Your shout: Moneywise readers have their say in November 2017

11 December 2017

Each month we publish the best comments, emails and letters from our readers. Here are the best of November 2017:

THIS MONTH’S  STAR LETTER Bargain hunting: Would you bend the rules?

Moneywise says: In our November issue, we looked at the wily ways consumers find to cut costs and asked lawyers if this is shrewd shopping or breaking the law. One reader had his own top tips for others (NB: Moneywise has not verified these suggestions)…

I discovered a long while ago that the first order incentive discounts offered by the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s home delivery services weren’t subject to any kind of account verification. I’ve saved hundreds on shopping that way. Last month, Sainsbury’s was giving an £18 discount if you spent more than £60 – even with the delivery charge that’s a 25% saving.

I’ve found the other useful glitch with Tesco’s system is when it offers a 25% discount on six or more bottles of wine and the wine you want is also on a multi-buy offer. What I’ve found is that the 25% discount is calculated on the full price, then the multi-buy discount (eg. £5.50 off a bottle or £9 for two bottles) is taken off the final total. In the past, I’ve ended up with combined discounts of over 40%.


‘Base rate change won’t have a meaningful impact’

Moneywise says: Base rate rose from 0.25% to 0.5% in November – its first increase in more than 10 years. But one reader doesn’t believe it will have much of an impact.

One tiny 0.25% rate rise will have next to no effect on borrowers or savers. Borrowers will still enjoy historically low rates for getting into debt and savers will still suffer real term negative rates on their hardearned, carefully conserved savings. Meaningful changes won’t even begin to occur unless there is at least a whole 1% base rate increase, with more in the pipeline.


BT customers angry over price hikes

Moneywise says: BT announced in November that it would raise landline, broadband and BT Sport prices from 7 January, much to the dismay of many users:

How can BT get away with this? A hike of between 4% and 33% and inflation at 3%! Where are customers supposed to find extra money to pay for a service that is ‘BT’ – Bloody Terrible.


After the recent BT announcement that “line rental-only customers will receive a £7 a month cut from 1 April”, we all knew greedy BT would claw that back by price rises elsewhere. I will NEVER be a customer of BT ever again!


Is this how BT recovers from its global financial problems? Just charge its loyal customers by an inflation-busting amount? The chairman and chief executive need to go.


Are you a fan of the sharing economy?

Moneywise says: In November’s Moneywise, columnist Helen Knapman evaluated the pros and cons of the sharing economy and asked for your views. Here’s one response:

We’ve rented properties using Airbnb at least a dozen times in multiple countries. All went well. Some properties were nicer than others, but that’s true of hotels and guest houses. Most were excellent.

My father regularly gives me newspaper cuttings to warn me of the risk of losing my money as an Airbnb renter. In every case, without exception, the story is a variant on a theme. The person went ‘offpiste’ by accepting the supposed property owner’s suggestion to pay via a different means, or they gave them details via email and not via Airbnb’s messaging system. But stay on the platform and Airbnb will have everything recorded and would normally cover any losses.

The risk to owners is perhaps harder. If you rent to people who have good reviews (references), I’d guess the risk is very small. But what if it’s a new user of Airbnb? Hopefully, you would ask a few questions. You might also meet the renter in person and not just send them a key code, as some owners do.

I did have one booked Airbnb property cancel my booking without explanation (despite some friendly messaging when I booked) two weeks before I went to Vancouver, forcing me to take a more expensive property at short notice as that was all that was available in my required location. I could also have had a full refund immediately. But then I’ve had traditional B&Bs cancel bookings at short notice because of illness or because they’d decided to close the business.

We’ve just come back from Poland where one conventional hotel couldn’t provide hot water, charged me too much and billed me weeks before the contract said. There can be issues with any travel accommodation, but I’d say Airbnb is better than most large agencies/platforms.