We hope this forum is a great MoneySaving community for people to chat and discuss consumer issues, free from nasty comments and people trying to sell to you.
Yet with millions reading and 100,000s posting the equivalent of 30+ paperback books on here every day, we need rules to help the place running smoothly and protect our broad church of users. So here are a few key pointers...
All info is the opinion of posters – it’s not our view. We have an amazing forum with a huge wealth of helpful info. Yet remember it's open to all, and sometimes messages are posted that are misleading or downright wrong. Most users are helpful but there are always a few bad apples. Don't rely on information being accurate or complete. If you do, it's at your own risk. Please do your own research before acting.
We can be liable for what you post. When you post something, not only are you liable for what you say, but we can become liable too as the host. So it's not a case of posting what you like, and we can delete posts if needed. Of course, our aim is to ensure legitimate information about saving money or fighting for consumer rights stays.
Posting is a privilege, not a right. This is a privately-owned site. Posting is a privilege, not a right. Any inappropriate posts or any issues that take up a disproportionate amount of resources or make it a worse place to be will be stopped at our discretion - with or without explanation. No one pays to use this site; when there are issues, we pay to resolve them. Sometimes we need to prioritise spending money on the site, other issues or better resources.
Please be nice to all MoneySavers. That’s the forum motto. Remember, the prime aim is to help provide info and resources. If you don’t like someone, their situation, their question or feel they’re intruding on ‘your board’ then please bite the bullet and think of the bigger issue. A Guardian article once "doffed its cap" to this forum as being the one place where consumers can collect together and fight back. Our job is to help keep it that way.
The rules listed below may be changed or amended at any time. These guidelines are here to give you a legitimate expectation of how the forum runs, but they don't bind us.
Forum Team/Board Guides/MSE Team
What's the difference between the Forum Team and Board Guides?
The Forum Team is employed by the site and paid to read and deal with reports sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team members don't moderate the site and they don't read the several thousand posts on this forum every day. Instead they rely on users to report posts under the "report a post system". If users don't report, the team remains unaware.
None of the team post with any identity other than Forum Team 1, 2, 3, etc. This is in their employment contract.
The Forum Team staff are employees of MoneySavingExpert.com. Like all employers, we have a duty of care to protect them in their work roles (think of the signs on buses). To ensure this happens, we have a zero tolerance policy on any personal abuse aimed in their direction.
For the vast majority of users this isn't an issue, as they'd never dream of being rude to the team anyway, but it's important it's said.
The Board Guides are volunteers who help to keep the forum running smoothly. They do not deal with reports made - and are totally separate to the Forum Team. Instead, they...
- Focus on a few boards - not the whole forum
- Keep threads on topic and boards running smoothly (including moving non-MoneySaving related discussions to Discussion Time/MoneySavers Arms where appropriate)
- Delete spam and report the poster to the Forum Team
- Help newbies find their way around
- Point site users to relevant main site guides, news stories and blogposts
- Merge or link together duplicate threads
- "Sticky" the best threads to the top of the board
- Lock contentious threads and report them to the Forum Team.
The board guides aim to help newbies, guide people in the right direction and cut the number of different posts on the same topic.
When someone says "I've searched everywhere and can't find the information", they post links to the relevant guides, news stories or blogs on the main site, or point them to the article links at the top of individual boards.
When identical topics have been duplicated, they merge the threads to help forum users find the info.
If you think a thread should be removed, would get a better response on a different board or should be merged because it's been duplicated, send a private message to the relevant Board Guide. Remember, there's no such thing as a "wrong board", though.
Board Guides are listed at the bottom right of their boards and on the Board Guide list. They can only take action on their own patches.
Threads are only moved if they're obviously not MoneySaving or the Board Guide feels the person asking the question would get a better response on a different board.
If a Board Guide spots a contentious thread, they should report it to the Forum Team, just like any other user would.
What a Board Guide isn't/can't do
- Board Guides are not moderators. They don't deal with contentious posts; that's the Forum Team's job.
- Board Guides are not experts. On some boards a specialist knowledge is useful. Usually, just being interested in the subject is enough, although it's not a pre-requisite.
- Board Guides are not techies, although being happy to play with technology helps.
- Board Guides cannot see reports to the Forum Team (only the Forum Team and some MSE Team members can see those).
BOARD GUIDE SIGNATURES
Board Guides have been asked to mention their status in their signatures, so users understand they are not moderators and don't read every post on their board:
Hi. Martin has asked me to tell you I'm the Board Guide on the X (and Y) board(s). I'm a volunteer to help the board(s) run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts on there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to email@example.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
IF YOU'RE UNHAPPY WITH SOMETHING A BOARD GUIDE'S DONE
Please remember the Board Guides are just ordinary forum users who've volunteered to help out the site and are doing what the MSE Team has asked them to do. They do an excellent job of keeping the forum wheels turning, but are not paid. They are not responsible for the site and have no say in policy decisions.
If you've a question about a Board Guide's choices, first read the site's Terms and Conditions and these FAQs. If you're still unsure why they did something or you feel the Forum Team should be aware, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't question a Board Guide on the forum, or it will be removed.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A BOARD GUIDE?
Board Guides are dedicated users who want to give something back to the site.
Now and then we post on the Site Feedback board or individual boards asking for volunteers. Generally, the Board Guide picked would be someone who uses a particular board and already understands how it works. An enthusiasm for keeping that board running smoothly and helping newbies find the information they need quickly and easily is the key.
For obvious reasons, if the Forum Team has received reports about a particular poster, that person won't normally be considered for a Board Guide position.
Who are the paid MSE Team?
Permanent MSE team members always have "MSE" before their names (MSE Andrea, MSE Lawrence, etc). Their job description is under their names, the official, green "MoneySavingExpert.com Official" logo in their avatars and their usernames are in green font. MSE Checkerman, who answers questions on the site's checker tools, is an exception to this.
They're not to be confused with Board Guides, site users who kindly volunteer to take on extra powers. For more information, read What's the difference between the Forum Team and Board Guides?
What can the MSE Team do?
MSE Team members are all able to post on the forum. Sometimes we may need urgent help from site users. Occasionally you'll see posts from MSE Jenny or MSE Wendy, for example, on several boards, asking for help or feedback on tools, guides or help with media requests. It's not spam, so there's no need to report it.
The MSE Team may sometimes edit posts that are linked from the weekly email, from main site guides or from news stories. If you're at all unsure who each member is and what they do see who's on the MSE Team.
If you have questions or suggestions relating to the MSE Team's guides, tools or posts, let the relevant team member know; this is generally whoever started the guide's discussion link.
Check it’s not already answered in the feedback discussion thread first though, to help cut our workload.
Why can't there be more Board Guides / Admins / Forum Team etc?
We do take on more Board Guides when we feel they're needed. Board Guides aren't part of the Forum Team, though and are there to remove spam and help guide forum users. They don't see or deal with Forum Team reports so increasing the number of Board Guides wouldn't make a difference to how quickly issues are dealt with.
Why don't all Board Guides do things the same way?
Our volunteer board guides are all human and all different and won't always do things the same way. Whether they close it and report it to email@example.com or simply report it without closing it first, it’s always the Forum Team that makes the final decision on whether it stays or goes.
Why can’t certain threads have Board Guides looking after just those threads?
Board Guides are there to help the boards run smoothly. They can move and close threads on the particular boards they cover, but we don't ask them to watch specific threads as that would be moderating.
For legal reasons we don’t have moderators or moderate the forum, but we use a "reporting" system instead. Board Guides don't see reports.
Why are some Board Guides sometimes unpleasant?
We very much hope this isn't the case. But if it is, please make sure you report this, as you would any other forum user's posts, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forum issues (spam & inappropriate posts)
Why isn't the forum moderated?
There are thousands of posts made on the forum every day, it would be impossible for someone to read them all. Also, if we were to read and approve every post, we might become responsible for any unlawful information within those posts.
We want to protect our users as much as we can, so we have a 'report-a-post' system (see How do I report an inappropriate post?). Only after going through this process are posts legally deemed as being published by the site.
How do I report an inappropriate, offensive, or racist post?
Report any post or Private Message (PM) which you feel is inappropriate, offensive, unlawful or otherwise in breach of thse rules to email@example.com.
Forum users mustn't do anything that spoils other people's enjoyment of the site or which could cause the site any liability or detriment.
The MoneySavingExpert.com forum is a friendly one and we want to keep it that way. Its motto is "Please be nice to all forum users", this includes the MSE Team. As an employer, it's my responsibility to ensure my team's protected.
If you're reporting a post/thread/username
There are two ways to send a report to the Forum Team:
- Click the red warning triangle at the bottom right of each post to open a web form. The form will automatically have a button ticked to report the post or thread to the Forum Team along with your username and email address. The email will be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alternatively, you can report by clicking the blue link at the top of the forum. This will automatically address the email to email@example.com, but you will need to specify which post you are reporting by adding a link to the subject line.
We ask that users:
Don't report PMs or inappropriate posts to Board Guides or individual MSE Team members.
This is not what Board Guides or MSE employees do and they cannot help - they often don't have access to the tools (that includes Martin). Reports must be sent to the Forum Team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't comment on reported posts in the thread.
Just report it and let the Forum Team deal with it, even if you feel justified to make a comment. If you do, action could be taken on your posts as well. Please don't quote the post, as this causes the Forum Team more work.
Don't start a post/report saying "I can't believe you haven't removed this already".
The forum is not monitored and the Forum Team only acts when it receives reports. Reports and posts like this are not polite and won't win you any plaudits. It's likely the reason it's not been dealt with is no one has reported it yet.
Don't abuse our team on the forum.
It's our responsibility as an employer to protect our staff. Any posts criticising individual members of the team shall be removed and action taken as necessary.
What should I include in a report?
To help the Forum Team, please always include the following:
- A link to each individual post you think the Forum Team should be aware of.
Often people report threads that are tens of pages long. Please include the links to each individual post you feel the team needs to see. Please also double-check the link before you click send, as the Forum Team often receives reports where the link doesn't work (this includes links to searches - links with "searchid" in them don't work).
- A sufficiently detailed explanation telling the Forum Team why you're reporting the post.
Remember, the Forum Team won’t have read the thread and won’t know any history. First, tell us why you are reporting the post. Is it inappropriate, offensive or unlawful? If you say it’s unlawful because it's libellous:
1) your name and email address;
2) where on our site the statement was posted (please include a link);
3) what the statement says and why you think it’s defamatory of you;
4) what aspects of the statement are factually inaccurate;
5) what meaning you give to the statement;
6) confirm that you don’t have enough information about the user who wrote the post to pursue them directly;
7) whether we can provide your name and email address to the user who wrote the post.
- Username of the person you're reporting and your username if relevant.
If you want to report a username, rather than specific posts, please include a link to their profile page in your email's subject line. Don't include links taken from searches, as links with "searchid" in them don't work, and the Forum Team will ask you to send it again.
What happens once I've sent a report?
You should receive an automated reply confirming your report's been received. If you haven't, please re-send it.
I reported something several hours ago, why hasn't it been removed yet?
The Forum Team aims to deal with reports within two working days of receipt. Often it deals with them more quickly, but some issues need to be discussed with MSE Team members. This can take several days in some cases, so repeatedly emailing and asking what's been done causes additional work and delays the process.
The Forum Team doesn't work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you report something over the weekend, please don't expect action to be taken before Monday. If action is taken before then, consider it a bonus!
I reported something several hours ago, why haven't I had a reply yet?
The Forum Team rarely replies to reports, unless it's to ask for further details. If you've received an automated reply, then your report has been received, so please don't send further emails chasing the team up. The Forum Team doesn't have the time or resources to respond and for privacy reasons won't necessarily let you know what action has been taken.
Why are posts removed?
The Forum Team's resources must be focused on the MoneySaving areas of the site.
Sometimes, on-the-spot decisions are made to protect the site. We don't have the resources to confer with our (very expensive) lawyers on every subject.
The Forum Team's remit is simply "if a post may be unlawful, it has to go". This doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong, but sometimes they have to take that decision. However, we are here as a consumer site and we will endeavour to protect fair and honest comment about companies - if it's in the consumers' interest.
If you disagree with a Forum Team decision, please email your appeal to email@example.com. Please don't question Forum Team decisions on the public forum; they're unlikely to see your post anyway. This includes criticising individual members of staff. It's our job as an employer to protect our staff. Any such posts shall be removed, and the appropriate action taken.
If you've been PPR'd and don't understand why, please read What's "PPR" under some people's usernames?
Why was my post deleted and not others, which were worse?
If that’s happened, it's because yours was reported to firstname.lastname@example.org but the others weren't so the Forum Team isn’t aware of them. If you feel it really is something the Forum Team should be aware of, please report it to make sure it's been seen.
Why are some posts reported deleted within minutes, yet others take several days?
We aim to deal with reports within two working days of receiving them but often it's much quicker. How soon they're dealt with depends on several factors: whether a Forum Team member is working at that time, whether they need to be discussed with the Forum Editorial Liaison, Forum Manager, the Editorial Team, the web manager or our lawyer. Also remember the Forum Team may not agree that the post should be removed at all.
What order are reports dealt in?
We generally deal with reports in order of when they were received, with the oldest coming first.
Why are threads about some religions deleted and not others?
This is a site about saving people money. In the past discussion of certain religions on non-priority boards has caused so much argument, taking time and resources away from MoneySaving work, that we've had to put a stop to it.
How do I put someone on my ignore list?
The ignore facility is a useful tool that means if you don't like the way someone posts, you can opt not to read what they write. To add someone to your ignore list, click on their username then view their profile. You'll see they've posted, but won't be able to view the content unless you choose to. If you feel their posts are disrupting the forum, then report them to the Forum Team.
What's the yellow/red/black card system?
To keep the forum running smoothly, we have a card system, to give people a fair idea of what they can expect.
Sometimes, we'll give users a quiet word of warning for breaking the rules if they're getting close to a yellow card.
The yellow card should always indicate what it was received for, either with a quote, or a link to the post/thread in question if it hasn't already been removed.
Why wasn't I warned before getting a yellow card?
You'll generally be contacted about your behaviour first before getting a yellow card. If you've posted something seriously inappropriate or ignored a previous warning, you may receive a yellow card without warning. The yellow card should always indicate what it was received for, either with a quote or a link to the post/thread in question if it hasn't already been removed.
What's "PPR" under some people's usernames?
PPR (Posting Privileges Removed) is the term we use when we stop someone posting on the forum.
The majority of banned forum users are spammers. It's important to note they can still read the site and forum (we never bar access to MoneySaving), however they cannot post. If they can't see the site, they may need to refresh their cache by clicking control + F5.
If someone's been removed, it could be for any of the following reasons:
- Cloning someone else's username or impersonating another person to cause problems
- Trolling (see What's a troll/alter ego? )
- Resource issues (consistently and inappropriately taking time away from the Forum Team's core work)
Why are people banned (PPR'd)?
We don't remove people's posting privileges lightly. No one pays anything to use this site. Our first consideration must be towards protecting it from increasing costs and legal challenges (although on mainstream issues of consumers' rights, we may choose to take battles on). Posting on MoneySavingExpert.com is a privilege, not a right. We can refuse permission to post without giving a reason.
In the past, we tried hard not to PPR long-standing forum users. Sadly, we had so many issues taking time away from our core MoneySaving work, that protection had to go. Now, if someone's persistently causing trouble, they're PPR'd. If they are, please don't talk about them on the forum. It's unfair to do this when they aren't able to respond.
See more about this in How do I report a post? .
Our decision to suspend or stop any user's posting privileges (PPR) may be final.
The posting ban applies to any/all user accounts used by or in the name of that person.
People who are on here to cause trouble will be PPR'd immediately. Yet we may be forced to do the same with usually-helpful posters, who get into spats or push it too far.
Our card system outlines our approach.
Sometimes the Forum Team will give users a quiet word of warning for breaking the rules if they are getting close to a yellow card.
If your posting privileges are suspended or terminated, please don't attempt to re-register on the Forum or make any posts in any guise whatsoever.
When banned former users do re-register or otherwise disrupt the forum, this can cause severe distress to other users. Dealing with unwanted ex-forum users' posts distracts the team from the core purpose of the site and takes up time. Therefore in such circumstances we may:
Report offenders to their ISP.
Charge offenders for the administrative costs of identifying and removing their posts at the rate of £40 per hour, plus any external costs that we incur.
Take legal action to recover these costs.
Report offenders to the authorities if their actions appear to amount to a breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 or any other relevant criminal legislation.
Why has my post/thread been removed without telling me?
Posts and threads are deleted so we're no longer "publishing" them. You may have posted it, but once we're made aware of it - we may become legally liable too, as the publisher. When something is deleted, it's removed from public view but it's still viewable by the Forum Team and can be reinstated if it needs to be. It won't show up in a forum search.
We never contact people when their posts are deleted. The sheer number of posts removed every day means it's simply impossible to contact everyone.
The Forum Team won't respond to aggressive emails demanding to know why a post/thread's been removed but if you send a polite email asking, it may review or explain the decision where possible (sometimes legal reasons prevent this). If you're still unhappy, email email@example.com
Why's my reply to a new user been removed?
Sadly new posters seem to be treated harshly more often than they used to. Often it's because they ask questions that have already been asked, or post in the "wrong place".
There's also sometimes a "this is our board" attitude which seems to not want new posters coming in and ruining a pre-established clique.
To be utterly clear - both of these go against the philosophy of this site.
MoneySaving should be fun. Everyone using these boards is here for the same reason, to save money. The site's motto is "Please be nice to other MoneySavers". If you see someone being rude to newbies, please report them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For this reason, newer forum users have a "newbie" image under their username when they post. We hope it helps other, more regular forum users be more tolerant of new users who may ask questions that seem obvious to them.
Yes, we're aware some may be spammers, trolls or alter egos. But whatever you think, please just report them without responding on the forum discussion itself.
Regular site users can be incredibly helpful in combating this problem. If you have the time, instead of getting frustrated and writing "this has been asked before" please post something like "hi, you may not have seen this, but it may answer your question", and give the link to where it's been answered before.
If they're unsure how to use the forum point them to our Forum Introduction Video
Forum users mustn't post comments more than once on the forum (the only exception is members of the MSE Team; when needed). It's called spamming and most internet forums forbid it. Where spam is reported to the Forum Team, the posts are deleted and the user's posting privileges may be removed. Please don't quote any post you believe is spam, as this causes the team more work.
Several boards on our forum have a spam button. If enough forum users click the spam button on a thread, that thread will automatically be deleted. The Forum Team may choose to leave it deleted or re-instate it.
What's a troll/alter ego?
A troll is someone who deliberately joins the forum to cause disputes. It may be a long-standing user, or someone completely new.
An alter ego is generally someone who's previously been PPR'd (see What's "PPR" under some people's usernames?) and has joined under a new username to cause trouble.
If you feel someone is trolling or is an alter-ego, please report them to email@example.com. Do not respond to them on the forum - that makes things worse.
A guide to dealing with troublemakers
Sadly in a forum of this size, and many much smaller, there will always be people who enjoy disrupting or being unpleasant. It's human nature. When arguments or spats happen people tend to get involved, and even those who normally behave well can do things they wouldn’t normally think acceptable.
On MSE we hope our users can and will behave as adults. If someone is rude or offensive we ask that you report it to firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be dealt with and looked at soon.
Don’t respond or engage with trolls
More importantly, we ask that you don’t respond, get involved or start name-calling.
That simply isn’t helpful, and in the long run, you risk your own privilege to post on this forum being removed just as much as the original trouble-maker.
If there's a problem, please "don’t feed the troll" – don’t engage or let it escalate. Report it to us instead.
We don’t have moderators on the site, the forum is too big and it's not legally advisable. Yet even if we did, it is very difficult to judge who is right and who is wrong in a fight.
We will look at what you’ve done, not at what caused it
Without the wisdom of Solomon, the only way we can do this is to take a step back and look at the way an individual has conducted themselves.
So while you may feel someone deserved nasty treatment, we will simply judge on how you’ve behaved, not why – because we ask that if you’ve reported an issue to the Forum Team, you then leave it and let us deal with it.
No solution is perfect. A balance must be drawn between trying to keep everything nice and allowing discussion and exchanges of opinion to take place. We do not want to act like a police force, yet if we are called to protect users and the forum we will do so.
One forum user who summed it up better than we can:
“Use the report function, use the ignore list, don’t go into forums that annoy you, don’t get angry with cyber people. It shouldn’t be rocket science.”
Why can't I give something to/buy something from someone on the forum?
The safety of our forum users is paramount. For this reason, we can't allow anyone to exchange their personal details either on the open forum or via private message, however honourable the intention.
This means we don't allow selling, trading, exchanging, or swapping, or giving gifts. Nor do we permit links to your eBay auctions, or other forms of advertising.
I've seen advice on the forum that's completely wrong, why haven't you removed it?
To reiterate what we say at the top of every forum page, this is an open forum. You should not rely on any information given here without checking it yourself first. This is especially true with investments, where for any one product, there can be 100 different opinions.
We believe this is an amazing forum with a huge wealth of information of benefit to many people, and most of its users are keen to help others. But sometimes messages are posted that are poorly researched, ill-conceived, or downright wrong. Sadly, they can even be misleading and deceptive.
You should not, therefore, rely on information being accurate or complete. If you do, you do so at your own risk. So, please, please take care to check everything out yourself, and be very careful. We would hate to think people were getting money wrong because of this site!
It's important to remember anything on the forum is the opinion of the person posting only. In no way does it reflect MoneySavingExpert's opinions or attitudes.
What do I do if I think someone's giving bad info?
You have a right to respond and explain your point of view. However, please remember to always be courteous, even if you strongly disagree with someone.
Can I complain to email@example.com?
Remember that we don't monitor posts, so please don't expect us to spot bad advice.
The hardworking Forum Team is just that, a Forum Team. Its members aren't investment, tax or money advisers, nor are they experts, so please don't expect them to mediate between users arguing about what is or is not good investment or tax advice. They're not qualified to do it, and they won't.
This holds true even if one side is (or claims to be - we cannot check) an Independent Financial Adviser or other qualified adviser. The Forum Team doesn't have the information, time or skills to interpret any advice given by either side and won't try to do that.
We have a very effective post reporting system, but a post that is just plain wrong isn't reportable, unless it breaches our Terms and Conditions in some other way.
Just because someone says they are a financial adviser, we won't automatically take their word for it; it's simply impossible to police this. This isn't a bias against advisers, simply a practical response to the inability to judge 'good or bad info'. You can see this site's stance on when and how to use a financial adviser in our When To Use An Adviser guide.
For our official info on saving and investing, read the Savings Guides.
What you can't do
This forum isn't a place for what's technically known as "making investment arrangements", so therefore the Financial Conduct Authority's regulation isn't applicable.The site's Terms and Conditions, including these FAQs, comply with FCA guidelines, and specify exactly what they are.
The FCA also has specific guidelines which mean a forum cannot be held responsible for information given by unrelated posters (although there are still the normal legal requirements).
Let's spell that out:
You may NOT use the forum to give investment advice by way of business, make financial promotions or make misleading statements with a view to manipulating market prices.
Why can't I use Tinyurl, etc?
In the past sites such as Tinyurl, Snipurl, Makeashortlink and others have been used to hide referral links, which we don't allow on the forum, so they've been banned.
If you want to shorten a link to post it on the forum, please use the following method:
- Type the text - eg, "MoneySavingExpert" - that you want to display instead of the link.
- Highlight the text with your mouse.
- Click the hyperlink image () at the top of the message.
- A pop-up will appear asking you to enter the link you want this text to link to. Enter the link, and click OK.
- Save your post and you'll see your link is clickable.
Companies posting on the forum
What's a company representative?
We do not allow advertising of any type on the forum. This is against the forum rules (see Why was my post about my company/site/blog deleted?).
If you see something written about your company and would like a right of reply, please see How do I get a right of reply on what's been said about my company?
We also have a very limited number of 'company representatives'; these are checked out and verified spokespeople for specific firms. This status is granted entirely at our discretion, where we've identified it as being in forum users' interests.
Which type of companies are allowed?
We strictly limit it to household names with huge numbers of customers, companies that have been mentioned in the MSE guides, or non-profit agencies we have a relationship with.
Why are company representatives allowed?
The primary aim is to allow reps to help MoneySavers who have issues with the company - providing redress or instruction on how to work with it better. It is not, and must never been seen as, an avenue to sell or promote products.
Company reps allow a company to answer questions on the forum about the company or its services.
We limit the number of reps so we're not swamped, but also when dealing with household names, there is a critical mass of MSE users who are their customers and may want redress.
What are they allowed to post about?
It's a strictly reactive policy. Each company rep is allowed one thread to respond to. If reps are trying to promote their products (or it looks like they've had questions from others drafted to elicit such a response, which is illegal) then please report them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may remove the 'company representative' privilege. An exception to this is the small number of consumer and debt help groups who help answer questions.
How do I spot a company representative?
If they've been given permission to post they'll have a standard username (xx Company Representative) and signature to clarify who they are. This doesn't mean MSE endorses their products or services. See the full list of Large companies with permission to post. Any posts by companies without permission will be removed when reported. Companies posting shouldn't tout for business.
Company reps can't send private messages
Company reps don't have the facility to send or receive PMs (it's switched off).
If company reps need to ask site users for personal details, they can include a special customer service email address in their profile page and refer to the fact it's there in their posts. They're not permitted to post it on the open forum.
This rule prevents companies touting for business through PMs and ensures forum members actively seek out a company’s contact details.
Want to be a company representative?
If you work for a qualifying company and are in a position to represent that firm (we'll require official confirmation) please email email@example.com in the first instance. If appropriate, you'll be forwarded to an internal email address to go through a verification process.
Want to respond to what's written about your company but aren't a company rep?
Please see the How do I get a right of reply on what's been said about my company?
How do I get a right of reply on what's been said about my company?
If you're from a company, have seen a post you feel is misleading or offensive, and would like the right of reply, please email the Forum Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A member of the MSE Team will carry out checks to confirm you are authorised to represent the company in question.
Provided you have the authority, you may either be asked to give a statement, which one of the MSE Team will post on your behalf, or be given permission to post directly on the specific thread.
Where permission has been given for you to post directly on a thread, a note from the MSE Team will appear on the thread confirming this.
If someone has posted claiming to be from a company but this has not been followed by a MSE Team note confirming we've authorised it, please use the warning triangle in the bottom right of the post to report it, or email the link to email@example.com.
There's a single exception to this rule. If you're from a company and have a discount code you'd like to offer MoneySavers, this rule is waived in the Great Want to Offer MoneySavers a Discount? Hunt.
You can post your discount once only, on that thread, but nowhere else on the forum. And you shouldn't post about your company anywhere else on the forum.
Why was my post about my company/site/blog/offer deleted?
MoneySavingExpert.com is a free site - you cannot pay to buy advertising space - one of the reasons why so many people use it! Equally, you're not allowed to advertise any goods, services and/or companies anywhere on the forum, or through private messages, no matter how honourable your intentions.
'Advertising' includes touting for business; asking people to contact you; posting e-mail addresses which indicate a web address; linking to sites or blogs you or friends are involved with (whether you’re selling something or not); or linking to your eBay or other auction sales.
All posts which we consider to be advertising will be removed where reported.
Users are allowed links in profile pages, but please don't mention them in your posts or signature in any way.
If you continue to advertise on the forum, your permission to post on the forum will also be removed, pending investigation and authorisation, but only if appropriate. This includes the Referrers Board.
If you're a company/business and you think you have a genuinely good deal worth letting our site users know about, please email our Deals Team on firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not post it on the forum.
Why have I been banned for "advertising", my username was my website's name?
No-one should use their website's name, web address or email address as their username.
To request a change of username in the event that you have inadvertently broken this rule or to report another user’s username, e-mail email@example.com. When asking for your username to be changed, please give three alternative usernames in order of preference.
You must not allow any other person or entity to use your username for posting or viewing comments or for communicating with other users.
I'm a journalist, I posted asking people to get in touch, but my post's gone. Why?
TV companies, newspapers and researchers are not allowed to post on the forum asking for case studies unless given specific permission. If we allowed this, the forum would be flooded with requests.
If you're a journalist wanting permission/ looking for case studies, please read the media enquiries section of the Site FAQs for the email address relevant to you. A member of the MSE Team will get back to you when they can.
If you're an ordinary forum user wanting to post a survey on our forum, eg a student looking for help with your studies you can post your survey, once only, on our Surveys board.
If you spot a case study request posted by anyone other than an MSE Team member (see Who are the paid MSE Team? for how to recognise them), please click on the red triangle in their post to report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I posted a company director's name and address but it's gone, why?
Forum users should not post their personal details (full names, email addresses, home addresses or telephone numbers) or anyone else's on the forum or send them via private message.
This includes personal details found on public look-up sites such as Whois.com and Companies House.
Posters should also not harvest, collect or use information about others, including e-mail addresses.
I've been told I need to read a code of conduct. Why?
If you're a mortgage booker or travel agent and post on the forum having made this obvious, you'll need to read the special codes of conduct and ensure you use the special signature.
Mortgage adviser code of conduct
Many mortgage brokers and advisers use this forum and voluntarily give up their time to help other MoneySavers. These are professional people who make their living out of mortgage advice, so to ensure there's no conflict of interest, this code of conduct has been drawn up.
- Mortgage advisers are very welcome on the mortgage board and are thanked for the time and effort they put in to help users. This site's view is it's always better to use a good mortgage broker to get a mortgage than go direct to a bank or building society (see the Mortgage Brokers guide).
- Mortgage advisers' signatures. If mortgage brokers want to add a signature about being a broker, it should be:
I am a Mortgage Adviser
You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a mortgage adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
This should be the only text in your signature. There should be no other notes or hyperlinked text. Mortgage advisers who choose not to use the signature should not indicate they are brokers in any other way within their posts.
- Mortgage advisers' profiles
Mortgage brokers may have the name of their business and a single link to their website in their profile pages. But it should not encourage users to contact them (so no "contact me if you've a problem", or even "happy to help").
- Mortgage advisers should not tout for business on the boards or in private messages
There should be no posts or unsolicited PMs offering mortgage adviser services. Nor should advisers ever say "see my profile for who I work for", or make any other such comment.
But if a user requests their services either via a PM or a forum post then we have no objection to that nor the business generated. If someone requests the service by a post on the board, the broker should simply respond to say "I will PM you" rather than posting details there.
- Flouting the rules
Any mortgage adviser found flouting this 'no touting' rule will potentially lose their rights to post on the forum (PPR). This applies whether the adviser is using a signature or not.
- Mortgage advisers should not recommend other advisers
To prevent accusations of reciprocal help or deals, mortgage brokers should not be recommending other specific brokers. If a poster is asking for recommendations, it is best left to non-brokers or they should be referred to the MSE guide.
- Advisers shouldn't reply with 'seek advice' as a standalone answer
To prevent accusations of touting, mortgage advisers should not simply reply with short answers followed by a plug for 'you need to seek advice'. If brokers aren't attempting to genuinely help the user with a specific answer and can't offer one directly, then it's best not to answer at all. There are enough links for info and advice on the forum and the main site for people to seek advice if they need to.
- Non-advisers have valid opinions too
Brokers should remember non-brokers can have valid opinions on mortgages too, and this forum isn't a "broker-only zone". This is an extremely important rule and is detailed in Wrong advice on the forum.
- The site will err on the side of the code following advisers
As advisers obeying the code are under much more stringent rules than normal posters, if brokers are following this code of conduct this site will (resources permitting) be supportive. If posters are trying to stop the flow of information and disrupt it (which includes simply linking to site guides without reason) as opposed to simply disagreeing on info or advice, the Forum Team will err on the side of brokers.
Of course, all users of the forum are subject to the site's terms and conditions. Should anything in this code of conduct conflict with those terms and conditions, the Terms and Conditions shall prevail.
If you feel an adviser is breaking this code, please report it to email@example.com
Travel agent code of conduct
Many travel agents and advisers use this forum and voluntarily give up their time to help other MoneySavers. These are professional people who make their living out of deals, so to ensure there's no conflict of interest, we've drawn up the following code of conduct for agents who post here.
- Please read the MoneySavingExpert.com guides first. Your first port of call for cost-cutting tips should be the Travel Section; including Cheap Flights, Cheap Package Holidays, and Travel Insurance guides and the FlightChecker.
- Travel agents are very welcome on the travel boards and are thanked for the time and effort they put in to help users. It's not this site's policy to allow the boards to be used as a medium for gaining business, information on how to save money is always welcome.
- Travel agents' signatures
If travel agents want to add a signature about being an agent to their post, it should be:
I am a Travel Agent
My company's ATOL/ABTA numbers are xxx. MSE doesn't check my status as a travel agent, so you need to take my word for it. ATOL numbers can be checked with the Civil Aviation Authority. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Travel Agent Code of Conduct.
Please use this exact text and font, colour and display and enter your ATOL/ABTA numbers. The top line should be in Verdana size 3, the rest in Times New Roman size 2. If the system won't let you because of the hyperlink, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain the issue.
This should be the only text in your signature. There should be no other notes or other hyperlinked text. Travel agents who do not use this signature should not be PMing deals or indicating they are a travel agent in any other way in their posts.
- Travel agents' profiles
Travel agents may have the name of their business and a single link to their website in their profiles. However, even within their profile, agents should not be encouraging users to contact them (no "contact me if you've a problem" or "happy to help").
- Travel agents should not tout for business on the boards or in private messages
There should be no posts, or nor any unsolicited PMs offering travel deals. Nor should agents ever say "see my profile for who I work for", or make any other such comment.
However if a user requests their service either via PM or forum post, then we have no objection to that, nor the business generated. If someone requests the service in a post on the board, the agent should simply post to say "I will PM you" rather than posting any details there.
Any travel agent flouting this "no touting" rule will potentially lose their rights to post on the forum (PPR). This applies whether the agent is using a signature or not.
- Travel agents should not recommend other Travel agents
To prevent accusations of reciprocal help or deals, travel agents should not be recommending other agents. If a poster is asking for recommendations, it is best left to non-agents or they should be referred to the MSE guide.
- Non-agents have valid opinions too Travel agents should remember non-agents can have valid opinions on holiday deals too, and this forum isn't a travel agent-only zone.
- Travel agents may not post/sell deals in any way
This site is not a place for travel agents to sell their products, wares, or even services in any way. A special exemption is made in the Beat My Quote thread, but even there it is only by pre-solicited private message. Any travel agents posting in that thread MUST use the travel agents' special signature as above.
- The site will err on the side of the agents following the code
As agents obeying the code are under much more stringent rules than normal posters, if agents are following this code of conduct this site will (resources permitting) be supportive. If posters are trying to stop the flow of information and disrupt it (which includes simply linking to site guides without reason) as opposed to simply disagreeing on info or advice the site Forum Team will err on the side of agents.
Of course all users of the forum are subject to the site's terms and conditions. Should anything in this code of conduct conflict with those terms and conditions, the Terms and Conditions shall prevail.
If you feel an agent (or poster) is breaking this code, please report it to email@example.com
- Mortgage advisers are very welcome on the mortgage board and are thanked for the time and effort they put in to help users. This site's view is it's always better to use a good mortgage broker to get a mortgage than go direct to a bank or building society (see the Mortgage Brokers guide).
Posting on the forum
New to the Forum and want to know how it works?
If you've not yet joined - maybe it looks a little daunting or you don't know where to start - watch our Forum Introduction Guide
What's wrong with going off-topic?
The purpose of this site is to help people save money. So we'd prefer people to keep MoneySaving discussions on the main boards on topic. Taking them off-topic can be confusing for new users, while in discussions linked to from the weekly email, guides, news stories and blogs, it makes it especially difficult for people to find the information they want.
If you've been asked to keep a thread on track but this hasn't happened, off-topic posts may be removed. We encourage community, but not thread derailment. The Forum Team prioritises its time on the MoneySaving boards and not the ones dedicated to off-topic discussion: The MoneySavers' Arms and Discussion Time. For more about these, please read What kind of discussions aren't allowed?
I want to give advice, why can't I?
If you're discussing a topic you have a professional knowledge of you can make that clear, but please don't give "advice". We don't have the resources to check what you say is correct and would hate to hear something had happened to someone reading it.
If you are discussing a field in which you work, make sure you don't tout for business, or mention or refer to your company name/website in any way (See Why was my post about my company/website/blog deleted?)
Equally, this is an open forum, so ordinary forum users should bear in mind anyone can say anything. Just because someone says they're an IFA, broker, electrician, etc and sounds knowledgeable, doesn't mean they ARE one. We obviously can't check that what everyone on the forum says is true. As always, it's essential everyone using the site does their own research.
Skimlinks is software used by websites such as Mumsnet, AVForums, TechRadar and Telegraph.co.uk. Its software turns links to companies Skimlinks has a relationship with, such as Amazon, in some of our forum boards into a tracked link. This marks it as coming from this site.
If Skimlinks receives a lead generation fee, MoneySavingExpert gets a proportion of this. See our Skimlinks factsheet for more details.
Forum posts will remain as they're originally written; we won't be altering the content at all. When you click a link with Skimlinks on you will go to exactly the same place as the original poster intended (so if it's a ballpoint pen on Amazon, it's the same ballpoint pen) — the only difference is it invisibly sends you via a Skimlink so the retailer knows you came from MSE. No personal information which could identify any user is tracked.
Logged-in, registered members have it turned off by default, as we want to give users who already contribute to our forums a choice via their user control panel. We hope they will chose to switch it on as it helps contribute towards the running costs of this free forum.
Visitors to the site (those who aren’t logged in) have Skimlinks turned on by default but can choose to turn it off by registering and logging into the forum.
Why do we use it?
We believe it's a clean way to generate revenue that falls within our ethical stance (see How This Site's Financed). This forum is massive, one of the UK's biggest social networking sites. It has no adverts and nobody can pay to be on the site.
Yet it comes at a large cost, both in terms of servers and staff, who include the Forum Team, specialised forum developers, and our in-house lawyer – a great chunk of whose work is dealing with legal letters arising from posts made by its users, so we can continue to allow people to have their say about issues that involve big companies. Currently the substantial costs are met due to the success of the main site; hopefully adding Skimlinks will allow the forum to cover some of its own costs and expand the team.
Can I post the link to my sponsored run/swim/baked bean bath?
However worthy the cause, unfortunately we can't allow posts asking other site users to sponsor them or to give money to a particular charity other than on the Charities Board. Even on there, posts must obey the following rules:
- Any links must benefit a UK-registered charity. The charity number must be given with a link to its website.
- Any sponsorship links must go via legitimate online sponsorship sources, such as JustGiving. Soliciting for money or sponsorship by any other method isn't permitted, as it would be open to abuse.
- Absolutely no links for personal gain may be posted, even if the money will be split with a charity, or even if you "promise to give all the cash to charity". There's no way to prove this, so it will be deleted.
- No soliciting for money for any individual will be permitted.
- We will err on the side of caution. The last thing we want is someone scamming people there.
Why can’t I copy someone's private message (PM) to me on the forum?
Private messages are private for a reason. Please don't copy them onto the forum.
Why has a link I’ve posted been replaced with www. !!!!!!!!!! .co.uk?
We don't permit advertising on our forum so if we feel company names or websites are mentioned on the forum inappropriately, we may decide to add those names to our filter. The filter automatically replaces all instances of that word with exclamation marks.
Companies please remember: it's now an offence to pose as a satisfied customer on the internet.
Why can't I delete my post? It's the first one in a thread.
The software our forum uses (Vbulletin, for those interested) doesn’t allow a post to be removed if it’s the first in a thread as that would remove the entire thread.
Why's my post count gone down?
Post counts are an indication of how many posts a forum user has made on the site, not of their expertise or that what they say is correct or even true. Your post count's automatically generated every time you post, but it can go down for a number of reasons.
- Your post was deleted.
- A thread you've posted in was deleted.
- The system does a recount.
- We have technical glitches and are upgrading the forum (sadly some things go astray).
- Human error (yes, it happens - shocking we know, but we are human!).
Why has my signature been removed?
You may find your signature's been removed and replaced with a message from the Forum Team. This usually happens for one of two main reasons...
Your signature disrupts the flow of conversations you post in
Signatures are often fun and the team here love seeing those letting everyone know how much you've saved. However, if they take up too much space, have too many bright colours or smilies/moving images, they may be removed as they can make threads harder to read and disrupt the flow of conversations.
Signatures are already limited to a certain number of characters.
You had a link in your signature
The only links permitted in signatures are those of the MSE Team, the Forum Team, Board Guides and links to charity (if they are on the Charity Commission Register of Charities). Members who have been given permission to have a link in their signature are added to the Members allowed signature links list.
Please don't try to subvert this rule by posting non-activated links (where the text is visible but not clickable), half-links to Twitter/Facebook pages, or suggesting a Google search; they'll be removed when reported.
Links are allowed in profile pages but please don't mention them in your signature in any way.
If in doubt, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What kind of discussions aren't allowed?
It goes without saying that this site's about MoneySaving. Certain topics have caused problems for the site in the past, and are either removed completely or limited to one specific discussion thread.
We want you to keep discussing and building the community, but we also want to keep this a friendly site. Potentially volatile subjects have no real place on a MoneySaving forum and often only serve to offend. Please help us to help you.
Illegal/grey area topics
Please don't discuss illegal issues or those that are grey areas in law on this forum.
You may not post or transmit material that infringes the intellectual property rights or other rights of others or post or transmit any material that is unlawful, obscene, libellous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, or embarrassing to any other person as determined by us in our sole discretion; any such posts are removed when reported.These include:
- Tobacco sales
- Breaking copy protection
- Trading registration codes
- Importing medicines
- Console modification (for example Xbox chipping)
- MP3 download sites or other ways to illegally use software of any kind.
In the case of in-car speed camera alert/avoidance devices such as Roadangel, GPS Satellite Navigation and TomTom, feel free to discuss the MoneySaving on purchasing the product but not the legalities.
This is a MoneySaving site. If you have a medical problem, please use NHS Direct or go to your doctor. This forum, and the Health, Beauty and Fashion board in particular, are not the place to discuss it.
The Health board is for discussion of all issues surrounding health, diet, nutrition and how they relate to MoneySaving. Discussing medical insurance policies, cheaper ways to see consultants, cashback for alternative health treatments, how to get specific medication cheaper (legally) are all perfectly acceptable forms of discussion.
It is very specifically and strictly not for the discussion of what to do in the event of certain medical problems. Please do not ask questions about this.
Even though medically-qualified people sometimes visit these forums, we would ask them to refrain from answering specific medical questions. This leaves us open to somebody coming on, pretending to be a doctor when they're not, and giving advice.
Pyramid, lottery-based pyramid, iPod bidding schemes, chain letters, etc
The legality of these schemes is questionable, yet the ethics aren't. These schemes fly in the face of MoneySaving. Whether they're illegal or not, we don't want them on the site. Any scheme that offers a prize, reward or cash for you queuing up and referring other people isn't allowed on this site and will be deleted when reported. Repeated posters will have their posting privileges removed.
What kind of discussions are allowed but with restrictions?
Certain topics must be kept to individual boards, in order to better protect the site. Please help us in this aim by keeping all discussion in the correct boards.
If you want to discuss a subject that's not MoneySaving then there's an area of the Forum set up for it. Read more about the MoneySavers' Arms.
However, non-MoneySaving discussions which are legitimately complained about, such as sensitive racial issues, will be scanned and if considered a threat to the site, will be removed. We can't answer questions asking us why; it's done to protect the site and we don't have the time and resources to justify it.
Certain subjects have caused problems in the past and will be removed where reported. Read more about them in the MoneySavers' Arms.
Discount codes and vouchers
We are happy for forum users to share codes, however they are only allowed on the Discount Codes 'n Vouchers Board. They must be sourced and it must indicate who the code/voucher is targeted at. Any posts not meeting these rules are removed when reported and persistent posters banned from the site. It's only by doing this that we can protect people from legal action or breaching terms and conditions. Please don't private message other people requesting codes.
There are lots of vouchers out there on the web, ready and able to give you discounts. The vouchers and codes in our Shopping Voucher and Supermarket Coupons deals notes have all been checked with the firms concerned.
Codes and discussions that aren't currently permitted, and which are removed when reported include: Sainsbury's, La Redoute and Vertbaudet discount codes. While Pinecone Research discussions and links to their banners on websites have previously been removed, we now have a specific discussion thread linked to from the Boost Your Income guide.
Codes and vouchers form distinct categories:
Open-to-all voucher codes. Often as part of promotions in magazines or websites, there are open-to-all voucher codes. These may be linked to specific promotions, but providing anyone can access them, then they're fine to be published on this board.
Specific individual vouchers. These tend to be just for the recipient to use. Often they're sent in an email. That means they're not transferable; do be careful you are not in breach of terms and conditions. Sometimes it is possible to use these more than once and distribute them to other individuals - but be warned, that is fraud and not condoned or supported by this site. Please do not post such links here.
Trial and error codes. It may also be the case that via trial and error people, discover voucher codes. This is a difficult territory, as it's tough to work out whether these are accessible or not. Always check the terms of a website and be honest. There's nothing wrong with pushing vouchers to their limits, but breaking terms and conditions is not Money Saving.
Due to this, the Discount Vouchers and Codes board has a source convention.
The 'source' convention: When you post codes, each and every time you must note the source of these codes and the fact that they can be used by everyone. If they can't be used by everyone, but just a closed user group (unless that's a large group such as NHS workers or teachers - in which case, state this explicitly) then don't post them.
If someone's posted a code but not put the source, please do not use it. You could be committing fraud. Firms are becoming more sensitive to misuse of their vouchers.
The best thing to do is question the poster over the code's source. If no reasoned answer is forthcoming, either ignore the post, or better still, report it to the Forum Team at email@example.com.
Why do some forum boards have their own rules?
Certain boards need their own guidelines, so everyone's treated in a way that keeps the forum friendly and pleasant to use. Some boards, which have little or no relation to MoneySaving and often get heated, aren't accessible unless you're registered and logged into the forum. Here's a breakdown of boards with their own special rules:
The Benefits Board is here for help and support for those on or looking to claim benefits. It's not for judgement or debate about those rules.
Many vulnerable people post on the board. Our priority is to protect them rather than to assume they are benefit fraudsters.
So what do I do if I think someone's advocating fraud?
If you feel someone's posted something inappropriate, illegal or incitement to breach benefit rules, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org without replying on the thread. The Forum Team will deal with it.
Of course we all know the benefits system is a mess...
Whatever your political persuasion, we're all aware the benefits system is a mess. Whether it's the malpayments of tax credits on one hand, benefit fraud on the other hand, or simply the fact that sometimes it doesn't pay to work - everyone has their grumble.... but this board is here to help people with their money.
It's here to help people find out what they are entitled to under the current system, and to help them get it. Benefits do provide a lifeline for many. This site is here to help people with their money, and not to judge. Of course, how to illegally defraud the benefits system shouldn't be discussed here, but ensuring you're getting your entitlement is exactly what it's about.Want to discuss the benefits system? Go to the Discussion Time Board
If you want to discuss the benefits system itself and issues around it, the appropriate place is the Discussion Time Board. Even there, please remember to be courteous and not to make it personal about anyone. This site's prime purpose is to help people with their money and we will always act to protect that.
If it isn't honest, or is defrauding the state, then it isn't welcome. If it is within the rules, then we're more than happy to stick with the rules set by the state and help people claim it.How to get the benefits rules changed?
At the next election please, vote for the party offering the tax and benefits views you most approve of. When they change the law, the acceptability criteria on this site will be changed commensurately.
Please also see the Disability and Dosh board.
Debt Free Wannabe
Debt Free Wannabe is one of my favourite boards on this site, but there's a delicate balance. Many people with serious debts have hidden them for some time, been scared to confront them, suffered depression or have even had suicidal thoughts because of them. While elsewhere on the site robust discussion is welcomed, in Debt Free Wannabe (and the Benefits and Disability & Dosh Boards), may I politely ask MoneySavers to err on the side of kindness.
Of course many are in debt due to over-spending, financial illiteracy, or mismanagement of money (and some through no fault of their own, just due to change of circumstance). Yet the fact they are here means they're looking for help, guidance and to take charge of their finances - and that in itself is admirable.
Please use your knowledge and kindness to help them rather than to berate or judge. This board often moves me to tears with the sheer power of the community that's grown and I hope it will continue. If you feel it's important to point something out that the poster may find negative but needs to understand, then it's not a problem, but do think carefully about your phrasing - people can be very sensitive and nuances may mislead when it's in an online forum.
I love this forum. Many have used it to work through their debts. Yet as it gets larger it's easy for the 'anonymity' of posting to mean as well as protecting users, it's easy to 'post and leave'. I hope this note may act as a wee reminder what it's all about.
The Referrers Board is a concession to referrals. While the posters on this board may be genuine, we do not have the time or resources to regulate them.
Anyone taking up a referral on this board is doing so at their own risk.
Many companies offer refer a friend bonuses or cash. There are also network marketing companies like Utility Warehouse that do the same thing.
People use these boards to get referrals. We have no problem with that, providing these are the best deals, as they save people money. The board is not for advertising goods/services/companies.
Yet there is a risk that it biases information - this is why we set up the board. That way MoneySavers can make sure they benefit each other and everyone saves. Yet there are some rules:
- If you get a referral benefit - you must declare it. If possible, indicate how you gain.
- If another way is cheaper, try to let everyone know.
If it's cheaper for someone to sign up without the referral please note this so people have the choice. If you don't note it, other MoneySavers will certainly and rightly post it - so play fair to begin with.
- For those signing up, remember the person posting stands to gain. This doesn't make it bad - but it does make it worth double-checking.
Always remember before signing up - the fact it is here doesn't mean it is the best deal. Always check out the rest of the site to ensure it is the right thing to do.
- First come, first served.
Please check to see if someone else has referred the same thing. If they have, post an 'I also do this' on the same thread. Don't start a new thread. This way users have the choice.
- Any referrals on any other forum boards will be removed when reported, as will links to the Referrers Board from the main MoneySaving boards.
This also includes members saying "Please PM me for the code" or "check my post on the Referrers Board". The overriding rule is that no advertising is allowed.
- Please donate to charity.
If you make large gains from referring here, donating 10% of the profits to the site's charities (see the MSE Charity Fund guide for a list of them) would be more than welcome.
- No illegal goods whatsoever on the site.
We class an affiliate as any link where a third party that pays a referral commission is involved. Examples of these are TradeDoubler and AffiliateFuture. For a link to be placed on the Referrers Board, it must be a direct link to the source and follow the referral guidelines. If a link uses an affiliate middleman before landing on the source page, this will be removed where reported.
- General anti-abuse rule.
These rules are for guidance. Anyone spamming will be removed and have posts removed. The Referrers Board is a nice idea to allow MoneySavers to help each other out, yet if people take the mickey out of such a privilege, then the board will be removed.
- What if I want to tell people or join in debate about the subject on other boards in this forum?
You can post in a discussion, but leave the referral out (remember most sites would simply ban all affiliate links!)
Matched Betting Board
The Matched Betting Board is for posts that are RISK FREE. Matched betting makes use of bookmakers’ free bet offers to gain a risk-free qualifying bet by making two bets where the odds cancel each other out so that you make a profit regardless of outcome.
This is complicated, and posts by themselves should never be relied on. You agree to do your own research, independently check, double and triple-check every detail and take every precaution to ensure a matched betting offer you take up is appropriate for you and risk-free.
Posting gambling offers is prohibited, and you may be barred if you repeatedly do it. When you sign up, you agree posting about gambling offers on the forum is strictly against the rules. If you breach those rules, the Forum Team may withdraw your permission to post.
Posts may be hidden without notice. If long-established users of this board collectively feel a post is risky, they can hide it for the Forum Team to review. The team will err on the side of caution, so if it looks or feels risky it won’t come back.
Posts on this board do not reflect MSE’s view. They are user-generated, posts are written by the general public, not MSE, so are not necessarily the viewpoint of MoneySavingExpert.com.DO NOT RELY ON THE INFO ON THIS BOARD.
Use it as a starting point for your own investigations, and do the research to assure yourself it is safe.
It was a tough decision whether to allow this board or not, but done correctly, if it's a loophole in companies' policies that works, then it is MoneySaving. Yet gambling itself isn't and shouldn't be encouraged. Don't be fooled into thinking that gambling works; you'll end up losing cash.
If this board starts to drift down that road, we will close it.
For more info about the dangers of gambling, go to Gamblers Anonymous.IF YOU'RE IN DOUBT THAT A MATCHED BETTING OFFER DEAL WILL WORK FOR YOU - DON'T DO IT!
To be very clear:
- Discussions of gambling are not permitted on MoneySavingExpert.com.
- Discussions of using matched betting and cashback deals to make no-risk use of gambling sites are permitted
- Like stoozing; matched betting is only for people who spend time and effort to research, and are sophisticated enough in their understanding to make sure it happens
- This is an open forum. We cannot control the content, and people can spam, or break the rules without being noticed. We do not moderate. If you see anyone promoting straight gambling please report it to email@example.com
- Be careful. Ensure you understand the repercussions of what you are doing before doing it. If there is any risk of losing cash - no matter how small - do not do it. That is gambling.
Debate House Prices
We set up the Debate House Prices, the Economy & Recession board at the request of users. Originally, these topics were discussed on the House Buying, Renting and Selling board, but we wanted to allow that board to concentrate on its practical focus.
We want to allow this board to continue, with intelligent, considered views of the economic climate, house prices, and similar. It is not a political board, nor a free speech forum. If you want that, you need to use a different site. We're a Money Saving site, that is our priority and any deliberate stretching and changing of remits again and again isn't helpful or pleasant.
In the past the Forum Team has had to deal with posts and threads which at best stand on the borderline of bad taste, and at worst charge headlong into issues of racism, immigration and xenophobia.
Clearly we cannot and will not allow this; it puts a huge strain on our resources. As this is a discussion board, not a core MoneySaving board, we don't prioritise our resources here. So the following apply:
- This board can't be seen by guests. Only people registered and logged into the Forum can see it.
- Individual posters who push towards debates against this policy will be banned.
- If the Forum Team's resources continue to be taken up with this board it will be moved away from the MoneySaving boards into the MoneySavers' Arms area. If things get worse, the board will be removed completely.
- If the reaction is to take these discussions elsewhere on the site to circumvent these rules, then we will instantly delete the threads and remove people's posting privileges.
- These rules are followed to the spirit, not the letter, so any "getarounds" such as dressing up discussions as MoneySaving will be ignored.
The MoneySavers Arms is a special area of the forum set up for any off-topic, non-MoneySaving discussions. The area includes two boards; one for fun chat, the other for more serious discussions:
- The MoneySavers Arms has been set up for fun, more light-hearted chat (remember this is a family forum, so please keep it clean).
- Discussion Time is for discussion of current affairs and issues. It's only viewable if you're registered and logged into the forum.
The non-MoneySaving boards are add-ons. They're here for fun, and to build the community. They account for a very small number of our users, but they're a huge drain on our rescourses, often accounting for half of the reports to the Forum Team.
MoneySavers Arms and Discussion Time are not priority boards. They don't help people save money, and so the resources can't be spent on them. We won't justify deleting posts and cannot explain every decision. This isn't a democracy or a free speech site. We couldn't afford the legal bills if they were. The forum already costs over a six-figure sum each year to run. You don't pay to use the site and we never want to charge.
So for this area, the Forum Team has the following remit: "We can't afford to spend too much time on these. If you have to delete or lock threads on a cursory glance, and focus resources on MoneySaving boards, which provide benefit to many more people and life-changing information, then so be it."
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WON'T ALWAYS AGREE
Please behave like adults on these boards. Not everyone will get on, but this is an open site; please don't hurt it by taking up our time dealing with your posts.
Please be careful. If your posting privileges are removed, it will be final, for both your main username and any others you may have. See What's "PPR" under some people's usernames? for the reasons you may have been banned.
We will not engage in discussion about this. You will be told via an email, then the correspondence will end.
What is acceptable language on the forum? We will follow the BBC's guidelines for pre-watershed language, as indicated on the BBC website.Is this a 'free speech' forum?
No. This isn't a 'free speech' forum. It's important the main purpose of the site is protected, and having a 'say anything' forum does the opposite. There are plenty of other sites with those type of forums available, so if you want hotly contentious debate, we'd prefer you do it there.So what are the limits?
The basic rules are keep it courteous, don't stray too far into counter cultural or near the knuckle territory. The aim is for fun, friendly debate, that doesn't offend others.
In the past the Discussion Time board has become heated and upset people with some polemic debate. This takes too much of our resources away from the core MoneySaving part of the site, therefore quite simply if there are problems in Discussion Time the whole thread will just be deleted to save time, regardless of the issues/opinions being discussed.
It's important to note, correspondence won't be entered into regarding the decision made, again as a resource issue. Also, the decision won't simply be on a 'one post' basis, it will be the overall generality of 'strife' caused. While the aim is that this applies in the MoneySavers' Arms/Discussion Time, if it simply moves elsewhere on the forum, or via PM, the same stance will apply there.Banned Discussion Topics:
Several topics on here have constantly ended in argument and taken up Forum Team and MSE Team time so will be removed automatically without question if they're reported. If you want to discuss these there are many free speech forums that allow people to voice their views. This isn't one of them.
Subjects that are removed when reported to the Forum Team include Madeleine McCann and contentious religious issues.
The board's here for MoneySavers using those articles to give each other further help, support and suggestions on how to get the best out of buying or selling on eBay or other internet auction sites.
If you discuss sales or purchases on this board never post personal details about them nor mention sellers' or buyers' real names.
Please don't use this board to sort issues with the other party
This board isn't the place to name names or continue eBay disputes. eBay has its own resolution service for that and we'd prefer it's kept off this forum. If you feel someone's done this report it to firstname.lastname@example.org without replying on the thread, and the Forum Team will deal with the post.
- If you get a referral benefit - you must declare it. If possible, indicate how you gain.
What are the rules on copyright?
We ask forum users not to copy long text from other publications/websites as it may breach their copyright. If you want to let people know about something you saw or read elsewhere please use short quotes and state where you got them from, preferably by giving a link to the article.
In terms of our copyright, you can post things you've posted here, on other sites, but not posts by other forum users.
Can we "bump" threads?
For those that don't know, "bumping" is where a forum user who hasn't received a reply to a question comes back and replies on the thread to "bump" the thread back to the first page of the board it's on, making it more prominent.
No, we'd rather people don't do this as it annoys others. Questions are sometimes not answered because the information is easily found elsewhere on the site and forum. If your question's not been answered try searching the MoneySavingExpert.com main site then the forum.
Why can't we post on very old threads?
Threads that haven't been posted on for some time, so are usually out of date are now automatically locked. We did this as people and spambots were posting on old discussions to build up their postcount.
Why do I have an "I'm a Newbie" note under my username?
Forum users who've been registered for less than a certain number of days with less than a certain number of posts have this under their username when they post. We hope it helps other, more regular forum users be more tolerant of new users who may ask questions that seem obvious to them.
New forum users can't initially post links. This is to help deter spammers advertising on our forum. The point at which forum users will be able to post links is "top secret" for the same reason
To learn more about how to use our Forum watch our Forum Introduction Guide.
Why are there non-MoneySaving posts on some forum boards?
Some MoneySaving boards, e.g. Marriages, Relationships & Families and Old Style etc have evolved over recent years to become more than just about MoneySaving. We want people to use the site to help them save money and if discussing other issues not strictly related to it also help them then we're happy with that. As long as these discussions/questions don't break our rules we're happy for them to stay.
I've announced on the forum I'm leaving. Why was my post removed?
Some regular forum users who decide to stop using the forum sometimes post to announce it. The decision to leave is up to forum users. However, announcing it in this way sometimes starts campaigns by others to "keep them" with people contacting the MSE Team to ask us to help. We can't respond to campaigns like this - the site's far too big for that now and we need to focus our resources on saving people money.
So please don't start such threads and, if someone does, please ignore it. By commenting you perpetuate the problem and cause us more work.
How can I change my username?
In most circumstances, this is not permitted.
The only reason we will change your username is if it puts your privacy at risk. This usually means you've inadvertently registered using your name, email address or something that gives away your identity within your username.
If you fall into this category, email email@example.com and request that it is changed, giving three alternative usernames in order of preference.
How can I delete my username and posts?
We do not remove usernames or past posts. It disrupts the history of the forum for all users.
If you don't want to post on the forum any more, simply stop posting. No one else will use that account. However, if there are specific posts of yours which cause you concern email firstname.lastname@example.org for help. Remember you are able to delete your own posts.
When something's asked on the Site Feedback board, will the MSE Team reply?
We keep a regular eye on the Site Feedback board and do discuss issues mentioned there behind the scenes. In the past due to lack of time we’ve not always replied to posts made there, but just focused on dealing with them as soon as we could. We're now trying to post on there more often to let you know what’s going on and hopefully it's helping.
We won't generally respond, though, if we feel comments made are purely trying to engage us in an argument.
Why can't we have a discussion sub-board for the Benefits Board?
How do I get a picture under my username?
Your avatar (the small picture under your username) can be added by going into your User CP (click the link in the top left of your screen when you're on the forum), clicking "Edit Avatar" under "Settings & Options", then following the instructions.
Please make sure your avatar (and any images in your posts) don't contain any flashing images, aren't copyrighted, rude or likely to offend in any way, or contain references to your company (see Why can't I link to my site/blog?). Any avatars or images that do will be removed when reported.
To learn more about how to use our Forum watch our Forum Introduction Guide.
Why can't I email Martin?
Martin receives thousands of emails a day so unfortunately he can’t reply to individual questions.
Why does Martin wear those stripy shirts?
See Martin's It's official, Stripey shirts are fashionable blog.