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LAAST OOORDERS... (if they manage to deliver)
Christmas order chaos means order online ASAP and know your rights
The Christmas clock is ticking even quicker than in previous years. E-tailers often snare late shoppers by hiking delivery costs the later you leave it. As normal, to help, we've compiled the Last Order Dates for 80+ stores (top 20 below), including both the last free/cheapest date and the costs after.
Warning: Delivery problems have been rife this time - much worse than normal. Parcel firm Yodel's issues are well documented but it's not alone. Some major stores have brought forward last order dates and more could follow. Even click and collect dates won't necessarily be reliable as many shops use the same firms to deliver to stores as to homes. The golden rule is order today.
Top 20 shops' last free or cheap Xmas online order dates
Amazon* Free deliv possible. Order by 19 December.
Argos* Deliv from £3.95. Large items (eg, TVs) by 20 Dec, small by 22 Dec. Click & collect (any size) by 24 Dec.
Asda Direct* Free deliv possible. Small items by 19 Dec, large by 20 Dec. Click & collect (any size) by 23 Dec.
ASOS* Deliv from £3. Order by 18 Dec, click & collect by 22 Dec.
BHS* Deliv from £3.95. Order by 20 Dec, click & collect by 22 Dec.
Boots* Deliv from £2.95. Order by 21 Dec, click & collect by 23 Dec.
Currys* Free deliv possible. Small items by 20 Dec, large by 23 Dec. Click & collect (any size) by 24 Dec.
Debenhams* Deliv from £3.99. Order by 20 Dec, click & collect by 23 Dec.
Homebase* Deliv from £3.95. Order by 20 Dec. Not given click & collect date.
House of Fraser* Deliv from £3. Order by 17 Dec, click & collect by 22 Dec.
John Lewis* Deliv from £3. Order by 19 Dec, click & collect by 22 Dec.
M&S* (non-food). Deliv from £3.50. Its last order date was yesterday (Tuesday), but you can click & collect by 20 Dec.
Matalan* Deliv from £3.95. Order and click & collect by 17 Dec.
New Look* Deliv from £3.99. Order by 21 Dec, click & collect by 19-21 Dec, depending on store.
Next* Deliv from £3.99. Order and click & collect by 22 Dec.
River Island Deliv from £3.95. Order and click & collect by 21 Dec.
Tesco Direct* Deliv from £3. Order by 19 Dec, click & collect by 22 Dec.
Topshop Deliv from £4. Order by 20 Dec, click & collect by 22 Dec.
Toys 'R' Us* Deliv from £4.95. Order by 18 Dec, click & colletc by 24 Dec.
WHSmith* Deliv from £2.99. Order and click & collect by 19 Dec.
Also check our latest best & worst delivery firms poll and full last Christmas order dates list.
Five parcel delivery need-to-knows
With Christmas round the corner, no one wants problems - yet they are happening, so I want to tool you up with your delivery rights...
1. The biggest protection online is you can send it back if it's late. Unlike buying in store, buy online and the Consumer Contracts Regulations mean you can cancel the order within 14 days of arrival for any reason. You've then 14 days to send it back. So if your parcel doesn't arrive in time, you've the lukewarm comfort of knowing you can return it. The exception is personalised or perishable items.
2. Give delivery instructions when ordering. Shockingly, we often hear horror stories of firms leaving parcels in wheelie bins, under bushes, in BBQs or behind rear car wheels to be reversed over. So if you may be out, tell the delivery company where to leave it, or ask a neighbour to receive it.
3. Your contract is with the store, not the delivery firm. Unless you paid directly for the delivery, then it's the store that owes you a duty of care. Don't be fobbed off, it's the one you paid - and it chose to sub-contract out delivery. So contact it, be firm, be polite, and ask for a refund (and maybe compensation).
4. If you take time off work and they don't show, claim compensation. For larger deliveries, if you stay in, taking time off work, then you may be entitled to compensation for your time. This is under the rules of 'consequential loss', but you need to legitimately take EXTRA time off to wait in for the redelivery for it to work. Matty-art got "£150 for multiple cancelled deliveries. It's well worth persisting". FREE template letter and help in Delivery Rights Compensation.
5. Unless it specifically says 'in time for Christmas', rights are difficult. By law, delivery only needs to be "within a reasonable time", which is normally up to 30 days. That's why I started with rule 1 for online goods, ie, the fact you can send them back is your best chance of a refund.
For goods ordered in stores for delivery, unless it's said it will arrive by 25 Dec, it's tricky. So if you order in a store, if you can, ensure it states this and make it agree 'time is of the essence'. If not, it's a risk. See Time Is Of The Essence.
PS. WEEKLY EMAIL DELIVERY PLAN. No delays, but we won't quite be sticking to our 'every Wednesday' routine due to the festive calendar. So next week's email will be sent on Tue 23 Dec; the one after on Fri 2 Jan. Then back to normal.
New. 15mth 0% NO FEE debt shift
The longest fee-free balance transfer for at least five years. Shift existing credit card debts so they cost you NOWT
A balance transfer's when you get a new card that repays debts on an old credit card(s) for you, so you now owe it at a lower rate; helping you get debt-free quicker. We're in the midst of a price war - so it's a great time to sort your debts.
- 15mth interest-free NO-FEE card. The Santander* card (eligibility calc) lets accepted new cardholders shift debt to it for 15mths 0% without the usual one-off fee - it's the longest fee-free 0% for at least 5 years and smashes Tesco's 12mth 0% version. Clear the debt before the 0% ends and there's no cost.
The new Santander's 123* card's a longer 23mth 0% - there's no one-off fee, but there is a £24 annual fee. Yet for Santander 123 bank account customers that's refunded in year 1. If that's you and you need a longer 0% than the card above and are shifting c.£2,000+, it could win. Aim for the lowest fee, provided there's time for you to clear it.
- The Balance Transfer Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...
a) Don't apply willy-nilly. Each application marks your credit file. Use the Eligibility Calc to find your best chance.
b) Never miss the min monthly repayments, or the bank is allowed to end your 0% deal and charge far more.
c) Ensure you clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples)
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No7 beauty bundle £37 (norm £75 with £122 stuff). Moisturiser, bath soak, mascara, etc. Limited stock. No7
Tesco grocery code. Spend £60, get 500 Clubcard pts (worth up to £20). MSE Blagged. It's a huge food shopping week, so we've a rare 15,000 codes for new AND existing customers. Enter XXMNGM online at Tesco Grocery* by Sat (or till codes run out). Deliv must be this Thu-Sun. 500 points worth £5 in stores, up to £20 via Tesco boost. Tesco
Be prepared - 4% savings for over-65s launch in Jan. As we predicted, NS&I last Fri confirmed Pensioner Bond rates of 2.8% for 1 year, 4% for 3 years - huge best buys. So be ready as they may go quick. Pensioner Bonds analysis
£99 Kindle Fire HDX (was £199, next cheapest £149). We've not seen price for latest model cheaper. Go quick
Watch Breaking Bad & more for FREE online (legally)
Box sets may seem like a decent gift, but for many it's far, far cheaper to watch via online streaming
It used to be you'd get a box set nicely wrapped under the tree. While it lacks the romance, many blockbuster series are now streamed for free, if you can watch 'em quickly enough. Full tips in Cheap Movies & TV Online, here's a trailer...
- Max free trials. Two big online services, Amazon Prime & Netflix, offer 30-day free promos - both are one per person, not per household, so different household members can sign up. To keep it free, diarise to cancel before it ends (though this takes more discipline than you think, see Martin's the real reason firms offer 1mth trials blog).
Beware broadband limits & price. Streaming eats data for breakfast. Luckily these days most home broadband is unlimited download, but check yours. Even so many people vastly overpay, eg, in our cheap broadband guide there are deals such as pay £168 for a year's unlimited broadband and line rent and get a £100 Amazon voucher.
- Do you pay for Sky, BT or Virgin TV? If so, you'll often have access to 'on demand' TV where you can stream sets for free, eg, Sky has True Detective and Grey's Anatomy. See Existing TV packages.
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Tesco Direct £20 off £100 code incl iPads, laptops, Kindles, toys, home electricals and more. Ends Sun. Works on many tech and home electrical items - as prices are normally competitive, useful for big purchases. Tesco code
£10 champagne deals - corking for New Year...
Asda £10 (was £24) | Aldi £10 (£12) | Morrisons £12 (£29) | Sains £13 (£18) | Waitrose £15 (£28) | ALL deals. Be Drinkaware.
'Free' £10 personalised photo calendar (pay £2 p&p). Go quick for Xmas delivery. See Snapfish.
Did your EE broadband Amazon voucher arrive? We've had a long-term hot EE deal where you're emailed £100+ Amzn vouchers within 90 days of installation. Frustratingly, due to EE tracking problems, while most got it, a few didn't. If yours was late, pls email firstname.lastname@example.org (incl name, order date, order reference & email you used to sign up) so we can sort it.
Last chance. Double Tesco points value by Sunday. Don't spend your points on food. Tesco has extended its Christmas double-up, incl toys, electricals and Xmas decs, until Sun. Full info in Reclaim lost Tesco points & boost 'em.
Did you pay for CreditExpert? It may've unfairly sold you ID fraud insurance. We believe Experian's CreditExpert ID fraud insurance may've been unfairly sold to huge numbers. We want people to be reclaim pioneers and try the technique in our pilot guide to see if it works. You could get £100s back. Read the Reclaim CreditExpert guide.
Get £80 Amazon voucher with cheap home insurance
On the 12th day of Christmas MSE gave to me, er... cheap buildings & contents cover
(not catchy but it works)
We know it's a naff Christmas hook, but getting better home cover could save some £100s (and protect your presents). There's no single cheapest insurer, so follow our Cheap Home Insurance aria to bag a bargain. Here's a wee carol...
- Are you over or under covering? There are two elements to home insurance...
Buildings cover - only normally for freeholders. You don't need to cover your home's market value, just the far lower cost of rebuilding if it's knocked down - rebuild calc.
Contents cover - suitable for all. Many underinsure thinking "I'd never claim over £10k". Yet with £20k of stuff, claim for a £2k sofa and you may only get £1k - contents calc.
- Never auto-renew, always grab max quotes in min time. Auto-renewing often leaves you hugely overpaying. The key is to get max quotes at speed by COMBINING comparison sites (they don't all cover the same insurers). Our current order's Confused*, Compare TM & GoCompare*. As Dave Norton emailed us: "Renewal for buildings & contents was £790. Gocompare came up like-for-like for £160. Massive saving of £630. Well happy."
- The hot deals comparison sites MISS incl £80 Amazon voucher. Comparison sites don't include Direct Line* and Aviva*, so check to see if they beat comparison sites' winners. Then check against promo deals like the MSE Blagged deals below, both of which are for combined new buildings & contents policies.
- Get £80 Amazon vch with Policy Expert. Go via this Policy Expert* link until 24 Dec and you'll be emailed an £80 Amazon voucher within 80 days of the policy start date.
- Get £70 plus £10 Amazon vch with L&G. Go via this L&G* link using the code MSEDEC14 to get £70 cash loaded on a Pockit Mastercard, plus a £10 Amazon vch. They arrive separately but both within 75 days of policy start.
- Are your Xmas pressies covered? Some home insurers automatically increase your contents insurance to cover Xmas goodies - useful if you've big gifts under the tree. Yet not all do, so check. See Christmas gifts.
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M&S Outlet EXTRA 25% off code. MSE Blagged. 24hr code starts 9am Wed. For items already up to 50% off. M&S
100+ free or cheap tips for festive family fun. Eg, free Winter Wonderlands, Christmas baking ideas at home, weekend cinema deals from £1.50, outdoor ice-rinks from £3 & Ripley’s family ticket £42. 100+ Festive Family Fun tips
Show Best Buys
£5 restaurant dinner for two trick. Our Deals Hunters blog shows Amex & Tastecard holders a trick or two.
CODES/VCHS: Brantano 30% off, Dorothy Perkins 25%, Burton £10 off £40 etc
Brantano 30% code/vch | Dotty P 25% code/vch | Burton £10 off £40 code/vch |
Morphy Richards 15% code MSE Blagged
LivingSocial 15% code MSE Blagged | Topman 25% online (Wed only) | Evans 20% off £40 code (ends Wed)
| ALL codes/vchs
Last chance. Soap & Glory Star Gift £29 (norm £60). In stores only as sold out online. Clean up with this 10-product bundle. Ends Thu or while stocks last. Go quick
Travelex 2hr FLASH currency sale - incl airport pickup
Ensure you get the very best bang for your buck, euro or even dong if you're heading away this Christmas
Overpay for foreign cash and it means you're overpaying for EVERYTHING when abroad, so here's how to get max value...
- Travelex 2hr online currency sales. The boon here is you can order in advance to pick up at the airport, great as order-at-airport rates are usually dire. It'll temporarily boost its EURO rate: Fri 19 Dec 11am-1pm. All OTHERS: Thu 18 Dec, 11am-1pm.
Asda's also boosting
euros, as well as US, Canadian, Egyptian and Icelandic currency from Wed
8am till Fri 8am. You can collect from stores or use home delivery.
Are the rates any good? Just because firms boost their rates doesn't mean they're winners. Use our Travel Money Comparison (which updates during sale times) to check. Often when one firm boosts rates, others listed respond to remain at the top.
- Easy UNBEATABLE rates every time you go away in 2015. To smash bureaux de change rates, and save hassle if you regularly go away, the Halifax Clarity* credit card (Eligibility calc) lets you spend on it at the same near-perfect rate as banks get in every country. Grab one, then ensure you pay it IN FULL each month (preferably by direct debit) to minimise the 12.9% representative APR. Full help: Top Overseas Credit Cards. (APR Examples)
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Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I applied for an Amex Gold card Martin highlighted - used it for my usual food & petrol shopping and racked up enough points to get an M&S gift card for £125 and a £5 gift voucher. Saved me a fortune on Christmas presents and treats."
- see our Credit Card Freebies guide to find out how to earn. Just remember you have to repay IN FULL.
Want to write for MoneySavingExpert? We're recruiting a writer to join our consumer team. See MSE Job Opps.
Show Best Buys
CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
Donate a dinner to someone in your community
Foodbanks UK-wide are likely to be busy over the next few weeks as people struggle with the cost of Christmas. Donate a few items and help a family who can't afford food this year - the Trussell Trust runs a network of about 400 venues so check its map to see if there's one near you. If there isn't, typing your area and 'foodbank' into Google will usually come up with a local option.
MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Is it OK to sell hotel toiletries on eBay?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... Is it ethical to sell complimentary toiletries taken from hotels and B&Bs? I've recently come across several such items being sold on eBay and was thinking I could make a bit of extra cash doing the same as I stay in hotels a lot for work. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it OK to sell hotel toiletries? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs
THE GREAT HUNT
How do you make sure your festive visitors save money?
We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge and find out how you prepare for visits by your loved ones at Xmas to make sure they have a MoneySaving stay. Do you get them a local train or bus pass in advance? Perhaps have a spare phone with a cheap SIM or get them an account with a cheap overseas call provider if they're from abroad? Share yours/read others': How do you make sure your festive visitors save money? Past topics: View all
CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Thomson Price: £30 off return flights Ends: Ongoing
Our pick this week is Thomson's ongoing sale, which is £30 off the total price of return flights (including taxes & charges). It's for flights between 1 Dec 2014 till 31 Jan 2015 to 29 international destinations from 17 UK airports. There's no code to enter, the discount appears automatically. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges - see the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance
THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED
How to keep your mobile data usage down
We asked for your top tips on making sure you don't go over your mobile contract's data allowance. One forumite advised against streaming videos and music, while another said some networks have apps that allow you to track your usage. Other tips included making sure apps are set to update only when you're on wi-fi and paying for bolt-ons if you really can't help going over your limit.
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Q: If my broadband provider can't supply my new home - even though I want to stay with it and transfer the contract - does it have the right to take payment for the remaining period? Jack, via email
MSE Nick's A: When you get out of a contract early, a provider has the right to charge an early termination fee, even if you can’t get a service where you live.
Frustratingly, providers don’t publish costs but regulator Ofcom dictates these charges must be fair. As a guidance, it says providers can claim the remaining payments for the contract but must also deduct whatever they've saved from not providing you a service.
BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media all said they sometimes waive the charge if you genuinely can’t get their service, but we know examples of firms not doing so, so you may need to pressure ‘em.
If you believe your provider's demands are unfair, complain to it. If rejected, or after eight weeks, you can use a free, independent 'alternative dispute resolution' scheme. Find the relevant one for your provider on Ofcom's website.
Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).
|Nick's free game of the week: Apple boom
Can you do better than the MSE team in our Christmas quiz?
That's it for this week, but before we go, last Friday was the MSE Christmas party and Martin set fiendish quiz questions, which we answered in teams (while grinning and bearing it). Now it's your turn to take the MSE Towers Christmas quiz.
We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team
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