avro Energy Simple and Home £869 Fixed
5 So Energy So Impala £869 Fixed £5.00 per fuel
6 ENGIE ENGIE Fixed Sept 18 v4 £873 Fixed £30.00 per fuel
7 Bristol Energy Bristol Energy 1 Year Fix Issue 14 £879 Fixed
8 Affect Energy Fixed Until June 2018 £881 Fixed £25.00 per fuel
9 PFP Energy Together June 2018 Fixed 50 £886 Fixed £30.00 per fuel
10 Bulb Vari-Fair £887 Variable
Source: uSwitch.com. Correct as of June 19 2017      

How do they work? 

There are several different types of renewable deal on the market.

As all of our energy comes from the national grid, it’s impossible to only draw energy created by green sources.

Instead, most companies pledge to put back the same number of units of electricity or you use back into the grid from a renewable source.

This will typically be produced by wind farms, hydro-electric power stations, bio-gen and solar power.

It is possible to produce renewable gas, biomethane, from organic matter such as manure which according to Good Energy is ‘chemically identical to natural gas but can be created and used with less impact on the environment.’

However it is slightly harder to get hold of and so there tends to be fewer companies offering renewable dual fuel tariffs – any that do tend to only offer a small percentage of green gas as part of their tariffs. 

Bulb for example offers 10 per cent and promises to repay any exit fees you are charged if you switch to one of it’s deals before the end of your current contract. 

There are also a handful of companies which produce their own green energy too rather than buying it from green generators.

Good Energy promises 6 per cent of customers’ gas use will be replaced from renewable sources, plus it boasts investment in renewable initiatives and is building its own wind farm and solar farms. 

Similarly Ecotricity, already offering 5 per cent renewable gas and produces 30 per cent of its renewable electricity, is in the planning stages of new grass-powered gas mills, which will put energy directly back into the grid.  

Source: uSwitch.com correct as of June 19 2017. 

Source: uSwitch.com correct as of June 19 2017. 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

‘My first response was “Oh my goodness,” ‘ suggests senator who abstained in 38-38 budget bill vote

20 Jun 17
alibhai
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Whilst the Senate alarms were calling, Marc Silver wasn’t sure how he’d vote.

And following the novice separate senator and constitutional pro eventually chose to avoid around the fiercely argued action to separate the Generous government’s budget statement, he didn’t assume your choice wouldbe so considerable. Merely one hour ahead of the 10 p.m. election, Mr. Silver had advised the Senate he was bending toward dividing the statement.

After days of argument, the Senate finally elected 38 to 38 with one abstention – Mr. Silver – never to assist a to carve-out the Canada Infrastructure Lender conditions from your government’s budget statement.

“My first response was, ‘Oh my goodness,’” mentioned Mr. Silver in a appointment the morningafter the election.

Although separate Senator André Pratte’s action to separate the statement didn’t succeed, it did impact. Mr. Pratte first in middle-May from issue the planned $35-thousand infrastructure lender wouldn’t get enough examination, considering that its empowering regulation was integrated within an even more-than-300-site omnibus budget statement.

Inside the days that used, the Senate banking board slated many proceedings centered completely around the lender. Witnesses ahead of the board increased worries regarding the bank’s planned government design and whether it’d restrict provincial and public capabilities to modify infrastructure initiatives.

It had been that later issue – that has been portrayed all in a by Quebec’s nationwide construction – that has been Mr. Gold’s principal preoccupation. Without totally persuaded from the government’s promises that such concerns are dropped, Mr. Silver, who shows Quebec inside the Senate, finally resolved against encouraging Mr. Pratte’s action.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau produced two performances before Senate committees to get the statement, including one. He also directed the Senate a notice recommending them to go the regulation. Nonetheless, Mr. Silver claimed he didn’t get any behind-the-displays strain from your government to guide the statement.

Mr. Gold’s abstention stands apart since he was the sole registered abstention. Nonetheless, 20 different senators didn’t attend the election. Another senator inside the step who didn’t vote was Senator George Furey, the Audio of the Senate. Unlike Inside Your Home of Commons, where the Audio only ballots to interrupt a wrap, the Senate Audio could elect to vote on any concern provided that they indicate their objective beforehand. The Senate Audio frequently doesn’t vote.

The budget statement, C44, was changed Thursday day from the Senate nationwide fund board. The board changes eliminated computerized duty increases on liquor. Senators were anticipated to debate further changes at record period and third reading. When the entire Senate finally approves changes for the initial statement, it’ll need-to get back to Your House of Commons for authorization. Your House is slated to go up for the summer break on Friday.

The anxiety over if the federal government might get its budget statement accepted unchanged from the Senate has generated popular argument on the function of the top of house. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has simply employed senators who remain as independents, smashing with all the longstanding training of his predecessors, who largely employed senators who’d represent the guiding political party.

Mr. Silver, a previous Osgoode Hall law lecturer that has offered constitutional law coaching to national judges, claimed he’s implemented people controversy regarding the function of the Senate strongly and feels he and his peers are around the right course.

“This was a very excellent argument,” he explained. “Regardless of the effect, I do believe I feel, and that I consider lots of my peers feel, this is a good example of the Senate at its finest. Which seems great. I’m great about how exactly we’re performing and also this was an illustration, I do believe, of the Senate performing its career well.”

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