Whether you're buying a house or a hairdryer, the chances are you'll have looked at an online review site to work out what you're likely to get for your money. The government's Competition and Markets Authority estimates that every year £23 billion of UK consumer spending is influenced by online reviews. But can they all be trusted? 5 live Investigates reveals how easy it is to buy fake five star reviews on one of the world's biggest online platforms and how people are still being paid to leave fake reviews for products sold on Amazon - despite a crackdown by the company more than a year ago.
5Live Investigates examines the routine care people with dementia receive when in an acute hospital. Previously unseen research which was commissioned by the NHS's National Institute for Health Research paints a desperate picture of life on our hospital wards, including a "culture of restraint and containment" in response to resisting care, as well as staff burnout and dehumanisation of patients. The Department of Health says it aims to make England the best place in the world to live with dementia.
Holiday Letting Fire Safety
Senior fire officers are warning of potential safety risks as more and more people let out their houses to tourists through Airbnb and other short term letting websites. The National Fire Chiefs Council says fire and rescue services are not aware of how many short term rental properties are operating in their areas, making it hard for them to assess possible risks. It says some of these properties are being used in effect as small hotels, but if fire officers don't know where places are they can't inspect or give owners advice to ensure buildings are safe.
MPs have called for all properties operating in this way to be registered.
The Short Term Accommodation Association, the professional body for the short let sector, says it has adopted the safety standards of the residential long let industry. It says in instances where those standards are not being met it addresses them with urgency.
Thousands of victims of economic and physical abuse are unable to get emergency court orders preventing their abuser from causing them harm because they don't qualify for free legal aid. 5 live Investigates has been given figures by the National Centre for Domestic Violence which reveal that more than 6,000 victims referred to them by the police were unable to access free legal representation. Applicants are means tested and in many cases told they have to make a financial contribution to the legal bill. The NCDV says too many women are turned away because they appear to own assets or savings which are actually under their abuser's control.
The Human Cost of Potholes
The human cost of Britain's crumbling roads. 5 live Investigates hears from the victims and families of those who've been killed in accidents involving potholes. The programme has learned local authorities have had to pay-out £38 million pounds in compensation over the last five years - but that's significantly less than the £9 billion pounds some say it will cost to bring our roads up to scratch. Most of the compensation goes to motorists who've suffered damage to their vehicles. But the biggest pay-outs are reserved for cyclists - the most vulnerable road users of them all. Nearly £7m paid-out to them and their families in the last 5 years.