Tag Archives | Pricewatch

More silly bank charges – this time from NIB

Obviously the credit crunch and the banking crisis is having it’s impact on the banks in Ireland and their need to keep their profits up.

Following on from Conor Popes experience where Bank of Ireland charged him €5.90 for a new Laser card, I was this week charged €1.95 by National Irish Bank for them to re-issue me with a PIN number for my credit card.


You still shouldn’t buy vouchers for Christmas

Following on from my original post a couple of weeks ago, 5 Reasons Not to Give Vouchers this Christmas, there was a fair bit of media coverage in recent weeks on the whole issue of giving vouchers.

Pat Kenny covered vouchers for Christmas a couple of times on his morning radio show. It might become available here sometime soon to listen to.

Conor Pope also covered vouchers recently in his PriceWatch column in The Irish Times. James Doorley, Chairman of the Consumers Association of Ireland has also covered vouchers on his blog.

Having read all that coverage on giving vouchers for Christmas, maybe you’ll think twice about it – the more you read about vouchers, the more it’s not all cut and dried.

It doesn’t take long to have a think about what your nearest and dearest would love to receive for Christmas. You know what they say, “it’s the thought that counts”.


Prime Time Investigates Customer Service, tonight RTE1, 9.35

In a programme subtitled, Service with a Snarl, Conor Pope of the excellent Irish Times PriceWatch column is fronting tonights Prime Time Investigates.

In a warm-up article in Saturdays Irish Times, Conor looked at some examples of problematic customer service experienced by Irish consumers. On the basis of that article, it looks like NTL/Chorus/UPC might be bearing the brunt of the coverage.

Lets hope this programme doesn’t unexpectedly and quietly get pulled like the last episode of Buyer Beware last Thursday night.


6 Reasons not to give Vouchers this Christmas

Though vouchers are really handy Christmas presents, there are a few good reasons not to give vouchers this Christmas.

So, why you should think six times before buying a gift voucher as a Christmas present:

  • It is always be a nicer touch to put a bit of thought into a present for someone rather than the somewhat lazy voucher option.
  • Some generic voucher schemes might not be redeemable in as many stores as you expect, or as many stores as the recipient might actually want. There’s nothing worse than getting a voucher for somewhere you’ve no interest in buying something.
  • Certain vouchers that you might think are a good idea (such as Ryanair for example) are reputed to be very difficult to actually cash in – and in some cases have cost more to use than the value of the gift itself.
  • Some vouchers have an expiry date which makes them useless once passed. While it’s not your fault as the “giver”, it could mean that the receiver is under pressure to use the vouchers before they expire. They might end up using them on something they don’t really want that much.
  • Sometimes, if you buy a voucher from a proper shop outlet, it might not be usable in a concession version of the same shop. This was illustrated through the experience of a reader of Pricewatch in the Irish Times. This issue, however, could have been seen in the terms & conditions, if they’d been read beforehand.
  • And finally, and most importantly, In the current economic climate, if you buy vouchers from a business that closes down in the new year, the vouchers will most likely be worthless depending on how badly strapped for cash the shop is when it shuts.

NCA provide a geographical alternative number

Fair play to Conor Pope from PriceWatch in the Irish Times. Following from his article about our  SayNoTo1890.com site and geographical alternative phone numbers, the National Consumer Agency have now provided an 01 alternative to their 1890 number.

Hats off to the National Consumer Agency for its speedy response to our piece pointing out that calling its 1890 helpline from a mobile could cost people a lot more than they bargained for.

While calling the 1890 432 432 number from a landline costs five cent a minute at peak times, calling from a mobile can cost 35 cent. Last week, the agency organised a landline number in addition to its 1890 number and both will feed directly into its call centre. The landline contact number is 01-4025555 and it should be up and running from this week.

By providing this number, anyone who now needs to call the NCA, particularly from a mobile phone, will save themselves upwards of 35c per minute by having the calls subtracted from their minutes bundles rather than being charged extra calling the 1890 number.


Click here for the SayNoTo1890.com Website.

Click here for the SayNoTo1890.com Website.


Euro / Sterling Dual-Pricing – A different angle

I read with interest this piece from Conor Pope in Pricewatch on Monday morning regarding one of his readers observations about the dual-pricing that we experience in many stores at the moment.

A reader by the name of Helen was shopping in Wallis recently when she noticed they had torn off the sterling price, which had been attached to the price tags on the clothes along with the euro price – not the only shop operating in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK that has adopted such a policy in recent months.

“We all know that we are being ripped off in the Republic – the mark up between the sterling price and the euro price is blatantly obvious, even though the euro-sterling exchange rate has been trading consistently at around €0.78 for the past year. By tearing off the sterling price, does Wallis think that we won’t notice we are being ripped off?”

I was in a Boots store on Sunday where I saw a different perspective to this euro/sterling dual-pricing problem.

There was a small kid in the queue in front of me with some sort of Christmas present for his mother. He had his change counted out, and re-counted it a couple of times before he got to the top of the queue.

When he got to the cashier, he popped the gift on the counter, and unloaded his bundle of change for the cashier.

The cashier smiled at him, scanned the item, and asked him for €10.

“But it’s €8 on the label, I checked it myself” said the little lad, visibly gutted.

“No, it’s £8 I’m afraid. So that’s €10” said the cashier.

I don’t think we’re teaching our 6 and 7 year olds about dual-priced labels and exchange rates, are we?


Stop Wasting Your Money, from Conor Pope

Having just finished Twenty Majors The Order of the Phoenix Park, I’m moving onto another book by a blogger. I’ll leave the introductions to the authors journalistic colleague Paul Cullen, also of the Irish Times, from Saturdays Irish Times Magazine (sub required):

For more than five years, the PriceWatch column in this newspaper has been guiding readers through the pitfalls of shopping, as well as seeking out the best in value and quality for consumers. Now that its editor, Conor Pope, has distilled his wisdom in book form, there’s really no excuse for not making some changes to your finances that can result in serious money savings.

Stop Wasting Your Money promises to cut your bills by anywhere between €1,000 and €3,000 in a year, simply by following Conor’s month-by-month advice. It’s a mixture of the so-obvious-we-don’t-do it, such as shaving hundreds of euro off your insurance or health bills by one phone call, to the oh-really!-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-before?

In the latter vein, I didn’t know you could access freeview TV satellite stations including all the BBCs and ITVs for the price of a €100 dish and a bit of wiring. Or that chicken pieces with the skin on are half the price of skinless pieces. Ok, maybe I did know the last one but just don’t want to get my hands dirty.

Written with a light touch, Stop… isn’t hectoring or judgmental (as Conor writes, “that’s what Eddie Hobbs is for”). At the end of your year’s belt-tightening, he reckons you deserve to blow the savings on a nice holiday. That we like. A snip at €9.99.


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