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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