CAB News 20 November 2020

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CAB News 20 November 2020

Friday 20 November 2020

Our scams advice and divorce data appear in the news today.

National

Scams

Scammers Are Touting Dangerous `Red Mercury’ as a Cure for COVID

Vice UK, 17/11/2020, Jak Hutchcraft

Jerry Houseago, Consumer Expert, provides advice for people being offered bogus Covid ‘cures’. Jerry explains: As there is currently no cure for coronavirus, any red mercury products that claim to do so are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, as they would be neither “as described” nor “fit for purpose.”

Jerry continues: “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. And that’s definitely the case with these ‘miracle’ cures. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you’re looking to buy any health-related products.”

Divorce

More than 100,000 couples divorced last year

BBC, 17/11/2020

The number of couples getting divorced in England and Wales surged by almost a fifth in 2019 to the highest level in five years, figures reveal.

Citizens Advice said divorce guidance searches had risen since April after a drop in visits when lockdown started. It said views of its divorce webpage on the first September weekend were up 25% compared with the same date in 2019.

Tom MacInnes, chief analyst for Citizens Advice, said: “We know that this pandemic has put an enormous strain on people financially but our data shows that strain is also being felt in people’s relationships.”

National Consumer Week

Half of Brits have faced issues with parcel deliveries – your rights

Mirror, 17/112020, James Andrews

Half of British consumers have faced issues with parcel deliveries ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas period as more turn people to online shopping.

Research from Citizens Advice found 47% of adults have had problems with parcel delivery since the country first went into lockdown in March, with 51% saying they feel more reliant on having goods delivered.

Consumer

Half of shoppers buying goods online during the pandemic had problems with parcel delivery

Mail Online, 16/11/2020, Victoria Bischoff

Research by Citizens Advice shows 47 per cent of customers have suffered a problem with parcel delivery during the pandemic.

Citizens Advice received over 8,200 calls about deliveries from March to August, more than three times last year’s figure for that period.

Visits to the charity’s webpage about problems with parcels more than doubled to 208,000 from March to October compared to 2019.

But many consumers do not know their rights. Acting head Alistair Cromwell said it was the seller’s responsibility, not the buyer or courier, to make sure items arrive.

Alistair added:  ‘Having parcels delivered has been a lifeline for so many of us this year, and will continue to be under current restrictions. It’s not right that the number of people having issues with parcels is so high.

The Guardian‘s coverage featured our case study, 77-year-old Sandra, who is shielding because of her age.

Sandra said: “The parcel companies have delivered so many damaged packages. I’ve had items say they have arrived when they have not, so I’m left chasing people which is extremely difficult as most companies do not answer their telephone.”

“The parcels I have ordered are really important to me as they are for my loved ones. So when they do not arrive or turn up completely smashed it’s absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve completely lost faith in the process.”

The story also appeared in The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, i, Metro and Mirror newspapers.

Universal Credit

Cutting universal credit will push millions of people into great hardship

The Guardian, 14/11/2020,

 Alistair Cromwell has written a powerful piece for The Guardian’s opinion pages arguing for the £20-a-week uplift in universal credit to be made permanent.

Alistair writes: “Universal credit is a lifeline that has helped people keep their head above water, but the temporary £20-a-week uplift introduced earlier this year is set to end in spring. This income drop could push many into long-term hardship and set back the country’s economic recovery.”

He adds: “Providing enough for people to meet their costs is essential to give security for the future, as well as to increase spending and support the economy. There is growing public favour for greater support through the benefits system, and hopeful signs the government is considering making the uplift permanent.

“This is vital to help people who’ve lost out as a result of this pandemic, prevent long-term economic scarring and underpin our recovery with a strong benefits safety net.”

In other news

Millions of public sector workers face pay freeze

ComparetheMarket fined £17.9m over competition law breach

Senior jobs with flexible hours ‘get 20% more female applicants’

Post-Grenfell social housing reforms in England to be unveiled

Working from home could lead to more prejudice, report warns