The MoneySavingExpert.com Forum is a social network where users discuss bargains and consumer issues, free from nasty comments and people trying to sell things to you.
Millions read it and 100,000s post the equivalent of 30+ paperback books on here every day. Anyone can post on the forum though; content isn't officially checked out by MSE, so please exercise caution and report any inappropriate, illegal or offensive posts.
The Forum Deals Feed is a dashboard that pulls in the most highly-rated offers from our Grabbit, Freebies, Shopping and Groceries forum boards, and more. Remember this is user-generated content, so unlike usual MSE deals, it isn't checked and validated.
What is the WOW Factor?
The WOW Factor system rates deals in our bargain forums to show how popular they are with forum users. You can rate deals and sort by others' ratings.
Each thread gets a WOW Factor image and number. The higher the number and the darker the colour, the more popular the post. Just click the "WOW" sort button at the top right of the forum board, and it lists deals in order of popularity.
The WOW Factor uses an algorithm to rank deal posts based on how many times forumites have thanked them, weighted towards newer thanks.
To see a graph of how many times forumites have thanked a thread, click its WOW button.
How can I rate a deal?
First you'll need to join the forum. If you're not sure where to start watch our New to Forum? Youtube Guide first. Once you've joined, you can click the 'thanks' button in the first post of the discussion you want to rate.
What if I don't like a post?
We have an amazing forum with a huge wealth of helpful info. But remember it's open to all, and sometimes messages are posted that are inappropriate or rude. Most forumites are helpful, but there are always a few bad apples.
Forumites mustn't do anything to spoil others' enjoyment of the site. Please report any post or private message (PM) that you feel is inappropriate, illegal or offensive to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I post a deal I've spotted?
First you'll need to join the forum. Then from the main forum front page, choose the appropriate section for your subject. So if it's a short-term offer, pick Grabbit While You Can. Click the 'New Thread' button on the top left to start a new page where you can enter details. Once you're done, click 'Submit New Thread' below.
For a video demonstration of how to join, ask and answer a question and much more watch our New to Forum? Youtube Intro Guide.
How do I reply about a deal?
Use the 'Quick Reply' box at the bottom of the discussion or click 'Post Reply' to open a page with extra editing options.
How can I get regular updates on bargains and discounts?
The MSE team does not check forum content. The latest officially checked-out bargains, deals, vouchers, guides and loopholes are in the free, spamless weekly email.
Important! Ensure you know how to shop safely before trying these deals
- For safety, pay by credit card if over £100
- Use unfamiliar sites without checking
- Let your antivirus run out
- Protect purchases under £100
Full DOs and DON'Ts
Tips for shopping safely
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.
What happens if a company goes bust?
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.
DO Pay by credit card for goods over £100
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.
DO Protect purchases under £100
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.
DON'T Use unfamiliar sites without checking
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.
DO Check the site's legit
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.
DON'T Let your antivirus run out
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.
DO Know your distance selling rights
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.
DO Understand sometimes there's no protection.
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.