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Your comments this week – Dysons, bonuses and bulbs

Are you a fan of Dysons or do you think they suck? Will tackling sales bonuses in banks help you get a fair deal? And are you sad to see the end of incandescent light bulbs? Let’s check out this week’s best comments…

‘Rip-off’ surcharges

We’re in the final push to get excessive card surcharges banned in 2012. The sprightly-named FightRipOffMerchants commented with their support:

‘Of course these charges should be outlawed and now! Everyone with half a brain knows that underhand surcharges the consumer is not aware of at the start of the transaction rather than on the last payment page of an online transaction is a rip off designed to deceive and prevent competition. Nothing more nothing less. So ban them and fine those that don’t comply – simple!’

Apple’s patent could disable your iPhone in the cinema

MetalSamurai doesn’t think we should panic about Apple’s new patent:

‘It will never happen. Apple owns the patent. That means only Apple can make phones with this “feature”. Other companies would have to *pay* Apple to license this and cripple their phones. That makes no sense, who would do that? So that leaves only Apple phones. Who’s going to pay for the licensing and equipment to disable only a percentage of phones? How many potential iPhone purchasers will be put off buying an iPhone? Essentially, by patenting this, Apple has *prevented* anyone else from actually implementing this.’

Do you really need a Dyson?

We’re debating the virtues of spending more on a vacuum to get a Dyson. David isn’t a fan:

‘Dyson vacuums are nothing but glossy marketing – their performance drops after the filters clog – very quickly. Emptying the dust bin releases a cloud of dust everywhere (no matter how careful you are, you can’t see it!) – no good if you have allergies! Dysons and other bagless vacs clog up inside with dust and the filters need regular washing and drying just to make the cleaner work reasonably well.

‘I don’t care about buying bags. They last a long time if you allow them to fill up before replacing, because the performance doesn’t drop very much until the bag is getting really full. I’d rather pay for a pack of dustbags, than own a poor-performing bagless vac, which needs its filters washed every other week!’

It’s the final switch off for incandescent light bulbs

The final incandescent light bulbs were phased out over the weekend. Thelm is happy to move to energy savers:

‘I’ve no trouble with most CFLs (some in the past have had poor start-up times and brightness/colouration) and I always find it amazing that light fittings which are incompatible with CFLs are still being sold in some places (especially closed fittings). For some older light fixtures the use of halogen bulbs is inevitable, but for now it’s better to be saving some energy than none at all.’

However, Dave D doesn’t think the ban has been handled very well:

‘CFL lamps are very variable in quality and performance, which is a great shame because back in the ’70′s and ’80s the Thorn 2D lamps and the Phillip’s “jam jar” CFLs were quite fantastic and fairly priced too.

‘LED lamps are, as yet, too few in number, and too costly, to provide a sensible alternative and also the vast majority are highly directional and so of limited use in many fittings.

‘Lighting manufacturers are still making and selling the vast majority of fittings in a way that requires some sort of tungsten bulb to operate. In short, the phase out of tungsten lamps is far from complete, far from and has been shambolically disorganised.’

Let’s end the sales bonuses that encourage bank mis-selling

The future head of the new financial regulator, Martin Wheatley, joined us to explain how he’ll tackle bank incentive schemes. William agreed the problem needed to be dealt with:

‘In my experience, management need “targets” that can be measured as a means of managing/appraising staff. Gone are the days when a manager would know if a member of staff was doing a good job. And staff would end up concentrating on targets to the detriment of other parts of their role, just to get what they considered to be theirs anyway.’

Digiconvs gets our Comment of the Week with his thoughts on tackling sales bonuses:

‘To end the sales bonuses will actually work in favour of the banking industry, as consumers are going to be happier. Simply because they’re genuinely going to be listened to, as opposed to be seen as another bonus. Today’s customers are savvy and well aware of their needs; they can in fact make more informed decisions if they’re let alone.

‘If banks invest half of the time they commit to training staff on how sell things to people over the counter, commit to customer service, high quality delivery and queue management; banking reputation will be improved massively – without a need for any PR campaigns.’

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).


We have electronic switchgear which requires a minimum 40W load, and dimmer switches.

The move to scrap incandescent lights is far, far to early.

I plan to reinvent incandescent lights in a few years’ time when the new-fangled ones are discredited for some reason or other! Care to join me?

The programme for removing incandescent lamps from the market has been in place for several years so, agree with it or not, you should have been prepared. Many CFLs will not work on dimmers so you will need to change to a plain switch, or buy an expensive CFL that will work on it.
CFLs have improved greatly in colour and switch time so are a reasonable alternative (but poor in a cold environment as their output is temperature-sensitive). They will reduce your energy bill – they use about 25% of the electricity for the same light output and last up to 5x as long as incandescent. Lighting can be a significant proportion of your electricity spend.

We have not scrapped all incandescent lamps because halogen lamps are still available and in many cases provide a direct replacement for old fashioned bulbs. They do work with dimmers. Halogen lamps will save a little energy and last a little longer but – as Malcolm says – you need to move to CFLs to really save money. LED lamps are efficient too, but the bright ones are still expensive.

When testing low-energy light bulbs I discount the ‘slow to brighten’ ratings, as I LIKE them ‘slow to brighten’ eg in bedside lights, rather than dazzling me all at once!

The only bagless vac I like are the cordless dust buster types or the cordless stick uprights but NOT Dyson’s hand vac that only goes for 15 minutes. A bit of a rip off, there. Dyson vacs are good if bagless is your thing. I can’t put up with the noise or the fact that the dust goes flying everywhere. After all, if hospitals don’t use bagless vacs, doesn’t that say a lot for the humble bagged vacuum?