Be careful who you book your holiday with

The pandemic caused thousands of flights to be cancelled and others to go ahead empty of passengers because the UK government banned holidays. Now is the time to remember which airlines and holiday firms were honourable when we could not travel during the travel restrictions. Only last week we were reminded by the Competition and Markets Authority who were not. The Competition and Markets Authority had been looking at the refusals to refund customers by Ryanair and British Airways and had reluctantly decided it could not force the airlines to refund passengers, who had missed out on their holidays last […]

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Take care with contactless, BNPL & crypto

There is lots of danger out there. Lindsay Cook warns of a new scam with contactless cards that allow fraudsters to take up to £1,000 from commuters who use their iPhone to pay at ticket barriers. Buy Now Pay Later is making so much money for the likes of Klarna and Clear Pay that the likes of Barclays Bank owner of the largest credit card company, Barclaycard is planning to disrupt this new payment method. Meanwhile the voices warning against investing in crypto currencies are growing louder. […]

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Don’t let banks part you from your money

Thousands of bank customers are having their bank accounts suddenly closed and left with no access to money – often for months at a time. It is one of the most frequent complaints I get from Financial Times readers.  There is usually no warning that their bank is suspicious about a transaction. But they can be left without access to their monthly salary or any other money in their account. It comes as banks, both modern app-based ones and traditional ones with legacy technology, are worried that they may be accused of enabling money laundering or fraud.  Under the Proceeds […]

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Big increases for energy and petrol

September is the month when we should think seriously about the cost of heating and lighting our homes as nights draw in and the days are cooler.  There is yet another strong prompt in the form of a 12% increase in energy bills for 11 million households from October 1. The price cap on standard variable tariffs is going up to an average £1,277 from October 1.  Ofgem allows this increase because the energy companies have persuaded the regulator that wholesale prices have risen massively, even though many of the companies we pay for our gas and electricity buy their […]

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A little more action needed on fraud

Every day I get messages from banks, which I do not have accounts with, mobile companies I have never dealt with and occasionally ones that I am a customer of. They have one thing in common. They are all fraudulent. Whether it is a warning from the UK’s biggest bank telling me of dodgy payments – three in the last week – or a mobile company that is going to cut off my phone because I have not paid they all want the same thing for me to press one on my keypad and then slowly to reveal my bank […]

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Frozen out and cashless

It is a nightmare of modern banking.  You want to pay a bill or withdraw cash and you find the bank has frozen all your accounts with no explanation. Frozen bank accounts are the subject I get more complaints about than any other.  Customers are left helpless unable to pay their regular bills or to get cash. More importantly they cannot find out why their accounts are frozen. The situation has become worse during the pandemic as bank staff are working from home or even been furloughed so there is no one to answer phones when customers try to find […]

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No money, no panic, but only just

While we are using less cash we are increasingly dependent on cash machines as bank branches reduce their hours or have closed during the pandemic. Only 6% of payments are made in cash nowadays but it is useful to have a few folding plastic notes to hand for tips or taxis. Down to my last £20 I stopped at the machine outside my local supermarket. Card was accepted, so was the personal identification number. I opted for cash with receipt and the machine whirred, and whirred. A queue formed behind me – at a social distance – and the man […]

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Leasehold and train battles continue

Two successes but we have to make sure we do not allow ourselves to go soft and stop fighting.   The Government has announced that it plans to ban builders from selling new houses as leasehold.  At Money Fight Club, in the Financial Times and on Share Radio I have long campaigned for the feudal leasehold system to be reformed.  The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership has also been brilliant. Sajid Javid late last night announced that the market was broken and was harming home buyers.  Builders and the companies that make fat profits from buying freeholds from property developers to inflate […]

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