14/12/2013 Your Money


14/12/2013

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highlight -- on the high street, it highlighted the danger. If the shop

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goes bust before they're cashed in, there's a risk you could lose your

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money. It's all at the discretion of the administrator. We'll get some

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advice on that. Hello and welcome to Your Money,

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your weekly guide to making the most of your cash, here every weekend on

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BBC News television, available all week on the BBC iPlayer.

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Christmas vouchers. They let your family and friends pick the gift

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they want. But if the shop goes bust, you could lose your money.

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Consumer expert Gareth Shaw tells us if they're ever worth it.

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A dog for Christmas. Vet bills for life. Reporter Maryam Moshiri knows

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all about that. That's her pooch right there. She finds out if pet

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insurance is a good buy. And playing your cards wrong. Moving

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your debt to a different credit card could catch you out. Number cruncher

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David Black is here with his wealth warning.

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A week and a half to Christmas. What did you get me? Don't worry. I got

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you the same. Next week we'll take a big look at your rights when you're

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shopping, how to get last minute bargains, can you bring stuff back

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you bought at the sales? All that useful information. This week,

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though, we're zeroing in on this. Is it ever a good idea to buy vouchers

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or gift cards for one particular store? Gareth Shaw, money expert at

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the consumer magazine Which. Welcome to Your Money. You have a blister

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list of financial products to avoid. I look at it and on the left, -- on

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the list, I see vouchers and gift cards. What is the problem? The

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problem is that if the company goes bust, you're very low down the

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pecking order to get your money back. We have seen a number of

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retailers go bust over the last few years. Many people have had their

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fingers burned. Jessop Saint particular, people had 500 science

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and pounds worth of gift vouchers which were not honoured. There are

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no rules on this, it is always at the discretion of the

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administrator? Yes, if a company goes bust, you need to put in a

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claim with the liquidator. Then you have to wait to see if you're going

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to get anything back at all. As I said earlier, you're very low down

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on the pecking order for the people that you get paid back when a

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company goes into administration. What about vouchers that cover a

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range of different stores? Yes, there are a few out there, and some

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cover up to several thousand retailers. I know it is not

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personal, but cash or a checkmate the better. This is a list of

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financial nonlawyers. I see extended warranties on the list. This is not

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something you approve of? Yes. A lot of people making big purchases at

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Christmas, televisions, washing machines. The reality is that your

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product is unlikely to break down a new -- in the first place. Extended

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warranties can cost quite a bit. You have protection under the sale of

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goods act to return any items that are faulty, and the manufacturer's

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warranty as well. I do not think extended warranties are all the

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cracked up to be. You have also highlighted some investment

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products. These are things that will not get the headlines all the time,

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but in terms of the financial pain that the cause, they are pretty

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expensive. Yes, over 50s plans. If you have just taken a premium and

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you put it away for 1015 years, the likelihood is that you will get more

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money by putting it into an ISA. The other one is Tracker funds. These

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are investments that Tracker stock market. Some of them are charging

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way over the odds from what you could get. 1%, it doesn't sound like

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much, but it charges a lot. The full list is in the magazine guide. Thank

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you very much. If Santa is bringing the kids a

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puppy or a kitten, Santa needs to remember this: A dog is for life,

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not just for Christmas. Where there's a pet, there's a vet and a

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bill. Will pet insurance cover those costs? Maryam Moshiri gives the

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issue a good worming. Sylvia Brady's two dogs, Megan and

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Wilson, are both insured. Last year, she successfully claimed when they

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both needed operations, but she was shocked to find out that her monthly

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premiums went up afterwards. Both dogs were insured from puppies

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because we have had them from eight weeks old. They both needed eye

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surgery, something called cherry eye. We were pleased with the

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outcome. But at the end of the year, the premiums had gone up by 40%.

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Because they are young dogs and we want to keep them healthy, we will

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keep insuring them. The pet insurance industry is growing fast

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and is worth ?700 million annually Thanks to better research and

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technology pets are living longer. Great news for them and their

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owners, but more medical treatment could hit your wallet hard. When you

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turn to the vet, as opposed to getting a yes or no, we can do

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something, we cannot do something, you have a menu of options coming

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out at you. You start at ?100 for a straightforward, this is what we can

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do, and by the time there is a broken leg, you are easily onto

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?400. If there is a complication with maybe a metal pin, you're into

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1200-?2000. Some veterinary surgeries like this one in Southwest

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London, are seeing more and more owners using pet insurance to pay

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for their dog or cat's medical treatment. And the vet here believes

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the most important thing is to pick the right type of insurance from the

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start. Good quality means lifelong cover. Any of these policies that

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run year-to-year, they are hardly worth having. You will get an

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incident, there will be an exclusion put on that for life. Nobody else

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will touch you. If there is a message in this, if you're going to

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go for pet insurance, lifelong cover is the way to go. The financial

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ombudsman service says last year it received 830 new complaints, an

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increase of 50% on the previous year. Only a third of those

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complaints were upheld. Why do some people end up disappointed with the

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cover? If your dog or cat has had a condition before, they often will

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not pay out again or only up to a certain limit. They also will not

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pay if your dog gets sick from a condition against which they could

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have been vaccinated, or pregnancy. There are lots in the small print.

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If you do decide to buy a pet this Christmas, it is important to talk

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to your vet to decide which policy is right for you before you start

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shopping around. They are lovely!

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News for humans now. The cost of calling consumer helplines will be

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capped. Some companies make us ring expensive 0845 or 0870 numbers if we

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have a query or need to get something fixed. That will be

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stopped in June. Under new consumer regulations, they'll only be able to

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use standard or free numbers. The regulations will also give us more

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time to return goods we bought online or over the phone. And

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they'll force companies to make additional costs clearer.

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One other change, the phone watchdog Ofcom says free calls will also be

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free if you ring from your mobile. That change will happen in the next

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18 months. More people are falling behind with

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their rent payments and are asking for help. The Money Advice Trust, a

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charity that assists people with debt problems, says its helpline got

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nearly 20,000 calls from people behind with their rent in the first

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nine months of this year. That's nearly 40% more than the same time

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period in 2011. If you need it, you'll find the helpline number if

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you search on the Internet for "national debtline".

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Ryanair has cut its charges for excess baggage. Until now, you were

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stung for an extra 20 quid per kilo if your bag was overweight. Now it's

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charging a tenner a kilo. That's also what Easyjet charges at the

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airport for excess baggage. Flybe and Jet2 charge more per kilo. BA

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charges a flat fee of 40 quid per bag if it's overweight but still

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lets you take on luggage free if it's within the weight limit.

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Every now and again you'll get a letter inviting you to switch your

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debt from one credit card to another at zero interest. Very tempting at

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this time of the year, when there's a lot of spending to be done. David

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Black is a credit card rate expert from Consumer Intelligence, a market

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research company. Welcome. Zero interest is always tempting. What is

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the catch? They are good deals if you can get them. The first catch is

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that not everyone will get them. If you have a poor credit rating,

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you're unlikely to be excepted. The other thing is that you may not be

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offered as long as you want. Barclaycard are offering 29 months

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at 0%. But some people, the offer 14 months instead. That is important,

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because if it runs out, that introductory period, if it runs out

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before you have paid off the debt that you owe, you're left facing the

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big charges. Standard charges are very much higher. About a third of

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people probably will not clear the entire balance by the end of the

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period. Lots of those will want to switch to another 0% deal and it is

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no guarantee that it will be available. The other thing is that

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you might want to transfer 5000, but you might not be allowed to transfer

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that much. There might be a limit. They are pretty strict in making

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sure that you. Every iron cross every key during that introductory

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period. It is not unknown for them to bring that introduction to an

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end. Yes, about one fifth of people will lose the 0% eel. -- dot every I

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and cross every T. If you do not make at least the minimum payment

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are you go over your credit limit, you will potentially lose the 0%

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eel. When it says 0%, is it actually free in every case, for every penny

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that you transfer, is that correct? Assuming that you cleared within the

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period, yes. Balance transfer cards tend to charge between 2.5 and 3%.

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If you can get it, it is good value compared to what you have you borrow

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elsewhere. -- compared to what you have to pay when you borrow

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elsewhere. So there is a fee that you pay in some cases to move the

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money from one card to another card? Effectively leaders is a fee

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for all of them. The typical standard credit card rate is

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roundabout 18%. Some charge less, some charge more. Thank you very

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much. Thank you for looking into that for us. ?? new line That's all

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from Your Money for this week. Advice on saving, borrowing and

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spending all week long on the Your Money pages on the BBC's website.

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It's bbc.co.uk/money. You can get updates by following our feed on

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Twitter. We're @BBC Your Money.We're back next week. Bye for now.

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This is BBC News. The headlines: A plane carrying the macro one --

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coffin of Nelson Mandela has taken off bound for his final resting

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place, his childhood home. Dissident republican splinter for a

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bomb which exploded in Belfast yesterday evening.

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The 15-year-old girl

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Weekly round-up of news about mortgages, savings, credit cards, bank accounts and pensions. Helpful tips and advice on how to get the best deals, consumer rights and making your money work harder for you. With Declan Curry.


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