Each month we publish the best comments, emails and letters from our readers. Here are the best of August 2018.
Reform the house buying and selling process
Moneywise says: We recently reported on research which revealed 55% of households would like to see gazumping banned. One reader says that’s just one of the problems facing home buyers and sellers.
Our problem hasn’t been with gazumping, but with the inordinate length of time it takes the council to return searches – something that we felt held up our sale.
The whole buying and selling system is flawed, and needs completely overhauling. It is such a stressful time and it’s heartbreaking when things fall through after months of waiting. Then more heartbreak to know that you have to start the process all over again – getting a new buyer, accompanied by a solicitor’s bill, for no outcome.
You throw out things ready for the move, you sell other items and then you are left stranded.
We need a system whereby once you make an offer, it is binding. It would force buyers and sellers to make better decisions instead of changing their minds later on.
M/VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
“The whole buying and selling process is flawed”
Moneywise says: See our feature on property auctions here. Once the gavel falls, you usually have 20 working days to complete.
Use common sense to beat bank scammers
I have been a subscriber to Moneywise for more than 20 years and find the magazine both useful and informative. However, I am at a loss to understand why you champion the cause of people who lose money to fraudsters, as described in Fight for Your Rights in Moneywise’s August issue.
People seem to fail to take the most basic of precautions before parting with their money by any method. When you buy an item in a store, would you hand over a large amount of cash to someone nearby, who simply says “I’m usually on the till – I’ll take your money”? Of course you wouldn’t, so why do it online? After parting with their money and realising they have been profoundly careless, they then expect the bank, which operated on their instructions, to make good their loss.
Over the past few years, I have made numerous payments online to various builders, glaziers, electricians, etc. On every occasion, I make a simple check to ensure the money is going where it is intended. For example, I’ll make a quick phone call to a known and verified number (usually the number I rang to have the work done) and confirm their bank details.
On one occasion, I received a call from ‘my bank’. I hung up and rang the bank directly on a known number and it was able to confirm that no call had been made. Loss to me in time: about 10 minutes. Loss to me in cash: nil. These precautions are simple and prevent potential fraud.
If a bank simply repays money because someone says “I’ve been conned”, then the potential for fraud becomes far greater than anything we see now. There would be those who would send money to an associate, claim they had been the victim of fraud, then simply share any refund given.
I firmly believe that stressing the importance of vigilance would be of far greater use than trying to claim back money for someone who has been less than careful in their actions.
Moneywise says: Unfortunately, fraudsters often target elderly and vulnerable people who are less able to make the checks you so rightly carry out. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to your financial provider and to Actionfraud.police.uk.
Smart meter rollout is ‘not so smart’
Moneywise says: We recently reported that a group of MPs were critical of the government’s rollout of smart meters in England, Scotland and Wales, which has been “plagued by delays and cost increases”. Two readers are not keen on having a smart meter installed.
I see no benefit to me of having a smart meter – just disruption.
It’s a very minor inconvenience to have to submit my readings online once a month.
My mum had a smart meter put in, but then switched supplier, so now just has a high-tech ‘dumb’ meter that is harder for her to read than the old ones were. Until smart meters continue to work after switching, it is ridiculous for the government/Ofgem to continue to push for them to be installed if they will then just need to be replaced.
R/VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
My generation was taught to be vigilant regarding energy and money, always turning off unused lights or setting heating on a timer.
If everyone observed this, it would not be necessary to waste money on installing a smart meter, which after a few weeks would not be looked at.
SC/VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
“We were taught to be vigilant and turn off unused lights”