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Weekly Email
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08th Mar 2017
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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"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 12m who get it each week."

08 March 2017
PPI reclaiming deadline: Martin's 5 must-knows
Cheapest b'band & line this year: £5/mth
Free £160 WITHOUT switching bank
Get PAID to stop paying card interest
20,000+ FREE Ideal Home Show tix
Interest-free iPhones, iPads & Macs
Free wills for over-55s
BT broadband user? Hot Sim deal
Virgin Trains sale, eg, £20 Ldn-Manc rtn
M&S up to 50% off sale
News. E.on price hike - act NOW
Let firefighters wash your car for charity
Ends Sun: Ikea free prize draw
Big Ocado newbies code
Extra 25% off posh bedding

PPI reclaim deadline: Martin's 5 must-knows

The regulator is cutting off PPI reclaims - if you HAVE or EVER HAD a loan, credit or store card, mortgage, overdraft or catalogue debt, take note. Even if you've been rejected from a past PPI reclaim...

1. Now just having had PPI means most were mis-sold.

2. Deadline's 2019, but act ASAP to beat the queue.

3. Don't assume 'it's not me' - even if you said no to it.

4. Don't pay to reclaim. Our free tool does it for you.

5. A typical payout is £3,000 - so it's worth your time.

MartinThe UKís biggest financial scam wasnít by dodgy blokes in back alleys, but bankers in pinstripes. Last week the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, gave in to banks' demands to protect their balance sheets, and said no more new PPI reclaims will be allowed after 29 August 2019.

Over £20 billion has already been repaid, but it's just a fraction of what may be owed. So even though the deadline's a way off, donít dawdle. From August the regulator will spend millions marketing the cut-off, likely clogging up the system, so do it now to get to the front of the queue.

I started warning against PPI in 2000, and in 2007 wrote MSE's PPI reclaiming guide, long before the regulator really took up the cudgels. So far 6.5m+ free MSE template letters have been downloaded - it's estimated these have got people up to £5bn back - and recently we made it even easier with our free PPI reclaim tool. Let me take you through it (and do have a listen to my BBC5live PPI in short).

ē What is PPI mis-selling? PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) was an insurance policy sold alongside loans, cards, overdrafts, mortgages and catalogue debts. It was designed to cover repayments for a year if you couldnít - in itself, there was nothing wrong with the policy.

Yet banks and building societies massively overcharged and systemically mis-sold it, lying that it was compulsory, adding it without asking & failing to ensure it was suitable (see the mis-selling checklist).
ē New. Now just having PPI means you were likely mis-sold. Within the deadline announcement, a new mis-selling category called 'Plevin' (after a court case) was confirmed. It comes into effect on 29 August this year.

The Plevin rules mean if over 50% of your PPIís cost went as commission to the lender, and that wasnít explained to you, you are due back the extra above that. For this to count, your PPI has to have still been active at some point since 2008.

Staggeringly, with loan PPI, on average 67% of what you paid was pocketed by banks as commission from insurers, and banks almost never mentioned it - so millions more people are owed possibly billions more pounds.

On a £10,000 loan over five years, your 'Plevin' compensation would typically be £500 (if you're due all the PPI back for other mis-selling, you don't get both).

Lenders will be forced to write about Plevin to 1.2m people who've had past reclaims rejected. Yet if you've never complained, but are owed, bizarrely you won't be told and you need to take it up. See full Plevin reclaim help
ē I'm sure I didn't have PPI. Do I really need to check? YES. One way it was mis-sold was adding it without telling you or even after you said no. So if you've had a debt product of any type, check.

As KH emailed: "We believed we'd never had PPI and ignored all your suggestions to check - until we saw you say that even if we didn't think we had, check. Turns out we had three policies over the past 20 years and have recently had almost £5,000 back. Thank you, thank you."

The key steps to reclaiming PPI

Here's a summary - for full help & free tool, see our PPI reclaim guide.

1. Have you got the paperwork? Thereís no time limit on PPI reclaiming - you can go back as long as you like, as long as youíve evidence. As Daz tweeted me: "@MartinSLewis received PPI refund of £2,500 on a loan I had forgot about from about 20 years ago."

So check all old loans, credit cards, mortgages, store cards and overdrafts to see if there was PPI. It will have been called something like "payment insurance" or "accident or sickness cover".

- Can't remember who your lender was? All debts active in the last 6yrs are on your credit report(s). Get your Experian report (from the UK's largest credit reference agency) for free via the MSE Credit Club, plus see how to check other reports.

- Donít have the paperwork? Request it from your lender going back 6yrs.

- No paperwork for very old loans? Ask your lender, but be prepared you may've missed the boat.
2. Were you mis-sold? Typical examples include if they lied that PPI was compulsory or that it'd cut your loan costs - sometimes it was added without asking, or even after you'd said no. They had a duty to ensure it was suitable for you - it may not have been if, for example, you were self-employed but got unemployment cover. Run through our full mis-selling checklist.
3. Do it yourself for FREE. I'm going to holler this from the rooftops till I'm blue in the face. You do NOT need to pay to reclaim. Claims handlers do very little you can't do yourself, and they take a whopping 25% fee plus VAT - often £1,000s. To do it easily, use our free reclaiming tool.
4. If rejected, go to the free Financial Ombudsman. Sometimes banks & building societies say 'fair cop' & pay out £1,000s in just a few days.

If not, you have six months to take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service, an independent body which can adjudicate and force banks to pay you back. In 2016, in over half of all cases where banks rejected a reclaim the Ombudsman overturned it and ordered them to pay out.

To make it easier, our free reclaim tool above does this for you. If youíre struggling or unsure, call the Ombudsman helpline - 0300 123 9123.

Frequently asked questions (and answers, obviously)

Q. Hurrah, will this see the END OF SPAM calls & texts? This was the biggest response I got when I first tweeted about the deadline. My suspicion is it'll boost spam and ads, as they take their last bite. See how to stop spam calls & texts.

For me, celebrating the deadline is wrong. The cut-off puts the financial industry's interests ahead of consumers'. With the Ombudsman overturning half of bank rejections, until we can trust banks to deal with complaints fairly in the first instance, the regulator shouldnít protect them.

Let's not bite off our nose to spite our face. We need harder rules to punish parasitical spammers, rather than killing peopleís chance at recompense if they were screwed by the banks.

Q. I complained before but got nowhere. Should I even bother again? If your complaint was rejected in the last six months, carry on to the Ombudsman. If not, you may be able to restart your claim, but you'll need grounds (Plevin will help). If unsure, it's worth calling the Ombudsman helpline (0300 123 9123) to discuss this.

Q. Can I get a deceased relative's PPI money back? Yes. Any money owed becomes part of their estate, so the person who inherits can reclaim (let the executor know).

Q. Does the deadline apply to vulnerable customers too? Yes, and that's a worry. We must ensure it isnít just those 'who can' who get their money back. Some who are due PPI reclaims have mental capacity problems, mental illness, literacy issues and more. I pushed hard on this when MSE had pre-meetings with the FCA about the deadline.

Thankfully it has factored it in to an extent. If consumers contact the FCA helpline (which starts in August 2017) and its staff feel they need face-to-face support, it will do that. Yet sadly the deadline still applies, so it relies on people to get in touch with the FCA. Charities and others will be forced to pick up the slack.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via

Watch the Budget with us. Join Martin on Twitter for translations of what it really means and MSE Twitter and Facebook for updates, while MSE news will have all the stories in detail. Starts Wed 12.30pm.

Cheapest b'band & line this year: ONLY £5.33/mth via special code

25,000 Sky codes avail. This stonker - the cheapest we've seen since last June - smashes standard prices

This is a staggeringly cheap deal, but you have to be a Sky newbie (or at least not have had its phone, TV or b'band in the last 12mths). It works out at an avg £5.33/mth all-in before calls. Contrast that to the usual £25-£40/mth giants such as BT, TalkTalk, Virgin & indeed Sky charge on non-promo deals, and savings can easily be £400+ a year.

  • Sky broadband Sky broadband & line rental '£5/mth-ish'. MSE Blagged. Via this Sky link*, newbies can grab one of 25,000 codes for this 1yr deal till Fri 17 March. The broadband allows unlimited downloads at a standard up-to-17Mb speed, and is available to 90% of the UK (you're told when applying). Here's how it works...

    1. Half-price line rental for a year. Normally £18.99/mth, here it's £9.50/mth. If prices go up, you'll pay half the new cost. Calls aren't included and they cost a bit more than BT to landlines, less to mobiles. (Sky call costs).
    2. Free broadband. For the whole year (£10/mth after), and the router's free too.
    3. We've blagged £50 credit for your bill. It'll be added automatically once your account's set up. So if you don't rack up more charges, eg, calls, you won't pay anything for the first five months, but will pay more after.
    4. You pay £5 for card verification, which you get back. This is refunded on your first bill.
    5. No line/switching from cable? There's a £20 new line fee (can apply to a few others too).

    Cost analysis: It's a steal, as the £50 credit means you'll only pay £64 for the year (excl calls & new line fee if charged), equiv to £5.33/mth.

  • Already with Sky? Top alternatives incl Plusnet's '£254' over 18mths or it's easy to haggle with Sky.

  • Want faster fibre? See full options, incl up-to-38Mb speeds with Origin for £432 over 12mths + £200 vch.

20,000+ FREE Ideal Home Show London tix, norm £13-£21 (see Martin too). Massively popular, 24 Mar-9 Apr. Free Ideal Home Show

Ends Tue. Interest-free iPhones, iPads & Macs from Apple. Spread the cost + cheaper than most mobile contracts. Full analysis in Apple 0% deals?.

Get free wills for over-55s. Solicitor-drafted wills in 27 English and Welsh locations in March. Free wills.

New. BT broadband user? Hot BT Sim + £30 Amazon/iTunes vch for £8/mth. Gets 3GB (4G) data, 500 mins & unltd texts via this BT link* on a 1yr contract - ensure you click 'Got BT broadband?' when applying. Annoyingly, you must claim the vch within 3mths, so use this voucher link from 2wks after activation. It should then come within 45 days. If you don't have BT b'band or switch away it's £13/mth, but there are better deals for this group. See Cheap Sim deals.

Virgin Trains sale, eg, B'ham-Ldn £8 rtn, Ldn-Manc £20 rtn. From Thu. 1.5 million discounted West Coast tickets. All aboard

New. M&S up to 50% off sale, eg, £3 top & £9.50 dress. Clothes, beauty & home. In stores & online. M&S sale

Stop press. E.on to raise dual fuel energy prices by 8.8% in April - everyone, urgently check if you can save £350/yr. It's the 4th of the big 6 to announce hikes. And as 66% are on a standard tariff that can cost £350/+yr more than the cheapest based on typical use, check now if you can save £100s on energy by switching.


- Sky b'band & line rent £5/mth-ish 25,000 codes avail

- Ocado newbies 3-in-1 code Ends Thu 23 Mar

- Extra 25% off posh bedding outlet Ends Mon

- 57-piece meat bundle £32 Ends Thu 16 Mar


- Hurry. 18 days holiday for the price of 9

- Can you get a Hotpoint refund? 1m+ warned not to use 'em

- Get your Experian Credit Report free via MSE's Credit Club

- 50% off Legoland with £3ish McDonald's spend

- Get PAID to pay your bills

New. Free £160 cash WITHOUT SWITCHING on TSB's 3% account

If you're willing to play, this is a good 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) bank account to make yourself some extra cash

TSB's launched the latest salvo in the current account price war. While most 'free cash' deals require you to use their switching service (closing your old account and moving over all direct debits & standing orders), this doesn't, so you can have it alongside your existing account, which is where we think it's useful. All the accounts below will credit-check you.

  • Bank SwitchNew. TSB 3% interest and up to £10/mth cashback. New TSB Classic Plus* customers get the following:

    1) 3% AER variable interest on up to £1,500. If you go paperless, register for internet banking (& log in at least annually) and pay in £500/mth - if you want you can then withdraw the £500 immediately.
    2) Up to £10/mth cashback. Register for internet banking and until June 2018 it pays £5/mth cashback as long as you've 2+ monthly direct debits paying out plus a further £5/mth when you make 20 debit card payments per calendar month.

  • How to use it to make £160 free cash (on top of the interest). If you want a new bank, the free cash deals below can pay more. Yet where we really like this TSB deal is if you want an additional account - for example, just for spending to help you budget (one of the perks comes from 20 monthly debit card spends). Just ensure you've 2 direct debits going (to 2 different recipients) from it, eg, to 2 charities or to pay specific bills. Assuming you do it ASAP and get the full £10/mth until June 2018, that's £160 extra.

  • Top free cash switching deals. To get these you must use the switching services. For far more info and other options including the top banks if you've savings or regularly go overdrawn, see Best Bank Accounts.

    - HSBC free £200 (£150 upfront, £50 if you stay a year). New HSBC Advance* customers get £200 and access to a 5% fixed regular saver. You must pay in £1,750+/mth, switch 2+ direct debits/standing orders and register for online banking within 60 days.

    - First Direct free £125, £250 0% overdraft & no.1 rated for service (90% great).
    Newbies can apply via this First Direct* link for £125 (go direct & it's only £100) and access to its 5% fixed regular saver. You must pay in £1,000/mth (or there's a £10/mth fee).

    - Co-op Bank free £110 + up to £5.50/mth. New Co-op Bank switchers get £110, plus they can join its Everyday Rewards scheme for a further £4/mth, and 5p per debit card use (up to £1.50/mth). You must switch 4+ active monthly direct debits & pay out 4 each month, pay in £800+/mth, get paperless statements, log in to online/mobile banking monthly and not bust your overdraft limit.

Let firefighters wash your car for charity. UK-wide this month - and they may use their big hose. Ooh er. Get hosed down

Ends Sun. Ikea's 'free prize with any purchase'. From hot dogs to Sweden trips, EVERYONE gets something, so check receipts from 16 Jan onwards. Maureen won big previously: "I won a Sweden holiday for four with £500 spending cash. Cannot stop smiling." Ikea

Never shopped at Ocado? Big supermarket discount code. MSE Blagged. Gets 25% off first £60+ shop, 1yr free delivery AND 10% off brands. For most of England & parts of Wales. Newbies only. Ocado code

Ends Mon. Extra 25% off 'posh' bedding outlet code, eg, £9 double duvet. MSE Blagged. There's still time to snuggle into last week's mega-popular deal. Ltd stock, delivery from £3. You snooze, you lose

Martin Lewis Roadshow and Haggling Masterclass in London this Friday. Martin's starting filming again for a series of live 1hr ITV specials, he'd love you to take part. See full Roadshows & haggling masterclass info.

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New. Get PAID £50 to STOP paying credit card interest

HSBC's new card lets you shift debt to 32mths 0% (1.4% fee) and pays a big £50 cashback

A new balance transfer card pays off existing store/credit card debt, so you owe it instead but at 0% - and it helps you get debt-free quicker, as repayments cover debt, not interest. Via our link, this new HSBC card will give a big £50 cashback if you shift at least £1,500 to it, and with a lowish 1.4% fee the cashback beats the fee cost on transfers up to £3,500, so you'd profit.

Will you be accepted? Don't just apply - our Balance Transfer Quick Eligibility Calc shows which cards you've best odds of getting, or our FULL Credit Club gives your free Credit Report and Credit & Affordability Scores too. Both do a 'soft' search on your credit file that lenders can't act on, so there's no impact on your creditworthiness. And for some cards the calcs show which providers 'pre-approve' you - ie, will definitely give you the card, subject to passing an ID check.

CARD 0% LENGTH (APR after 0%) FEE (1)
Halifax (eligibility calc / apply*) - Longest-ever, but it's an 'up to' Up to 43mths (18.9%) 2.98%
Sainsbury's (eligibility calc / apply*) - Longest non-'up to' 42mths (18.9%) 2.3% (min £3)
New. HSBC, £50 cashback on £1.5k+ transfers (eligibility calc / apply*) - Low fee 32mths (18.9%) 1.4% (min £5)
Barclaycard, £20 cashback on £500+ transfers (eligibility calc incl pre-approval / apply*) - Even lower fee, but it's an 'up to' Up to 32mths (18.9%) 0.6%
Sainsbury's (eligibility calc / apply*) - Longest NO FEE 28mths (18.9%) None (2)
(1) % of debt shifted. (2) You pay a 1.5% fee on transfer, but it's refunded within 60 days. Full info: Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

  • Tip 1: Go for the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay. Calculate how long you need to clear the debt, add a bit for safety, then pick the lowest fee within that time. Unsure? Play safe and go long, even with a bigger fee.

  • Tip 2: Some have an 'up to' 0% length, so you may get a shorter deal even if accepted. That's why we include the best options where you know the deal for sure if accepted (our eligibility calc tells you if you've good odds).

  • Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full help, get cashback & ALL best buys: Balance Transfers (APR Examples).
    a) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you could lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more.
    b) Clear the card or balance-transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
    d) You must usually do the balance transfer within 60/90 days to get the 0% & cashback.

Don't listen to British Gas and Npower. They can't charge exit fees in final 49 days of a fix. We've reported them to the regulator after we uncovered customers wrongly told they must pay to switch. Full info in fees probe.

£58 Eurostar returns to Paris, Lille, Calais or Brussels. Travel Mar-May (excl Easter). 25,000 rtns avail, book by next Thu. Eurostar

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I was inspired by your Virgin haggling tips - reduced my bill from £88 to £55 a month and got a speed upgrade. I'm thrilled, thank you."

Meat hamper for £32 via code (norm £56) - cheaper than supermarkets. MSE Blagged. Incl chicken, steaks, turkey, mince, meatballs, bacon & sausages. Lean meat


Will you be better off in a year? Itís Budget week, the time the Chancellor reviews the national finances and presents forecasts for the economy. Consumer confidence has a huge impact on that - if we stop spending, the economy stutters.

Click here to tell us if you think you'll feel better or worse off in a year

Digital banking is not just the future, it's the now. In last week's poll we asked how you do the majority of your banking. Unsurprisingly it was a younger generation that was most digitally savvy: 55% of men aged 25 to 34 bank online and 43% use an app. Women aged 65+ were the group most likely to use their local branch (28% do), but even then 63% bank online and 4% use an app. See our full banking method poll results.


- Top story: Bank of Scotland to cut rate on top-paying current account

- Chancellor to set out plans to stop 'subscription traps' and simplify small print in Budget

- Driving to France? Check NOW if you need a new emissions sticker to avoid a possible £100+ fine

- U-turn on training tax refunds for NHS psychologists

- Disney holidays thrown into chaos by resort refurbishment - your rights

- Pensions Minister: Tax returns could allow self-employed to build up a pension

We've updated our privacy policy & T&Cs. To make them clearer for our users, we've made a few tweaks. See Privacy Policy & Terms & Conditions.


Should I share my flight delay compensation? I paid for me, my boyfriend and two friends to go on holiday, costing me over £3,000. We suffered a 4-hour flight delay for which I've received £1,300+ in compensation for all of us. They assumed I'd share it - should I? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I share my flight delay compensation? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Please learn from my mistakes
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a year's supply of Lavazza Coffee
- Old-style board thread of the week: Should I replace my neighbours' wardrobe?
- Discussion of the week: Can my boss come to my home?


- I'm proud to be a journalist


- Cheap Easter egg round-up

- Get £21 of shopping for £9 at Tesco with these coupons


Thu 9 Mar - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 10 Mar - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 13 Mar - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 13 Mar - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 8 Mar - Share Radio, 12.20pm
Wed 8 Mar - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 9 Mar - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 10 Mar
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 14 Mar - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm


Q: I ordered a super-cheap computer monitor online as the company offered about £300 off. A few days later I got an email saying my order was cancelled and in the meantime the price had risen, and I was told I'd have to pay the new, higher price to buy it. Is this right? Paul, by email.

Megan FrenchMSE Megan's A: While this may feel unjust, by law, they're allowed to do this.

When buying online a price is only set in stone when your contract with the company becomes binding. We checked 20 big retailers' Ts&Cs, and with 19, the contract is formed either when the item is dispatched for delivery or later.

So simply clicking 'buy' or receiving a confirmation email doesn't normally mean it has to honour the price if there's been an error, even though this practice leaves a bad taste. That said, a company can't intentionally mislead and offer a price it knows it won't honour.

You could try to haggle, as some companies honour glitches or old prices if you really push it. For lots more on buying rights, see our Consumer Rights guide.

Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).

A funeral fit for a King... for two goldfish

That's it for this week but before we go, we've something a little different. We spotted a story of primary school kids in Orkney giving a flaming Viking-boat send-off to two of their beloved goldfish - class pets Freddie and Bubbles - who sadly passed away. The touching story got us thinking... what's the best send-off you've given your pet(s) - cat, dog, goldfish etc? Have your say in our Pets funeral forum post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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