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Aug 27

This week: Over 50 ways to save incl... £100 & top bank service, 50% off Sky TV, De Vere sale, £74 Body Shop bundle £37, free parcel delivery

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 8m who get it each week."

This week

BT ups b'band/line rent - fight back
Free £100 and top service bank
Ending. £30 wine vch with 0% card
Home ins deals comparisons miss
"I won £20k & two years' rent"
50% off Sky TV code + 'free' b'band
Ends Sat. Last chance for CPP claims
De Vere 24hr £25 hotel flash sale
M&S Outlet extra 25% off 24hr code
Two pairs of specs £25 code + tint
Wed only: 20% off posh burgers vch
Ends Sat. Free insulation & £50 vch
Free railcard with student bank acc
£74 Body Shop bundle for £37
Free delivery for Parcel2Go newbies
£59 Eurostar return tickets sale
Cheap wills, limited time only
Toy sales: up to 50% off Toys R Us, House of Fraser and Boots
"Two unfair parking tickets axed"
'Free' West End theatre kids tix
50% off Diggerland tickets
'Free' London Cake & Bake show tix
50% off Yankee Candles?
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Energy efficiency rights for renters

BT hikes b'band & line rent costs - fight back
As millions face price rises, we show you how to HALVE a £300+/yr bill

It's good to talk, but it's increasingly pricey. BT has just announced it's upping costs by up to 6.5% from Dec, pushing line rental alone to £16.99/mth. Other major providers incl Plusnet, TalkTalk and Virgin are also raising phone and broadband costs.

So make this news your clarion call to ensure you're not throwing your money down the drain. If you're out of contract, switching can save £100s/yr plus there's a range of other, simple tricks to trim your bill...

1. Many pay £300+/yr, vastly over-paying. Add up what it costs you. If you've never switched or if any intro deal you had is long gone, you're almost certainly throwing money away. Just look at the table of standard costs below - then compare to the hot deals below that.

Provider Line rental/mth (i) Broadband/mth (ii) Total/yr
BT £16.99 £13 £360
EE £15.75 £9.95 £308
Plusnet £15.95 £9.99 £311
Sky £15.40 £10 (£7.50 with TV) £304 (£275)
TalkTalk £15.95 £3.50 £233
Virgin £15.99 £15.50 (ii) £378
Where hikes announced, table incl higher price costs. Some on older contracts pay more. (i) Some let you pay a year upfront, which costs less overall. (ii) Standard b'band. For Virgin, its standard is fibre optic.
2. Ends Tue. Pay £162/year for b'band & line rent, GET £120 Amazon vch. MSE Blagged. One of the hottest deals we've ever seen. It was only for those with an EE Sim, now it's open to most (not existing EE b'band custs). Till Tue, via this EE deal* link, enter code EE120 and, on a 1-yr contract, get...

- Compulsory line rent: It's cheapest to pay £132 for a year upfront, which you must choose during sign-up: equiv £11/mth. If paying monthly, it's £15.75/mth. Includes weekend calls to landlines, other costs on par with BT.
- Unlimited broadband: You pay £2.50/mth, so £30 for 1yr, avail to 95% of the UK. Be warned the price will rise after the 1-yr contract.
- You get a £120 Amazon voucher after 3mths. Sent automatically if you follow the steps above (code for vch also works on costlier fibre optic deals).

Analysis: Pay line rent upfront and it's £162/yr all-in, excl calls - equiv £13.50/mth. If you pay line rent monthly, it's £219 - equiv £18.25/mth. There's also the £120 Amazon voucher. If you'd spend that anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £42/yr or equiv £3.50/mth if paying upfront. Paid monthly, it's £99/yr or equiv £8.25/mth. Need a new line? Installation's £60.
3. BroadbandWant to be with BT? Slash costs. Though it's far from cheapest, many want the comfort of a mega brand such as BT. But ensure you don't let it walk away with too much of your cash.

Pay line rental upfront - save £30+/yr. It's cheaper to pay line rental for a year upfront - if you've the cash. Its Line Rental Saver option is £159.84/yr, equiv £13.32/mth, compared to pay monthly £15.99/mth now, £16.99/mth from Dec. Even those in contract can take this option. Plusnet, TalkTalk, Virgin and EE also allow upfront payment deals.

'Free' BT Sport with BT broadband. If you want BT Sport, which shows live Premier League football, you can get it at no extra cost with BT broadband. See top BT deals for how to combine with a £25 or £80 Sainsbury's vch.
4. Cheapest home phone line rental from £9/mth. Primus' Line Rental Saver is £8.75/mth (no calls incl), or its Home Saver deal for £9.75/mth has evening and weekend calls to landlines. Be warned - Primus came bottom in our poll on home phone customer service in June.

The next cheapest deal if you can pay upfront is with the Post Office*. It's £120 for a year (equiv £10/mth) and includes weekend calls to UK landlines. See Cheapest Home Phones for our other top picks.
5. The cheapest way to call from a landline. OK, so you have to pay your provider line rental, but you DON'T have to stick to its call costs. Instead, use override providers (where you dial a prefix to re-route the call). Our UK Callchecker and International Callchecker show the cheapest. For example...

- Calling UK mobiles. A peak call via current cheapest override provider, Cheap Calls, is 1p/min (+15p connection), BT's 12p/min (+15p).

- Calling UK landlines. Peak calls via current cheapest, Cheap Calls, cost 0.5p/min + 15p connection. Via BT it's currently 9p/min + 15p connection.

- Calling overseas. You can call the US for just the 15p connection charge via Story Telecom - BT is currently 20.5p/min (+ 15p connection). Of course, if calling from a PC, smartphone or tablet you needn't pay a penny if both parties have the same app, eg, Skype, Viber or FaceTime (use unlimited wi-fi or risk huge data charges). See Call Abroad For Free.
6. Want broadband but don't need a landline? Get one anyway. It's outrageous that those who just want broadband almost always need a phone. On the rare occasions b'band is available as a standalone product with no need to have a phone at all with any provider, it's mega-pricey.

For example, compare Virgin Media's equiv £31/mth fibre optic unlimited deal (available to 50% of UK) with its fibre optic deal below, which is equiv £21/mth for phone AND broadband.
7. Clever tricks to further slash landline call costs. Here are our top tips:

- Beware long calls during 'free' time. While you may have inclusive evening or weekend calls to landlines, they usually have a cut-off period. For BT, TalkTalk, Sky & Virgin it's 60 mins; Primus is 90 mins. After that, it's up to 11.5p/min. So if it's a long call, just hang up before the cut-off and redial.

- Use mobile minutes to call mobiles, landline minutes to call landlines. Generally, mobile calls from landlines are pricey, so use your mobile's inclusive minutes for those.

- Say no to 0870. Companies often use pricey 0870, 0845, 0871 and 0844 numbers. See our Say No To 0870 guide for how to find geographic alternatives (eg, 020, 0121) that won't cost if you use inclusive calls.

- Call off-peak. The cheap time to call for most is before 7am and after 7pm.

- Pay by direct debit. You're likely to be charged extra paying any other way.
8. Superfast fibre optic b'band, equiv £21/mth. Most broadband is via a copper line but fibre optic is a different technology that typically gives two to three times greater speed than normal. You'll pay a premium though, so it's not for everyone - it's best for gamers, streamers and homes where many people are online at once.

If you're set on fibre optic, Virgin Media offers the cheapest deal via this Broadband Choices* link, though it's only available to 50% of the UK. On an 18-month contract, you get:

- Compulsory line rent: The cheapest way to get it is to pay £144 for a year upfront (you need to call after installation's set to do this), equiv to £12/mth. For the remaining six months, it's £15.99/mth, which means an average of £13.33/mth over 18 months. If you pay monthly, it's £15.99/mth for the term. It includes weekend calls to landlines and 0870 calls, other costs are mostly on par with/a touch more than BT.
- Unlimited fibre optic b'band: Sign up via the Broadband Choices* link & pay £4/mth for 12mths, then £15.50/mth for the next six, averaging £7.83/mth.

Analysis: It's equiv £21.16/mth all-in if you pay line rent upfront. Pay monthly and it's £23.82/mth. More options in Cheap Fibre Optic Broadband.
9 Want to stick with your provider? Always haggle. Broadband and phone is a mature market, so they're desperate to keep hold of customers. Call and ask for your 'MAC code', which can help haggling. This will prompt a "why are you leaving?" conversation.

Explain it's for a better deal and they may try to beat it, just as forumite Blueben did. He asked for a MAC code when his £3.75/mth promo deal was due to end: "TalkTalk agreed not to increase the cost of broadband, and cut it to £2.50 saving me £60/yr." See How To Haggle.
10. Want Sky TV too? Get 50% off plus 'free' broadband for 1 or 2 yrs. If you want more than just Freeview channels, it can be cheaper getting a TV package, broadband and line rental as one combined package.

See Digital TV for all the options but we've blagged 10,000 codes for newbies to Sky to get 50% off its TV packages plus 'free' broadband if you take its £15.40/mth line rental, see 50% off Sky TV codes below.

PS from Martin. I'm taking a break this week, so this email is in the more than capable hands of MSE Guy and the MSE team.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: BT confirms up to 6.5% price hike from December
Free tea and cake with John Lewis' loyalty card is no longer assured
EDF Energy to pay £3m to charity after complaint breaches
Payment bounced? You'll soon have a second chance to avoid fees
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 27 Aug 2014
Bag £100 and untouchable customer service
Our latest current account customer service index results are in. If your bank's rubbish, don't moan... SWITCH

First Direct's once again been crowned the king of customer service in our latest current account service index, while Barclays gets the wooden spoon. Fortunately, many of the top current accounts also have good service, and as it takes just seven working days to switch, what are you waiting for? Below are the top deals. All accounts require a credit check.

Aug 2014 (for past 6mths)
Rank Provider Great OK Poor
1 First Direct* 92% 6% 2%
2 Santander* 72% 22% 6%
3 Co-op Bank* (incl Smile) 71% 22% 7%
4 Nationwide* 69% 25% 6%
5 Halifax* 55% 37% 9%
And now the worst...
1 Barclays 38% 36% 26%
2 Natwest 38% 46% 15%
3 HSBC 42% 43% 15%
7,875 total votes. For full best buy options, see Best Bank Accounts. See Bank Service news for full results. Numbers have been rounded so may not add up to 100%.
  • Free £100 and perennial service champion. First Direct's* won every service poll we've done & smashed it again - 92% rated it great. It gives £100, a £250 0% overdraft and a linked 6% regular saver. (Min £1k monthly pay-in).
  • 3% savings, cashback & good service. Santander's 123 account* has seen more service uplift - & to think Santander used to be rock bottom... It pays 3% AER variable interest on £3k-£20k & 1%-3% cashback on household bills & its mortgages. Gains should dwarf its £2/mth fee. See Santander 123 Analysis. (Min £500 monthly pay-in).
  • FREE travel insurance up to age 75. Nationwide is again in the top five for service. Its FlexAccount* includes European travel insurance (max age 74), which can cost large for older travellers. Joint accounts cover both, and you can upgrade to worldwide. (Min £750 monthly pay-in).
  • Free £100 and £5/mth if in credit. Halifax Reward* has decent service, with 60% rating it great - it scores better than Halifax's other accounts. Switchers get £100 and are paid £5 'interest' after basic rate tax each month they're in-credit - but watch out for its high-fee overdraft, costing £1-£3 per day. (Min £750 monthly pay-in).

50% off Sky TV code + 'free' broadband. MSE Blagged. We've 10k newbies' 50% off codes (anyone who's not had Sky in 12mths). Get now, use Fri-Tue. Plus get 1yr's or 2yrs' b'band with TV, if you take its £15.40/mth line rent. Sky

Urgent. It's the CPP final countdown - are you due £100s? You only have till Sat to send your CPP claim in. We've asked the regulator to extend the deadline, but as it stands, this is your LAST CHANCE. Full help & templates: CPP.

FLASH 24hr De Vere £25 hotel room sale. 1,000+ posh rooms in 24 Eng hotels. Sale starts 10am Thu. Stay 3 Oct-14 Dec, exclusions vary per venue. See: Hotels

M&S Outlet EXTRA 25% off, 24hr code. MSE Blagged. From 9am Wed. On ALL already up to 50% off outlet items.

Last chance. £30 M&S wine voucher with 0% borrowing card
Top 0% spending card gives plonk voucher even if you just buy an apple + get M&S points

Sign up for a credit card, get accepted, spend a penny and it gives you a freebie. But you've only got till Sunday for this M&S corker (literally). Done right it's free wine and a useful 0% deal too, plus there's a 0% card for poor credit scorers...

  • wineEnds Sun. M&S 15mths 0% borrowing incl £30 wine vch. Get an M&S 15mths 0%* card by 31 Aug, (new custs, ONLY via this link), spend just 1p by end of Sept, and by 7 Oct, you'll get a £30 M&S wine, champers or soft drink e-voucher (be Drinkaware). Repay so there's no interest and grab the freebie. You get 1 point (worth 1p) per £1 spent in M&S, per £2 elsewhere; paid in M&S vouchers quarterly.

    Is it a good card?
    It gives 15mths interest-free borrowing, not much shorter than the longest, Halifax's 20mths 0%, so if you NEED to borrow, it's decent. But be careful: budget, never miss monthly repayments and fully clear the card before the 0% ends or it jumps to 16.9% rep APR (Halifax is 18.9%). See 0% Cards (APR Examples).

    Will I get it? Will it hit my credit score?
    Every card application leaves a minor mark on your credit file, so use our 0% Card 'Will I Get It?' Tool. It shows your chances of passing the credit check to hone your applications.
  • Poor credit score? 0% spending till December. The new Capital One Classic* accepts some with defaults, CCJs or bankruptcy - if the problems were 1yr+ ago.

    Use to build credit & minimise charges. Do normal spending, repay IN FULL if poss and it can boost your ability to get credit. Or spend normally, pay the minimum and use the spare cash to reduce your overdraft or repay lenders. Then you've 4mths at 0% to clear the card debt - after, it's a horrid 34.9% rep APR. Full help: Cap One Tips.
  • 0% spending cards golden rules. a) Always pay at least the monthly minimum and keep within your credit limit, or you'll lose the 0%. b) Clear before the 0% ends, or you pay hefty interest. (See APR Examples.) c) Don't balance transfer/withdraw cash - it's not usually at the cheap rate.

Two pairs of specs £25 code + 'free' £10 tint. MSE Blagged. Use a £30 off code on Glasses Direct's existing 2for1 on £55+ glasses and sunglasses offer. It'll also throw in a 'free' £10 tint. Ends Tue 2 Sep. Glasses Direct

Wed only. 20% off 200+ posh burger joints, incl Byron, Honest Burgers & some pubs. Rare vch. Burgers

Last chance. FREE loft/cavity wall insulation + £50 Argos, J Lewis gift card. Apply by Sat, via British Gas. Avail to ANYONE (not just BG customers) with suitable home (excl NI). Offer may return but we can't be sure. Insulation

FREE 4-year railcard with student bank account. With uni set to start, the Santander 123 student account* has a decent up-to-£1,500 0% overdraft + you get a 4-year railcard (worth £120). Bigger overdraft options in Student Accounts.

£37 Body Shop bundle (usually £74). MSE Blagged. 50% off code. Incl shower gel, body butter & more. Body Shop

Free parcel delivery code MSE Blagged. Via delivery comparison site Parcel2Go. Newbies code gets you £10 off, so if your parcel is £10 or under to deliver, you'll get it for nowt. Includes Parcelforce, UPS, TNT, FedEx & more. Parcel2Go

Eurostar £59+ rtn sale - from Thu. Norm £69-£309. Paris, Lille & Brussels 22 Sept-17 Dec, not half-term. Eurostar

Hot home insurance deals (incl last chance Karcher pressure washer)
Hot deals you won't find on comparison sites. There are some scorching offers on bricks, mortar & contents cover
Whether covering your castle, protecting your palace or securing your semi-detached, there is no single cheapest home insurer, so you need to scour the market. Comparison sites play a part but can miss the kick-butt offers - this week one's ending and another on/off deal's back. Full tips in the Cheap Home Insurance guide, here are the key steps:

  • Home insurance Step 1: Find the right cover. Buildings cover is for freeholders, contents cover for everybody. Don't underinsure contents or claims may only be paid out in proportion - use a contents calculator to get an estimate. With buildings cover you need to cover the rebuild cost of the house, not its value. Check this using a rebuild cost tool.
  • Step 2: Combine comparisons at speed. Never auto-renew or pay the price for apathy. Instead grab as many quotes as possible by combining comparisons (they don't cover the same insurers). Our current order is*, then Compare TM*GoCompare*. (See full info on how to use comparison sites).
  • Step 3: Home in on the hot deals comparison sites miss. Compare your quotes with insurers not on them, such as Direct Line* and Aviva*, and with our MSE Blagged deals below.

    - Ending. Karcher Pressure Washer with L&G. Buy a new L&G* combined buildings and contents policy by 31 Aug and enter the code KARCHER2 to get a Karcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer (RRP £79.99) within 75 days.
    - It's back - £80 M&S e-gift card with Policy Expert. Buy combined buildings and contents cover via Policy Expert* by 2 Sept and receive an £80 M&S e-gift card within 90 days.
    - £70 Amazon gift certificate with L&G.
    Buy a new L&G* combined buildings and contents policy by 31 Dec and enter the code MSEDEAL to get a £70 Amazon voucher within 75 days of your policy start date.
Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
33mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Lloyds
28mths 0%, 1.5% fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
5.3% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
4% rep APR

BM Savings* 1.55% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.75% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till May 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Cheap wills ending. In Eng & Wales, the Which? Wills offer ends 1 Sept with single wills £30 (usually £89), joint/mirror £50 (£149). Offer incl a one-month trial for Which? Legal Services, so cancel to avoid paying. In Scot, Will Relief runs in Sept with 'free' wills in return for a donation to one of four charities. Suggested £80 single will donation, £105 joint. Wills

Huge toy sales: Toys R Us up to 50% off | House of Fraser up to 50% off (online only) | Boots up to 50% off | Toys deals

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I've had two unfair parking invoices cancelled by POPLA recently thanks to info from your site."
- see Fight Private Parking Tickets and Parking Ticket Appeals for tips on how to fight 'em.

'Free' West End kids' theatre tix, with paid-for grown-up. Book & go by Sun. 37 shows, incl Stomp. Theatre

"I won £20,000 and my rent paid for two years."
Turn the art of entering contests into a cash-boosting hobby, with our 40 winning 'comping' tips

Comping's where entering competitions gets serious - and several MSE-ers have netted huge wins this year. There are no certainties of course, so treat it as a potentially lucrative hobby. Our 40 Comping Tips show you how. Here's winspiration...

  • comping WON - £20,000 & 2 years' rent. Isla extended MSE forumites' winning streak, after entering a free comp on TV: "I got a call on Friday to say I'd won £20,000 and my rent paid for two years. How long would the cheque take? I was so shocked I forgot to ask."

    Earlier this year luckystar101 smashed forum records with a whopping haul from another free-to-enter TV comp: "Just found out I won £20,000 and a BMW. Was shocked when he said £20,000, but when he added the car, I thought I was going to be sick."
  • 40 winning comping tips. To show the techniques we're talking about, here are five to get you thinking.
    - Turbo-charged comping. Form-fill at speed, generate tie-breakers & enter answers quickly with comping tools.
    - Enter premium-rate TV comps FREE.
    Many pricey telly contests are free online (as Isla's was above).
    - Systemise it.
    Don't just enter the odd comp, follow a structured system to find & enter max number in min time.
    - Dodge corporate spam. Set up a dedicated comping email address to avoid being deluged with marketing spam.
    - Join the MSE comping team. On the Competitions board, you post contests, enter others' contests & cheer when fellow compers win, bringing the hobby to life.

50% off Diggerland tix. Print vch by Fri, go any weekend in Sept. £10 per person, kids sub-90cm go free. Diggerland

'Free' Cake & Bake Show tix - £2.50 del. From this Thu. Deal 1: 150 pairs available for Fri 3 Oct, usually £29/pair. Deal 2: 50% off Fri 3 Oct or Sun 5 Oct. London show

Can you find 'em? 50% off Yankee Candles. Start from 90p after the discount. Half-price candles

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Get constantly cheap energy.

Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.

Join free: Cheap Energy Club

Up to £30 cashback for dual fuel, £15 for single switches.

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...*
Compare The Market*
Direct Line*

with evening & weekend calls
£9.75/mth (12mth contract)

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£10/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance
Show Vouchers and Top Deals

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Do you rent & want to boost your home's energy efficiency?

Want to make energy saving changes to your home but your landlord's refusing? The Government wants to give tenants more rights to make energy saving improvements, and it's asking for your views. Have your say before the consultation closes on Tue 2 Sept - find out more here.

Is it really OK to buy, wear, then return?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... A friend of mine rarely buys anything and keeps it. Instead, he buys new clothes, wears them once, then takes them back so he's always in a new outfit. I'm nervous about doing it, but I can't afford to buy anything new. Should I go for it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I buy, wear, then return? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

How to bake for less
The latest series of The Great British Bake Off is underway, but while the contestants are given luxury Waitrose goods and top-of-the-range equipment, most of us make do with bog-standard bits. We're after your best baking bargains - from cheap kitchenware and tasty own-brand ingredients to the best low-cost baking recipes. Share yours/read others': How to bake for less Past topics: View all

Airline: Aer Lingus Price: Ireland from £19.99 one-way Ends: Wed 27 Aug
Our pick this week is Aer Lingus' offer for flights until 30 Sept 2014 to five Irish destinations from 15 UK airports. The sale ends Wed 27 Aug and includes taxes and charges. There is no code to enter, the price 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

What tips would you give your 18-year-old self?

Having had their A-level results, many youngsters face tough decisions - but what pearls of wisdom would you offer your 18-year-old self?
Suggestions ranged from travel as much as you can, avoid debt and remember you only live once.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

27, 28, 29 August & 1, 2 September
Countdown, Channel 4, 2.40pm-3.30pm August dates, 3.10pm-4pm September dates. Dictionary Corner.

1 September
This Morning, ITV, 11am-12pm.
Flight delays.

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

Selling My Kids' Things

What do you do with your children's old toys and clothes? SavingSassy used to give them away but after selling an old bike on eBay, she wants to know the best place to flog 'em and what she should do with the cash. Join the Selling kids' things discussion.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 124.46 112.01
US Flag $ 164.31 147.87
Turkish Flag TL 348.15 313.28
Rates correct at 1pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Have you haggled on the high street?

Whether it's negotiating a discount, or getting extras thrown in for free, have you successfully haggled on the high street? Let us know how you got on.

Stores include (plus many more)...

Poll results

How do you rate your bank account's service?
You've once again chosen First Direct as top dog for customer service, while Santander came second. The dreaded wooden spoon went to Barclays.

- 92% of First Direct customers voted its service "great"
- 72% of Santander customers voted it "great"
- 26% of Barclays Bank customers voted it "poor"

7,875 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: My phone line and broadband were down for 10 days last month and BT tells me there is no refund. Is this fair? John, by email.

MSE David's A: We've checked with BT and it says if your phone line or broadband stops working, it will try to fix it within three working days of you reporting it. If it doesn't, you will get a refund for the daily cost of the broken service, starting from the fourth working day after you've reported the problem.

Providers aren't required to give refunds but according to the telecoms regulator Ofcom, most companies will offer some sort of pay back though exact terms vary by provider. Both Virgin and TalkTalk will refund the daily cost of broadband and/or phone line from the day you report the fault. Sky says it pays out on a "case-by-case basis".

Whatever you're offered, you could ask for more, as firms may give additional compensation as a goodwill gesture, particularly where you have been inconvenienced. To dispute a refund, or lack of one, first complain to the provider. If you're still not satisfied, you can then go to an ombudsman. For BT, Sky and Talk Talk use the Ombudsman Services, and for Virgin Media, CISAS.

 Charlotte's free game of the week: Abstract Sea

How well do you know your Prime Ministers?

OK, so you probably recognise David Cameron, but can you tell Neville Chamberlain from Clement Attlee, or Benjamin Disraeli from William Gladstone? Test your knowledge with this quick PM picture quiz.

Important. Please read how works

We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of this email and the site. We're a journalistic website, and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques - but can't promise to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.

What you need to know

  • This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.

  • We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned, how likely they are to go bust, but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late (see the section 75 guide for protection tips).

  • We often link to other websites, but we can't be responsible for their content.

  • Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.

Please read the Full Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, how this site is financed and Editorial Code. Martin Lewis is a registered trade mark belonging to Martin S Lewis.

More about MoneySaving Expert and Martin Lewis

What is

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with over 9 million people getting this email and nearly 13m using the site. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: how to save cash and fight for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 30 full time staff about half of whom are editorial researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time The Martin Lewis Money Show, weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, amongst others. He’s a columnist for publications including the Telegraph and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

What do the links with a * mean?

Any links with a * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference; the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) isn't changed due to it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See how this site is financed.

As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for content too:

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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by Limited on behalf of Group PLC. Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both Group PLC and Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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