goods and services

Interest-free credit trickery

Sorry if it's beginning to sound repetitive around here, but banks, insurers (well, maybe not all, hey) and essentially anything to do with money of a capitalist bent seem at times to be all for screwing the consumer wherever possible. A recent experience with the finance options available at PC World has not helped change that opinion one little bit.

PC World, and no doubt all the other Dixon Stores Group clone-shops, offer 6 months "interest free credit" on goods above some value or other. This is clearly a useful service to offer, allowing those who want a product now to save up over the next 6 months in order to pay for it. But the way it works is clearly designed to trick any consumer who is not tip-top with regard to their diary management.

Done with bank charges? Now reclaim your PPI ripoffs

The Poorhouse has previously mentioned the wonders of reclaiming unfair bank charges amongst these pages. Here, the Office of Fair Trading opined that the charges for doing things like going over your overdraft limit should be more to cover the bank's cost for your actions rather than pillage you for hundreds more pounds you don't have, and many, many people managed to get significant money back from their banks as a result.

But once you're done on that, there's more reclaiming of unfair abuse by financial institutions to be done if you're a victim of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) mis-selling. Given it is a £5 billion industry with 20 million such policies in force in Britain at the minute, and some of the mis-selling tactics seem to end up in people not even knowing they have a policy let alone what it costs them, it might well be worth your while to check.

Insurance that actually pays out when it should

Just to prove the Poorhouse isn't just a negative nelly, here's a recommendation of sorts for that most boring of purchases, insurance. Whoo. With topics like this, it would almost make this site more interesting just to not update it ever.

The advantage of this company - namely travelinsurance-web.com - and basis of the random Poorhouse recommendation, is that it actually paid out on its insurance when it should have, without so much as an long-winded argument let alone the normal legal threats necessary to extract even 20p of the thousands you are owed from your average insurance company.

Alumni tat

The Poorhouse really doesn't feel like he owes his ex-university anything in respect of academic life and does his best to repeatedly pollute the "alumni surveys" with his life-failures. Nonetheless it doesn't seem to stop the most tedious of glossy "Your university" magazines popping through the door on a regular basis. Really, what are the chances that one would be interested in the lives of any random person that ever attended the same university as yourself that you weren't already at least facebook friends with?

Actual risk-free bingo courtesy of the Mirror

The Poorhouse was feeling desperately....well, poor last week so going through the nooks and crannys of Internet offers to try and get some free cash in. One triumphant site that helped out was Mirror Bingo. Yep, it is bingo (which the Poorhouse enjoys as though it was paint drying) but it has a good intro offer on which is risk free...actually risk free this time too!

A decent free PDF creator

Despite seeming a little old-skool and inaccessible at times, the computer world still requires you to mess around with Adobe PDF - Portable Document Format - files now and then.

Looking at them is free and easy with Adobe's official Acrobat Reader amongst other software (the Poorhouse has heard good things about Foxit, but never tried it). Creating them is a bit more of an obstacle; traditionally one would use the full Adobe Acrobat, but with a cost of £250+ who really loves PDFs enough to bother? Luckily there are free alternatives.

Hey, let's stop advertising alcohol to kids

What, more stories about intoxicating substances? Yep, but this time we're moving onto something some group of "important" blokes decided was OK, even good, for society and the individual. Alcohol. Sure, it's not a drug, it's a drink but it still mashes people's minds up in a more detrimental way than the average illegal substance; as generally agreed by even the top boffins at the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the Medical Research Council.

The Government has recently updated its alcohol strategy. To summarise: use the laws that exist to deal with alcohol-fuelled crime, focus on harmful drinkers and shape the environment to promote sensible drinking. Luckily the Portman Group, a group of drinks manufacturers trying to put a veneer of responsibility on their corporate shenanigans, pre-empted their announcements with the inspirationally progressive announcement that they would no longer market their deadly wares directly to little children.

How to cure a stuck voicemail indicator

With all the flashy control-the-world-from-the-palm-of-your-hand stuff that exists these days the Poorhouse realised some of the back to the basics features of mobile phones were being a bit taken for granted. Voicemail eh? Borrring! Using your ears!? Who needs it when you can twitter your life away in a facebook of madness?

Nonetheless, for those who don't minute by minute push-commentate their dull and insignificant little lives voicemail is still a nice useful feature. It went wrong on the Poor-phone recently, insomuch as the "you have voicemail" symbol and sound got stuck on forever.

Is there poo in a Big Mac and other burning issues

The 26500+ McDonalds fast food burger-muck "restaurants" and their ilk do have something of a dubious reputation, including issues regarding food quality, unhealthiness, environmental concerns, employee exploitation and so on, despite many a corporatey ad-campaign to try and persuade us that all that happens on a typical day in a restaurant is that pretty girls go in for a salad - and probably not the McD's chicken salad that was actually more fattening than their cheeseburger.

Of course McDonalds likes to claim that this is mostly undeserved. To show their deep, deep love for you, the consumer, they have taken the - in many ways admirable - step of setting up an interactive website so you can "so that you can find out anything you'd like to know about McDonald's food, business, people and practices." Send in your questions, and McDonalds will answer them. All the answers are pointless corporate schmooze of course, but the Poorhouse had literal LOLs occurring simply be reading some of the ones that made it to be published.

Cheeky Vimto

The Poorhouse has been recently blessed with the introduction of a new pleasure into the occasionally mundane cycle of life. It's a cocktail, without being fancy. It turns alcohol into soft-drink, without losing the effects of getting drunk. In short, it is a miracle craze that is sweeping the nation so much, it even got into the pages of respectable politico-mag-journal the New Statesman, albeit somewhat disparagingly.

Over 18s only of course...

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