Sunday 1 October 2017

Rip-off News round-up. Our pick of the last week's media (Sun 1st Oct)

Supermarket chicken supplier 2 Sisters suspends operations
It comes after allegations that workers had changed slaughter dates to extend the shelf life of meat. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also been investigating the claims. The Guardian and ITV News claimed an undercover reporter witnessed workers changing the "kill dates" on chickens. They also allegedly saw meat of different ages being mixed together and codes on crates of meat altered. In a statement, the company said an internal investigation had shown "some isolated instances of non-compliance" at its plant in West Bromwich: "We will only recommence supply once we are satisfied that our colleagues have been appropriately retrained." Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Lidl and The Co-op have stopped taking chickens from the site while investigations take place. The company also supplies Tesco and Sainsbury's, which are looking into the allegations. BBC NEWS

'Bullying' Tesco executives falsified profits to boost salaries in scam which wiped £2bn off firm's value, court hears
Carl Rogberg, 50, Chris Bush, 51, and John Scouler, 49, are accused of falsifying profits to boost their own incomes in a scandal which sent "shockwaves" through the stock market. The supermarket made a public announcement to the stock market on September 22, 2014 which stated that it had previously over-estimated its profits by £250 million, Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday. It led to its shares falling by 12 per cent, wiping £2 billion off its total share value. Tesco's former finance chief, managing director and food commercial head are charged with fraud by abuse of position and false accounting between February and September 2014. Sasha Wass QC told the jury: "Each of these three defendants used their managerial authority and actively encouraged those working beneath them to falsify the figures and, when those subordinate employees objected, the subordinate employees were bullied or coerced into carrying on with this practice." The court heard that Mr Rogberg, who was "directly responsible" for authorising the falsified figures, received a remuneration package of more than £1 million in 2014. Mr Bush, who was in charge of the performance and "integrity" of Tesco at the time, received nearly £3 million that year, and Mr Scouler, who allegedly directed those beneath him to falsify income figures, received around £1.5 million. Ms Wass added: "Each defendant would have had a very personal interest in keeping the share value of the company high, because a lot of their remuneration package included shares," she said. TELEGRAPH

HSBC fined £175m over insider information being used in its currency trading business
The penalty was issued because the bank failed to stop traders using inside information from clients. It comes as former HSBC trader Mark Johnson, who is British, is tried in New York for allegedly making gains from a £3billion currency deal. Johnson denies 'front-running' a deal made by British firm Cairn Energy by buying the sterling ahead of the transaction and then netting the bank billions of dollars when it went up and he sold later. With regards to the fine, the Fed said HSBC 'failed to detect and address its traders misusing confidential customer information, as well as using electronic chatrooms to communicate with competitors about their trading positions'. DAILY MAIL investigated over alleged deals with insurers
The site faces allegations that it has done deals with insurers that prevent them from making cheaper offers on other websites – known in the trade as most favoured nation clauses. Over the last decade price comparison websites have become a major seller of insurance products as they can be used by consumers to simultaneously check prices with hundreds of insurers. The market is dominated by four big comparison websites:,, and The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had been investigating whether the sector was operating as transparently as it should. It is thought that an insurance policy sold to a consumer following a comparison site search can net that website as much as £60 commission, although payments are rarely disclosed. GUARDIAN

How power giants trick and bully us into getting smart meters: Suppliers arrange fittings without being asked and threaten to take away cheap deals
Suppliers have been ordered by the Government to offer smart meters to all households in Britain by 2020 and face fines if they fail to meet the deadline. Customers are not obliged to say 'yes' and can refuse to have one installed. Yet customers have been bombarded with calls, texts and letters even after they have refused one. At least one major firm is sending out letters saying they have made a smart meter installation appointment, despite the customer never requesting one. Another says this is something they are trialling. If customers do not want a new meter, they have to call and cancel, or an engineer will just turn up. Suppliers are also sending out letters and texts to customers that fail to make it clear that smart meters are optional. EDF Energy is texting customers: 'We need to upgrade your meter to a smart meter', while E.ON is sending letters that state in bold, red type: 'Reminder: your meter is being phased out'. Scottish Power's letters say 'Action required' next to a large, red exclamation mark. Some E.ON customers have even been told they face losing their cheap deal if they refuse to have a new meter. And last week, the supplier said it would replace its expensive standard tariffs with rolling deals that cost up to £262 a year less — but only if customers get a smart meter first. But as many as one in five UK households says they do not want one. Some are concerned about how their personal data will be used. Others don't want the hassle of waiting in for an engineer to call. Many more are reluctant after learning that most of the 7.36 million meters already installed will stop working if you switch to a different supplier. Money Mail does understand that this problem will be fixed through a software update — without an engineer even needing to visit. But no details have been confirmed so far. DAILY MAIL

Ryanair law breach leaves UK regulator CAA 'furious'
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched "enforcement action" against Ryanair for wrongly claiming it did not have to re-route passengers on rival airlines. The CAA's chief executive Andrew Haines said: "People shouldn't have to choose between low fares and legal rights." Mr Haines singled out Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary for particular criticism, telling Radio 5live: "Michael himself said he wasn't going to pay for passengers to fly on other airlines. That's against the law.” In September, the airline announced the cancellation of up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October, affecting 400,000 passengers. A fresh round of flight cancellations will be between November and March and affect the travel plans of a further 400,000 customers. The regulator said that on both occasions Ryanair had failed to provide customers with "necessary and accurate" information about their rights. The CAA said information provided on Ryanair's website failed to make it clear that the airline was obliged to refund all expenses incurred as a result of the flight cancellation. Those expenses included meals, hotels, as well as transfer costs to re-route passengers on other airlines when there was no suitable alternative, the CAA said. The airline has said that passengers affected by the move will be offered alternative flights or full refunds and had been emailed about advising them of flight changes occurring until the end of October. They will also be offered vouchers of 40 euros (£35) one way, or 80 euros return, towards alternative flights on top of any refund. Ryanair has blamed the series of flight cancellations on "messing up" pilot holiday rosters. BBC NEWS

Uber: London Mayor backs talks after firm's apology
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi issued the apology after the taxi-hailing firm lost its London licence. Mr Khosrowshahi said in an open letter that Uber would appeal against the city's decision, but accepted the company "must change". In deciding not to renew Uber's licence beyond the end of September, TfL cited concerns about the firm's treatment of criminal offences, medical certificates, and drivers' background checks. The firm, which is used by an estimated 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in London, also says it will continue operating while its appeal is heard. Mr Khosrowshahi, who took over at the firm less than a month ago, wrote on Monday: "While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it's equally true that we've got things wrong along the way." "On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we've made," Mr Khosrowshahi said. Earlier, Mayor Sadiq Khan accused Uber of putting "unfair pressure" on TfL, with an "army" of PR experts and lawyers. BBC NEWS

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