I’ve created a post category for the posts relating to Lush which go under the Smell of Bullshit headings. If you look to the bottom of the page you’ll see that each post has categories listed underneath it in purple. Clicking Lush will take you to all the posts about Lush. Clicking the Smell of Bullshit will take you to all the posts under that heading.
One of the things that Lush have used their forum for is competitions for the forumites. I think they also run them on their facebook page too, although I don’t pay much attention to them on facebook. Some of the competitions have been enjoyable – I’ve won prizes myself – and I know many forum users have had a lot of fun out of them. Some of them have involved quite a lot of creativity and they’ve given the users the chance to show their talents. And some of the prizes have been very generous indeed.
But there have been complaints over the past couple of years that not every prize winner has received their prize. Comments and complaints about it have been on the forum for months and years, out there in the public domain where you can see for yourself, because some competitions have gone for months and years without even being judged. That seems a bit mean, I hear you thinking, possibly even unfair. Possibly even unlawful.
The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 has a bit to say about competitions without prizes, supported by and expanded upon by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The TDA is similar to our civil consumer rights, but takes things a step further by making it a criminal offence for a company to describe goods or services falsely. The 2008 regulations automatically outlaw 31 unfair practices, such as saying you belong to a trade association when you don’t, pretending to be a customer (see the ban for firms posing as happy customers online MSE News story) and competitions with no prizes. The Consumer Protection regulations say
Commercial practices which are in all circumstances considered unfair…
31. Creating the false impression that the consumer has already won, will win, or will on doing a particular act win, a prize or other equivalent benefit, when in fact either—
(a)there is no prize or other equivalent benefit, or
(b)taking any action in relation to claiming the prize or other equivalent benefit is subject to the consumer paying money or incurring a cost.
Wouldn’t you agree that a competition in which winners have not received their prize over a year later is a “competition” in which the company has created a false impression that the consumer has won or will win a prize? If I was one of those forum users waiting for a prize for that long, or one of those forum users waiting for a competition to be judged for over a year, I think I’d be contacting Trading Standards. There’s lots of info on the web about how to do it. But then, the most recent comment on this post suggest that Lush have so little respect for their customers, particularly the forum users, that they don’t care about treating them so badly. They’re just fat crazy weirdos.
One of the other things that customers of any company should be aware of is their rights regarding limited edition goods. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulation 2008 state
Commercial practices which are in all circumstances considered unfair…
7. Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice
Lush made a product called Hairdresser’s Husband (wanky name, I know) which they made available to the first Gallery visitors in London telling them they would only ever be able to buy it there. But since then it has mysteriously appeared in several places – the Covent Garden shop, shop launches and other special events. Now, of course, it might well be that Lush only ever intended Hairdresser’s Husband to be available at the Gallery and they decided to make it available elsewhere later because word got round and other people clamoured for it. That is possible. But then there were their very expensive haircare products which were launched on the forum with the unambiguous statement that they were “special products, never to be sold in shops.” And then they “launched” them again at Lushfest and then put them into the shops at significantly lower prices than those at which they had been sold on the forum. I think that might be a breach of clause 7 as noted above. Lush know fine well that the forum users like to have access to special products and that some people will pay a lot of money for them, paying well over the odds on ebay/forum swaps if they’re no longer available from the company. And they told the forum these items would never be available in the shops, sold a lot of them for a lot of money, then put them in the shops at a lower price. That looks a lot like sharp practice to me.
If any of the forumites who have been waiting for a competition to be judged for months, or waiting to receive a prize they were promised months ago would like to share their feelings about that here, or tell us how they feel knowing that Lush might be behaving unlawfully, they’re very welcome to. Similarly, I’d like to know how the people who paid inflated prices for hair products thinking it was their only chance to get them felt on seeing them in the shops for less, and how they feel now knowing that might well be unlawful. The comments are open – comment away.
And here is the proof
(not satire – it’s UKIP!)
It’s getting even more difficult than usual to be satirical now that UKIP have got such a ripe bunch of fruitcakes standing for them in the local elections next week.
I’m a bit spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a good example of UKIP’s most rabidly loony candidates but I’ve decided to pick John Sullivan – many thanks to Gay Star News for the heads up on this one.
John Sullivan – UKIP candidate in the Forest of Dean and West Gloucestershire county council elections – says that more rigorous physical exercise in schools will prevent homosexuality.
Here’s his Facebook post where he makes the comment:
But he’s not. He’s for real.
For more on Mr Sullivan’s…
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When I fell off my bike and broke my pelvis, I also hurt my shoulder. But at the time, I figured it was just bruising and a bit of muscle strain and the pain in my hip which then turned out to be a fracture was so severe and took so long to get sorted that I never thought to mention my shoulder. But the pain never really went away and as I’ve been swimming more, the pain has been more of a problem. And then one weekend at the end of February I woke up on the Saturday morning and the range of movement in my shoulder was about 15 degrees of flexion and slightly more of abduction and it really really really hurt. It’s a weird pain, it feels like something pinching deep behind my right clavicle.
So I referred myself to physio and went along today. He did a really thorough assessment of the strength and range of movement in my shoulder and couldn’t find anything obvious wrong. I was mightily chuffed when he said I had shoulder movements very typical of swimmers – I’m a bit tight at the ends of the ranges, and my anterior muscles are tight – because although I swim often it hadn’t really occurred to me I was doing enough to be identifiable as a swimmer by my muscle issues! So he’s given me stretches to do and we agreed I’d do those for a couple of months and if it gets worse or doesn’t improve I can ring and go back, but otherwise we’ll leave things as they are. So I’m going to go and do them now.