This is a regularly-updated list of top short-lived bargains. They're all checked with the company's press office where possible (unless stated).
Before you get seduced by the deals, first follow this checklist. 1. Check for vouchers: See the Shopping vouchers guide. 2. Benchmark prices: Use the MegaShopBot to compare prices. 3. Will you use it: If you won’t use it, or can’t afford it even sales goods aren’t worth it. Read our tips for safer shopping.
Full DOs and DON'Ts
Whether it's a retailer or restaurateur, airline or air-conditioner seller, computer shop or car rental company, there are always two main risks. Either it's a dodgy company, or it's a legit company that has financial problems and goes bust.
The aim of these tips is to help you minimise the risks.
Quite simply, its customers are immediately transformed into creditors. This hits hardest if you've ordered goods or tickets from them, and not had delivery, as then you become one of a line of people trying to get your money back out of the company's assets, and you usually get back much less than you paid in.
Even if you've had delivery, if the company you bought from goes under and there's a problem with the goods, it can mean you've no comeback.
While MoneySavingExpert.com endeavours to check deals are valid, we don't check companies ' finances. Even huge names like MFI and Woolies have folded, so it's very important you use the right strategies to stay protected where possible.
Pay by credit card for something over £100, and Section 75 laws supercharge your consumer rights.
Unlike debit cards, cheques or cash, pay in full or part (even just £1) on a credit card and by law the lender's jointly liable with the retailer.
This means you have exactly the same rights with the card company as you do with the retailer. So if it goes bust, you can simply take your complaints there instead and get money back if there's no delivery.
Yet it's important you ALWAYS REPAY IN FULL each month, so there's no interest cost. See the full Section 75 guide.
Section 75 doesn't apply to purchases under £100, but there's still an option which can help. It isn't a legal protection, just Visa, Mastercard and Amex's rules, but it's a good back-up.
Spend on a Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card or any debit or charge card. If the goods don't appear, you can try to ask your bank/card provider to reclaim the cash from the seller's bank, so long as you complain within 120 days of realising there’s a problem. See the Chargeback guide for full details.
Bogus websites are often set up to cash in on popular products like Ugg boots and Tiffany necklaces, so be wary if it's an unfamiliar site. And don't think that because it appears on a reputable search engine, that makes it a reputable site - always check.
Most folk know to look for a security padlock on the bottom right of a website, but that doesn't mean the site's legit, just that payment's secure.
To find out who registered the site and when, search the Whois database. Reputable firms should also appear on the Companies House site, the UK Government's official companies register. Be very wary of businesses with just a PO Box or email address.
Study the site's worldwide web ranking on Alexa. Anything in the top 100,000 means it's reasonably big and a good, though not foolproof indication of legitimacy. Do a quick Google search for other shoppers' experiences.
Crucially, ensure your security's up-to-date - free software can be downloaded to your computer in about five minutes. Full details in the Free Antivirus Software guide.
Many people are surprised to learn you've MORE rights buying online (or by telephone/catalogue) due to the Distance Selling Regulations.
These give you a legal right to send most goods back within seven days for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault. You'll usually need to pay for the return delivery. Read Consumer Rights for a full guide.
However, of course, this is balanced by the fact ordering online automatically means there's a time gap between ordering and delivering - when the company has your money. So if it goes bust during that time, the distance selling rights don't help.
Ultimately, there is always a risk that a company can go bust. If the above routes don't apply, then you have to make a decision about whether you're willing to take the risk of parting with your cash.
Don't be scared of this. Every day we all make transactions based on trust, and this is part of that, but do balance up the amount you're spending against the risk. Don't give large amounts of money to a company you're not sure about.
Seen a better or different deal? Then please add it to the Hot Bargains discussion.
This is a stonking deal that'll get you half price petrol at Shell. It's a bit fiddly, but well worth it. Here's the full how to...
Step 1. Buy the card for £10 from Mighty Deals* (max one per person) before Tue 28 May (or while stocks last) and you'll be sent a Shell loyalty card pre-loaded with 4,000 points, worth £20, by Tue 11 June (please get in touch on the special email address below if your card doesn't arrive by this date).
Step 2. Register your card online by Sun 30 Jun and convert the points into fuel coupons (you need to enter your unique card no. then in the 'rewards type' section, select 'money off fuel vouchers').
Existing Shell Drivers Club card holders can transfer your points from one card to the other. You'll be sent a statement from Shell in July and you should be posted the fuel coupons in August, as they’re sent out quarterly.
Step 3.The £20 fuel coupons can be spent on petrol/diesel/V diesel/autogas LNG, but must be in one go (no change will be given), at most Shell garages, though not in NI or Ireland. You must redeem the coupons within three months, though the Shell card can be used to collect points on future spends.
It’s important you understand who’s behind this
Mighty Deals is a daily deals site that's been around since Sep 2011. It has teamed up with Shell to sell thousands of these pre-loaded cards and is distributing them via an external fulfilment company.
Warning: In the past there has been some poor feedback in the MSE forums about this company, and while deciding whether to include this deal, we raised those issues with Mighty Deals and asked for measures to be put in place.
To ensure MSE users get the best service it has set up an email address just for us, should any issues arise: firstname.lastname@example.org. It's also extended it's refund policy from seven to 30 days (last day to request a refund is 30 Jun), should you be unhappy about any part of the deal after you've bought it.
While we hope everyone gets this deal as planned and we've arranged with Mighty Deals to put extra measures in place for you, please be aware, nothing is ever 100% guaranteed. Do let us know how you get on in the MSE forum if you have any problems or comments about this deal.
Important: MightyDeals is owned by comparison site ‘MoneyExpert.’ While the name is similar and easy to confuse, it’s not connected to us, MoneySavingExpert.
We've blagged a three-pack of clematis plants, plus fertiliser, for £3.55 (plus £3.95 p&p) for MoneySavers (about £32 elsewhere). Get one of the 3,000 packs via this special Park Promotions link. The offer’s on while stocks last.
The next cheapest we've seen the plants is about £22, and the fertiliser is £9.99 elsewhere. You can get fertiliser for less, but Park Promotions recommends this variety for the clematis.
The plants are hardy climbers, ideal for sunny walls, patio pots, archways & trellis and are sourced from the breeding programme of Raymond Evison, who won gold at the Chelsea Flower Show for the 25th time this week.
We've also blagged big discounts on wildflower and bee & butterfly mixtures, so you can seed 'em and reap this spring.
From Wed 22 May, Sprite is giving away 500,000 vouchers for a free 500ml bottle of its drink (usually £1.15ish).
You must print the voucher by Wed 26 Jun and use it by Wed 10 Jul.
Sprite says to sign up via this free 500ml bottle link to get the offer, but it hasn't given us an exact time of when it'll go live. So if you go through and it isn't working, try again later.
Sprite's told us it's valid in "about 98% of all retailers big and small" – including major supermarkets, though it excludes Boots, WHSmiths and some other chains (see more info). So if one shop refuses it, try another nearby.
Forum users reported getting the voucher earlier this week (see the discussion thread), however, Sprite temporarily withdrew it.
Graze sells healthy nibbles boxes. It's just launched a new breakfast porridge oats box, so we've blagged codes to get it free, for new and existing Graze customers. Graze is a subscription service so you’ll pay every fortnight if you don’t cancel after the freebie.
New Graze customer? You actually get TWO free boxes. First create an account via this Graze page, then enter the code PF6HVNZ to get a free nibbles snack box (choose from dried fruit, nuts, flapjacks and more). Then log into this special Graze page and enter the code 9L6PH5D to get a free breakfast porridge oats box.
Existing customer? Log into this special Graze page and enter the code 9L6PH5D to get a free breakfast porridge oats box (choose up to four different flavours, eg, apple & cinnamon, blackcurrant & cranberry and more, it's enough for four breakfasts), delivered to your door. Just add milk and heat as normal.
WARNING! When using both codes:
If you've not heard of dry shampoo, it's a spray to make your hair look cleaner and fresher for those in-between hair wash days. So if you don't want to wash your locks every day, you can cheat a little this way.
The flip-flops cost £15-£20 at other stores, so this is a decent saving even with the delivery charge, but even better if you can get to a store.
This is a decent price if you want this razor, though the replacement blades are a steep £11 for a pack of three and we reckon disposable or own brand razors are more cost effective. Check out what forumites are saying about this sharp offer in the Gillette Venus and Olay discussion.
These come with real lumpwood charcoal and firelighters.
I like to stock up on a few of these £1 BBQs for spontaneous days out. You never know when the sun decides to come out, and a last minute one in a petrol station can cost up to £10!
Register your details on the Halls Facebook page to get a free 17g packet of sweets, worth 55p.
There are 500 available per day until Tue 4 Jun, but they've been going super-quick each day, so register early if you want one.
Thanks to forumite RustySpoon for posting this offer in our forum.
2. Or, for £8.99, get three ready-potted 7cm Clematis plants (next cheapest £20), or pay £5.65 for 10 garden pinks plug plants, the next cheapest we've seen is £14.
See "more info" below for delivery times and a bit more about Park Promotions.
Everyone's re-leafed (sorry) that the worst of the winter weather seems to be behind us, so it's time to get mow-tivated (no more, I promise) and back out into the garden.
For £9 delivered, the seed bundle is the headline deal, since we reckon each of the four varieties are worth about £15 each.
Find the Hunger Games book trilogy for £2.99 at your nearest Smyths toy shop. The next cheapest we could find it for is £8 at The Works, so if you can find it, this is a great deal.
Stock's very limited, so call ahead to see if the trilogy is in your local store... may the odds be ever in your favour.
We've done our price comparisons and think this is a bloomin' good deal. It's hard to calculate an exact saving, since other retailers don't stock the same size products, however, we reckon the bundles are worth about a tenner each.
Fingers crossed Spring is finally on its way and you can get planting.
Forumites have pounced on this freebie, even though it's only worth about 38p. Read the full Felix Sensations forum discussion.
Go to your nearest Millie's Cookies store and get a gift box for £35. Inside you'll find 12 vouchers, each for a box of 12 cookies. This is called "year's worth of cookies for £35" offer - but we couldn't see any ads for the promotion in our local store, and had to ask for it by name.
You can take the vouchers to any Millie's Cookies throughout the year.
We think you need a few more cookies for a year's worth! Millie's says you can't use more than one voucher at the same time at the same store. But you could spread your cookie-buying out across different days, or use all the same vouchers on the same day but at different stores.
But confusingly, the staff at our local branch said we can use our vouchers however we want - even all at once. So it's worth asking your nearest store.
Don’t fall for the pound shop hype. Some things sold in there cost less than £1 elsewhere, some more. The key is to find the things you’d pay much more for elsewhere. This week we’ve found a whole range – so here goes...
Stonking deals at Poundworld include...
And at Poundland...
We are not able to tell how old the L'Oreal moisturiser is. We asked the British Skin Foundation about expiry dates on skincare. It said:
"Cosmetic products will remain safe to use provided they are stored under suitable conditions and not subjected to extreme temperatures."
"To ensure the maximum durability of cosmetic products, they should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and with the lids firmly closed."
It also said the use by date on cosmetics, is from when you open the product. So if it says 18 months on the box, it should last for 18 months from when you open it, provided it's been stored correctly.
How it works
Morrisons' Fuel Saver deal gives 1p/litre off petrol, diesel or LPG for every £10 of gift cards bought in-store.
There are 38 retailers to buy gift cards for, including Homebase, Debenhams, Currys, PC World, Next, House of Fraser, Halfords, and iTunes, plus new retailers TK Maxx, Oasis, Warehouse and Waterstones. The offer's ongoing, but doesn't include Morrisons' own gift cards.
If there's a large purchase you are going to make anyway - eg, £500 on a computer at PC World or a garden shed at Homebase - get it via buying the gift cards and you'll bag 50p/litre off.
If you bought £1,400 of gift cards, it'd effectively make a £1.40/litre tank FREE. Morrisons has also told us there's no limit per transaction on the gift cards, and you can split any amount above this into a second purchase to get a voucher for a second fill-up. Petrol vouchers are valid for 63 days from the issue date.
Use gift cards quickly
Gift cards are non-refundable, and it isn't a good idea to put money on the card to drip-spend over six months. Though most of those mentioned here are big, safe companies, if the firm goes bust you'll probably lose the cash, so ensure you minimise the time between buying and redemption.
It's also worth noting third party retailers (Morrisons in this case) don't have any responsibility to refund you if a gift card's retailer goes into administration. See the Beware gift vouchers MSE News story. Gift cards are generally valid for about two years, but always check.
Full terms on the Morrisons website. Find your nearest Morrisons.
Here are some particularly hot bargains:
Warning! While the majority of gift cards are valid for two years, it's worth remembering that if the company goes bust or even just into administration then the card becomes effectively worthless. See our section 75 guide for more advice.
Go to the Amazon Discount Finder and choose your department. Next, pick your discount and price range and choose whether you want free delivery. The tool will then generate a bespoke page full of discounts which fit your search terms.
Amazon often offers 75% and better reductions, yet it directs people to other areas, sending them to higher profit margin products instead.
This tool manipulates Amazon's web links to display all heavily-reduced bargains.
Our new Local eBay Deals Mapper lets you find bargains if you're prepared to pick them up. eBay sellers often specify items must be collected in person which means fewer bids. But you can't normally search 'collection only' so put your postcode in and how far you're prepared to schlep and watch the gems pop up.
Richer Sounds says some stores do occasionally run out of free umbrellas, however, it has assured us stock is replenished regularly. Still, it may be worth ringing ahead before you visit.
While this is a great freebie for dog owners, the Dogs Trust is a charity, so donations are gratefully received.
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