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The Public Being Mugged Off !
Morgana19le66fay@aol.com
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 06:13:33 EST
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We've all got used to being ripped off by the Government's many taxes and their hundreds of new laws brought in so people can be fined for minor indiscretions whilst gunmen and knifemen create havoc on our streets.

But it's not just the Government ripping the public off.

There you are walking down the road a bit of cash in your wallet or purse maybe along with a few credit cards but are you going to buy something essential with your well earned money or just going for retail therapy. Retail therapy is the "in phrase" used by tv characters to brainwash viewers into spending money they haven't got!

The phrase is now widely used by anyone who just wants to spend money for no reason other than to cheer themselves up. But being cheered up is short lived if you are using credit cards .
Do not think everything is alright because you have taken out a payment protection policy because in fact you are probably paying more for this than the money owed; try and claim on it and see how far you get, that bit of paper has been miss sold hundreds of thousands of times, it's worthless as this writer found out to his cost!

Banks are creaming off up to 80 per cent of the premiums charged on loan protection insurance.
Consumers paid £4.4 billion in premiums on Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) last year, with the bulk of it hoovered up by banks, building societies and other finance companies.
The cost of the policies sold by banks, retailers and garages can be up to five times higher than similar cover from an insurance firm or the Post Office.

A watchdog report said: "We have found typical commission rates of 50 to 80 per cent on personal loan PPI and credit card PPI, and around 40 to 65 per cent on mortgage PPI." The gravy train does not end there. Banks also take 90 per cent of any profits when claims on PPI policies are lower than expected.

Anyway, you've left your house for a shopping trip mind you did you know more than a million home owners face a jump in mortgage payments of up to 60 per cent when their cheap fixed-rate deals end, are you going to be able to afford that?
House prices are forecast to record the lowest annual increase since the mid-1990s, while repossessions are also set to reach 15 year highs. Still I expect the Government will encourage even more migrant workers to enter our country so the demand for houses will rise and prop up the over inflated house prices. By the way are you one of those house buyers who were offered a mortgage four times or more of your annual salary. You took it even though you probably do not have any chance of affording it in the future just so you could get on the property ladder.

Bit like in America where people in trailers were offered mortgages to buy houses even though they had no hope of keeping up payments; that's why the Northern Rock bank got into trouble but heh, the bank has a darling of a friend like Alistair Darling who will prop it up with £24 billion of public money the equivalent of £1,000 for every taxpayer; that's if it is ever repaid unlike you who will have your home repossessed and bailiffs in to seize all your worldly goods you have worked very hard to buy.

Oh by the way, the Financial Services Authority has launched what it called 'one of the biggest crackdowns in its history' after identifying systematic abuse involving loan applications.
The problems centre on self-certification mortgages where buyers are allowed to simply state their income, without the normal checks being carried out with their employers.

Many brokers have been pushing these loans on first-time buyers, low income families and those with a patchy credit history as a way to get on the housing ladder.
It appears many house buyers have been encouraged to misrepresent their finances to qualify for a bigger loan.
Seven brokers already have been told they face enforcement action which could lead to a heavy fine, while ten more have been put on notice of similar action. This is just the tip of the global warming iceberg as well!
Here's some facts; the total number of homes repossessed in 2006 was 17,000. Mr Boulger predicts that will rise to more than 40,000 this year and as high as 70,000 in 2008. That would be close to the all-time high of 76,000 seen in 1991 when a property bust followed the 1980s boom.

Another point of interest, excuse the pun, is half of mortgage lenders have failed to pass on the full benefit of the Bank of England's cut in interest rates to millions of struggling home buyers.
The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee cut the base rate by a quarter point to 5.5 per cent, apparently throwing a lifeline to those with mortgages.
However, research reveals that around half of lenders have so far failed to announce any cut.

Anyway don't worry about that now get down to the shops and spend some money.You are better off going to the shops in person rather than online shopping particularly if you shop with Tesco because customers shopping at Britain's biggest Internet store – Tesco Direct – are feared to have had their card details stolen by a company insider.
Police are investigating evidence that the store's online shopping call centre has been infiltrated by a fraudster.
On one day in September, a customer's card details were recorded in the afternoon at Tesco's Cardiff call centre and fraudulent spending of £680 occurred hundreds of miles away in London within a matter of hours.
The details have raised new questions as to whether big business and the Government can be trusted to maintain the privacy of the public.

Fears have been growing that criminal gangs are targeting call centres in Britain and India to steal customer information. Remember the case where an Indian call centre employee was selling bank account details to criminals.
The vetting of some 1.1 million poorly-paid workers serving British consumers from the call centres is haphazard, without any legal requirement to conduct criminal records checks.

Talking about supermarkets some have been accused of rigging the price of fruit and vegetables to fool shoppers that they are getting a bargain.
Industry insiders claim that Tesco, what not again you may say, what sort of people run Tescos eh?, has inflated the cost of some of its most popular produce to make subsequent price cuts appear more generous.
Tesco's low-price claims are heavily linked to a promotional campaign which promises 50 per cent off five fruit or vegetable ranges every week.
However, this is not all it seems.
The price of loose white grapes was raised on November 19 from £3.98 per kilo to £4.99 - a rise of £1.01 or 25 per cent
Two weeks later - on Monday - the price went back down by £1 a kilo to £3.99.
Tesco launched promotions in its stores and on the internet announcing that it had cut the price of the white grapes by £1 per kilo.
A similar tactic appears to have been used with the staple of the Christmas dinner and my personal favourite, Brussels sprouts.
Tesco held the retail price for 500g of sprouts at £1 despite the fact that an increase in farm supplies allowed its rivals to charge between 50p and 79p.


Tesco treat their customers like crap too; an elderly disabled couple whose Christmas shopping trip to Tesco cost more than £300 have been given a warning for taking too long in the store.
Wheelchair-bound Roland Hodgson, 80, and his wife Pauline, 75, took more than four hours to complete their gift-buying expedition, which included a meal in the cafe.
Shortly afterwards they received a letter pointing out that they had exceeded a three-hour limit for parking at the store in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. They were warned that they face a fine of up £100 if they repeat their transgression. Not content on ripping people off with dodgy prices they're going to fine you if you take too long giving them your money.

It's not just Tescos ripping us off it's also Asda and Sainsbury who were recently fined £116 million over their roles in dairy price fixing, apparently the fraud cost the consumers about £270 million. Tesco were also involved but they are vigorously fighting the accusations. However, all the fines get paid into the treasury so the consumer still stays ripped off. Why couldn't these supermarkets be made to reduce the prices so consumers can get their money that's been ripped off back?

Hello you've just drawn level with Boots the chemist , what's that there? Boots facial spray, "the definitive answer to those everyday health and beauty problems we all suffer from, but keep putting off". It promises to refresh and hydrate, blimey £3.99 what a bargain to help stop skin drying out.
But hold on isn't that the Boots product which investigations show is in fact plain old water, from the tap at a factory in Wellington, Somerset. What a rip off, it reminds me of the old quack medicine men in the Wild West films who came around and sold one cure for all ailments off their wagons.

Oh yes I just remembered ladies watch out for some of these beauty products; my wife used Avon eye cream to remove those black discolouration under her eyes, but her eyes start watering every morning quite badly, it could have affected her driving and caused an accident. Being a bit of a chemist hot shot when at school I thought about what could have done it and asking her what she put near her eyes on a regular basis I found out about the Avon cream and had a closer look at it; it seemed to have the odour of chlorine about it so I dabbed a bit under my eye and sure enough my eye started to water virtually straight away. Obviously no Avon chemist noticed the experimental rats suffering with watery eyes. Apparently my wife bought it as a half price bargain at £10 for a tiny pot; not so much of a bargain if you are damaging your eyes.

There's also a warning about lipstick. Chemicals found in lipstick and nail varnish could trigger breast cancer, A study has shown that butyl benzyl phthalate, or BBP, can interfere with the healthy development of breast tissue. Environmental campaigners have called for it to be banned in the cosmetic industry, where it is used to make products glossy. The man-made substance is part of the phthalate family of chemicals, which mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen.
Phthalates are widely used to soften plastics and are found in food packaging, toys, carpets and solvents. Past studies have linked them to birth defects, kidney problems and infertility. They have been banned in teething rings and babies' dummies across Europe.

Beauty product manufacturers don't care about their customers health as long as they can make a profit.

Water companies are prone to ripping people off too, the latest idea is trying to get water meters installed for every consumer, that's not to stop drought orders it's to get more revenue off us. Not bad profits either from what comes from the clouds for free!
What's going to happen is people with large families who have a lot of flushing the toilet and washing clothes are going to see their water bills jump from the current rate, for example the average bill of Thames Water of £172. will jump to £291.79 a year
In areas covered by Wessex Water, a family of five could pay £417.28 a year against an average bill of £201 now.
Also whose going to pay the cost of installing the meters, which is likely to total more than £1.3billion, not the water companies because they will up the price of water to cover it!

Labour, argued vociferously against compulsory metering in opposition, now they want them!
Pity water firms aren't forced to fix leaky pipes before expecting customers to use less, maybe they could reduce prices.
Figures show water companies are wasting 750 million gallons (3.42 billion litres) a day through leaks from cracked pipes.
By the way watchdogs have slapped a £20.3 million fine on Southern Water for deception and over-charging customers.

Speaking about water, Claridges hotel offer 30 varieties of water with prices stretching to £50 a litre.

Here's a way Government decisions can create a colossal market for their business mates.

Whitehaven's Tesco store has seen sales of digital set-top boxes rise by 1400% since the end of July, and digital TV sales were up 280% in the same period.
Whitehaven took its place in broadcasting history by becoming the first place in Britain to start switching over to digital. The process began when the analogue BBC2 signal was shut down. After a month the Cumbrian coastal town's entire analogue TV signal was switched off.
The number of UK households with digital TV was almost 21.4 million by the end of June 2007, the latest period for which figures are available. That means there are still 4 million households watching analogue TV on their main set.
So pretty soon you will be forced to subscribe to some digital tv provider unless you go with the freeview with its poor quality signal and coverage.
But households' "main" TV set is only one part of the digital switchover challenge. What about portables? The average UK home owns 2.4 TV sets, with around 35 million "secondary" sets in the kitchen or the bedroom, a total of 60 million.
What a market for those cheap, oriental made, toxic chemical containing products made out of our recyclable rubbish.

A hidden cost for viewers of digital switchover is replacing their analogue video recorders, which are unable to video one programme while watching another on digital.
So you see a government decision creates a massive new market for foreign large companies to exploit and for the British people it's not optional. Either pay up or lose your home entertainment.

Pensioners too are not free from being ripped off, those paying for their own care are being charged more than double the amount local councils pay for places in some areas.
The commission of Social Care Inspection, CSCI, found one nursing home that charged wealthier residents £1,500 a week for a room where local councils paid only £650 per resident. CSCI says those paying for their own care are being forced to subsidise council places in nursing homes, 450,000 English people pay for their own long term care bills and only those with assets of less than £12,000 including the value of your home receive care fully funded by the State.

Let's change the subject and go back to how companies are more concerned with profits than people's health.

Apple iPhones contain hazardous substances, Greenpeace say their analysis of an iPhone showed it contained brominated flame retardants BFRs and PVCs. Among the PVCs was a mixture of toxic pthalates, like those earlier mentioned in lipsticks, in the plastic coating of the headphone cables which has been linked to interference with sexual development in animals. The chemicals are allowed in mobile phones but banned in toys in Europe.

Food companies are using children's characters, including Doctor Who, Spider-Man and Barbie, to sell products laced with suspect additives. Chemicals identified as causing hyperactive behaviour in healthy children were found in 95 per cent of top-selling cakes and hundreds of sweets, fizzy drinks and processed foods.
The latest toy scare to hit our shops is BINDEEZ a children's toy to make animals and other shapes with beads , Woolworths and Argos withdrew sets after Moose entertainment, an Australian company, admitted children needed treatment after swallowing beads made in China. That's the China who seem to be the biggest producer of dangerous toys, remember the lead in the paint scare. The beads are coated with glue to make them stick together but the chemical used is a compound similar to GBH date rape drug which can cause seizures and unconsciousness

Here in Britain a five-year-old girl slipped into a coma after putting the toy beads into her mouth. Molly Henderson is believed to be the first child in Britain affected by the Bindeez beads found to contain Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB. After 24 agonising hours, the youngster pulled through but why she had become ill remained a mystery until the Bindeez beads were recalled by the manufacturer.

Companies maximising profits, what a good phrase that is it covers using dangerous chemicals, cheap labour and as here cutting safety corners.
Engineers who had been fitting potentially lifesaving sprinklers to the Atherstone warehouse, that's where four firemen lost their lives putting out a fire, told how they had to abandon the work because of financial problems.
Fire-safety company Prestige Protec Systems confirmed that installers had got only a quarter of the way through the job when the warehouse's owners went into administration in June.
And when food company Wealmoor took over the vegetable-packing building the following month, they chose not to complete the work.

It had been also been revealed that fruit and vegetables packaged there were being harvested by immigrant workers earning just £14 a day and working 7 days a week. Locals suggest the migrant workers were living on the property, one of the reasons the firemen went into the blazing building in the first place.

Child labour is still rife in the world, retailer Gap has pledged to "do more" to eradicate child labour after it emerged one of its Indian suppliers had been employing children as young as 10.
Now the US firm's been caught out it has said it will donate $200,000 to improve factory conditions in India as well as tighten up its own procedures. Some children were working up to 16 hours a day on items carrying Gap labels and barcodes.

The British public is being ripped off by councils playing the environmental card too, making the taxpayer feel guilty about not recycling enough rubbish. Although householders recycle almost three times more rubbish than they did six years ago and the amount of refuse sent to landfill sites dropped to the lowest level in more than 20 years. Ministers said they were still determined to press ahead with pay-as-you-throw rubbish taxes that will penalise families and probably see a rise in council tax bills.

Laws giving councils the power to bring in rubbish charges were included in this year's Queen's Speech.

What actually happens to this recyclable rubbish? Some is sent abroad to be made into cheap shoddy, dangerous to consumer electrical goods and imported back into this country to undercut British firms or there have been some instances that it actually ends up in landfill sites because councils have no facilities to deal with it and in my area it is driven over 200 miles away to be recycled, how much fuel is burnt into the atmosphere during that process?
Dress it up how you like but recycling rubbish is a way of extracting money from the gullible public either through rubbish taxes or the new rubbish police issuing fines.

Feel sick about all this, well don't phone for a doctors appointment. Millions of patients are having to pay 40p a minute to phone their GP. More than 1,500 of the 8,000 practices in England - one in five, with 10 million patients between them - have flouted government guidance by switching to expensive 0844 numbers.
GPs can keep part of the charge patients pay when they call to fix an appointment, or get test results or repeat prescriptions. Massive wage increases for doctor by Labour government and they still rip off their patients!

Talking about phone calls Labour conspired with phone companies to keep overseas call charges high it seems.
Margaret Hodge, the former Industry Minister, publicly appeared to welcome an EU cap on the amount holiday makers could be charged for making and receiving calls abroad. But in private she told the big firms she was fighting their corner, official documents have revealed.
UK customers have been billed up to 94p a minute in 'roaming charges' to use their phones abroad.

Well you've paid about £2 to get an appointment with the doctor but he's sent you up to the hospital , hope you've plenty of loose change in your pocket because a hospital raked in £2.4 million last year charging patients and their relatives to park their cars for appointments and visits.
Southampton University Hospitals Trust topped a league table which revealed that 30 trusts made more than £1 million each from the fees. Overall, the NHS in England made at least £100 million last year from parking charges for patients and visitors coming to see sick loved ones - up a quarter on the year before.

I suppose people could always flee this rip off country by plane but one last parting shot before you leave
Air passengers are to be forced to pay up to £20 on each ticket to fund the revamping of Heathrow, Britain's biggest and most criticised airport. BAA have been given the go-ahead for inflation-busting increases in the landing fees it charges airlines.
The Civil Aviation Authority says the increases are needed to pay for improvements for passengers who have suffered from massive queues at security and check-in. These are the queues formed because the Government have scared us all into believing terrorists are everywhere in our country.
Have they deported all these hundred's of potential terrorists yet, no! The CAA said charges for Heathrow landings should increase in real terms by 15.6 per cent - to the equivalent of £11.97 per passenger - in 2008/2009.

Or how about a cruise to get away for a bit, well unfortunately you might get on a ship where safety is a much lower priority than getting passenger's money. Nearly 100 holiday makers, including 23 Britons, had to be rescued from the Antarctic Ocean after abandoning ship when their cruise liner hit a submerged iceberg and began to sink.
The ice punched a fist-size hole in the 2,400-tonne liner, the Explorer, which began taking on water, forcing passengers and crew to flee in four open lifeboats and eight inflatable dinghies.

It later emerged that the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspectors had found five faults with the Explorer when it docked at Greenock in May. These included missing search and rescue plans and lifeboat maintenance problems. Watertight doors were described as "not as required", and the fire safety measures also attracted criticism. Still fire wasn't a problem as the boat was rapidly filling up with water.
It is understood that Chilean port state control inspectors also found six deficiencies during an inspection in Puerto Natales in March. These included two problems related to the safety of navigation matters.

You know its all very well me spouting about all these people ripping the British people off but what can we do about it?

Well, read this news story from the U.S.

The US Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has announced that its boycott of Miller breweries has succeeded and that the company will no longer be supporting a sadomasochistic, anti-Christian homosexual parade in San Francisco which regularly includes full nudity and public sex acts.

The League quoted Miller Brewing Company saying that "following a review we are aware of other disrespectful activities, objects and groups associated with or present at the fair which, like the promotional poster, violate our marketing policies."

Miller's apology was accepted by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights president Bill Donohue who said, "The Catholic League is happy that Miller has reconsidered this ugly issue and has no plans to revisit it again."

Miller was boycotted when it became known that the company was helping to fund the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, an event organised by San Francisco's homosexual community, to celebrate sado-masochistic sexual deviancy that forms an integral part of the homosexual subculture.

Most offensive was a poster produced by the event's organisers showing a parody of the famous painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci that replaced Christ and his apostles with homosexuals displaying sex devices. Miller later offered an apology for having its company logo appear on the poster, a response described by Donohue as "lame." The company, however, did not fulfil its promise and continued its support of the event.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue was quick to respond on September 27, 2007, on a Fox network programme, calling for the more than 200 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations that support the League to boycott the company.

Yes the answer is consumer power; issue boycott notices by using web sites, forums, newspaper adverts or letters, maybe documentaries on YouTube, group texts. Organise a particular day or week to focus all the action to make a greater impact.

Also most online news sites have a place to contribute news stories, make use of these just write the facts without disclosing your political persuasion, keep it brief and full of facts this makes it hard for administrators to cut bits out; warn people of the dangers, many people do not even know of these health scares.

For instance, the Boots water facial care, suggest people avoid shopping in Boots for one particular week, in this instance revenue will go down and Boots will have to take note even though the probability is customers will return the following week. It shows consumers can flex their muscles.

On an individual note consumers should refuse to buy any products from China, the country that is more responsible for destroying our environment and poisoning our children.than any other. In future pick things up to see where they are made and be more selective. Stores will soon take note when their shelves are full of these dangerous products that nobody wants.

As my old foreman used to say "do nothing and nothing will happen"!

 
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