Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

28 August 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... £7/mth 5GB Sim, Google Home tricks, top 0% ends, Premium Bonds alert, energy bill trap, Ryanair alert, Amzn free £6?, house price tools

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


The PPI deadline is tomorrow, but check our new emergency PPI toolkit TODAY (Wed) to ensure you don't miss out 

UPDATE 00.01am Friday 30 August. The PPI deadline has now passed. If you missed it, or have concerns about the status of your claim, read our post-PPI deadline kit to find out your options. 

No wonder my hair's starting to grey (what's left of it). I first warned about PPI way back in 2001. By 2005, I'd published my MSE reclaiming guide. Millions of free template letters have been downloaded from it and billions had been paid out before, years later, the regulator was eventually persuaded to intervene.

Now, with £36 billion already repaid, TOMORROW (THU 29 AUG) IS PPI DEADLINE DAY. DON'T IGNORE IT.  And yes, I am shouting, I'd shout from the rooftops if I could. A typical reclaim is about £3,000, so failing to check can cost you large. Don't assume you're not due. CHECK NOW if you or a deceased relative has ever had a credit/store card, mortgage, overdraft, loan, car finance or catalogue debt.

And as for some it may be complex, and problems can occur, ACT AS IF THE DEADLINE IS TODAY to make room to jump any hurdles. To help, we've a new emergency PPI reclaiming toolkit.

After all, you never know... MoneySaver Hugh got PPI refunds back on 12 policies: "It was far easier than I thought. The info on MSE was so good - it was simple. Each claim took between 10 and 15 minutes max. Three hours' work for £153,000 is not bad.Here's my 5-min briefing...

The THREE PPI need-to-knows to beat the deadline 

PS: A beginner's briefing follows this section if you're not sure what this is all about.

1. The last time you can submit a PPI claim online is 11.59pm this Thursday, but DON'T leave it until then. As long as you start a claim before the deadline, it then proceeds as normal and you're still allowed to escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman later. Miss it and the only option will be the difficult and riskier court route.

Most banks will still accept claims online until 11.59pm tomorrow (Thu), including via our free PPI reclaiming tool, but phone and branch cut-offs are often earlier. See our bank-by-bank reclaiming deadlines.

Yet don't be a last-minute Lilly or Larry. Websites crash (possibly even our tool if, as expected, demand's massive). Phone lines get clogged up. And some small lenders' systems may not record claims on time. Expect the unexpected with such a huge deadline. Again, it's safest to say to yourself that today, Wed, is the real deadline and hurry.

2. In most cases, you simply need to check IF you had PPI to beat the deadline. Banks used to treat 'checking whether you had PPI' and 'complaining about PPI' as two separate things. Now almost all have agreed that someone simply asking if they had PPI is starting a complaint for the purposes of the deadline (see our bank-by-bank checklist).

So doing that means you can continue with the process later. If needed, it buys time to think further about why you're reclaiming - and either respond to the bank or add further information.

Yet I'd still strongly caution you to double-check that what you've done counts for deadline purposes and take notes of the time, date, who you spoke to (if on phone or in branch) and what they say.

3. You may be able to get across the line with bare minimum info. As well as your personal details, the minimum info you need is who your lender was. If you're unsure, check your credit file, which should list all your credit accounts that were active within the last six years.

You can do this online in minutes - get your Experian credit file via our free credit club, and for belt and braces, you can get Equifax and TransUnion files for free too.

Any extra info, eg, when you took it out and why you think you were mis-sold, will speed up the process, so give it what you can.

I'm not encouraging anyone to make spurious claims, this is just about getting in under the line to buy time to find out if you are due money back. After all, the banks pushed the regulator to cap their exposure via this deadline - even though for years they'd systemically mis-sold billions by script, and still nobody's been done for fraud.

Once you've beaten the deadline, the pressure is off. Then you can follow through our main PPI reclaiming guide at a more leisurely pace.

Don't get this PPI malarkey? A beginner's Q&A 

One reason you may've ignored PPI until this point is confusion and fear. So let me briefly take you through the basics and how to get help...

- Isn't PPI what happens when you change a baby boy's nappy? Yes, but don't think about that for too long. It also stands for payment protection insurance - a policy sold alongside debt, meant to cover repayments if you lost your job or got sick.

In itself, it's not a bad concept. Yet banks and building societies sold PPI, which was often forced or snuck on customers. It was also outrageously overpriced, often only paying out for at most a year, which could've meant the maximum possible payout was less than the policy cost.

- Who should be checking if they had PPI? If you've EVER had a credit card, mortgage, loan, overdraft, catalogue debt, car finance or a store card, you should urgently check (and check again) if you had PPI. Don't think 'I know I didn't' - they may've snuck it on even if you said no.

- Can I reclaim PPI for deceased relatives? Yes, see my Deceased relatives PPI reclaiming blog.  

- What's the biggest ever payout? The largest we've seen is £247,000, that was for small business PPI, though most people get a few thousand. Still, you never know.

- I know this is about mis-selling, but what does that mean? Banks sometimes scripted staff to hard sell these policies when someone took out debt. The mis-selling was often systemic - done by default, without checking the policies were appropriate. Common mis-selling types include being...

... lied to that you had to have it (it was never compulsory).
... given it without your permission.
... lied to that it'd get you a cheaper deal.
... given it when it was inappropriate, such as 'unemployment cover' for those who were self-employed, or not being asked about pre-existing conditions that invalidate it.

See the full mis-selling checklist. Even if you can't remember exactly what happened to you, lenders and the ombudsman will often consider whether others in similar positions were mis-sold the same way.

Should I use a claims management firm? For the vast majority, no, as DIY claims are easy and free, while claim firms charge 20% plus VAT. Some firms do not do too much more than get you to fill in a form similar to doing it direct anyway. Our PPI reclaiming tool is free.

- Where can I get help if I'm stuck or if this is too much for me? The regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has a free helpline on 0800 101 8800 (and for some vulnerable people, it can organise one-on-one help), as does the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0800 121 6222.

- What if I don't think I was mis-sold? (SPOILER: Many are likely still owed). PPI is an insurance product. The reason it was hard sold is because the banks were bunged a huge, disgustingly disproportionate amount of commission by insurance firms to do so.

In 2017, this came back to bite them in their corporately corpulent PPI backsides. A new 'Plevin rule', based on a 2014 court case, meant that if commission was more than 50% of the cost and you weren't told (I've never met anyone who was), you are due back the difference between 50% and the actual percentage charged.

Staggeringly, the AVERAGE commission banks were paid for loan PPI was 67%. So millions who've had PPI, even if it was correctly sold in every other way, are due something back - though it only applies to policies active in or after 2008. See more about opening or reopening a Plevin case in our guide. Do it quick, as the deadline applies here too.

If you think you were mis-sold in another way as well and haven't tried before, then do a normal mis-selling claim, as even if it rejects you for that, it has to consider Plevin as well.

Is this the last you'll hear from me on PPI?

I started this by saying I'd been warning, writing and broadcasting about PPI for 18 years. I've also done countless PPI interviews and shows, and have fought and met with the banks, regulator and ombudsman many times to push the consumer viewpoint.

We've had more than six million template letters downloaded and millions more have used our free tool that replaced them. In all, I'd guess we've perhaps helped people get up to £10 billion back. So it's no surprise this tune (skip the ad) is earworming in my head as I write.

Of course, many will be glad to see the back of the spam, scams and cold calling claims firms. Yet don't forget PPI reclaiming has been a phenomenal consumer revolution. It has educated people that they can take on mistreatment by the big institutions of finance, as well as partially rescuing the economy, with billions pumped back, especially during George Osborne's austerity.

Now it's over, well at least for the mainstream (it may still continue in the courts), in some ways I'll miss it. I've had innumerable joyous thank yous that often say it's been a life-changing financial pressure release. Though I suspect I'll still be telling people you can reclaim tax on PPI payouts for a while to come.


DON'T believe the fake ads on Facebook
Lots of scam ads that litter social media lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.



Beware the energy bill trap
The Big 6 will shortly try to charm you into sticking with rip-off deals - ignore the claptrap & instead save £260/yr via the switching price war

Gleeful energy firms are set to boast about price cuts for 11m custs on standard tariffs, yet they're just turning a huge rip-off into a slightly smaller one. Four of the Big 6 - EDF, E.on, Npower & SSE - say mail-outs start this week & we expect the others to follow suit. They're not being nice as, by law, their rates can't top a regulator-imposed cap on standard tariffs, and that drops by an avg £75/yr in Oct. So don't fall into their trap as, ironically, many of them are locked in a price war - but only for switchers. Compare the typical Big 6 standard rate - £1,185/yr (factoring in the cut) - with the top price war deals below. But first...

- Always compare prices - they vary by use & region. Via links below, check your winner with our Cheap Energy Club.
- You won't find these prices direct. All come with £25 dual-fuel cashback via Cheap Energy Club and you won't see the underlying deals if you go direct to the providers anyway. Sadly, you can't get them on prepay or in NI.
- Tiddlers can be cheaper. We know many prefer big names - which is why we feature those below - but tiddlers or firms with bad feedback can cost less. If you just want the cheapest, find them with a full Cheap Energy Club comparison.

1YR FIXES   - the cheapest type of deals
EDF 1yr fix cheapest Big 6 | new customers only | dual-fuel & elec-only £924/yr £261/yr
British Gas 1yr fixnew AND existing custs | green | 1yr's 'free' heating insurance | dual-fuel only £929/yr £256/yr
E.on 1yr fix - green | new customers only | dual-fuel and elec-only £933/yr £252/yr
2YR FIXES  - protect against hikes for longer + good if you'd rather not switch every year
GNE 2yr fix - cheapest 2yr fix | decent service new customers only 
£985/yr £200/yr
EDF 2yr fix - cheapest Big 6 2yr fix | new customers & homeowners only | dual-fuel only
Note: You're charged for monthly boiler cover, but you can cancel immediately with no charge 
£987/yr £198/yr
Prices are avg dual-fuel costs based on typical use, incl £25 MSE cashback. Savings are vs the avg Big 6 standard tariff - we know five firms' prices from Oct with one to announce, so we've assumed it'll charge the typical capped £1,179/yr rate from then.

  • Switching is easy. Some are worried by it, but your supply isn't cut off, nobody visits you (unless you want a smart meter) and it's the same gas, same electricity, same safety. Only price and service change. See our switching FAQs.

Are you due one of 1.6m+ unclaimed Premium Bond prizes? Latest figures show more than £63m is out there, with some prizes going back to the 1950s. See Premium Bonds prize check.

Ends 10am Thu. Top interest-free credit card for spending - up to 27mths 0%. Last week, we warned 2019 has been a year of vanishing credit cards and another is set to go, as you've not long to apply for Barclaycard's (eligibility calc / apply*) deal of up to 27mths 0% on spending (19.9% rep APR). IMPORTANT: Only borrow if you NEED to for a planned, affordable buy (eg, broken fridge) + it's not an excuse to overspend. Always pay the min payment, don't bust your limit and clear the debt before the 0% ends. Full info and more options in 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples).

Ryanair warning - some bags sold as 'fitting Ryanair' aren't actually free to take on board. Many are from big names such as Argos and Debenhams - as our investigation found. See Ryanair alert.

Last chance. Top-secret £4+ theatre tix incl West End shows, but only if you keep hush. Bag last-min, dirt-cheap, unsold seats via special site, but you must agree to keep quiet so you don't upset people who paid full whack. Skip the waiting list via our link - but only till 11.59pm on Sat (after it extended a previous deadline). Top-secret tix

Nationwide FlexPlus current account customer? It's cutting interest & overhauling overdraft fees - is it still worth it? See our FlexPlus analysis.

Ends Mon. Free £175 bank switch bribe. Switch to HSBC and you can get £175 upfront - the best pure cash bonus, but you must apply by 11.59pm on Mon. Alternatively, First Direct gives £50 and has a top customer service rating. The top overall bribe is £180 in M&S vchs from M&S Bank. Full info and more top picks in Best Bank Accounts.


New. Cheapest 5GB Sim we've seen - £6.67/mth

Many pay £20/mth+ for mobile use, yet there are a host of sub-£10/mth Sims, or pay a tad more for unlimited data

Fewer people switch handset these days, but if you're happy with your mobile, out of contract and overpaying for airtime there's nothing to stop you switching Sim - the chip in your phone that dictates your allowances. In fact, 9m people are free to switch with now a great time to check if you can save £100s/yr as there are a host of deals at all data levels, including the cheapest 5GB/mth Sim we've seen. While most don't need that much, it's just 67p/mth more than 2GB...

  • First match your allowance to your use. Most Sims offer texts and mins galore, so data is the key. In our latest mobile usage poll, 70% said they used LESS than 3GB/mth data. Unsure? Check old bills or use the Billmonitor* tool, which analyses your bills and finds Sims to match your use. As it doesn't spot every deal, we've the cream below.

  • Today's top Sims - from £6/mth. We've listed the cheapest below, which are for new and existing customers, except Vodafone, which is for newbies only. There are lots more in our Best Sims guide - especially useful if you can't get decent signal on the networks below.
PROVIDER (network)
Sky Mobile* (O2)
2GB, unltd mins & texts
New. Vodafone* (1)
MSE Blagged.
5GB, unltd mins & texts
'£6.67/mth'. It's £15/mth, but use code 10AUTOMSE to get sent a £100 cheque within 2mths, so it's an equiv £6.67/mth.
8GB, unltd mins & texts
Ends Sat. Virgin* (EE)
12GB, 5k mins, unltd texts
New. Vodafone* (1)
MSE Blagged. 
Unlmtd data, mins & texts (2) '£14.33/mth'. It's £26/mth, but use code 10AUTOMSE to get sent a £140 cheque within 2mths, so it's an equiv £14.33/mth.
(1) For new customers only. Link goes via (2) Limited to 10 Mbps download speed.

  • Top switching tips.
    - Keeping your number's easy. Switching it over normally takes just one working day. See Number porting.
    - You may need to unlock your phone if moving network. Firms MUST let you 
    unlock for free if you're out of contract.
    - Don't want to switch? Haggle. Mobile firms are among the easiest to haggle with. See Haggling help.

12 Google Home MoneySaving tips - eg, save 60% buying 'nearly new' or £30 off its Home Hub. It's the latest in our series of guides to saving money on popular branded products & tech. OK, Google

Amazon 'free' £6 code for some. Check if you're eligible for 'free' Amazon credit on a £50 spend.

Ends Thu. £20 cashback on top travel credit card. The Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) card doesn't charge the usual 3%-ish foreign currency exchange fee. Plus, if you apply by 11.59pm on Thu, it gives £20 cashback on your first spend in 90 days in any currency. But always repay IN FULL each month to avoid spending interest. It's slightly pricier for cash, as you pay 19.9% rep APR interest even if you clear it in full (which can cost 5p-£1.50 per £100/mth). Full info in Travel Credit Cards (APR Examples).

Mac or iPad Pro up to 10% off - for some. If you're eligible you also get 'free' Beats headphones. It's for students, their parents, teachers and anyone who works in education. How to bag an Apple discount.

Ends Sat. 'Free' £15 airport restaurant vch with annual travel insurance. See Travel 'freebie'.

Morphy Richards 22% off EVERYTHING, incl items in 'up to 50% off' sale. MSE Blagged. Via Morphy Richards code.


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Longest 0%: Virgin Money* 29mths 0%, 3% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: 
Sainsbury's Bank* up to 20mths 0% (20.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Yorkshire Bank* / Clydesdale Bank* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k:
M&S Bank* 2.9% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Shell Energy equiv £10.74/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell Energy equiv £16.74

Ends Mon. Get £175 to switch: HSBC
Great service + free £50: First Direct


40+ free house-price valuation tools, eg, how to spy on neighbours' prices

Plus get a ballpark estimate of your home's value, and how to find recent price cuts, crime hot spots & more

There are few British obsessions like our fascination with house prices (OK, so we talk about the weather a lot too). And market watchers will have noticed the recent slower growth in average UK prices, and even price falls in and around London, largely attributed to Brexit uncertainty. Yet what really counts regarding your property are values where you live, even down to your street. To help, there are a host of handy tools which allow you to get the lowdown on any property, whether you're a buyer, seller or you simply take an interest. Find them in our Free House Price Valuation Tools guide. Here's a taster...

  • Find out what properties near you sold for (AKA spying on neighbours' prices).  Most sales are a matter of public record and there are many tools to show prices since 1995, though they can take 3mths from purchase to hit the web, so they won't find the most recent transactions. As well as being a snooper's paradise, if you find a recent sale of a place similar to yours, it also gives an indication of your home's value. See sold price checkers.

  • New. Clever tool shows properties where sellers have dropped the price. You can download a nifty widget to a Chrome web browser (for desktop computers or laptops only) so that if you're on property site Rightmove it shows where sellers have changed asking prices, including the many recent drops - a holy grail for buyers. See price histories.

  • Free 'valuations' - but only use them as rough estimates. Some sites offer free instant 'valuations' of homes. While useful as a ballpark estimate, take the actual figure with a dollop of salt, as they're auto-generated.

  • Check for schools, pollution, noise, crime and more. If you're looking at new properties, you'll probably want to know a bit about the area. To help, you can map nearby schools (including Ofsted ratings), use a police crime-mapping site, check for road traffic noise, find out how polluted your street is and analyse flood risk.

14 craft beers for £17 delivered. MSE Blagged. Bag a crafty discount on a box of cans & bottles. Some are past their best-before dates, but all are good to drink. See Beer52 deal (2,500 avail)but pls be Drinkaware.

"Following your article on council tax banding, we have been informed that our house was in the wrong banding and we are due approximately £5,000 after using the information you provided.  Thank you very much."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)



How much are you worth (or do you owe)? So are we a nation of savers or debtors? Take any unsecured debt (ie, excluding any mortgage/student loan) away from any savings and where do you end up? How much are you worth?

First Direct reclaims top spot in our banking service poll. Last week, we asked you to vote in our biannual banking customer service poll. Of the banks that received 100+ votes, First Direct came top with 85% of its customers rating it 'great' and just 5% 'poor'. Previous winner Monzo didn't get enough votes to be counted. NatWest landed the wooden spoon with 21% rating it 'poor' and 42% 'great'. See full poll results for how your bank fared.



Should I have to pay extra for sitting with my friends on a flight? I recently went on holiday with a group of friends. They discussed paying a bit more to sit together on the plane, and I went along with it as I thought it'd be about £7 extra each way. My friend paid in advance for the group, and I later found out it was £25 extra each way. I'd never have agreed to it if I'd known the cost - but should I just pay up to avoid an awkward conversation? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I have to pay extra for sitting with my friends? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Saving for Christmas 2019? There's still time to join the £1 a day challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a LG 55" Smart 4K TV and a 1yr Sky Q subscription
- Old-Style board thread of the week: What things have you repurposed? Or what do you have that needs a purpose?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How to have an ethical and eco-friendly wedding
- Discussion of the week: Advice to cut down on food budget?


Google Home - MoneySaving tips, incl £30 off its Home Hub
Amazon - 'Free' £6 code for some
Apple - Mac or iPad Pro up to 10% off for some
Morphy Richards - 22% off everything, incl sale
Beer52 - 14 craft beers for £17 delivered

Bella Italia - Kids eat for '£1'
Nando's - 12 MoneySaving hacks
Pizza Hut - £7ish unlimited lunch buffet
Toby Carvery - Kids eat for '£1'
Virgin Wines - Six bottles of wine for £27 delivered

Adidas - 20% off selected items
ATG - Extra 10% off West End theatre sale
Halfords - £10 voucher with £50 spend
M&S - 70% off sale
Prime Video - Six months free via EE

Quick Forum Tips

Aldi blueberries in refillable pot for kids. Berry tasty
Tu clothing half-price sale. Tu good to miss
Free Andrex washlets in the post. Not a bum deal



Wed 28 Aug - BBC Breakfast, BBC One, 7.45am, PPI special
Wed 28 Aug - This Morning, ITV, 10.30am, PPI special
Wed 28 Aug - Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2, 12.30pm, PPI special
Thu 29 Aug - Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.35am
29 & 30 Aug and 2 & 3 Sep - Countdown, Channel 4, 2.10pm
Mon 2 Sep - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 2 Sep - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12.20pm


Wed 28 Aug - BBC Radio York, Breakfast, from 7am, Guy Anker on PPI
Wed 28 Aug - BBC Radio Derby, Donna Alos, 10.15am, Guy Anker on PPI
Thu 29 Aug - BBC Radio Wales, Breakfast with Claire Summers, 7.25am, Guy Anker on PPI
Thu 29 Aug - BBC Radio Stoke, Breakfast with Sophie Calvert, 7.40am, Guy Anker on PPI
Fri 30 Aug - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker (TBC, but not on PPI)
Mon 2 Sep - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am, Oli Townsend
Tue 3 Sep - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I bought a pair of shoes in a sale, but they don't fit. Do I have the right to return them? Graham, via email.

MSE Sarah's A: It all depends on where you bought them. If it was in a shop, you've no LEGAL right to return something just because it doesn't fit. Some stores' policies will let you return items anyway - but sometimes they change their return rules during sales, eg, limiting you to an exchange only (not a refund). You'll need to check that retailer's policy.

If you bought the shoes online, it's different. Under consumer law you have 14 days to cancel an order after receiving it and a further 14 days to send the item back, even if you've just changed your mind - and this applies whether it's a sale item or not. For full info, a few exceptions and protection for faulty items, see Consumer Rights.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... after MSE Kelvin last week finished a box of teabags which had an April 2014 'best-before' date, we asked what the oldest ingredient is that you're still using (remember - food CAN be eaten beyond best-before dates, though not use-by dates). The answers didn't disappoint, with MoneySavers still happily scoffing Angel Delight from 2011 and mid-90s black pepper. Most extreme was the MoneySaver who's still using dried herbs she got as a wedding present in - gulp - 1984. See the full list and add your own in our Best-befores Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team