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Amazon Echo 2017 price slashed ahead of Black Friday

Amazon’s second-gen Echo smart speaker[1] will be going for ?20 less ahead of and during black Friday. The more friendly-looking Echo comes with a 3.5mm out, so you can hook it up to another speaker, if you need some extra oomph. Along with the new Echo, the smaller Echo Dot smart speaker[2] is also taking a tumble, down to ?34.99 from the usual ?49.99.

If you need a smart plug to connect everything to your router, you’ll also be able to pick up this TP-Link smart plug, which normally costs ?30, for a tenner. Other Amazon-related products that are getting the pre-Black Friday snip include Dash Buttons[3]. Normally a fiver at a time, these Pavlovian single product order buttons can be stuck anywhere in the home and let you add individual items to your next Amazon Prime delivery with a simple tap.

While you’ll want to keep these out of the reach of smaller hands for obvious reasons, Amazon’s also cutting the cost of its range of children’s tablets; the Fire 7 Kids and Fire HD 8 Kids will cost ?69.99 and ?89.99 each, down from the regular ?99.99 and ?129.99.

Note that the following prices won’t apply ’til tomorrow, but you can use the following links to jump to the relevant pages and bookmark them in the meantime:

References

  1. ^ second-gen Echo smart speaker (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ the smaller Echo Dot smart speaker (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ Dash Buttons (uk.pcmag.com)

Can you spot a copycat website?

A Which? investigation published today reveals how a crackdown on ‘copycat’ websites – which look like their official counterparts but charge extra for doing little or nothing – has failed to stop the problem. Whether you’re getting a European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) or trying to contact the DVLA, chances are you’ve searched online and encountered an impostor with convincing branding. Which? examined the results of popular searches for official sites and found many riddled with copycats attempting to charge over the odds for items such as travel documents.

For example, 10 out of the top 20 UK results for ‘Esta visa’ (for those travelling to the US under the visa-waiver system) weren’t official sites; this is a search that more than 40,000 people in the UK carry out every month.

Copycats costing millions

Copycats are a problem only if they’re fooling consumers – so we tested some by asking more than 4,000 Which? members to pick the official site from a line-up of four. In our test, 29% couldn’t spot the right one. We also asked National Trading Standards (NTS), which is responsible for combating the problem, how much copycats cost consumers; it believes the bill has hit tens of millions of pounds since 2014.

This is the despite a crackdown which began that year, when NTS received extra government funding for it. NTS says it’s still ‘testing where the boundaries of the law are’. Can you pick the official site?

Try our test, below.

The searches teeming with copycats

Some sites are dealt with quickly. In July, officials found impostors selling disabled Blue Badges, which should cost ?12, for more than ?50. In October, none of the top 20 UK search results for ‘blue badge’, ‘disabled badge’ and ‘blue badge application’ returned any copycats.

However, other search results are riddled with them. Prominent search results for ‘Ehic’ include sites asking for payment for a card that is free. What’s more, the top result for ‘E111’ – the old name for Ehic – was a copycat website.

We’ve included the results of our research in the chart below, along with how many UK people are searching for that service each month in brackets. The red circle indicates a copycat or misleading site.

Call-forwarding copycats

One version of a copycat ‘service’ is to charge you a fee of, say, ?3.60 a minute simply to connect you to a free or low-cost number. One member alerted us to the website dvla-contact-number.co.uk, which offers an 0844 phone number charging 7p a minute.

A spokesperson from the DVLA confirmed it wasn’t an official number, despite the fact that it connects to the DVLA’s free helpline. Similarly, when we searched for ‘Amazon UK contact number’, the Google answer box (the ‘featured result’ that can appear at the top of searches) advertised an 0843 number at 7p per minute. This number just connects you to the free 0800 number on Amazon’s website.

The site that supplied the result, contactnumbers-uk.co.uk, also offers 0843 numbers for HMRC and Sky. While Amazon didn’t comment on our findings, it has its own sponsored ads to make its contact details more prominent. We’ve found similar sites simply connect to the London Congestion Charge number at connectmynumber.co.uk.

The line charges ?3.60 per minute to connect to a free number. Despite scouring the sites, we weren’t able to find contact numbers for Contact Numbers UK and DVLA Contact Number to ask them to justify these fees.

How to find the official site

Looking for ‘.gov’ in a web address isn’t always the answer, as many government-affiliated sites – such as The Pensions Advisory Service (pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk) – don’t contain it. Here are our tips:

  • Is it a paid search engine ad? Look out for paid-for search engine results.

    These are the boxed adverts displayed at the top of search engine result pages. Quite often, the official site is the first or second non-paid-for link that appears below the ads.

  • Read the homepage Take a couple of minutes to double-check the site; don’t dive straight into filling out an application form. Visit the homepage and read the text there.

    It may even say that the site is not officially affiliated with the official body.

  • Check the web address Don’t be fooled by a .org web address, as this is no guarantee that it is a body’s official website. Any website claiming to be an official government website should have a .gov.uk address. To be sure, check the list below.
  • Https vs http Although it’s not a guarantee, you can check for ‘https://’ at the beginning of the website address.

    On pages where you are entering personal information, this indicates that there is encryption in place to protect your personal details; websites just with http:// don’t encrypt your details.

The following are all official sites:

Find out more

Sale Items – Coasters and Holder Pack of 4 – Coaster Set 12.7 Centimeter – Wooden INDIAN Vintage Wine Beer Coaster for Drinks / Glasses / Mugs / Canes – DECORATIONS items for Table / Kitchen by SouvNear – Reviews

Sporting a geometric linear lines and web art pattern on each of the 4 coasters and matching holder, these beverage beauties are an absolute centerpiece for home entertaining. Doing a great job of keeping your furniture stain and scratch free, these coasters celebrate the tastes and textures of cocktail time.

  • Exclusive Design
  • Burnished wood finish for rustic appearance
  • Holder Dimensions: Length 12.7 , Width 8.1 , Height 5.08 cm and Coaster Dimensions : Length 10.9 , Height 10.9 , Width 0.7 cm (Approx.)
  • Set of 4 hexagonal coasters and a holder and Material: Mango wood
  • Geometric linear lines carved and etched pattern on each individual coaster and holder

Special Offers: Sale Offers

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