Scandalous! Cost cutting news for August 2014

RBS fined for hopeless mortgage advice

Royal Bank of Scotland has been slammed for giving 99% of their mortgage customers bad mortgage advice. They’ve been fined £14.5 million as a result.

Some people feel it’s best to avoid banks altogether if you want a mortgage. I must admit I find myself agreeing.

If we ever need a mortgage again, which I dearly hope we don’t, I’ll be avoiding banks like the plague. After all, if they can’t even manage to get their banking act together, leaving the entire planet’s financial system in disarray, I don’t feel I can trust them to give me sensible advice about a mortgage!

The alternatives? If it was me I’d go to an independent mortgage broker company instead. If you pick the right one they’ll have access to the entire market instead of just one bank’s products. And they stand much more chance of knowing what they’re talking about.

Our current mortgage is through Norton Finance, who were brilliant. Even though we were perfectly entitled to get a loan through our bank, they were so useless on the phone I backed out and used Norton instead. Why them? They were advertising on telly at the time and seemed to know their stuff.

EDF forfeits a day’s profit for their customer service fiasco

After a customer service fail where one in five customers gave up after being put on hold for too long, EDF have paid a token £1 to Ofgem in recompense, and the balance of the fine has been given to charity.

It seems pretty pathetic when Ofgem are authorised to fine EDF £46 million, AKA 10% of their annual UK turnover. In total the Ofgem fine runs to just over £3 million.

We use Good Energy. Energy prices are very unlikely to go down in future. Good Energy only sells energy from sustainable sources. I decided we may as well pay a lovely company a reasonable price for the good stuff rather than pay bigger and less green people like EDF for energy generated unsustainably, the old fashioned way. The bills are still horrid – they’re horrid wherever you go – but at least our consciences are clear.

BT phone and broadband price hikes on the way

The free market is meant to deliver advantages to consumers. The idea is that fierce competition in any one sector keeps prices low and gives consumers a better choice.

Hmph. Really? BT has announced phone and broadband price increases of as much as 6.5%… just in time for Christmas. They announced it after Sky revealed tariff increases for September 2014.  How, exactly, does that work to consumers’ advantage? Far from being competitive, the free market merely means if one supplier takes the plunge and announces a price rise, the rest of the buggers happily follow.

Love football? Fancy paying £77 for a kids’ footie kit?

If you’re a Chelsea fan and your little ‘un wants a kit, you can expect to pay as much as £77 for the privilege. How much??? At the risk  of making Chelsea fans furious, perhaps its about time you changed teams. But it’s still possible to end up worse off.

Some clubs release several kits a year. Tottenham released three kits a year in 2010 and did the same for the previous six seasons in a row. I have no idea whether they’re still doing it… do you? Does Man United have a cheaper kids kit? What about Boro?

I’ve scoured Google but can’t find a list of football kit prices by club. Maybe the internet isn’t the fount of all knowledge after all. If you know where there’s a comparison list, let us know so we can share it with our readers.

What’s your best ever rip-off story?

Having watched Fake Britain last night, I’m inspired to ask for your best ever rip-off story. If you’ve ever been ripped off outrageously by a bank, broadband provider, energy firm or football club, we’d love to hear about it.