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Issue:- 04 November 2010

S.H.O.P.S. reveals the public’s concern about payment when shopping from home

74% of Britons feel that that the home shopping industry needs to be more tightly regulated and are concerned about fraud, a national survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of S.H.O.P.S. (Safe Home Ordering Protection Scheme), has revealed.  89% believe home shopping companies (including shopping on the internet, TV Shopping channels and responding to advertisements and catalogues) should be independently checked before they place advertisements that ask for money in advance.

S.H.O.P.S., a body that protects readers on behalf of all the UK’s national newspapers including The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph and The Express, commissioned the survey to gauge public opinion about regulation in the home shopping industry of which they are a key player.

The survey found that 65% of people in the UK will use some form of home shopping; including shopping on the internet and TV shopping channels; in the key purchasing period leading up to Christmas... but 23% do not think sending money in advance of receiving goods is secure.

The survey also showed that there is great confusion among the public about existing regulations concerning home shopping and what protection they afford.

S.H.O.P.S’. Chief Executive Ron Davis says the unique protection provided by their Scheme, which vets advertisers who ask for payment in advance before they appear in National Newspapers and also provides compensation to consumers should they fail, is a model which could be adopted by other home shopping media.

Ron Davis comments:- ““Every National Newspaper in the UK is a member of SHOPS which means readers can buy from advertisements which require payment in advance of receiving goods with our assurance. These guarantees are not available to consumers who shop via other media such as online or through TV Shopping Channels.”

Ron cites the recent example of Global Sourcing Technologies Limited which advertised flat screen LCD and plasma TVs in national newspapers in the period leading up to Christmas in 2008. The company went bust, leaving hundreds of consumers out of pocket. S.H.O.P.S. stepped in and paid full compensation to any readers who were affected, at a cost of £55,000.

“This a good example of what can happen to consumers. Although Global Sourcing Technologies Limited passed the SHOPS’ vetting process and were cleared to advertise in national newspapers, after a short period their business failed. We were able to help immediately when readers complained that their TVs had not been delivered.  We have cash reserves to compensate consumers in the rare event that an advertiser in National Newspapers fails to deliver. It is a level of protection you can’t get on the internet or other media.” said Ron

S.H.O.P.S. is a self regulatory body supported by all National Newspapers in the UK. Launched in 1975, the Scheme has offered protection to consumers for more than three decades and £5.2 million has been paid out to consumers in compensation over this period.

Ron comments:- “Self regulatory bodies are the answer. National Newspaper SHOPS step in to resolve issues and help consumers by providing full compensation not available through statutory regulation. And it works – we know that consumers are more likely to respond to advertisements in the national press if they know an advertiser is secure. Readers should always look for the SHOPS sign in advertisements where they are asked to send payment in advance because it shows we are there to protect their purchases.”

S.H.O.P.S. is often compared to the role of ABTA within the travel industry. Consumer protection is both needed and desired in the home shopping sector and the National Newspaper industry uniquely meets that need. Consumers will be able to determine those advertisers in the Scheme through a clearly printed S.H.O.P.S. sign on each advertisement or catalogue.

For more information visit:-


SEA Cadets, one of Britain's most endearing youth charities, is asking Britain 'Were you a Sea Cadet?' Charity records show that over the last 70 years almost 1 million people have been a Sea Cadet at some point, that's one person in 60 of the UK population, and the charity wants to reconnect with them to build up a picture of Sea Cadets now and then.

Over the years the charity has seen some famous names grow from ex Sea Cadets including, Sean Connery, Paul O Grady, Dan Snow, former deputy prime minister John Prescott, jazz musician Kenny Ball and actor Paul Bethany. And with 400 units across the country and 14000 young people taking part, every town will have former Sea Cadets in it.

The charity, established in 1854, wants to hear from former cadets who can help either with a one off donation, a spot of volunteering or who might just be interested to hear what Sea Cadets has been up to.

Sea Cadets is driven by the support of the Royal Navy and the 8500 volunteers who help inspire and train young cadets each week. Volunteering is for many a real vocation, but it is often claimed that Sea Cadets is one of the country's best kept secrets, yet with one in every 60th person having been a Sea Cadet it seems everyone should know a former Sea Cadet.

Across the UK 14000 young people aged between 10 and 18 get involved in Sea Cadet activities, learning vital life skills like leadership and team working via challenging adventure activities on a naval theme. They can earn extra qualifications too which can boost confidence and give them a head start in life. This is only possible with the incredible support of volunteers who use their own skills, knowledge and experience to guide, coach and encourage the next generation.

Former Sea Cadets can get in touch with the charity by visiting the website, you can also email them or call:- 020 7654 7000 or write to:- I was a former Sea Cadet, MSSC, 202 Lambeth Road, London, SE1 7JW, UK.

Should children be tested earlier for dyslexia?

A leading child psychologist believes new tests for dyslexia could help diagnose children from a much earlier age than before.

Doctor Peter Gardner, Chartered Educational Psychologist and Founder Director of Appleford School in Shrewton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, says the tests could help children and their parents feel more comfortable about overcoming difficulties with reading.  “Children who have dyslexia can have problems with reading, writing or spelling. It is believed that one in 10 children have some form of dyslexia, which is Greek for ‘difficulty with words’. Parents naturally want the best for their children. They know that good literacy skills are the building blocks to educational success and a satisfying career. But many parents are in the dark about their child’s special educational needs and how best to help them.”

Dyslexia Awareness Week runs until Sunday, 7 November 2010, and organisers are asking people to focus on the strengths those with dyslexia can bring to the community.  Many famous dyslexics like Richard Branson, Tom Cruise, John Lennon and Keira Knightly have all gone on to achieve huge success.

Dr Gardner believes anyone can do the same, with the right help:- "It used to be thought that you couldn't diagnose dyslexia until about seven and a half or eight years of age, but now there are very good indicators at about four and a half to five. Children who have difficulty with rhyme and threading beads at that age; that sort of skill can often predict later dyslexia."

Dr Gardner has written helpful fact sheets on Dyslexia and associated learning difficulties which can be found at the Appleford School website.

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