“ Genre: Lifestyle / Broadcaster: BBC3 / Consumer show which puts the general public to the test in order to make them aware of their consumer rights. „
Don't Get Screwed is not the title of a reality show where cameras follow ugly people on a night out in Northampton as to be honest knowing the type of person in Northampton they probably would, rather it is a consumer rights show a bit like Watchdog that looks to warn viewers about various scams and rogue traders. Now there si nothing original about this sort of programme format Don't Get Screwed has a quite in your face upbeat vibe to it with some nice touches of humour that makes it really entertaining.
It can be found on BBC3 and the presenter is a guy called Max Flint who sounds like some sort of secret agent from a 60's TV show. He used to present the Money Programme and he is very good in front of the camera.
The show gets its messagge over by enacting various scenarios using different characters who each use particular techniques such as quoting company policy or not accepting that they are at fault, you are then talked through how you can deal with such behaviour and what your legal rights are.
It makes for very funny shows that still manage to educate you, Polly Parker as the could not care sort of person is hilarious with some of the stuff she comes out with. One of the most interesting episodes in the show was over whether a customer should have to pay for goods they damaged in a shop, what I never thought of was that if you do accept liability and hence have to pay then you should only pay the wholesale price and not the retail price after all that would be how much the shop would have to pay to replace the item.
This is an entertaining and informative show that breaths a welcome bit of fresh life into this sort of format and it is well worth watching.
'Don't get screwed' is a consumer rights programme that airs on monday nights at 8.30pm on bbc three . There are quite a few consumer rights programmes about, such as Watchdog, Rogue Traders, and others, so what makes this one different .
Well, each week this programme deals with different questions , such as 'What can you do if a garage charges for unauthorised work on your car?' and illustrates an example of this using some poor unsuspecting member of the public . For example, with the question above, two of the Don't Get Screwed team were planted in a garage, and waited for someone to come in to have some work done , in this case a woman simply wanting an oil change . While she left her car with them, and went about her business, they not only changed the oil, but also changed two tires on her car, which was not needed . When she returned, they presented her with a bill much larger than she was expecting, and told her it would have been illegal to let her drive away with the old tires still in place. The mechanic slouched lazily on her car as he explained that until she paid the bill, she wouldn't be able to get her car back, and that he was hanging onto her keys .
As the woman went to the cash point to get money, the camera crew caught up with her to get her reaction .Obviously she wasn't happy, and it then cut back to the studio where the presenter explained what you can do in this situation.
Lots of different questions have been dealt with using the same format of playing tricks on unsuspecting members of the public. While I do think this helps to illustrate the point a bit, I do feel very sorry for the victims, especially the poor student who had her post graduation meal ruined by deliberately bad service in order to explain whether or not she was obliged to pay a compulsory service charge .
Each of the team has a different role within the scenarios . Carol, for instance, is the voice of authority, often playing a managerial role, whilst Spencer is the Jobsworth, using company policy and the line 'I'm just doing my job' to avoid resolving issues . Polly just plays someone who couldn't care less about helping the customers .
Also in the show, they have brief segments asking 100 people a question, to see how well people know their rights on particular issues , such as 'Can you get a refund if your pet dies a week after purchase?'. The answer to that question is apparently yes , which only 38% got right . Apparently under the sale of goods act, a pet is no different to a faulty t-shirt, so you can expect a refund - though presumably not if you shrink it on the hot wash in your washing machine .
I actually do quite enjoy this show - it used funky music and explains things very clearly and simply, and certainly provides some useful information. I do however feel a little bit bad for the victims, who I'm sure all get their money back, but do seem to end up getting embarrassed in public! While using real people and making them think the situation is real illustrates the points well, there is no denying that its a little bit cruel,and I feel a little guilty watching!
Overall, its a good show with some good information, and I'm going to give it 4 stars .
'Don't Get Screwed' is aired on BBC3, which is very apt, considering the kinds of cutting edge, pushing the boundary shows they take on. A BBC3 hidden camera consumer rights series that's made by Objective Productions, the same company behind the likes if The Real Hustle, Balls of Steel, Peep Show, Derren Brown etc. It's similar to Watchdog in the sense that the consumer is put first, but it's a more funky and upbeat show than the BBC1 version.
Max flint is the presenter of this show, and rightly so, with the experience he has yielded over the years. He was the main presenter of The Money Programme and has had a stint at being a reporter and presenter on BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat. He narrates the show as well as delivering the legal side of situations, from what appears an omnipresent kind of environment (in my head that makes sense, LOL!).
The programme runs for 30 minutes and is typically aired at 10:30PM on a Tuesday, although due to Christmas, this has changed, for the time being. We are shown 3 situations which have been manufactured in order to visually display your consumer rights. The first programme was aired on 26th October 2009 and has since been aired on a weekly basis and was being repeated at various hours in the night - my insomnia ensured that I was up to watch the repeats!
The focus of the programme is to get to grip with your rights and in order to present this they take customer service to an all time low. There is a happy ending though, when your consumer rights are revealed.
There are three key people who act as the instigators -
Carol Machin, the voice of authority who is determined to get the customer to pay.
Spencer Brown, the jobsworth, who hides behind company policy and doesn't listen to the appeals of 'customers'.
And finally, Polly Parsons (who, in real life is due to marry Bianca's Ricky (Sid Owen), who has a 'couldn't care less' attitude and has a tendency to be inappropriate and offensive.
About the actual show.....
Not wanting to spoil the show, but still wanting to give you a good idea of what its about, i will go through some of the scenarios -
1. There was a set up where she and Carol set fire to a customer's coat and left a very obvious hole, resulting in the coat being worthy of the bin. It was initially left in the cupboard at the hairdressers, therefore, the assumption would be that it would be safe. However, when the customer realised what had happened, the sheer frustration was evident when she was met with 'but, your hair looks lovely'! It looks like Carol and Polly had a lot of fun decimating the coat - almost like kids playing a prank, their laughter is infectious!
2. Question - Can a shop charge you for breaking their stock because they have a sign stating 'Damaged Goods Must Be Paid For'? One shop was set up with a display that was remote controlled to fall apart, thus causing the products to fall off. Along comes an unsuspecting customer, who simply touches a plate on display, and finds that the whole shelf collapses, causing the plates to break. The customers tend to be extremely apologetic and initially feel at fault. When asked 'Now, how would you like to pay for that?' the customer, with all due respect claims that the shelf was overloaded.
The hilarious thing about this scenario was how Carol said 'Maybe next time you should be less heavy handed!' Now, the question here was, should they pay for the damages? The answer to this was two fold - if the customer accepts liability, they should pay, but not the price it was displayed, the wholesale price. If, however the customer disagrees, and doesn't accept fault, it is up to the shop owner to prove that the customer was at fault.
3. Spencer demonstrates your consumer rights by, for example infiltrating the hotel room you've left and leaving incriminating evidence. One such instance was where a hotel guest was billed for watching porn as well as emptying the mini bar. Polly read out various porno titles, and not discreetly, which I think would have made the average person cringe and pay up.
Others set ups have asked the question - If a garage charges you for unexpected work on your car, do you have to pay? A woman and her friend had gone to have a massage where she was treated abysmally and didn't quite get the relaxing experience she was after - can you get a refund? You'll have to watch it for the answers ;-)
One key piece of advice that I have taken on board through this programme is, that if you feel that you have been conned, pay, in an ideal situation with a cheque, but write 'paid under protest' - making it easier, later on to make a claim through the small claims court.
Now and again experts on the topic give their advice. Barrie Segal from AppealNow for example, gave advice on when your car gets towed if the council suspends parking bays. Michelle Shambrook from Consumer Direct got her 5 minutes of fame when she gave advice on market's selling dodgy goods and what your rights are in terms of getting your money back.
In between the scenarios that we are shown, there are two asides whereby a general question is asked. A hundred members of the general public are quizzed about various topics i.e if you don't have the correct change, can a taxi driver keep the extra money?, Can you take your own food into a cinema? Etc. We are shown what percentage of people got the question right and then are given an explanation as to why. At the end of the programme there is a recap of the items covered and the solutions if you find yourself in a similar situation.
If you've missed this brilliant show, don't fret - you can catch up on BBC iplayer. A very informative show, well worth a watch!
As a bit of an aside, I have seen some of the people in the scenario's appear in other BBC3 programmes - maybe the situations are truly being construed by BBC3.
This programme is shown on BBC3, it is basically an excuse for a few secret camera pranks, I watched last nights 30 minute episode shown at 10pm on Wednesday and I found it fairly dull being honest.
In the episode I watched people visited a shop in Islington and when they touched a shelf it collapsed, the idea behind this prank was to show when people have to pay for goods they damage in store, in the show actresses asked the member of public to pay and got mixed reactions from angry to mortified, all paid and were then interviewed to explain how they felt and what they thought their rights were.
Overall it was a fairly lame excuse for a show and while hidden camera tricks can be funny this simply seemed cruel as did a further trick where a womans coat was damaged in a hairdressers, it tries to hard and strings out two or three answers to questions over 30 minutes, it was watchable but really is only filler television and definitely isn't something I will go out of my way to watch again.
Have you ever been put in a situation in your daily life whether it be in a shop or elsewhere where you've felt that you were being subjected to injustice and unfairly treated, but one, we didn't stand up to it and two, we didn't really know what our rights were in that position.
Well 'Don't get screwed' is a very useful programme that I've been watching on BBC3 for a number of weeks now and find it very enjoyable and helpful.
It is a consumer advice programme that instead of just telling you what you need to know tries to make things a bit more interesting by the use of an actor and two actresses who set unsuspecting members of the public up in different situations and test them to the limit to teach us what our rights are in any given situation so we can learn from that and use it.
Each week 3 different scenarios are set up and played out on members of the public. It reminds me of 'Beadles about' from years ago, except of course they were all jokes whereas these are supposed to demonstrate the serious issue underneath and help us.
For example, last night's show had these three scenarios to test us:
1) What do you do if a garage carries out unauthorised work on your car?
A member of the public went in for a routine oil change which should have cost £40 and while they were gone the garage changed two tyres without their permission and charged nearly £160.
In this situation you are within your rights to not pay for the extra work or pay under duress and claim it back as the garage is not permitted to do any extra work unless they have checked with you first
2) What are your rights if a cab driver kicks you out early in your journey?
In this scene we see our actor posing as a cab driver taking two lads into London but 4 miles from their destination he kicks them out in the middle of nowhere as he says he has another job to get to and waives the fare in the end
You are well within your rights to complain to the company and get the driver's number if this happens as long as you aren't drunk or abusive as then the cab driver is well within his rights to kick you out
3) Do you have to pay gratuities on a bill at a restaurant where customer service is awful?
A group of girls went out for a meal where the service was awful but the end of the meal they were still expected to pay the compulsory service charge.
This is a legal requirement if it is stated on the menu to pay, however if you think the service charge is unacceptable and the service was terrible you can stand your ground and the majority of restaurants will not go to the hassle of taking if further
The studio where the presenter lets us know our rights after every sketch is very tacky and lets the programme down somewhat
It is very enjoyable to watch the public reaction to different scenarios they are faced with but knowing that that could happen to any one of us
It is a useful programme and I would recommend you watch it as you will enjoy it, however in our lives I wonder how many consumers even know the rights, as it's all well and good us standing up and refusing to pay for something or standing our ground, but how many places will listen. Still a good programme nonetheless
'Don't Get Screwed' is a TV show, which is broadcast on BBC3. The idea of the show is to show someone getting mistreated by customer service and then explaining what you can do in the situation.
The part, which shows the consumers being mistreated, can be quite funny. The people can become quite frustrated, with the male presenter, Spencer Brown, regularly making people want to punch him. The other two presenters are Carole Machin and Polly Parsons and they all do a very good and believable job of making the victims think it is for real. These demonstrations can be slightly extreme, with one involving a woman's coat being set on fire (she wasn't wearing it at the time).
The other small section in the show involves 100 people being asked a question, such as "Are cinemas allowed to stop you from entering with your own snacks ?". It shows the percentage of the people who got it right and then tells you the answer. They can stop you, I'm sure some people were wondering.
The biggest letdown for the show is when it heads back to the "studio" where a 4th presenter explains your rights. The studio though is like the inside of a spaceship and just makes the show look cheap.
Overall, it is a good show, which provides you with some good information. When I first saw it 'The Real Hustle' immediately popped into my head, it is quite similar, but not anywhere near as good.