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What’s in the news today?  This is your space to discover and talk about the latest consumer news from Which?’s press office, news site and elsewhere.

There’s a lot of news out there. Perhaps too much. When a big story breaks, many of the consumer stories that may affect your daily life get pushed aside in favour of something else.

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Comments

A Which? press release:

Which? comments as Solarplicity ceases trading
13 August 2019
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:

“Solarplicity’s collapse comes as no surprise. It finished bottom of the 2019 Which? energy customer satisfaction survey and was plagued by problems with its customer service and complaints handling.

“Though the firm’s customers will naturally be concerned, there is no need to panic as energy supplies will continue as usual while industry watchdog Ofgem appoints a new provider to take over. We do, however, recommend taking a meter reading as soon as possible to ensure the transition is as smooth as it can be.

“Once the move to the replacement provider has been completed, we would urge consumers to compare suppliers to find the best deal available to them for both price and customer service.”

Notes to editor

Which?’s advice regarding what to do if your energy supplier ceases trading: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-should-i-do-if-my-energy-supplier-goes-bust
Customers looking for cheaper energy deals can compare deals with Which? Switch, a transparent and impartial way to compare energy tariffs and find the best gas and electricity supplier.
Solarplicity finished 30th out of 30 suppliers in Which?’s latest annual energy survey.

I received an email from my energy supplier to tell me that my two year contract ends in October. Having had a look at the alternatives, most of the cheapest options are from companies that I have never heard of. I do hope that Ofgem is looking at the financial stability of new entrants to the energy market, for example their ability to cope with a rise in wholesale price.

I think I will pay a bit more and go for another two year contract because who knows what may happen in these uncertain times.

Looking at the options available to me, ‘Outfox the Market’ has some good deals.

I’m not convinced that this company will be around for long and have seen others expressing their concerns. It was Which? that drew my attention to the company. I do hope the company survives but don’t want to risk being transferred to a company chosen by Ofgem.

When a company in the energy business makes such low-priced offers I would also be suspicious about their sustainability. However, you could take advantage of their tariffs in the knowledge that you will not lose money and your energy will not be cut off if they fail.

I’m a fairly low energy user and happy to continue with my present supplier or go for one that Which? recommends. One of my concerns is that the failure of small companies has to be paid for by other users: https://www.ft.com/content/ec9c95b8-934f-11e9-aea1-2b1d33ac3271

My top priority is to go for a two year contract, even though this looks like an expensive option, no doubt due to Brexit. 🙁

“In mid-January, Metro Bank announced that hundreds of millions of pounds worth of commercial property and buy-to-let loans had been misclassified on its books. These types of loans are generally considered high-risk, so banks are required by regulators to set aside more money to cover them in the event that they are not repaid. The mis-classification meant that Metro Bank didn’t have the capital that is required by regulators to cover its ‘loan book’ – a way of describing the value of the loans the bank has provided.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/05/metro-bank-share-price-plummets-what-you-need-to-know/ – Which?

In today’s News https://press.which.co.uk/whichstatements/which-comments-on-the-cmas-latest-banking-satisfaction-survey/ Metro Bank was listed as the 4th of the “recommended providers”. In view of the apparent failure to value assets correctly is this a fair classification? It rather casts doubt upon the bank’s financial competence?

“Virgin Media’s latest offer, exclusive to Which? Switch Broadband, gives new customers bill credit on its entry-level fibre package, as well as free set up and a discounted monthly price.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/08/virgin-media-deal-includes-75-bill-credit-on-fibre-broadband/ – Which?

Which? place Virgin Broadband 8th out of 12, with a score not much above the worst providers. Why are Which? then promoting a deal from a poor provider. I hope they do not benefit financially if customers switch.
https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/broadband-deals/article/best-broadband-providers
No mention of Virgin’s rating in the “promotion”, just this link provided in the text.

I think I’ve been previously quoted about £29/month for a broad-band only service from Virgin. Taking up the option of a phone service, as per the Which? offer, might easily end up being a lot more expensive, if calls are made to mobile phones.

For many, Virgin offers a faster service than other providers. If customer service and technical support are the priority then maybe look elsewhere. It’s best to look at which factors are most important to you when choosing products and services.

Here is a potentially useful phone app that could help the emergency services find your exact location in an emergency: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-49319760 Here is a video that shows how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHS3tKpeUYw&feature=youtu.be

Until now, emergency services have recommended using postcodes to inform them of where help is needed, but postcodes can cover a large area in rural areas away from housing.

Brilliant!

I wondered how I would be able to do a reverse lookup to check that the three words would identify the intended location. The app provides the facility to speak the words and that immediately located my house on the map.

I must try this to meet up with friends in an unfamiliar location.