Advice column

advice column
 
Our advice column features common queries along with advice and information about what you can do to resolve them. 
 
If you have an issue that you are trying to resolve and it is not covered below you can email us for advice.

Phone contracts  

February 2017

"I recently signed a two year phone contract with a new network provider but the reception in my home is terrible. Is there any way I can get out of the contract, or have I just got to stick with it?" 

While poor signal doesn’t give you a right to cancel your contract, you should be able to make a case to your phone company to end it.

If you bought your mobile online or over the phone within the last 14 days, you can cancel the contract without needing a reason by contacting your provider.

But if you bought it in store or have had the phone for longer, you’ll need to ask to leave the contract.

Contact the company and explain the problem. They may give you a device which can boost your signal.

If this doesn’t work, you can ask to terminate the contract. However they will usually ask you to pay an exit fee, which can be as much as the remaining cost of the contract.

Paying the exit fee could allow you to terminate the contract immediately, but if you don’t want to pay then make a complaint using their complaints procedure.

This can take time, but if you haven’t got a resolution after 8 weeks, ask an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service to intervene. An adjudicator will make a decision on releasing you from the contract.

For further help, call the consumer service helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

 

Money worries

January 2017

"I was made redundant last month and I've already started to fall behind on my bills. I'm looking for work, but is there anything else I can do so I don't end up in debt?" 

There are steps you can take to avoid your bills from building up.

First, check that you’ve been paid any redundancy money you’re entitled to - you might get statutory redundancy pay and possibly contractual redundancy pay if you’ve been in the job two years or more. This should be evident on your final payslip, but if it’s not contact your employer.

Then look at ways to boost your income. See if you’re eligible for benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance with Citizens Advice’s benefits calculator. You could also check if you can make savings on your bills, for example by switching to a cheaper gas or electricity deal.

Now look at how much money you have coming in and compare it to your essential spending. Priority bills include your rent or mortgage and council tax, and should be paid first as there can be serious consequences for missing payments.

If you own your home, contact your mortgage lender to see if you can negotiate on your monthly repayment. You could also see if your credit card provider will negotiate on repayment amounts to give you some breathing space.

For further help understanding managing your money, contact your nearest Citizens Advice

Also see our online advice about getting help with your bills.

 

Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date advice, please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk


Cut the costs of your energy bills

"I'm worried by how much money I spend on gas. My home is draughty and I turn the heating on even in summer. How can I cut my bills?”

The good news is that there are a few different ways you can use less energy, and also pay less for what you use.

Start by finding out if you can get a lower price for your gas. Find a copy of your latest bill so you can see how much you're paying per unit. Then use Citizens Advice’s online energy price comparison tool at https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk/ to check if a different supplier is offering a cheaper deal. 

If you do find a better offer, call or email the new supplier and ask to move to the tariff you’ve identified. They’ll inform your old supplier and switch you over to their supply. This normally takes 17 days. 

You should also look into improving your insulation, such as getting draught excluders or cavity wall insulation. Energy Champions at Citizens Advice can help explain what could work best for your home and the potential costs involved.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for financial assistance to help you meet the cost of your bills, as well as any improvement works to your home.

For further information and help visit Citizens Advice

energy thermostat

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