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WEEKLY EMAIL 03/02/2010

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Weekly Email
Archive
This email was sent
03rd Feb 2010
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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."

Bank charges reclaiming's back Extra £20 off BA / Virgin
Totally free top MP3 albums 15 mth 0% bal. transfer
Valentine's roses delivered £19, £10 family footie tix, £10-off Tesco code, Tax Credit warning

Scamnesty - stop, think and think again!
Scams no longer target just the easily duped - beware

The OFT and Trading Standards have launched 'Scams Awareness Month' and want you to submit scam letters, emails, texts or websites via the Scamnesty website. Yet the key is never get caught out - follow these quick hit tips...

  • Free anti-virus software. Web viruses don't just smash your computer, they can covertly help steal money or even use PCs to commit crime. Solve this with anti-virus software - you can get legal, professional versions without paying; see Free Anti-Virus Software.

  • Become link aware: Where does the link www.bbc.co.uk take you? To find out easily hover your mouse over it and read what it says at the bottom of the screen - though even that's foolable. For more like this see Martin's Spam Spotter Rules blog.

  • Stop the junk. While not always scams, junk mail, calls & emails can be annoying! You can stop legal junk mail in minutes. Though occasionally it'll contain a cracking offer, so stopping it may not be MoneySaving!

  • If they call you - BEWARE! If anyone calls claiming to be from a bank, insurer etc, NEVER give personal or password details. Simply say you'll call them back, but find the number independently.

  • Don't be a Phisher-man's friend! 73% of adults received scam emails in the last year such as. 'your bank security is broken, click here' or 'we need your help to retrieve funds' or even about a tax refund 'from HMRC'. Beware; see the Phishing Scams guide.

  • If you get stung, get help: If a scam's caught you out, don't be embarrassed, speak to Consumer Direct (Tel 08454 04 05 06) or Victim Support (Tel 0845 30 30 900, Scotland 0845 603 9213). Every year 3 mil+ people fall for a scam but only 5% report it!

And think Jessica. Also visit ThinkJessica, a wonderful site which shows how some elderly people can become serious victims of scam mail, even trusting it more than their families! Worth a look, and I'm proud, amongst others, it's supported by the MSE Charity.

LATEST MONEYSAVING NEWS
>
Warning! Check your tax code after
HMRC blunder
> BT cuts 'free' evening calls by one
hour
> Is British Gas planning a price cut?
> Time to bin old tax records
> Beat car & home insurance cost
spike
This week's full MSE News list



TOP 5 GUIDES
Week of Tue 26 Jan- Mon 1 Feb '10
(Last week's position)

1. Hotel Sales (2)
2. Top Savings Accounts (3)
3. Amazon 75% Off Deals (1)
4. Top Cash ISAs (New)
5. Best Balance Transfers (New)

The above excludes daily deals notes
[[tip_box_in_tip]]

The Ones Not To Miss

Bank Charges Reclaim £1,000s. Major new guide, part 1
Full step-by-step info on who can reclaim & how, including new free template letters
Rumours of bank charges reclaiming's death have been exaggerated. The shock Nov '09 Supreme Court ruling dealt a huge blow, yet some can still reclaim years worth of charges for going beyond overdrafts, bouncing cheques & direct debits, adding to the £1bn already paid out. Who can reclaim? For those in hardship, there’s a no cost, risk-free process which has already had successes. Banks are obliged to treat customers fairly and stay within the law and the Ombudsman can rule against them if they don't. Who's this guide for? If you want to start a reclaim, or have been on hold at the bank or the Ombudsman, it's for you. Court claims? If you're on hold at court, or don't fulfill hardship criteria (read the guide to check), it's more complex. We're now working on part II which will cover that - updates via this email. Full new guide & template letters: Bank Charges Reclaiming Other reclaiming guides: PPI, Credit Cards, Council Tax, Mortgage fees

Bank charges: new guide

Totally free album downloads inc. Leona, JLS, MGMT etc. (from Wed 1pm)
Tunechecker.com's blagged a Tunetribe code for free albums. 10,000 avail, first come first served
Inc. many current top 40 albums & artists like Pink, Wham, Kings of Leon; full info TuneChecker.com: Free MP3s

Code for extra £20 off BA & Virgin Sales
Book flights totalling £200+ via broker Opodo, and there's a code for £20 extra off (includes the sales)
Opodo includes most flights, even current sales, eg. New York £298 rtn, Bermuda £410 rtn. Full info in the Forum Note: £20 flights code

New Top 0% for 15mth (2.9% fee) Balance Transfer Card
New top deal for shifting debts - best buy for those who already have an MBNA card
Balance transfer competition's finally hotting up. For over two years the top deal's been Virgin's* 16 month 0% with a fee of 2.98% of the amount transferred (18.6% APR after) yet... The Problem: Only new cardholders get that offer, and it's been best-buy so long many already have it or a sister card from the MBNA family. New Top Deal: Now new Barclaycard* Plat cardholders can get an only marginally shorter 15 month 0% with a 2.9% fee (15.9% APR after). Unlike similar deals from HSBC*, NatWest* or RBS* (up to 16.9% after) you don't need to already have its bank account to get it; and it's a lower fee than the Santander's 0% for 15mths deal (3% fee, 15.9% APR). Can you repay quicker? If so, you can lower the fee. Current account holders at Santander can get its 0% for 12 months fees-free with its Zero card or there are two Barclaycard options: its Gold* card is 0% for 12mths with a 2.5% fee, the Flexi-rate is 9mths 0% with 1.7% fee (up to 19.9% APR after). FULL info pros, cons and what to do if you need LONGER to repay in the Updated Guide: Best Balance Transfers Related Guides: 0% For 12 Mnths Spending, 7.8% Loans

Cheapest delivered Valentine's roses £19
A dozen red roses couriered to your sweetheart's door on Valentine's day from M&S for £19.50
Asda is slighty cheaper at £19 but only delivers on the Saturday. See the Daily Deals List: Valentine's Flowers

Tax Credits Warning! Tell 'em now if anything's changed
Avoid overpayment hell! Half way through tax credit year; if owt's changed tell 'em, tell 'em, tell 'em
Getting 'too much' tax credit sounds good, but it's a nightmare. The Government will ask for the money back and you must repay it, even if you've spent it - causing hell for many. How to avoid overpayments: If you get tax credits, while renewal is due on 31 July, don't wait. If ANYTHING's changed call 0845 300 3900 and tell 'em. You're obliged to call if you move in with someone, or your hours, work or childcare costs go down - but also let them know if they go up, you move house, or if your pay, bank account or phone number changes. Tell 'em and it's HMRC's problem: It should alter what you're paid, possibly giving you more. Yet crucially if you're due less and HMRC fails to reduce your payments, you won't have to repay it. To be extra sure, note down and keep safe the time & date of your call, who you spoke to, and what you said in case of dispute. Step-by-step info inc. whether you're eligible for credits in the Full guide: Tax Credits & Overpayments Related: Benefit Check-up, Childcare Costs

Tesco codes: £10 off £50 groceries or 500 points (worth c. £20) with £50 wine
Use the shopping code if you're new to either its online delivery or separate wine store...
Simply enter the codes when you spend to get the discount. Full details in the Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers

[[tip_box_in_tip]]

ASK & Prezzo 2for1s, La Tasca 50% off
New Restaurant Vouchers! Also Cafe Rouge 2for1 for £1 & GBK 2 burgers 'n' fries for £12
Joins Zizzi 2 courses for £10, Toby Carvery £5 roast & dessert and Bella Italia kids eat free in the Daily Deals List: Restaurant Vouchers

"£448 reclaimed from my energy bill plus £300 saved a year"
Following our gas & elec overcharging update - successes are flooding in

We received a message from Neegal two weeks ago which says it all. Energy Cash Reclaimed: "Ta for the info on energy suppliers in this week's email. I was seriously in credit. Since contacting them yesterday I've got refunds of £338 coming back to me from British Gas & over £100 from npower. The two companies were lovely and actioned the refunds straight away, mind you it was my money" To do it yourself read the Energy Direct Debit Overcharging guide. £300 cheaper energy. He then continues: "I also went through MSE's links to the comparison sites, to get the extra cashback and am now a further £300 a year better off, plus the £35 in vouchers." The links he's talking about are the... Top Pick Comparison: Energyhelpline* pays £15 cashback per switch. Dual Fuel: Either Moneysupermarket* gives £30 cashback, Uswitch* free case of wine or SimplySwitch* £35 in Amazon vouchers. For FULL info see the Updated Guide: Switch Gas & Elec Related: Cheap Boiler Cover, Grant Grabbing

£700 saved

Free personalised Valentine's photo card (50p p&p)
Send a pic of you, your children or even puppies (yuck bit too soppy) on a greetings card
Upload a photo, write a message & order online by Sun 7 Feb. See the Forum Note: Free Valentine's Card

Fight Unfair Parking Tickets and Clamping
Government to clamp down on cowboy clampers from 2011, yet you can fight
The Govt's just launched plans for an independent body to hear appeals against private clamping firms with power to order compensation payouts (see Clamping clampdown news). It's about time, we've been campaigning on this for a while, though it still needs to get through parliament and won't start till next year. Fight unfair tickets / clamping now: If you disagree with why you were ticketed, how you deal with it depends on whether it's a ticket from the police or council, or from a private parking company. Whichever always take photos and gather evidence on the spot. Council Tickets: You've a right to appeal, and 70% of motorists who take it all the way WIN. Step-by-step help in the Council Parking Appeals guide. Private Tickets: Think it's unfair? Don't pay! Legally, it's just an invoice so dispute it. If they contact you write back explaining why you think it's unfair. Their only way to force you is to take the time and cost of going to court. It's more difficult if you're clamped though, as your car's effectively held hostage until you pay. Step-by-step help in the Private Parking Reclaiming guide.

Urgent! £9.50-£29.50 family footie tickets, worth up to £80
The £9.50 gets tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids to go to Coca-Cola League matches
Collect 4 tokens from the Sun (20p) from today Wed until Sat. Full info in the Daily Deals List: Cheap Days Out

Are cash ISAs still worth it? Rates diving
Cash ISA interest has plummeted below taxed equivalents, but shift to the top deals and it's still worth it
Every tax year you can put £3,600 (£5,100 for over 50s) in a tax free savings account called a cash ISA. Yet lenders have been smacking rates down, knowing most people won't switch. Is it nisa in an isa? Thankfully, our research shows for taxpayers the best cash ISAs still pay more or equal to the top savings (see ISAs vs savings analysis). Plus they're future proofed too as once cash is in an ISA it's tax-free year after year. Top ISAs (3.6% max): Standard Life's cash ISA pays a 2.65% easy access; Manchester BS & Newcastle BS pay around 3% but you need give notice to withdraw and they include 1% intro bonuses. If you've over £9,000 of old ISAs, Santander* lets you transfer them to 3% easy access. Top Fix: Put money away for a year and Aldermore's ISAs pay 3.05% or 3.6% for 2yrs. Top Savings (4.25% pre tax max): Coventry BS pays 3.15% easy access (min £1,000) though only allows 4 free withdrawals a year, alternatively Scottish Widows is 3.01% unlimited withdrawals. Top Fix: Lock cash away and you can fix for a year at 3.65% with First Save or 2yrs at 4.25% with ICICI* Safety: All these accounts have the full UK up to £50,000 per person guarantees. Full info, more best buys, pros & cons in the Full Guides: Cash ISAs, Top Savings, ISA Transfers, Safe Savings

Free MSE Wallet-Sized Consumer Rights Mini-Guide
Christmas buys gone wrong? Never return goods unarmed, this ensures you always know your rights
It was for Christmas, now it's for all year round. Print & put in your purse. Free Guide: Consumer Rights Wallet Weapon

MoneySaving LIVE! Video of the Week. Martin's 1-man show
Watch again! Theatre recorded MoneySaving DVD FREE online...
Just over a year ago, Martin did an unscripted 90 min live MoneySaving show in a central London theatre, filmed as a DVD giveaway for the News Of The World. With the paper's permission, you can now watch it for free online. What's in it? Think performance not lecture, a fast paced (surely not!) exposé of how to think about money and pump yourself up ready to save serious cash. Then onto the 400 strong audience testing Martin's mettle with a full Q&A. Watch the video: Martin Lewis' MoneySaving Live! Related: Full Money Makeover, Budget Planner

Video of the week: watch moneysaving live for free

Premium Bond Calculator Feb. odds update. Check your new chances in the Premium Bonds Probability Calculator


[[tip_box_in_tip]]

Big & Easy Ways To Save
Quick links or click the titles for full pros, cons, alternatives & more savings

More MoneySaving

Major New Car Insurer - AXA targets experienced drivers
Launched this week, research shows it may be cheapest if you've been driving 8 years and haven't claimed

Household name AXA Insurance has in the past sold its car insurance via brokers; now it'slaunched a new direct car insurance brand. Is it any good? It's aimed at experienced drivers and will give no claims bonuses of up to 90%; provisional research shows it can be in the top three for those in its chosen group. First compare it. It's already included in the comparison services, so you can see its price compared to others; our two top pick comparisons for range are GoCompare* and Moneysupermarket* (use both for a wider spread). Then check for cashback: Find the cheapest then see if you can get cashback, either from cashback comparisons Beat That Quote* or MoneyExpert* or even more from cashback websites. For step-by-step info and tips see the Full Guide: Cheap Car Insurance Related: Home, Van, Bike, Travel

Great 'Fave Off Beat Comparison Sites' Hunt
Every time you switch the TV on there are tonnes of ads for big comparison sites, boasting quotes for 100s of companies. What we'd like to know about are the lesser known sites that compare more unusual things like gig tickets and ferry trips. Add your ideas/read other peoples': Great 'Fave off beat comparison sites' Hunt Past Great Hunts: View all

Free Book Giveaway: The Economical Environmentalist
10 copies bagged for MoneySavers wanting to find out the cost of cutting their carbon emissions. Want one?

Reminder. MoneySavingExpert Job Opportunities. Junior IT Technician and Web Developer. See the Forum Note: Job Opportunities

Have your say on the 'Future of Banking Commission' As part of its major 'Future of Banking Commission', Which? wants people to give their views - plus you can still attend its 4 Feb London debate. See the Forum Note: Future of Banking

FlightSale

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT:
Airline:
Ryanair Price: 30% off fares (from £5 e/w) Ends: 4 Feb
Our pick this week is the Ryanair 30% off sale: On until midnight Thurs 4 Feb, it includes some taxes & charges. It's for Tues 16 Feb-Wed 31 Mar flights to a range of European destinations from many UK airports. To find them quickly use the FlightChecker. 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

Quick Forum Tips
Tips, Tricks and Treats
Great 'What I wish I'd known before I bought my first home' Hunt Result
Last week we asked MoneySaving homeowners' pointers for people buying their first abode. There were some fab suggestions, including go low on the offer, location location location and mortgage & solicitors
Board Of The Week
BOARD OF THE WEEK: Green and Ethical MoneySaving
Great to save energy AND money
We're becoming more and more conscious of preserving the environment and saving energy. The Green and Ethical MoneySaving board is full of great advice for you to do your bit for the environment, without it costing a lot! Recent discussions include green or recycled gift wrap, do you freecycle? and natural hair dye
Are you a millionaire? This week's poll
Vote
and Millionwhere? discussion.

Self-employed worst hit by recession. 16,216 voted.
59% of self-employed voters saw their earnings fall in 2009, while 53% of public sector workers saw wages rise. In the private sector, 54% had their pay frozen, while 32% got a payrise. And sadly, 7% of voters lost their job in 2009. See Recessed? poll results

Archna's Free Game of the Week!
Get rid of the blobs! Gluey

Plucking fantastic video! That's it for this week, but I was blown away by this video of a guitar being turned into a one-man beat box band. Guitar drifting

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q. Now we're officially out of the
recession, what impact will it have on the Bank of England base rate and how quickly is this likely to happen? I've read other websites on this but they're
just full of jargon.
Jane, Coventry

Martin's A: I don't know the answer, and anyone who tells you they know what'll happen is lying.

However, let me lay out some simple principles. Increasing interest rates means people are more likely to save and less likely to borrow - therefore it's done to stop people spending. You generally do this if you're worried about inflation (prices rising quickly) and an overheating economy.

Our economy is only growing at a paltry 0.1% so that by itself is unlikely to mean rates will rise yet; however inflation's jumped up and the Bank of England's tasked with controlling it – which increases the likelihood of rates rising at some point. Yet it's still very early days,at a GUESS, I'd say no rate rises in the next few months at least, but you never know.

Discuss: Will the B of E base rate
be affected by the recession?

Suggest: A question of the week
(big general issues not personal q's pls)


Andrea's Freebies
Full compendium
Freebies, Freebies, Freebies
New this week

Pampers underjams

BBQ smoking pellets
Welsh lessons
Baby directory
Energy saving lightbulb


Martin's Stuff
This week's blogs (See All)
Find Martin on facebook!Join Martin on facebook!

"Why don't I do TV money
makeovers on those in horrible
debt?"

"New Record: Over 9.5m people
visited MoneySavingExpert.com in
January"


"50 words, three party leaders,
goosebumps, but no press
coverage"


"Is an army of savvy consumers
killing off retail therapy?"


Appearances
Weds 3 - Tues 9 Feb


Thurs
GMTV, ITV1, 8:35-9:25am
Deals of the Week

Tues
GMTV, ITV1, 7:20-9:25am
Valentine's Special

Martin's Appearances

Explanation of * Links

FSA NOTE: Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances require FSA authorisation. For this reason, Martin Lewis of Shepherd's Studios, Rockley Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W14 0EH is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

How this site is financed. Any links with a * by them are affiliated. That means go via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay ad-free and 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) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in exactly the same way. As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for the same things: virginmoney.com, hsbc.co.uk, barclaycard.co.uk, natwest.com, rbs.co.uk, energyhelpline.com, moneysupermarket.com, uswitch.com, moneysupermarket.com, energyhelpline.com, simplyswitch.com, santander-products.co.uk, icicibank.co.uk, comparethemarket.com, confused.com, plus.net, homephonechoices.com, beatthatquote.com, moneyexpert.com. Read more about this in how this site is financed.

MoneySavingExpert.com is the free to use Consumer Revenge website focused on how to save you cash. It's owned, and run by ultra-focused journalist and bestselling author Martin Lewis. On TV amongst other things Martin is GMTV's Money SavingExpert and presents money programmes for ITV1 Tonight. On Radio Martin has regular slots on Radio 2 Vine and Radio 1 Whiley. He's also a columnist for amongst others the News of The World, The Telegraph and the Sunday Post. Find out more: About the site and its funding.

Disclaimer: This e-mail is based on journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to your own specific circumstances. All tips are followed at your own risk and should be followed up with your own research Full Terms & Conditions.

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