Top tips on saving and standing up for your rights
05/01/17 Standing up for your rights isn’t always easy. But knowing the rules can empower you to take on big businesses.
We don’t want to jump on the bandwagon of bashing 2016. But let’s be honest; it wasn’t a great year for many people. The team at Resolver spoke to lots of people about the problems with businesses that they’d encountered and some of the stories were really heart breaking. Frustratingly, some of the situations people contacted us about could easily have been sorted out. But without knowing where to turn or how to get help, many people gave up or allowed things to get worse.
So why not make a new resolution this year? Please don’t give up. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to sort out a problem. Don’t bury your head in the sand - take a fresh look at your finances. You may even find there are savings you can make that are easier than you thought.
We believe that making your voice heard matters. Even if your complaint doesn’t succeed, knowing you’ve stood up for yourself can go a long way towards making you feel better. And nearly two-thirds of people who use the Resolver website get a result they’re happy with. It really isn’t hard to get going. Get started at Resolver.co.uk.
If you’re feeling inspired, here’s a few examples of how you can start 2017 by successfully standing up for your rights.
Rail refunds and parking problems
Even though the UK’s rail prices are already among the highest in the world, we’ve already seen them rise again this week – with fares going up on average by 2.3% - or 27p a mile!It might seem like the odds are stacked against you when it comes to fighting back against the rail companies. But you can if you take the time to claim for each significant delay you encounter in 2017.
Generally, that means a 30-minute delay on the railways or 15 minutes on the London tube and now Southern Railways too. With trains, the longer the delay, the greater proportion of your ticket cost is returned. With the London tube, it’s even better – as soon as your delay hits 15 minutes, you can expect the whole cost of that single fare to be refunded.
And don’t forget the cost of parking at railway stations too. If you get caught out by unfair charges, you can also make a complaint.
Not sure if you can claim? Head to the operator’s website where their scheme should be prominently outlined and explained. It helps sometimes if you can get a delay form from a member of station staff.
There is a time limit on claims so make sure to apply within 28 days – and keep a copy of your tickets or take photos of them, just in case.
Watch your energy levels
The colder it gets, the more your bills rise, especially if you simply let fuel contracts 'roll over' from cheap promotional deals onto a higher priced 'standard tariff'.
Ofgem regulations state suppliers must send you written notice about your plan's upcoming end date 42-49 days in advance. As soon as you receive this letter or email, you’re free to switch to a cheaper deal with a new supplier, or indeed your current one, without paying any penalty or cancellation fees.
And if you feel you've been overcharged for your gas or electricity, not received a notification of a tariff change, or your supplier hasn't met service standards, start a case for free at resolver.co.uk.
Don’t get fooled by the fitness bug
After all that festive food and drink, January is usually the month where we commit to getting fit. But before you get locked in to a long contract with your local gym, be honest with yourself. Set your targets low and build them up, rather than getting over ambitious and giving up. Use guest passes while you’re figuring out if you ‘like’ the gym and resist initial offers – they’ll get better after the January peak period.
If you sign a contract, then check what your cooling off period is and work out how much it will cost you to cancel. Bear in mind that some contracts will charge you for three months’ premiums or more after you tell them you want to end the contact.
If you find yourself tied in to a deal but feel you weren’t made fully aware of the terms, or feel you were unduly pressured by a rep, you have the right to make a complaint.
The joys of giving and receiving
If you’re buying in advance for a birthday or wedding, or any gift that won’t be given for a while, check the retailer’s policy on returns for unused items after a month. If it’s not clear on their website, or in their store, then ask them by email and keep a record.
Make sure to ask for a gift receipt when buying, especially if you’re not sure if your Auntie Mabel will like that Iron Maiden boxset you’ve snapped up at a bargain price… Or if she loves them so much she might end up with two or three copies. Don’t worry about including the gift receipt, it’s a nice way of saying “I hope you like this, but I don’t mind if you swap it!”