14/12/2013 Your Money


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


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


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


advice on that. Hello and welcome to Your Money,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


David Black is here with his wealth warning.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


fingers burned. Jessop Saint particular, people had 500 science


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


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


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


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


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


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


company goes into administration. What about vouchers that cover a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


cracked up to be. You have also highlighted some investment


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


you very much. If Santa is bringing the kids a


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


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


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


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


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


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


premiums went up afterwards. Both dogs were insured from puppies


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


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


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


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


keep insuring them. The pet insurance industry is growing fast


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


shopping around. They are lovely!


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


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


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


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


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


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


they'll force companies to make additional costs clearer.


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


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


18 months. More people are falling behind with


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


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


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


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


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


you search on the Internet for "national debtline".


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


place, his childhood home. Dissident republican splinter for a


bomb which exploded in Belfast yesterday evening.


The 15-year-old girl


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