Each week, Money Mail rounds up some of the week’s personal finance news. Here, it updates on slow broadband connections, rising complaints around high-interest loans and hikes to EE’s out-of-bundle services, among other stories.
Advertised broadband speeds fell by almost a half after providers were banned from offering unrealistic figures. Firms must now show the average speed at peak times. Connections from Sky, EE, Plusnet and BT which were sold as ‘up to’ 17 Mbps, are now offered at 10 Mbps, according to Which?.
Advertised broadband speeds fell by almost a half after providers were banned from offering unrealistic figures
Record numbers of customers are complaining about high-interest loans and store cards. The Financial Ombudsman received 36,300 complaints about expensive credit in the year ending in April — a 40 per cent rise on the previous 12 months. The increase has been driven by a 61 per cent hike in complaints about payday loans.
EE price hike
EE is hiking the cost of out-of-bundle services from June 25. Calls to Ireland and the Channel Islands are doubling to £1 a minute, international calls are rising to £1.50 from £1 and international texts are going up to 55p from 35p. Picture messages, calls made beyond your tariff and those to 08, 09 and 118 numbers will cost 55p, up from 50p.
Not so smart
Households could face higher energy bills following glitches with the smart meter rollout, according to a leaked draft letter to the Government. Energy UK raised concerns about ‘urgent technical issues’, warning these could ‘threaten cost increases’.
Four in ten cash-strapped customers are missing out on top energy deals because they would lose their Warm Home Discount if they switched. First Utility found that 94 of the 100 cheapest tariffs are offered by firms exempt from the discount because they have fewer than 250,000 customers.
Tax rate review
The taxman has been urged to review its use of emergency tax rates for savers using pension freedoms. Unless you have an up-to-date tax code, part of your pension is taxed at the top 45 per cent rate. The Office of Tax Simplification says savers may not know they can claim back their money.
Viagogo has been reprimanded after it failed to make charges clear. The ticket website did not meet a May 26 deadline to clarify fees. It is now on the Advertising Standards Authority’s list of ‘non-compliant online advertisers’. Viagogo did not respond to requests for comment.
Annuity payouts have plunged by a quarter in 15 years. In May 2003, pensioners who used a £100,000 pot to buy an income for life would receive £7,337 a year. In May this year, a typical payout had fallen to £5,445 thanks to rock-bottom interest rates.