HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster go into administration
Date: 22 January 2013
The music chain HMV went into administration on 15 January.
Shops are currently open and accepting gift vouchers.
If you want to return unwanted goods, HMV may no longer accept them.
If the goods are faulty, you may have a right to a refund, repair or replacement.
If you are unable to return your goods, you can try writing to the administrators, but they may have other priorities and may not be able to help you.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to:
• make a claim through the Mastercard and Visa chargeback scheme
• make a claim to your credit provider
• claim on a guarantee or warranty.
You may be able to claim on a manufacturers warranty or an extended warranty if it was bought through an insurance company. If the warranty is provided by HMV directly, you won’t be able to claim.
• For more about HMV going into administration, go to MoneySavingExpert at www.moneysavingexpert.com
• More about what you can do when a company goes into administration
• More about making a claim through a chargeback scheme
• More about making a claim to your credit provider
• More about claiming under a guarantee or warranty
The Jessops camera shops also recently went into administration and stores closed at the end of trading 11 January. See the Jessop’s website for more information about what to do if you want a refund on vouchers, are waiting for repaired goods, have a pre-paid order, or were waiting to collect orders for photos or products.
• Go to Jessops' website at www.jessops.com
Blockbuster, the DVD and video games rental company, also went into administration on 16t January. The administrators Deloitte have said that Blockbuster will continue to trade as normal until a buyer can be found for all or part of the business. During this time customers can still use gift cards and credit.
• More information about what to do if a company has gone into administration
Stamps at last year's prices this Christmas
Royal Mail is sending a leaflet to all households in the UK to let people know about its Christmas stamp scheme.
If you get Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Pension Credit, you'll be able to buy up to 36 First and Second Class stamps at last year's prices - 46p for First Class and 36p for Second Class. You'll be able to take up this offer between 6 November and Christmas Eve.
When you go to buy your stamps, you'll need to take with you a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). If you have a Post Office Card Account and your benefits are paid into it, you can take your card statement instead.
Royal Mail has started sending this leaflet with a voucher to all homes from 8 October.
For more information about Royal Mail's Christmas stamp scheme, go to the Royal Mail website at www.royalmailgroup.com.
Don't miss the 31 October tax return deadline
If you're self-employed or have other income that isn't taxed directly through your pay, you normally have to send in your tax return to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) every year.
There are two separate deadlines for the tax return - one for the paper return and the other if you do it online. If you are submitting a paper return for the tax year ended 5 April 2012 (tax year 2011-12), the deadline is 31 October.
It was previously either 30 September, if you wanted HMRC to calculate the tax for you, or the end of the following January, if you wanted to calculate the tax yourself.
But for the last few years, if you have missed the 31 October deadline for sending a paper return, then you must do it online. If you think that you will miss the deadline for sending in your paper return, you need to plan to meet the deadline for doing it online, which is 31 January 2013.
If you have submitted your tax online in previous years, you will already have a Pin code for the HMRC system. If you do not have a Pin, you will need to register on the HMRC website. The Pin code will be sent to you by post and HMRC advises that you should allow seven days for this to arrive.
If you miss the deadline for sending tax returns, either for paper or for online submission, there are potential penalties. As soon as you are late in sending in your return, you will be given a penalty of £100. This is automatic. In addition to the £100 penalty, the following penalties apply for tax returns sent after 1 November 2012 for paper returns, and 1 February 2013 for online returns:
- if you send your return three months late - you will start receiving automatic £10 a day penalties. This rate applies for 90 days, to a maximum of £900
- if you send it six months late - £300 or 5% of the tax liability, whichever is higher. This is in addition to the penalties above
- if you send it 12 months late - £300 or up to 100% of the tax due; again this is in addition to the penalties above.
You may also receive penalties for late payment of tax, in addition to penalties for sending your tax return late.
HMRC may accept an appeal against a penalty for sending your tax return late, if you had a reasonable excuse.
Nuisance calls and messages
Ofcom, the telecoms industry regulator, has launched a guide about what to do if you get nuisance phone calls, faxes, text messages and email, and if you get silent, scam or abusive calls.
The guide includes what you can do if someone rings to sell you something and you want to stop the calls. For example, you can ask the organisation to remove details from their database and register with the Telephone Preference Service.
It also explains that you can complain to the Information Commissioner if you keep getting recorded messages from organisations asking about claims for personal injury and services from debt management companies.
Ofcom’s Consumer guide on Nuisance Calls and Messages
On 1 October, the Green Deal, the government's energy efficiency scheme comes into force.
The Green Deal allows you to get energy efficiency improvements to your property without having to pay up front. You can pay for the improvements by instalments on your electricity bill, for a period of up to 25 years. Paying through your bill is like a loan - but for your property, not the person.
The Green Deal is designed to ensure that you won't pay back more than you are saving on your energy bill. This is called the Golden Rule. However, this is not a guarantee.
The actual level of your savings will depend on how much energy you use to heat your property and the future cost of energy.
You can find out about the Green Deal in a number of ways, including through local builders, the supermarket or your energy supplier.
From 1 October, you can have an assessment of your home. You may also receive quotes for the Green Deal. However, you will not be able to complete the contract for the Green Deal nor have the work started until the end of January 2013.
National Minimum Wage goes up
The National Minimum Wage goes up on 1 October. The rate depends on your age. The new rates are:
• £6.19 if you're 21 or over
• £4.98 if you're 18-20 – this stays the same as before
• £3.68 if you're 16-17 – this stays the same as before
• £2.65 if you're an apprentice under 19, or in the first year of your apprenticeship.
If you're not sure if you're being paid the right amount, or need further advice about the National Minimum Wage, you can contact Pay and Works Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.
Not too late to renew your tax credits
Date: 24 September 2012
The deadline for renewing your tax credits was 31 July. You would have received your renewals pack from HRMC earlier in the year.
It's important to renew your tax credits every year by 31 July, even if you're no longer getting any money. If you didn't do it, your tax credits may stop and you may have to pay back the money your received since 6 April and any overpayments from the previous tax year.
However, if you have missed the deadline this year, HMRC will still restore your claim if you contact them with the details they have asked for by 30 September.
If you need help with your tax credits renewals, you can contact the tax credit helpline on 0345 300 3900.
Squatting becomes a criminal offence
Date: 24 September 2012
The rules about squatting changed on 1 September. Squatting is when you move in or stay somewhere without the owner's permission.
Up to now, if someone was squatting, for example, in an empty house or a flat, and the owner wanted to get them out, they generally had to use the civil law and go to court to get permission to evict the squatters. This would have been at the owner's expense.
However, squatting in residential properties is a new criminal offence. This means that the owner doesn't have to go to court to try and evict a squatter - they can just call the police. The police have the right to arrest squatters. It doesn't matter whether someone has been squatting for a long time in the same place or has only just moved in. A squatter can be arrested for squatting in all types of residential buildings, such as houses or flats, but also places like caravans and mobile homes.
If someone is found guilty of squatting, they could be sent to prison for up to six months or have to pay a fine of up to £5,000, or both.
It's not squatting if you had a tenancy which has come to an end but you haven't yet moved out, or if you've fallen behind with your rent. In these kind of situations, your landlord will still need to go to court if they want to evict you or get their money back.
Housing Benefit cuts if your social housing is too large
Date: 24 September 2012
If you rent your home form the council or a housing association, and claim Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent, your Housing Benefit may be cut from April next year.
This could happen if you're of working age and your home is considered too large for you.
Your home may be too large if you have a spare bedroom, for example because your children have grown up and left home.
It's important to find out now if you'll be affected, so that you can work out how you'll be able to pay your rent when the changes happen.
DOLGELLAU AND PWLLHELI ADVICE CENTRES VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES AS ADVICELINE TELEPHONE ASSESSORS
Would you like to volunteer in a rewarding and valuable role with us? Valuable experience in helping people and also obtain worthwhile work experience to enhance your job prospects - click here
An Adviceline telephone assessor is a diverse role and you will not be expected to know it all! We provide all Adviceline telephone assessors with full training and support which will help you develop the skills you need to deliver an excellent level of service to clients.
As an Adviceline telephone assessor you would: be the first point of access for Citizen Advice clients when they ring the Adviceline number. Specific qualifications or experience is not required to train for the role. You need to:
• be good at listening
• have a good telephone manner
• have basic computing skills
• be open minded and non-judgemental
• enjoy helping people.
Once fully trained we will continue to support you throughout your time as an Adviceline telephone.
After undertaking this role you could also transfer to be a Generalist Face & to Face Advisor in the future.
We pay travelling expenses at the rate of 35p a mile.
For further information please contact Gwynfor/ Rhydwen at Area Office, Caernarfon on 01286 675376 or email@example.com
Our experienced Money Adviser can cover everything from :
• budgeting to saving,
• credit and borrowing, mortgages , insurance,
• pensions and retirement planning.
They can also help you to:
• manage your money day to day,
• plan for monthly outgoings and explain money matters in an easy to understand way.
And because the service is truly impartial they won’t be recommending any products
For more information and an appointment:-
phone 07733260691 and ask for Nigel Jacks
Did you know that CAB can help you with employment problems such as:
• Unfair and wrongful dismissals including constructive dismissal
• Discrimination claims
• And much more
We give free advice and legal representations.
For more information please phone 01286 676514 and ask to speak to Ian Winrow
Beware imposter ‘CAB’ cold callers offering debt help, CAB Gwynedd & De Ynys Môn CAB warns
Date: 1 August 2012
Imposters claiming to be from the CAB are preying on people with money worries with cold calls offering fake ‘debt help’ CAB Gwynedd & De Ynys Môn CAB warned this week.
CAB Gwynedd & De Ynys Môn CAB said no genuine Citizens Advice Bureau would ever call people out of the blue offering to set up a debt management plan. We urge anyone receiving such a call or text to alert Action Fraud immediately on 0300 123 2040, or online at www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud
“No CAB adviser, or anyone connected with the CAB, would ever phone or text someone out of the blue to offer debt management services. We cannot stress this too strongly, and we would urge anyone getting a bogus call like this to end the call as quickly as possible, never give or confirm any personal information, and to report the call immediately to Action Fraud and to the CAB. This advice applies to any cold call or text that offers you a loan, help dealing with debt problems, or claims to be from your bank - it is almost certainly a scam.
“CAB Gwynedd & De Ynys Môn CAB also want to reassure anyone experiencing debt or money worries that we can help. Our service is completely free, confidential and independent, and we have many years of experience and expertise in helping people get debt free and stay that way. No one solution is right for everyone. We can look at your whole situation, deal with any emergencies such as the threat of eviction or other court or bailiff action, or disconnection of essential services. We can also make sure you are not missing out on any extra income you may be entitled to. We can negotiate with creditors on your behalf and discuss all your options with you, so you can decide on the one that is right for you.”
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