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Thanks for my holiday!
Member Name: funagogo
Advantages: Easy to use, step by step advice, impartial
I am only going to be reviewing one specific area of this site in detail but will give the site an overview.
Bit of Background:
I have heard a lot on tv and the radio about illegal bank charges and how everyone and their mum has claimed them back from their banks. So I thought I would look a bit more into it. I googled reclaiming bank charges and this was the top result. I clicked on the bank charges section and read through it. It gave simple comprehensive advice and letters you could use if you wanted to go for it.
The website gives you absolutely everything you need, from how to work out what the bank has taken from you (plus an interest calculator to work out what you have lost out on - worked out at a generous 8%.) I am currently with Halifax and had my statements since I opened my account in 2003. I went through and put every £30 charge for going over my overdraft limit into the calculator and it worked out I had wracked up just over £2000 worth of overdraft fees. Whoops, I am rubbish at keeping track of my money. You can claim up to 6 years fees so I'm guessing 2 grand is a relatively average claim. Then you save the version of the letter applicable to you, fill in your details and send it off. Obviously the bank will say they are acting legally and tell you to do one, but the website gives you advivce on what to do then - along with more letter templates. If a bank is being really determined not to pay out it will give you help going through the small claims court and has even got a £100,000 fighting fund to help people going to court. My case didn't get this far - after my second letter to Halifax, and one phone call I was told I would get £2,000 credited into my account. Although this wasn't the full amount I was happy to accept it as it was money I never thought I would see again. The whole process took about 3 months.
Why use this site:
This site gives great advice on bank claims and has a mass of chat forums with expert advice as well as stories from people going through the process. I got stuck at one point and posted on the message board and had an answer within a couple of minutes. It is brilliant.
Other features on the site:
The site also has a number of other great features that are designed to give you the best possible tips for your money in your situation. Unlike some sites it isn't pushing an agenda, and if you are in doubt you can just go into the forums and double check what other people think.
Pages I have found useful are the holiday money finder which allows you to get the best deal of your holiday spending money, and gives a wide range of currencies and options. Not just the standard Euro, Dollar etc. It gives you links to the sites directly and even gives you the fees that will be charged if you go through with the transaction.
There are also handy hints on ways to get the best loans, credit cards and mortgages. In fact there is even a way of claiming council tax money back if you suspect you are in the wrong council tax band (which many people are as they haven't been recalculated for about 15 years.) It also has hints on way to get benefits you may be entitled to and not realise it.
There are also pages on insurance, day-to-day costs and the best banking deals.
Structure of site:
The structure of the site is easy to use. There is a bar along the top with easily categorised headings, and when you click on them each page has the most popular page links at the top. Navigation around this site is brilliantly comprehensive. It is pretty free of jargon and is most definitely on the side of the average Joe, against the industry fat-cats.
This site is brilliant for every one who wants to get on top of their finances - and lets face it, that is just about everyone. It is easy to navigate, links you to other pages, so that you don't need to be going onto google every 5 minutes. The advice generally works and I always consult this page before making a major financial decision.
Summary: Give it a look before sprnding more than you need to