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Age UK hits out at misleading Channel 4 documentary

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The UK's biggest older people's charity has angrily responded to allegations that its products and services don't offer the best value

Older person’s charity Age UK has hit out at a Channel 4 documentary for misleading viewers about the services it sells to older people.

The charity’s Age Enterprises was criticised on Supershoppers on 31 October, which claimed some of its products and services could be bought more cheaply elsewhere.

However, the charity responded by heavily slating the programme’s methodology and that it failed to explain Age UK profits are used to fund vital services for older people across the country.

The methodology applied by Supershoppers fails to give a fair representation of the competitiveness, quality and value of Age UK products

In particular the programme highlighted the cost of car insurance and a mobile phone on sale from Age Enterprises.

It claimed the Age was selling a Doro PhoneEasy 508 mobile phone for £34.99 while it was available in Argos for £17.99.

However, Doro itself highlighted that the Argo’s phone was for a contract where the buyer had to sign up to a monthly fee, while Age was selling the phone as a one-off SIM free purchase.

A spokesperson for Age UK said: “The methodology applied by Supershoppers fails to give a fair representation of the competitiveness, quality and value of Age UK products.

“To base any conclusion on the basis of one individual’s quote for car insurance, or to provide only a limited assessment of the price position for the Doro Easyphone 508 and the incontinence products we sell, is a misleading and grossly unfair approach.

“The insurance products we offer are priced competitively and provide great value. Our other products are priced at the equivalent of, if not better than, other providers more than half the time.”

Age Enterprises is run by the UK’s leading older people’s charity to provide cost-effective services to older people, particularly in areas where they struggle to access competitive prices, such as insurance. It also aims to make money to support its charitable activities.

According to its 2014/15 annual report Age UK made £5.8m from charity shops, £18.8m from retail and £7.6m from other trading. It spent £84m on charitable activities including health and care service and support services for older people in their community and homes.

Earlier this year the Sun criticised Age Enterprises, claiming the energy tariff it sold was not the most cost effective.

The charity rejected the allegations saying its deal was the market leader at the time it was created and continued to be competitive.