24 March, 2011

Just filled diesel car with unleaded petrol. Knew it was just a matter of time. Now awaiting recovery and £200 fix 😦


Paypal Pre-Approved Payment Agreements

19 March, 2011

I don’t know whether anybody else has come across this, but it’s new to me.

I’ve been happily using Paypal for years now, and yesterday I used it to buy 3 apps for my new Blackberry 9300 from Blackberry App World. Today I wanted to buy another app from the same place. This time I was asked to register with the site, though, and when I attempted to pay it was no longer possible for me to do so via Paypal without entering into what was later explained to me by Paypal as a pre-approved payment agreement. Blackberry App World wanted me to authorise them to withdraw up to $1,500 per transaction (!) automatically from my Paypal account, rather than directing me to the Paypal site in the usual way so that I could authorise the transactions.

I wasn’t willing to do that, so I cancelled the purchase and rang Paypal to ask what it was all about. Apparently this is something Paypal has introduced, initially for the convenience of Ebay (so that they could simply withdraw from Sellers’ Paypal accounts the sums due to them in fees, rather than having to ask the sellers to authorise them), and it seems it’s now being extended to other online vendors. When I pointed out that I’d bought 3 things from the same site y/day without any problem at all, the woman I spoke to at Paypal explained that that’s why Blackberry App World had attempted to introduce the new arrangement today i.e. it was more convenient to them to do it this way.

Um… doh?! Can directing people to the Paypal site so that they can authorise their own payments really be so very inconvenient? Will it be less inconvenient when people decide to buy their products elsewhere, I wonder? Because surely it can’t just be me who isn’t willing to hand over the key to my bank account in that way…?

Maybe I’m unduly cautious, but it sounds like madness to me. Entering into that sort of agreement is like handing over one’s Paypal password to strangers… isn’t it? To me, the whole point of having a password is to be sure that only *I* can authorise payments from my bank account, via Paypal, to vendors or others. To me this sounds like signing up for an online account with Tesco and handing over my bank card and pin number at the same time.

Perhaps it’s an age thing. I brought this issue up on a Blackberry forum to see whether anybody else has come across it, and it seems that people there (the ones who replied, anyway) feel it’s all perfectly okay, and that at some stage one has to simply be willing to trust the system. Well I feel that there’s already an element of trust involved in sharing my account details with Paypal and relying upon them not to misuse them. Handing them over to any old vendor who’d quite like to have free access to my bank account feels like a step too far. The older I get, the weirder the world appears to become… *g*

Southern Cross Healthcare charge daughter £50 for copy of dementia parent’s Care Plan

11 March, 2011

As I’ve mentioned on here before, my elderly father suffers from vascular dementia and is currently a resident in an EMI (i.e. Elderly Mental Infirm) Care/Nursing Home.

The Home is one of many in this country owned by Southern Cross Healthcare. The provision of residential care for elderly people has become big, lucrative business these days, especially with the rise in the number of elderly people suffering from dementia.

My father and I are fortunate in that he has granted to me a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare, the effect of which is that I am entitled to make decisions on behalf of my father that he no longer has the capacity to make for himself, in respect of matters that relate to his health and welfare. Elderly people who haven’t granted such an LPA to their relatives or friends can be at a major disadvantage in being dealt with by social services and healthcare officials, some of whom have become used to being able to make important decisions without involving relatives. See here for a post I wrote some time ago in relation to LPAs.

Anyway, I had cause to write to my father’s Home some 6 weeks ago in respect of a number of issues impacting upon the quality of my father’s care. At the conclusion of the letter I asked for a copy of all the nursing and other notes that have been made by the Home in respect of my father since he moved in late last year. Today I finally received a reply, and in relation to my request for copies of relevant documentation I was told that Southern Cross Healthcare would be willing to provide me with a copy of my father’s Care Plan (as opposed to the notes I asked for). Specifically, they stated:

“We can provide you with photocopies of your father’s care plan, a fee of £50 under the Data Protection Act will be levied, alternately you may wish to visit [name of Care Home] and read the notes, the Home Manager could arrange for a senior member of staff to explain the terminology if you should wish.”

The Care Plan, BTW, is a basic document which actually forms part of the contract betweeen the resident and the Home. I already have a copy, and it’s not a large document.

£50 for a copy of a short document that forms part of the contract between my father and the organisation he pays a significant monthly sum to in respect of his care? Well, as I mentioned above: the provision of residential care for elderly people has become big, lucrative business these days, especially with the rise in the number of elderly people suffering from dementia.

Southern Cross Healthcare is the name of the organisation in question. If at some stage you find yourself choosing a Care Home for your own elderly and vulnerable relative then it might be worth bearing that in mind.