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Weekly Email
This email was sent
19th Aug 2015
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 This info may be out of date.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 12m who get it each week."

19 August 2015

This week

Don't bin letter worth £100s
Urgent: Sky line, b'band, TV £35/mth
New: Test your energy fix to save
100+ tips for cheap school hols fun, incl free workshops, 2for1 zoos
Free Blue Peter badge trick
FLASH Amazon tech sale, eg, up to 50% off TVs, Kindles, laptops
Free £50 wine on 24mths 0% card
£1.60 Cineworld ticket trick
16 Easyjet tricks
FREE £1.50ish month's Vitamin D
4G smartphone for £49
£105 Nails Inc polishes £25
Top 1.6% easy-access savings
Check your mobile signal
£42 Ray-Bans via 20% off code
Sainsbury's Tu 25% off everything
'I saved £541 on car ins'
Theatre tix sale, eg, £15 Thriller
Codes: Burton £10 off, Body Shop 30%, Poundshop 10% & free del
£5 BT Sport refund - are you due?
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & elec | Bank accs
Stung by recurring payments?

MARTIN'S QUICK BRIEFING: For more tips, alerts & awful puns, follow Martin on Twitter

WARNING. Don't bin a letter worth £100s
- 2m Sentinel (AI Scheme) reclaim letters being sent - they're not spam
- It's not the only scandal - 10 more ways to check if you're due £1,000s
- PPI alert. Over £20bn repaid so far, but the door may be shut - go quick

Two million people are about to be sent letters telling them they're entitled to money back on past card protection plans they paid for that were virtually worthless. Sadly, many will bin theirs thinking it's spam, and miss out.

This isn't the only case where you may be due wrongly taken money. Scan through my checklist to see if you're owed £1,000s. Don't waste 30% using claims firms, they're all easy to DO YOURSELF FOR FREE. Pls email us successes.

1. ReclaimWatch out for a Sentinel letter from AI Scheme Limited - over £100m could be repaid. Two million people who bought virtually worthless card protection (usually branded Sentinel) from banks are about to be contacted as part of a mass redress scheme.

It started sending letters this week and will continue to until mid-September. Most people will receive £25-£250. When you get one we've full help (incl if you've moved) & free templates to fill it in in our Sentinel (AI Scheme) redress help guide.
2. Warning. A deadline on PPI claims may be imposed - DON'T WAIT. There are worrying rumours suggesting the regulator may agree to impose a time bar to help banks. MSE & Which? have written a joint protest letter to the FCA to fight this, but if there's a chance you're owed, check now, don't delay. Full help, FAQs, how to check & templates in Reclaim PPI For Free.

Don't think "it's not me". Many had PPI added even after refusing it. Chick emailed: "Never thought I'd be entitled to reclaim PPI, but I wrote to my old card provider & received £1,467." It can be huge, as Tina found: "Got £75,000 refunded on three credit cards. Did it myself. No problem thanks to you."
3. Anyone who's switched energy in the last five years may be due hidden £100s. If you were in credit when you left, many energy firms effectively operate a 'don't ask, don't get' policy - and most people don't ask. Yet you can still get it back now. See how in Reclaim Energy Bill Credit.

Normally this is £100s but as forumite Col. Escargot found: "I saw your info about gas companies holding onto overpaid money. I'd switched from EDF 17 months ago. Got round to checking and the balance owing to was... £1,364. A brilliant result. I'd urge everyone to do the same."
4. If you paid for Experian's CreditExpert you could be due £100s. We think it unfairly sold 'ID fraud expenses insurance' as part of these expensive plans, and people who follow our Experian CreditExpert Reclaiming tips are getting £100s back, incl Valerie: "Read your guide, filled in the template letters and today we've just been refunded £210, no questions asked. Thank you."
5. Flight delayed 3+ hrs anytime since 2009? Get up to £420/person back. If you flew to or from the UK or EU and it was the airline's fault, you may be entitled to up to £420 back regardless of the flight cost. Full help, incl our free reclaim tool, in Flight Delay Compensation. Jordan emailed: "Ta. Claimed £2,565 from Thomas Cook for a flight 4yrs ago for a group of nine."

PS: While most of the other points here are about reclaiming cash wrongly taken, this is about compensation for nightmare delays. I'm wary of a compensation culture so read my legal vs moral concerns first.
6. Car damaged by a pothole that should've been fixed? You can claim. If you crock your car or bike on a pothole you may be able to claim for repairs from whoever controls the road - see our Pothole Claims guide. David said: "I hit a pothole on the M20 and suffered a cut to a tyre. I claimed from the Highways Agency and got £530."
7. If you're one of millions who pay (paid) monthly bank fees, check if you're due £1,000s back. If you got a packaged bank account (where you pay a monthly fee for extras such as 'free' travel insurance) because the bank upgraded you, upsold you, or said there was no choice but to get one, you may have been mis-sold. Free help in Reclaim Unfair Bank Account Fees.

Cath emailed: "I used the template letter on your website and received just over £2,500. I had been told I could only have an overdraft if I had a packaged account, and I never used any of the benefits."
8. Check 'n' challenge your council tax band for backdated £1,000s. Up to 400,000 homes in Eng & Scot are in the wrong band. If you think yours is too high, follow my Council Tax Rebanding Check & Challenge System, and get it lowered and a backdated payout from when you moved in.

I've had huge success with this since I launched it eight years ago, as Michael emailed: "I got my council tax banding reduced, saving me about £100 a year from now on, plus I got a £1,200 refund."
9. Bank charges reclaiming isn't dead - some can still reclaim £100s. Go beyond your overdraft limit and you can face hefty charges. If these caused financial hardship, you may still be able to reclaim. Step-by-step help and, of course, free template letters in Reclaim Bank Charges For Free.

As Scott emailed last month: "After an initial conversation the bank said I was not due anything, despite being stuck in an overdraft cycle. I then used the information on MSE & was offered £576. Thank you."
10. If you wear (wore) a uniform to work you could be entitled to a tax rebate. If you wear a branded T-shirt, overalls or a uniform for work (not pleasure), you don't wear it elsewhere and you wash it yourself, you may be entitled to a tax rebate, possibly going back up to four years. Full help and how to do it for free in our Uniform Tax Rebates guide.

Forumite Butterflylegs said: "I just wanted to thank Martin. I applied for a uniform tax refund for the last three years and I've just received £180."
11. Millions of people are due money back due to tax code errors. Each year, millions of errors in the income tax system mean you could be overpaying. It only takes five mins to check with our free Tax Code Checker and you could expect £100s back, Nina emailed: "I found the taxman owed me £1,300 and I'll be £160 a month better off. Thanks for making me check."

A quick note from me: Having written the big stuff, I'm taking some time off, so the final version of this email rests in the talented hands of the MSE team.

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

Get constantly cheap energy
Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.
Join free: Cheap Energy Club
Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Rail fares to rise by up to 1% from January 2016
Guest Comment: Why we desperately need flexible rail fares
Graduates overpay student loans by £45m: Get your money back
Former students to pay less interest on loans from September
Don't show boarding cards unless airport retailers pass on tax discounts, says Martin Lewis
Get friends on board the MoneySaving bandwagon
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 19 Aug 2015
LAST CHANCE. Sky line, b'band, all-in TV (incl Sport & Movies) equiv £35/mth
Big Broadband Switch Event. Save £800/yr over standard price OR line & b'band for £11/mth; fibre options too

Our market-smashing deals end this Fri (sooner if codes run out). So far, 55,000+ have used our 'check if you can get a deal' tool to see which of these are available where you live. We asked a range of firms to bid in this broadband collective switch and here are the winners (click links below for full info). Read our full b'band switch FAQs.

  • Pay monthly line rent & unlimited b'band, equiv £11/mth. TalkTalk gives 18mths line rent (no calls) & b'band for equiv £11.13/mth (less than BT line rent alone). Unlike most cheap deals you needn't pay line rental upfront.
  • All-in Sky TV (incl Sport & Movies), line rent, b'band, equiv £35/mth. Sky's 12mth deal massively undercuts owt we've seen and is £68/mth cheaper than its standard price. You get line rent (no calls), unlimited b'band and all Sky channels incl Sport & Movies for equiv £35.06/mth (excl premium non-Sky channels, eg, BT Sport).
  • All-in Sky TV deal plus FAST fibre b'band, equiv £38/mth. This Sky fibre deal's as above but with superfast up-to-38Mb fibre-optic b'band (25GB/mth download limit). Or there's unlimited downloads for £10/mth more.
  • 'No line rental' broadband. We're oft asked about this, so we tried, but to little avail. The only bidder, Relish, is for central London only (check if you can get it) and, at £15/mth, it's more than the line & b'band winner.
  • Existing customers can save too. These deals are for new custs, so you could switch, or try haggling. Claire did: "Thanks to your haggling tips I got Sky down from £45/mth to £28/mth with upgraded TV & phone." Success rates of those who try with telecom firms are over 50% - see our haggling tips for Sky, TalkTalk, BT & more.

Wangle kids a free Blue Peter badge - gets free entry to Legoland/Ldn Zoo etc. A Blue Peter badge can be seriously MoneySaving, with up to 10yrs' free admission to attractions. Blue Peter badge blog

FLASH Amazon tech sale, eg, up to 50% off TVs, Kindles, laptops & more. Ends Fri. Amazon deals

Ends Thu: Free £50 wine on 24mths 0% for EVERYTHING card - use or just grab freebie. The Virgin Money 3in1 card* (Eligibility Calc) gives accepted new cardholders 24mths 0% on 1) spending 2) debt shifted to it (1% fee) 3) money transfers (1.9% fee). Each of those puts it among our best buys, never mind combined. Free wine: Apply by 11.59pm on Thu and spend and/or transfer £1,000 in 60 days and you get 6 bottles of wine, though clear the card before the 0% ends or it jumps to 18.9% rep APR. Full help, incl how to manipulate it, in Free £50 Wine 0% (APR Examples).

£1.60 Cineworld tickets code-stack trick. Combine two offers to get £10 tickets for £1.60. Cinema trick

16 Easyjet tricks to manipulate the budget behemoth. Beat kids' hols hikes, refund trick etc. Easyjet tricks

New. Test your energy fix - check if you can save £100s
Most comparison sites give the WRONG savings (as Ofgem tells 'em to). Now we're uniquely revolting...

The regulator Ofgem makes comparison sites use a system that's a nonsense for anyone with a fixed tariff ending within 12mths. We lobbied for change. It said no. So now with our Cheap Energy Club comparison we've decided to ignore it.

  • What's the problem? Ofgem says comparisons must be based on "personal projections", which means your average cost over the next year. Fine normally, but baloney for fixes. Take this example, based on typical usage:

    - Your current fix costs £800/year and ends in four months.
    - After it ends you'll pay £1,200/year, as you'll be on the energy firm's standard tariff.
    - The personal projection assumes a constant £1,066/year cost as it's averaged over 12 months.

    Thus if the market's cheapest deal is £900/yr the results will show you can switch and save £166. While correct if looking over a year, it's a bad move - switch now and you'll pay MORE for four months, so you should wait.

(all figures based on typical usage)
Pay by monthly direct debit (dual fuel)
Avg big 6 standard tariff
70% of people are on these
Cheapest variable deal £870/yr
Cheapest fix £893/yr
Prepayment meters (dual fuel)
Avg big 6 standard tariff £1,234/yr
Cheapest switchers' deal (variable) £1,168/yr
  • New. Unique comparison that's correct for all. Our Cheap Energy Club includes a WHOLE market comparison to find your cheapest tariff. And now those on fixes can toggle to see savings against your fix's current price, what it'll be after and the personal projection (if you're unsure it defaults to the most appropriate).

    Nine quick need-to-knows about switching energy & Cheap Energy Club:

    1. Many people can compare & save £250/yr.
    2. Your exact winner depends on where you live & your usage.
    3. A fix means the rate is fixed, but use more & you pay more.
    4. You can still compare, switch & save if you're elec-only or prepay.
    5. Our top picks section shows easy pros & cons of top tariffs.
    6. Paying by direct debit is the cheapest way - just ensure you do regular meter readings.
    7. If you're in credit when you switch, they should pay you the credit back. See Energy Credit Reclaiming.
    8. If we get paid when you switch, you get roughly half as cashback, ie, £30 on dual fuel switch and £15 elec-only.
    9. We'll keep your details and compare each month for you, then alert you when your tariff's no longer cheapest.
  • Did Cheap Energy Club give the wrong answer for fixes before? Personal projections were introduced in 2014. We soon warned & campaigned about it, within the comparison, and quickly added a function to show your price pre & post a fix ending. The new bit is being able to see savings based on the different prices.

Free £1.50ish month's Vitamin D. Walk into a supermarket, no purchase necessary. Free vitamins

4G smartphone £49. A new handset promises hi-tech features at a low price. Here's our review: 4G smartphone £49

10 Nails Inc polish set £25 (norm £105 indiv). MSE Blagged. 10 polishes, incl glitter & foil effect. 1,300 avail

Top 1.6% easy-access savings. BM Savings (min £1,000) now pays 1.6% with unlimited access. See Top Savings.

Check your mobile signal - new tool. Not perfect but worth a try - useful if you're about to move provider, home or job. How good is your signal? (Also rate your provider's signal coverage & customer service in our poll.)

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
Up to 36mths 0%, 2.39% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Tesco Bank*
19mths 0%, no fee

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

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*, Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Zopa* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.3% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.5% rep APR

Virgin Money 1.51% AER
Min £1, no bonus
Limited access. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.4% AER
Min £1. Transfers allowed.
Fixed till 2020 but with access

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

£42 Ray-Bans via online sunglasses code. MSE Blagged. 20% off everything at Sunglasses Shop. Ends Sun. Ltd stock

Sainsbury's Tu 25% off EVERYTHING. All clothes reduced in store & online, incl school uniforms. Ends Sun. Sains

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thanks to your Car Insurance guide I saved £541. The renewal for our two cars was £390 and £730. I got that down to £279 and £300." theatre tix sale, eg, £15 Thriller, £15 War Horse. Incl 32 West End shows.

100+ FREE or cheap school holiday family fun treats
FREE museums, FREE £5 craft kit, FREE footie training, 2for1 zoos & theme parks - and lots more summer sizzlers

There are still a few weeks left of the summer holidays but donít worry if youíre running out of ideas or cash to keep the little munchkins entertained. We've rounded up more than†100 free or cheap things to do. Here are eight to start...

  1. School holidays2for1 zoos, incl London & Colchester. Zoo, safari park & Sea Life discounts are not easy to find, so we've compiled some roar-some deals for your little monkeys.
  2. Free craft workshops or free £5 arts & craft kit. Hobbycraft is running free in-store workshops. Or get a free kit for 3-8yr-olds with our code, for Toucan Box newbies.
  3. 180+ free museums. From the world's fastest car in Coventry to marbles in Devon, see all free museums/galleries.
  4. 2for1 theme park vouchers. At 50+ attractions incl Legoland, Thorpe Park. Theme parks
  5. Free football training or tennis coaching. Book free FA coaching for boys & girls aged 5-11. Or get family-oriented tennis sessions around the UK - see free tennis coaching.
  6. Free nature detective downloads. The Woodland Trust has 50 activities to get kids active outside, including guides for identifying leaves and creepy crawly spotter sheets. Go wild.
  7. Free festivals. There are 20 free family-friendly festivals to come this summer, eg, Herne Bay Fest & Ryde Carnival.
  8. Cheap kids' cinema tickets. From just £1.58 for grown-ups & kids, incl Home & Big Hero 6. Cheap Cinema Deals

CODES & VCHS: Poundshop 10%, Body Shop 30%, Burton £10 off. We've blagged a code for 10% off £20 + free del (makes every item just 90p, incl 'back to school' stationery), plus there's a Body Shop 30% off code/vch, Burton £10 off £40 code/vch & Miss Selfridge £10 off £50 code/vch. See ALL Codes & Vchs

£5 BT Sport refund - are you due?†Check now if you're one of millions who can reclaim.†BT Sport refund

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Broadband

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,155 a year, the cheapest deal's £870.

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...


Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*, Aviva*
Top pick standard b'band & line rent: TalkTalk
Pay £200 for 18mths

Top pick fibre b'band & line rent: Virgin
Pay £419 for 18mths

Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance
Show Vouchers and Top Deals

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers & sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Have you been stung by recurring payments? Citizens Advice is looking into the problems people face when trying to cancel products or services paid for by a continuous payment authority. This is where a vendor regularly takes cash from your debit or credit card, eg, 'free trial' slimming pills. If you've been affected, take this short survey. Then let us know your views in the MSE Forum and check your Recurring Payment Rights.

Is it OK to borrow from my kid's piggy bank?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... My eldest recently went to her piggy bank but she found it full of IOUs from me. I'd borrowed money as I needed the change but always planned on replacing it - is that acceptable? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it OK to borrow from my kid's piggy bank? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

Loyalty cards: tell us which you carry with you
Whether Nectar, Tesco Clubcard or one for your local coffee shop, how many loyalty cards do you have? Which do you use the most and which aren't worth the paper (or plastic) they're printed on? Share yours/read others': Useful loyalty cards Past topics: View all

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

MSE team corner

Team blogs:
EE launches £49 Rook 4G smartphone: Is it any good?

Regular team appearances:

Fri 21 Aug
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm

New publications:
Energy market investigation: our response

Discussion of the week

Ideas for a student survival box

Going to uni is usually a young person's first time living away from home. One forumite wants inspiration on what they can include in a student survival box when their youngest goes next month. Join the discussion and offer hints and tips.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag Ä 139.50 125.15
US Flag $ 154.50 138.87
Turkish Flag TL 439.14 376.68
Rates correct at 11am Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How good is your mobile network's service & coverage?

We want to find out how each provider rates both for service (how they treat you) and coverage (how strong the signal is when you need it).

In truth there are only four main networks providing signals - the rest use these but under their own brand (see our mobile networks guide for who piggybacks who). Vote for the firm that provides your bill, as signal can differ.

Please vote for your current provider based on customer service AND coverage over the last year.

Poll results

How do you rate your bank account's service?
Once again First Direct is the runaway winner in our poll.

- 92% of First Direct customers rated its service "great".
- 75% of Santander customers rated it "great".
- Barclays came bottom, with 20% rating it "poor".

9,285 voted. See the†full results.

Question of the week

Q: MSE suggests switching current accounts to the best deals at that time. But doesn't regular switching adversely affect your credit history? Aled, by email.

MSE Rosie's A: Assuming you switch every year or so, which is still pretty regularly for a bank account, it shouldn't be a problem in its own right. As a general rule of thumb, it's unwise to apply too often for credit (which includes current accounts) as other lenders may view you as desperate for cash.

There's no answer to exactly how many times you can apply in a particular timescale as every lender has different criteria, though it's best to avoid applying at all just before making big applications, such as a mortgage.

Also, older accounts may be viewed more positively by lenders, but only if managed well. For more details, read the Credit Scores guide.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Distraction

Can you type at 108 words a minute?

That's it for this week, but before we go, how fast can you type? MSE Sam was our Usain Bolt when it comes to typing with a whopping 108 words a minute. Take the test and see if you can beat him to the line.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how works

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

What you need to know

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

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

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

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

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

More about MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial Ė researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

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

What do the links with a * mean?

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

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

Unaffiliated web-addresses for links in this email,,,,,,,,,,,,

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

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

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