Have the zombies got your savings?
The Financial Conduct Authority announced this week it is to investigate the £1 trillion savings market and how the banks use bonus rates to lure us in. In a speech in April Chief Executive Martin Wheatley described the banks as "enticing consumers towards a product and relying on human inertia to keep them there". A survey last year found that more than two thirds of the 1,800 instant access/notice cash isas and savings accounts it looked at were what's called 'zombie' accounts - closed to new customers and paying 0.5% interest or less. We debate the pros and cons of bonus rates.
The direct debit family (yes there really is one, they're called the Smarts) are all smiles and find direct debits really useful to manage their finances. But what if someone takes out a direct debit for goods or services but uses your bank details? Would you be warned, can you get your money back and how can you protect yourself?
The deposit of 4-6 weeks' rent paid by tenants is supposed to be fully protected according to the law. But what happens when a letting agent goes out of business and the deposit disappears. Who is ultimately liable and how can the tenant get the deposit back?
Four tenants of Fife Council have won appeals against a reduction in their housing benefit on the grounds that they had more bedrooms than the rules allowed. A tribunal judge sitting in a First Tier Tribunal rules that a room which would be overcrowded if an adult slept in it (less than 70 sq. ft.) should not be counted as a bedroom. And rooms with another reasonable and essential use could also be exempted. Will this lead to appeals by more of the 660,000 tenants who are expected to be affected?