Time Limit Extended on Financial Complaints

Up until last month – if anyone wanted to complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) about the conduct of a financial institution – there was a strict 6 year time limit in place.  If someone had a problem with things like Insurance , PPI or a Mortgages ,  if the product was sold to you more than 6 years ago – you could not lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman.

There were probably several thousand people who were missold Payment Protection Insurance or other financial products who could not get the help of the FSO because of this time limit.

 

We wrote about the problem with this 6 year limit back in 2013.

New legislation has finally come into force (July 26th) which will give some consumers more time to make a complaint. One question might be – Why did it Take So Long ?

The original 6 year limit is still in place for short term financial services (Not lasting more than 5 years)

But – for all pension products, and for longer term financial services (where the duration of the service is 5 years and one month, or more) ,complaints can be made:
i) six years from the date of the act or conduct giving rise to the complaint
or

ii) three years from the earlier of the following two dates:

  • the date on which the person making the complaint first became aware of the said act or conduct, and
  • the date on which that person ought to have become aware of that act or conduct.

iii) within such longer period as the Ombudsman may allow where it appears to him or her that there are reasonable grounds for requiring a longer period .

There are also a  couple of extra conditions:

  • The new time limits for long term financial services will only apply to complaints  about conduct that occurred  after 2001
  • Also – the service or product being complained about must not have expired more than six years before the date of complaint.

These new rules bring Ireland closer into line with the process in the UK. This new three year  time limit applies to pensions and other  ‘long term’ financial products  such as insurance and mortgages . The new rules may be particularly relevant to anyone affected by the mis-selling of products like mortgages and payment protection insurance policies.

In practice, it  means that the right to complain will no longer just be confined to a six year period from when a loan or policy was sold .
but also three years from when a problem became known with it.
In addition the Ombudsman now has discretion to allow a longer period where there are reasonable grounds.

Any complaints to the FSO that were previously ruled out because of the six year rule can now be resubmitted .
We expect thousands of people to start looking again at things like missold  PPI and Credit Card payment Protection .

The Financial Ombudsman is expecting lots of extra complaints and is  already asking  consumers to be patient while they deal with them.

In all cases of complaints about financial products – consumers should first contact the bank or finance company involved. If the consumer is not happy with the response from the company – they should take it to the Financial Ombudsman.

See here for our previous articles about Missold PPI Refunds

 

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate Update

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate  : August 17th  2017 11am

1 GBP = 1.0964 EUR

1 EUR = 0.9120 GBP

See Latest  Exchange Rates Here

The Pound has been losing  ground against the Euro in recent weeks. Today the pound dropped to its lowest level since 2010  (- excluding a very brief period during last October’s flash crash) .

Three months ago a  Euro was worth  just £0.8453 GBP.  Today , the Sterling to Euro exchange rate was  closer to  £0.91 .
The euro’s recent rise against sterling illustrates the diverging economic fortunes of Britain and the eurozone since the Brexit vote. While the Eurozone prospers – growth in Q2 exceeded expectations and ran at an annualised rate of 2.2% – the UK’s currency is weak, growth is subdued and virtually all risks to the economic outlook are to the downside.

Sterling is not seen as an attractive option for investors at the moment, especially with Brexit still dominating the news. If the initial  talks do not run smoothly we could easily see the GBP/EUR rate  come under even more  pressure .

Last week , US investment bank ,Morgan Stanley , predicted a Euro/ Sterling parity in 2018 – with the possibillity of the Euro being worth more than the Pound at some stage in early 2018.

With so much  uncertainty in the currency markets at the moment –  it could get very stressful for people or businesses planning large Euro / Sterling exchanges in the next few months.   We are likely to be entering a period of heightened volatility which, depending on your timescales and budget, could cause problems if you are not properly prepared.

Using a Currency Exchange specialist  can remove some of the uncertainty by allowing you to fix an exchange rate as much as 12 months in advance of your transfer.  For good deals on large amounts of currency exchange –  for personal money or  for businesses – see our page on how to get the Best Exchange Rates

You might also be interested in this information about Transferring  Money from Ireland to a UK Bank

If you are just looking to buy some Pounds , Dollars  or other foreign cash for a holiday  – take a look at our page about the best place to buy travel currency in Ireland

 

euro sterling exchange rate ireland

 

Best SIM Only Plans Ireland

There are so many different plans and deals around  for mobile phones it can get very confusing and as a result , many people tend to  stay with their existing network because they just can’t be bothered to change.

If you use a Pay as You Go mobile phone “plan”  – it can be very easy to get through €40 or more a month in top ups . On some of the cheaper billpay mobile phone contracts – the inclusive  “free” minutes are only 100 or 200 – which can be easily exceeded and you can end up with a bigger bill than you expected at the end of every month.

Going over your inclusive minutes on a billpay plan will typically cost you €7.50 for every extra 30 minutes of calls you make. (based on typical charge of 25c per min).

One way to prevent unexpected large bills for mobile charges is to try and get a package that offers unlimited calls, data and texts . Then you will never be worried about  going over any limits. These days you don’t have to sign up for really long contracts to get unlimited calls/texts .

Best SIM only Plans Ireland

It’s easier to compare SIM only plans  rather than mobile plans  that include the purchase of a phone . When a phone is included in the deal –  the monthly charge will vary depending on the up-front amount paid for the phone , the length of the contract and the type of phone.

Most mobile networks in Ireland now offer billpay SIM only 30 day plans. You just put the new SIM in your existing unlocked mobile phone. You can usually keep your old number to make the change easier.  You will need to set up monthly payments by direct debit.

We have done a comparison of some of the  best SIM – only billpay 30 day contracts with  high quotas of  calls and data.

SIM Only Bill Pay Deals Compared

Network Charge per Month Call Minutes Texts Data
Id Mobile #
€14.50 10,000 10,000 30GB
Virgin (*) €25 Unlimited
(10,000)
Unlimited
(10,000)
30Gb
Tesco €25 Unlimited
(10,000)
Unlimited
(10,000)
20Gb
Eir(**) €25 Unlimited
(45,000)
Unlimited
(10.000)
15Gb
Three €30 Unlimited
(3000)
Unlimited
(3000)
60GB
Vodafone €30 Unlimited Unlimited 5Gb

You can see that the definition of unlimited varies quite a bit – and is not really unlimited with any provider. Ten thousand minutes a month is about 5 and a half hours a day – so if anyone thinks they need more than that –  then they should get out more !

# The lowest priced deal in the list is from   Id Mobile . This is a special offer at  half the normal price – it is normally €29 – but is reduced to  €14.50 for the first 6 months.  This special offer runs until the end of August 2017. It is a 30 day contract and has 4G internet.


Virgin  (*)     . They also  have a special offer of just €15 a month for the first 6 months if you are already a Virgin broadband or TV customer. You can see details and prices of all  Virgin’s SIM only deals over on Switcher.ie


Eir  (**)   Price reduced to €25 for first 6 months – normally €30


Some Alternatives  :  There are some very good prepay bundles available with unlimited calls and texts that could work out better value than going for billpay.

A good value  pre-pay  bundle is available from  Lycamobilefor  €15 a month you get  30Gb Data , Unlimited  Texts and Unlimited calls to all mobiles and landlines in Ireland. (“Unlimited” is actually 8000 mins and 8000 texts a month – which should be more than enough.)  (Note – Internet is  3G).

See Our  Comparison of Prepaid Mobile Phone Charges

See More top Money Saving Tips .

Figures updated August 2017


 

 

Best Broadband Deals for Students

Having  broadband available in a student house is pretty much an essential requirement  – for all that online   gaming studying that will be going on.
Most college provided or purpose built student accommodation will usually have broadband included as part of the rental agreement – but for those students who will be living in shared houses what are the best broadband options?

Most student tenancies will only last from September to June –  about 9 months. So a long broadband contract is probably not a good idea.  Most broadband contracts are 12 months long and some are 18 months – if you terminate early you may be  liable to pay for the full length of the contract or at least pay an early termination charge.

Broadband Speed and Limits:  With several students in one house you are probably going to need unlimited data and a fairly high speed to cope with all those educational downloads 🙂 .

Virgin Media  – if it is available in your area – have the ideal option for students. They have a broadband and phone bundle with just a 30 day contract length.  Their 240Mb Freedom Broadband and Anytime Mobile bundle  includes unlimited  broadband data with unlimited anytime calls to Irish mobiles and landlines and 400  minutes to 22 countries abroad.

It costs €55 a month with a €20 activation fee – so over 9 months it works out at €515More details and the option to sign up here
Virgin also do a  30 day contract “broadband only” option – but it is the same price , so you may as well get the landline with free calls for no extra charge.

If you can’t get Virgin Media broadband in your area – the next best option, in our opinion, is from Sky.  It is a 12 month contract – but at the moment it works out at €545 over 12 months which is only €30 more than Virgin over 9 months.It includes a phone line with free off peak calls too.

We have worked out the prices for some other broadband bundles with speeds of at least “upto” 100Mbs and with unlimited data. Prices include any set up or activation fees.
In these calculations below we have assumed that the total length of the contract must be paid for in full. Some providers will allow early termination – but could charge a fee of between €150 and €300 .

Broadband
Provider

Total
Cost over 9 months 
Contract
Length
Max
Speed
Extras
Virgin Media
€515 30 days 240Mb Free Anytime Calls
Sky
€545 12 months 100Mb Off Peak Calls
Fastcom €554.91 12 months 1000Mb  None
Sky €562.50 12 months 100Mb Free Anytime Calls
Digiweb
€564.40 12 months 100Mb None
Eir
€600 12 months 100Mb eir Sport

Compare broadband prices and deals in your area with Switcher.ie

 

More Broadband Prices Compared Here