Tag Archives: Consumer Issues

Barbados In 2025: More Cars, More Roads – Or Light Rail Transit, Fewer Private Vehicles?

For all the money wasted by our glorious leaders in the past ten years, we could have had a light-rail solution half way around the island. Instead, we’ve had ten years of more roads, more buses, more cars every morning – all heading to the city. Most of the private vehicles have only the driver.

This article was as true as the day it was written almost six years ago, probably more true…

Barbados Free Press

Our Current Failed Vision Of Barbados Transportation, Society and Daily Life

barbados trafficIf you think our roads are crowded now, if you think that your time spent getting to and from work or school is unreasonable, if you think our quality of life and environment in Barbados is heading for the suckwell – just close your eyes and picture how Barbados will look after another ten or fifteen years of continuing to implement the same transportation “solution” of more cars, more roads, wider roads and ever more cars.

Is that where you want to see Barbados in the year 2025?

Unless we get some vision and leadership around this place, that is exactly where Barbados is headed.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados History, Barbados Light Rail Transportation, Barbados Transportation, Puffing Billy Train

LIME TV frustrating tonight – bad picture and zero service!

LIME TV Barbados

This evening the reception on Lime TV is abysmal, the buffering circle is going mad. I ring LIME on 1 800… and listen to everything requiring a button to be pressed except Lime TV. The Lady singing about the benefits of LIME is most distracting, when after 10 minutes of waiting, nothing happened, no reply. I thought LIME service was on Island now? Is it just me, but does LIME want customer satisfaction? Because I am NOT receiving it. At the moment they are not achieving anything.

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

When banks charge morgage interest rates like credit cards… it’s called USURY

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

A couple of days ago we approached our bank about rates for a commercial mortgage and were quoted rates of between 11.5 and 14.5 per cent interest.

Yet only recently I saw an article where the banks were attempting to pressure the Central Bank to lower the interest rate paid to depositors from the current minimum of 2.5 per cent.

How can we in the private sector and Government, at least giving lip service to encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurship, tolerate ludicrous spreads like this of 9 to 12 per cent?

We are already forced to accept a level of poor service that would simply not be put up with in the countries where many of these banks have their origins: Unanswered voicemail messages and because its almost impossible to speak to a human being, lengthy and time wasting queues. There are endless delays in trying to procure critical documentation. Managers feel they have no obligation to respond to the written requests of their customers.

Small wonder that the President of The Bankers Association stated that 43 per cent of the non-performing loans were in the tourism sector. How on earth with all the other escalating costs can any small business service an interest rate of 14.5 per cent, let alone repay the capital.

This is an area that Government must intervene.

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

Anonymous email making the rounds about Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Ltd.

Barbados Free Press editor’s message: Folks, we received several copies of the following unsigned message. Each came through anonymous emailing services out of Germany, The Netherlands and possibly Russia. The message is anonymous and might or might not be containing wrong information or out and out lies. We have no way of confirming any of it: but as our readers will see there are certain informations that ring true and that we’ve heard elsewhere.

We’re going to print it and see whether our readers can make some sense of it. Now remember, folks: the people who are mentioned in this anonymous letter volunteered to be in public positions of trust and therefore are prepared to take some public vetting once in a while. Most people everywhere are hard-working and honest, so remember that as we discuss this letter and try to determine how much fire is under this smoke…

On the Ides of March – BPWCCUL has 14 days to respond!!!

The last blog posted regarding BPWCCUL has resulted in the wrongful dismissal of several workers including a very hard-working and honest Finance Manager, the continued harassment of an equally honest and sincere Internal Auditor and a professional and competent IT Manager. It has also triggered the running of two Directors who I’m glad to see the back of and the resignation of the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee. We only hope the Financial Services Commission is taking note.

As a pre-cursor to the Annual General Meeting it is essential to fully ventilate the issues and therefore we shall be posting on a regular basis to try to make sure that what has happened at CLICO does not happen here. In this situation more than fifty-thousand Barbadians would be affected.

This first post is a friendly game of 20 questions but if the Board is not forthright with members then it will be escalated with severely damaging information. Nothing short of the stepping down of the BPWCCUL President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Director Marilyn Mapp, Director Keiva Cadogan, the CEO, CAPITA’s Chairman, Deputy Chairman and CEO will avert this course of action.

These issues have not been raised officially with the Supervisory Committee because that has proven to be 100% ineffective and impotent. Remember, money talks and once Supervisory Committee members are offered trips to attend meetings across the Globe, they forget their duty and chase after a Board position.

So the 20 questions:

1.    Who is the individual or firm that was paid nearly half a million dollars in fees to provide services during the Credit Union’s acquisition of CLICO Mortgage and Finance Corporation? Why was there no contract and no Board approval or knowledge of the transaction and what is the relationship between this individual and the CAPITA CEO? Was this relationship declared to the Board in accordance with the Act? Was this the single-largest fee during the acquisition? Is it true that neither the legal fees nor the due diligence attracted fees this high? What services could have cost so much? And were there any BPWCCUL Directors who benefitted financially from this transaction? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

Tests show LIME boosts speed temporarily when user complains, but then…

click photo for larger

“This is robbery on any scale”

Good morning Lime team,

I am at my whit’s end with Lime and it’s service.  So if the internet service that Lime has been extorting me for over the past 6 to 8 months is not resolved and my account credited in some way, for the months that the deficient internet service which payment is mandatory, by the end of this week you (Lime) can cancel your less than mediocre Broadband internet service and come to collect your superfluous equipment.

This is ludicrous.  Too long I have been having this issue with below standard internet after having increased my service on this new account since I moved house.   I have called the helpline and reported this issue.  After not hearing anything from anyone at Lime, I called again to be told that there was no record of a previous complaint.  I unwillingly reiterated and made another complaint and was told a technician would contact me within 48 hours.  Well, 5 days went by before someone from Lime called.  Some tests were conducted and the speed surprisingly was up again.  Within a matter of 4 shocking days, the service speed dropped again.  So it appears that I am being charged full price to only receive ‘80% of the 1.5mbps’ service, but only actually getting .59mbps to use on a good day. I am sure this is robbery on any scale.

“After speaking to a few Lime and IT technicians I happened to know, I paid for someone independent to come to my house and perform a few tests on your sub-par Broadband service.”

His summation was that the line attenuation is too high as it should be around the 100 mark, the SNR should also be lower; and that the Ping test to the Lime server is taking too long to return.  You can find attached the screen shots of the tests carried out, pay close attention to the date.  (Speed test, ADSL and Ping). And yes, to date not a damn thing has changed.  I would have to say the internet service that I am mandated to pay for religiously each month is not good enough and a waste of my hard earn money, especially in these economical times.

I recently visited friends in St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.  To my disgusted surprise, they pay far less for their internet and get more than we do in Barbados for their personal use. Almost everyday for the 2 weeks I spent in St. Lucia the family was simultaneously Video streaming to the television, children on Kindle and iPad, and laptop played online radio stations.  Now its only myself and my brother at home here in Barbados.  We have very demanding jobs and do not use the system like my friends in the other small islands.  Pray tell me, on an island like Barbados which is more developed, how are majority of Lime’s customers paying substantially more for such a poorer rated purportedly High Speed Broadband Internet Service?

Like I said, if my long-standing internet issue is not resolved by Friday, February 24th, 2012, which would prove even more outrageous, you can then consider this as my written notice to discontinue the internet service provided on (246) xxxxxxx and collect your unwanted equipment.

I am no longer prepared to be duped and robbed by a conglomerate such as Lime.

Yours truly,

(name provided but withheld by BFP editor)

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Fed up customer complains about Big B price gouging

“I have no doubt that this is something they’re used to doing and I’m pretty sure my complaint will fall on deaf ears.”

by Fed up consumer!

Like every other disgruntled consumer, I am used to buying ordinary supermarket items at exorbitant prices.  I’m used to seeing UK foods marked with a £1.00 price tag, only to be sold at nearly 3 times the exchange rate, however it really boils my blood when I come across an item marked as ‘15% more free sheets’, being sold with a more than 15% mark up!!  To make matters worse, the regular item, with 88 sheets was sitting just above it for $7.15.

Yesterday I went into Big B supermarket, picked up the roll for $8.36 then backed tracked to see if I was indeed getting a bargain.  To my dismay, I saw the regular item on the shelf being sold at a different price.  I promptly complained to manager Mr. Christopher Durant, who assured me he will mention it to the powers that be.  My reply was “I have no doubt that this is something they’re used to doing and I’m pretty sure it will fall on deaf ears”.

Anyway, on my way out, Mr. Durant caught up to me to let me know I had “got it wrong”, as I was comparing the tissue roll I bought with a different Kleenex brand.  I insisted that I was indeed correct and followed him to the shelf where I saw the ‘regular’ 88 sheet roll at more than $1 less.

In Mr. Durant’s haste to point out my mistake, he brought my attention to the fine print under the ‘15% more free sheets’, where it read, ” *102 sheets sold to to the retailer at 88 sheet pack”.

Needless to say, he didn’t have much more to say after that.

I will be sending this email to the Supercentre head office, also to whatever trading standards/consumer watch programs we have ‘representing’ us.

Sign me: Fed up consumer!

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

High-wire Robbery by Barbados Light & Power

By Orlando Burke

My most recent electric bill showed a significant increase. My energy charges totaled $252.50 while the fuel charge was $549.16. If paid before the discount date, the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) would reward me with a discount amounting to around $30.00. I will not be hooked by such insignificant bait.

Originally, fuel was an input in the production process of the BL&P; now it is both an input, and an add-on. An apt analogy would be the case of a baker selling a loaf of bread and charging extra for the flour used to make it.

Currently, Barbados is experiencing challenging economic times. A period characterized by lay-offs, calls for Unions to exercise wage restraint, and the common sight of persons having to leave items at the cash register in the supermarket.

I am concerned that in such an environment, the BL&P, a private monopoly appears comfortable in recording a profit of $54 million. While it is accepted that investment in a new plant facility, as alluded to by an official of BL&P in the Nation Newspaper, Sunday Sun edition of 28th August, 2011 maybe necessary over the long term, there is still no justification for the super-profits recorded by the Company. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Energy