/ Home & Energy

This week in comments – fires, pipes and loyalty cards

Good news! We’ve implemented a fix to tackle the spam comments you might have seen recently. So thank you for your patience. Now on to your very real comments – here are the stand-out comments posted this week.

Airport express trains

Commenter Nfh isn’t impressed by the price of airport express trains:

‘It’s absurd that a journey on the Heathrow Express costs more than on the Tube, and consequently that Oystercards are not valid. The Heathrow Express should be part of the Oyster system, just like all other public transport in Greater London. Similar services in other European capital cities are included in the city’s usual ticket validity area.’

What’s smoking in your kitchen?

Our research into fires caused by kitchen appliances lead to this sad comment from Zoe:

‘My house caught fire on Friday 13th just a week ago, due to a toaster with a faulty heat element. It has totally gutted my kitchen and caused severe smoke damage throughout my three bedroom house, costing us to loose practically everything. We were away on holiday, but my son had remained home, he had used the toaster to cook crumpets and left the house around 20 mins after. Around 40 mins later my kitchen was on fire!!! Gladly my son wasn’t there as the severity of the fire is shocking!!!’

Are wind farms an eyesore or do they blow you away?

The debate on wind farms is split, with Oliver Hitch arguing that they’re beautiful:

‘I watch Wallander – the Swedish version – and you often see shots of a line of streamlined white turbines turning gently on the horizon. And to me they are things of beauty. They are so much more attractive than electricity pylons which we now barely notice as we accept the benefits they bring to our lives.’

But Dubious has concerns:

‘I see them as a blot on landscape views in many areas. Also, what are their construction costs and the environmental damage caused by such constructions, let alone servicing/breakdown costs?’

Pushing pipe insurance – what’s in it for your water provider?

Our investigation found some water companies pushing pipe insurance. Jennie comments:

‘I fail to see the difference between selling this type of product to vulnerable customers and a bank mis-selling payment protection insurance. My parents (both over 80) were paying over £300 a year for insurance sold to them by their water company because they’d been frightened into thinking they couldn’t cope if something went wrong with their water.’

TV and furniture in one – what do you think of Ikea’s ideas?

Me and my colleague Nikki Whiteman are in a battle over Ikea’s new TV and furniture combo. Matt M backs me:

‘I think it’s quite a clean, elegant way to have an entertainment set up. The hardcore entertainment setup junkies would probably not even think of buying this but the regular consumer may find this convenient.

‘I disagree that this design is totally function over form. I mean it looks like a pretty clean and neat setup. I sometimes hate how a television takes over the room. This makes it part of the room instead.’

However, Phil thinks Nikki has a point:

‘People regard buying furniture and home entertainment as separate activities. Both seem to have become disposable fashion items but by investing in an all in one “solution” (yuck) such as this you’re relying on both becoming out of date at about the same time.’

What’s the point of loyalty cards?

Paul Griffiths isn’t a fan of retailers’ loyalty cards:

‘The whole concept of loyalty cards is completely alien to me and I’d much rather receive reductions in price at the point of sale. The administration costs of these schemes must be astronomical and with the price of postage going up I cannot see them lasting much longer. Shop where the items you need are cheapest, that’s the way to save money.’

Tesco.com’s smaller packs left me feeling short-changed

Home researcher Matt Clear found Tesco sending products smaller than advertised on their website. Steve B says it’s not good enough:

‘It’s a bit of a cheek of Tesco to blame their suppliers. The onus MUST be on Tesco to check what is being delivered by their suppliers and update their website accordingly. I don’t suppose the label on their shelf is wrong so why not get their website up to date?’

We must be told about crucial changes to NHS care funding

Helen, who gets our Comment of the Week, shares her story of trying to get NHS care funding for her mother:

‘My mother has been in a nursing home for six years, she is deemed by social services to have advanced dementia. Yet she has been denied continuing care funding, even though she is doubly incontinent, has no mobility, needs assistance with every bodily function and has ongoing problems associated with earlier strokes. She also has serious heart problems.

‘It’s scandalous that someone who has paid into the system all their working lives, as my father did before her, now has to pay £925 per week (yes per week) for her care when she is basically ill enough to be in hospital.’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).

Comments
Guest

@Patrick – Sorry to say the spam fix does not seem to be working too well. At least another two appeared overnight.

The basic problem for me is that they fill up the Latest Comments panel – which is too small anyway – so I can’t see if there are any posts of interest. And I can’t be botherer with “Email me” every time someone posts, particularly with these spammers active on the site.

Good luck with getting this resolved.

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Guest

Hello Em, very sorry about that. We’re just as frustrated by it as you are. Our new spam system has certainly been better than the old one – catching many of these generic spam messages (we had around 800 over the weekend and only 15 got through). The new spam filter also learns when we teach it what is and isn’t spam – this will take some time for it to get up to speed, but hopefully it will soon enough start blocking all of them. We also remove the ones that get through as soon as possible to make sure they don’t drown out the Recent Comments.

To Wavechange below – although this would tackle some of the spam, spammers do actually set up their own accounts. We also want Conversation to be as easy as possible to make a comment, where we would see a big drop in comments made if we forced everyone to sign up for a Which? Convo account. Thanks for the suggestion though and for putting up with the spam that has got through.

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Guest

Thanks for keeping us informed about the problem and the efforts being made to address it. At one time I thought that email would become unusable because of spam, but the problem has been largely addressed. Best of luck with outwitting the spammers.

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Guest

How about issuing us with usernames and passwords?