Summer is upon us (allegedly) and here is some additional holiday reading for you. This month my favourite read was by Paul Lewis.
The article is an updated article from July and looks at an area that I have been keeping on my radar; smart meters.
If I am honest, I haven’t yet made my mind up on the issue of smart meters; particularly when looking at more vulnerable customers. My initial concern was that some customers were able to effectively “self-disconnect” if they started to monitor their usage and became worried about costs. This was confirmed to me on a journey home from work one day when a taxi driver was telling me about his smart meter. (You will all know how conversations go when you mention you are a debt adviser.) The taxi driver had been obsessively watching his meter to the point where he had switched all the heating off and bought a Calor gas heater!
I had read in the past that there were teething problems and that meters went “dumb” if a customer ever changed provider and were then of no further use. I had also heard Government ministers saying that customer savings may be as little as £11 per year. Paul Lewis looks at all these issues in his blog and also considers whether it is possible for suppliers to meet the target of 53 million meters installed by 2020.
Read the full article here: http://paullewismoney.blogspot.com/
In other blogs:
Sara from Debt Camel takes a look at the emails and voting arrangements that have been sent out to customers of Money Shop. Payday UK and Payday Express. A Scheme of Arrangement has been proposed to limit the amount paid to customers who registered an affordability complaint. It has been proposed that customers will get back up to 80% of what is owed. It is worth reading just to see the picture of the flying pig.
Meg Van Rooyan provides an easy to read overview of the Treasury Committee’s recommendations on the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in this month’s Money Advice Trust blog. The blog provides a link to the Treasury’s report and to a report from the FCA.
The Trust and other stakeholders have pushed for the FCA to be given more authority to take action where the activities of firms cause or have the ability to cause serious consumer harm.
As a debt adviser I had seen some issues with lead generators, suspect websites and scams but the scale of the problem doesn’t become apparent until you see comments such as this from Stepchange. https://medium.com/stepchange/exposing-the-clone-firms-imitating-genuine-debt-advice-organisations-29f61f2620f9
I found the above piece on Debt Camel’s webpages. It illustrates how clone “debt advice” companies use the web and social media to take advantage of very vulnerable people.
You may remember the link from Z2K in last month’s pick of the blogs looking at issues when moving from PIP to DLA. https://www.z2k.org/latest/from-dla-to-pip/
Z2K continue to look at the problems with moving benefits and this month consider “lapsing”. This is where a decision is revised in a claimant’s favour by the DWP, but only after weeks have passed and an appeal lodged. An FOI request seems to suggest that this is a fairly prevalent practice.
Have you read any good blogs recently? Let us know in our discussion forum. More blogs next month.
In other news
Have you heard that the IMA social policy group is now up and running? Jackie Fielding, the chair of the group is looking for details of any social policy issues in your areas. What would you like the group to consider? At present third-party deductions from Universal Credit is high on the list. What has been your experience?