• Experts

    I owned a home briefly years ago, do I qualify as a first-time buyer to avoid stamp duty and how would I get caught out?

    I am buying my first home and was delighted when the Budget revealed a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers up to £300,000.I initially thought that this would save me and my boyfriend £5,000, but then saw that I don't qualify, as although I think of myself as a first-time buyer and don't own a property now, I did briefly own one about seven years ago that I sold at a loss and have been renting ever since.My boyfriend has never owned a property before and we are buying together, so do we qualify as first-time buyers as a couple?If ...

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  • Experts

    From tax implications to damage cover: The five questions you should ask yourself before letting out your property on Airbnb

    Got the answers: Nicole Rogers from DAS LawAirbnb is fast becoming the preferred method of accommodation amongst leisure and business travellers. For Airbnb hosts it can be an easy way of making some extra cash.However, recently there have been a number of cases where properties have been damaged by guests, people being injured at Airbnb properties and hosts left with a lot of clearing up to do.Here Nicole Rogers from DAS Law answers the most important questions for existing Airbnb hosts and those thinking of renting out their properties.If your property or belongings are damaged or stolen, will your ...

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  • Experts

    ASK TONY: Help me get back 187.50 in Nectar points after my Sainsbury's vouchers expired

    I changed 37,500 Nectar points into Sainsbury s vouchers worth 187.50 just before Christmas last year.The Post Office special delivery envelope shows Sainsbury s tried to deliver them on Christmas Eve to my office address, which was shut. I eventually received them on January 6.I put them away to spend later as I don t have a Sainsbury s nearby and forgot all about them until June 20.I spotted the use by date was June 14 so contacted Nectar, which said I could not have the credit back but that I should contact Sainsbury s, which would help me use ...

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  • Experts

    Why does NatWest offer overseas customers 25 times more interest on its easy-access savings account than the rate for those who live in Britain?

    I have an instant saver easy-access account with NatWest. It currently pays 0.01 per cent interest.When I looked around on the internet for better deals, I found that NatWest International is paying 0.25 per cent on its version of the instant saver account.I have tried to find out why the difference but have struggled to get an answer. The bank told me to register a complaint which could take 15 days to obtain an answer. G.W, via e-mail. Lower rate? NatWest instant saver offers me 0.01% interest - but the international version pays 0.25%Lee Boyce, consumer affairs editor at This ...

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  • Experts

    TONY HETHERINGTON: I was cold called by a firm involved in expensive watches and then invested 6k how can I tell if it s a share scam?

    P. J. writes: I was cold called by Incrementum Funding about buying shares in Paragon Time Trading Ltd, a business involved in expensive watches that was to be listed on the AIM market according to salesman Spencer George.An impressive email set out returns and other details, and I invested 6,000. Is this a share scam?It might have been better to ask this before parting with your cash. This is a high risk investment, and there are huge question marks over the sales company.There are innocent businesses with similar names, so let me make clear that you were contacted by IFRC ...

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  • Experts

    A fraudster spent 700 worth of my Nectar points in Argos and the scheme still hasn't refunded me - does it have a scam problem?

    I saved more than 700 worth of Nectar points over the years through regular shopping at Sainsbury's and BP.However, I was shocked to discover that 144,000 points have been redeemed in Argos, Slough, at the beginning of July. I telephoned Nectar immediately as the transaction was not made by me and nor had the card gone missing. Nectar sap: My points have been spent in a Slough branch of Argos - but don't understand howI was promised a refund and given a reference number - however after three follow-up calls and continuous promises of reimbursement and call backs I still ...

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  • Experts

    My daughter and her cousins inherited 10k each in trust - can we tap the funds early to pay university fees?

    My daughter and her cousins are coming into some money from their uncle s will. We re not sure how much yet but it s at least 10,000 each.The will says the money must be held in trust until they are 21. I don t really understand what that means.We d like to invest some of the money and save some in cash. Do we really need to pay a solicitor to set up trusts? How does it work? And is there a way of using some of the money before they are 21 to pay for university?Can you explain ...

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  • Experts

    ASK TONY: ScottishPower sent three baffling bills for the same period and now wants 3,755

    I moved home in September 2014 and sent a new meter reading to energy supplier ScottishPower. I asked to be put on a monthly direct debit, but I heard nothing back.I kept phoning and sending updated meter readings but had no reply until June 24, 2015, when it finally wrote but did not mention a payment method.I received my first bill on November 5, 2015, more than a year after I had moved in. There was no prepayment meter in my home, yet the bill was based on a prepayment electricity tariff, which is particularly expensive.During August 2016, I received ...

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  • Experts

    Can we get broadband without signing a 12-month deal? We're only renting for three months while we renovate our home

    We have had to move to a rented flat for a few months while renovating our home.We hope it will only take three months to get the work finished, but what can we do about our broadband?Is there any way of getting broadband without signing up for 12 months or will we have to go without? Broadband: Most contracts will charge you a termination fee if you try to leave earlyEmma Gunn of This is Money replies: Most providers will let you move an existing contract to a new property if it offers the same service in your new location.So ...

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  • Experts

    Banned for 11 years... the 1m bogus investment cheat who confessed

    A Controversial businessman has been banned from acting as a company director after making a series of damning admissions about a scam investment firm he controlled.Brett Jolly, 56, is disqualified from running any British company for the next 11 years, beginning last Thursday. He confessed to investigators from the Insolvency Service that he allowed carbon credit investment firm Anglo Capital Partners Limited to trade 'with a lack of commercial probity'.Investors were told to expect returns of up to 25 per cent when the truth was that Jolly's company had already marked up the price of the carbon credits by as ...

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  • Experts

    TONY HETHERINGTON: Firm tries turning on the heat, but we help snatch back 2,000

    MS L.R. writes: After several unsolicited calls, my parents were under the impression British Gas would be calling to provide advice on how to save on their energy bills. In fact they were visited by a salesman from National Heating Solutions Limited. He was in their home for three hours, selling a new heating system costing 10,000. Dad is not in good health and had to lie down, but the salesman told Mum that if a 2,000 deposit was not paid that day, the price would rise to 15,000, so she should disturb Dad to get his bank debit card. ...

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  • Experts

    Why is TalkTalk chasing me with debt collectors when I switched my broadband to Sky in April?

    Why am I being chased by TalkTalk debt collectors when I switched my broadband to Sky? asks Barry GatesI switched my broadband from TalkTalk to Sky in April this year but I've now started receiving letters and phone calls from a debt collection agency.This is because TalkTalk, my previous supplier, says I owe it 165 for line rental and contract payments over the past four months.But during this time I've been with Sky so I don't understand why I am being chased for this debt. I thought when you switched broadband providers you only needed to tell the new ...

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  • Experts

    DAN HYDE: British Airways can't get away with charging premium prices for a cheap service

    Holidays are meant to be a time when you can switch off completely from the stresses of the daily grind.But if Money Mail s postbag is anything to go by, many of those heading abroad are finding it s just adding to their anxieties.If you re not under siege from greedy car hire salesmen at the airport, you re left out of pocket for flights cancelled due to IT glitches or freak weather. Iconic: The flag carrier has left a string of disappointed passengers in it's wakeJust to make it worse, today we re told to expect four-hour delays as ...

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  • Experts

    Are shops allowed to refuse 50 notes even though they are legal tender? And will the BoE reduce worries over fakery by making them polymer?

    I recently visited a local haberdashery store and purchased some fabric material totalling 53.45. I attempted to pay with a 50 note and the rest in coins. However, the sales assistant refused it.I spoke to the manager who then informed me it isn't 'company policy' to accept them. It's not as if I was trying to pay a small bill of 5 or so that would have deprived them of all the cash change in the till as I understand the frustrations there. Don't they realise they're refusing legal tender? Refusal? On a recent trip to a shop, it refused ...

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  • Experts

    US Revenue won't refund tax from property sale because I'm a non-resident: TONY HETHERINGTON investigates

    Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday's ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below. J.F. writes: This is a cautionary tale of the risks of buying property in the US. My wife and I bought a holiday home in Florida in 2008 and in 2015 we decided to sell up. The property market had declined and we sold at a loss. The sale was completed in August 2015 and the conveyancing firm held back 10 per cent ...

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