CAB News 31 July 2020

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CAB News 31 July 2020

Friday 31 July 2020

Citizens Advice, in its role as the official watchdog for energy consumers, issued this statement in response to this morning’s announcement on network price controls by the regulator Ofgem.

We’re also the official consumer champion for microbusinesses, and issued this statement yesterday, in response to Ofgem’s proposals for new protections – something we’ve been campaigning for.

National

Consumer

Covid means it’s even more important to tackle the loyalty penalty

BBC Radio 4, You and Yours, 29/07/2020 (from 37’30” mins into clip)

Our Director of Policy, Matt Upton, appeared on Radio 4’s consumer programme You and Yours yesterday, to talk about the loyalty penalty and particularly the cost of broadband.

Matt said: “We think, if anything, covid increases the need to tackle the loyalty penalty head on.”

Trade

Housing

Tenants flood Citizens Advice website searching for rent arrears advice

Your Money, Inside Housing,Mortgage Solutions, Letting Agent Today, 23-30/07/2020

Our figures showing a huge surge in searches on our website for help with rent arrears continues to get coverage on a wide range of financial and housing websites. The full press release is here.

Scams

Banks reveal 10 coronavirus scams to be wary of

BBC, 29/07/20

Clever New Scams Arise Amid Coronavirus Fears. Could You Spot Them? – NBC Bay Area

UK Finance, which represents banks, has named 10 Covid-19 scams the public should be wary of.

Citizens Advice warned that the most vulnerable people are often at greater risk of being contacted by a scammer.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “While so many people have pulled together to help and support each other through
the challenges of coronavirus, opportunistic scammers have instead chosen to prey on unsuspecting victims.

“We’ve had nearly a quarter of a million views of our web pages on scams during this pandemic and we’re urging everyone to only use trusted sources of information and be on the lookout for signs of a potential scam.”

The charity’s research showed almost half those with a disability or long-term illness had been targeted, while half of those with an increased risk of Covid-19 or those shielding had been too.

Travel and Quarantine

How 14-day post-holiday rules expose gaps in the Universal Credit system

iNews & Sky News, 28/07/20

 Citizens Advice has warned that claims for Universal Credit could affect entitlement to other benefits. It said people should seek advice before making a new claim if they need help while quarantining.

It has also outlined some options people may have if they need to quarantine when they return from holiday.

Energy

Ofgem takes action on ”unscrupulous” UK energy brokers

Guardian & The Energst, 29/07/20

Citizens Advice, in its roles as the official consumer watchdog for domestic and microbusiness energy consumers, has responded to Ofgem’s announcement of proposals for new protections for microbusinesses.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The proposals announced today are good news for around 1.5m microbusinesses. Our research showed how the actions of unscrupulous brokers can lead to microbusinesses paying more than they need to, being aggressively pursued for debts and being needlessly disconnected.

“Cooling-off periods, brokers being part of alternative dispute resolution processes and other measures would provide microbusinesses with significantly improved protections.

“Microbusinesses are diverse and range from pubs and convenience stores to sole traders like photographers and many will have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as these changes, Ofgem must make sure microbusinesses struggling with debts are treated fairly by suppliers in the months ahead.”

Coronavirus

What are the rules for travelling to Spain?

BBC Radio 4, Today, 27/07/20 (clip starts 18:24)

Our Director of External Affairs, Katie Martin, was interviewed on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 about what rights holidaymakers have in light of the new government guidance on travel to Spain, and the new quarantine measures announced at the weekend.

She said it’s up to the airlines whether they cancel their flights, but some have already started offering people a change in dates.

She said it’s clearly a very difficult situation for the airlines, but they should “continue to do the right thing” for consumers, whether that is cancelling flights, giving refunds, or offering alternative flights.

In other news

Universal credit needs £8bn overhaul, says cross-party report.

Disabled people ‘fear being excluded’ in post-lockdown world.

Over-40s in UK to pay more tax under plans to fix social care crisis.