World cup cashback offers - BEWARE!

Anything and everything has been promoted with a link to the world cup finals in South Africa, in a bid to sell you something.

One of the most common so far, are the television cashback offers.

The Time's reported on Saturday that those offering money back per England goal scored, offered little if no value to the customer at all.
One example they gave was a 38 inch flat screen television set, on an England cashback of £10 per goal scored (excluding penalties), for £829.99 - said to be a "Sale" price, with a well known high street retailer.
On further inspection, the same television set is available with another high street retailer, not in a "Sale" nor does it have the cashback offer, for £649.99

To break even with the cheaper priced set, England would need to score 18 goals to be equal in value.
In reality, England average 6 goals per world cup finals they play in.

Of course, here at frugal ways, we are well aware that football is not about the quality of the TV set, nor is it about all the add on sales pushed in your face, it's about the event and as long as you can get to watch it, then all will be fine.

How long to clear a cheque?

If you are a customer of Santander/Abbey, you will know that paying a cheque into your bank account and having your funds cleared, is like pulling teeth!

Three working days is the standard time for a cheque to clear, it is instant in bank accounts with money in them over a set limit (like £100,000) - the balance used to be available as soon as it was put in, not any more.

Santander staff tell me that it is "Three banking days for cheque funds to clear into an account."
Why then, did I deposit a cheque Tuesday morning and the three "banking days" have passed and still no funds?
"It will clear on Monday next week," says the advisor like I am getting a good deal.
"So Saturday is not a banking day then?" I ask,
"No it is not!" came the reply.
"So your banks don't open on Saturdays then?" I teased,
"Yes, this is so we can help our customers" once again, said as if it was the bank doing me a favour by delaying my cheque funds,
"So how exactly does it help me, for the bank to keep my funds in a clearing account so they can make interest on mine and everyone else's  funds?"

Before she could reply, I started laughing at her... "Your bank are useless" I stated as it is factually accurate, "Can you provide access to the funds for my cheque, that has now been with your bank for five days and will be until monday next week?"

"I'm afraid not sir!" said sounding like a robot,
"You are useless then!" I put the phone down on her.

If you are wealthy, money transfers, cheques, etc, all get actioned by banks within 24 hours, if you are normal and need access to funds quickly, then banks take an incredibly long time to clear a basic cheque.
So much for modern technology eh!

10 things that keep a toddler interested

Our sprog number 2, is fast approaching 9 months of age. Here is the latest top ten list of things that hold her attention, that she likes to play with:

  1. String or spaghetti
  2. An empty cardboard box
  3. Labels - be it on clothing or muslin squares
  4. Her own feet
  5. An old mobile phone
  6. Wooden clothes pegs - the "dolly" type (ace for chewing as her teeth come through!)
  7. Zips
  8. An old remote control
  9. Balls - of any size and texture. Cricket, tennis, football, etc, of any size
  10. The cat's tail

£8 odd for fancy rattles and god knows how much for musical teddy bears, waste of space so far. Things with different textures and sizes, things she sees mum an dad using around the house are much more fun it would seem.
Who would have thought that toy manufacturers after all these years would still be struggling to find the "ideal toy" for a child under one year of age?

MBNA - Worst ever credit card?

As cock-ups go, the MBNA credit card has to be the worst ever!

I am currently helping a family member out with their credit card, which transferred over from Alliance and Leicester to MBNA two months ago.

All was fine, card had its balance paid off every month by direct debit. This was the 'norm' for over two years.
Then two months ago, the card finished as an Alliance and Leicester card and became an MBNA credit card.
Not to worry, "nothing will change, your direct debit will stay in place and continue as normal."

In March, some purchases were made - in April, the direct debit to clear the balance was paid (according to the MBNA credit card statement shows). This is where the common sense goes out of the window.

Despite the statement showing the balance carried forward, being cleared by the direct debit payment, according to MBNA, they received no payment.
MBNA then re-added the purchases to the account balance from March.
MBNA then added the carried forward balance to the new account balance.
MBNA then added interest to the new balance.

Moving on two weeks, another statement comes through, stating that no payment off the balance was made in April...
MBNA have now added on a late payment charge to the balance.
MBNA have also charged more interest on the new balance.

Moving on another week, another statement now states that no payment was made in April or May (the balance is cleared each month by direct debit remember).
MBNA have now suspended the card so it cannot be used.

Not to worry, MBNA have included a contact sheet, stating that they "are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!"

I called them on both numbers provided, today, Saturday.
After going through various security checks, all I get is a messagebox, to leave a name and number for a call back.
I waited an hour then tried to phone them again...
This time I got a recorded message, which stated there was no one there after 1pm on Saturdays!


  • What happened to the "Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?"
  • How can MBNA charge interest to an account by the day, if a customer is unable to contact them on any given day?
  • Why are MBNA informing customers they can leave a message and they will be called back, but not informing customers they are not open after 1pm on saturday?
  • What happened to the promise of "No need to change anything, your direct debit to clear the balance remains the same?"
  • Why are MBNA adding purchases to an account balance, when they have already been part of a balance, which has been cleared?

Broken promises - unable to maintain a simple account - lying to customers (Re: customer services, opening hours) - applying charges despite evidence of errors by the company, etc, etc.

It staggers the imagination how a company operating as MBNA have done, manage to obtain a consumer credit license, to even trade.
I challenge YOU, to find one with worse service than this...

Santander/Abbey - 5 bags of change a day only!

It is reassuring to know, that Santander bank have their customer's best interests at heart and that security at their branches is of paramount importance...

Unless of course, you actually need to use one of their branches!

It has taken four (that's FOUR) phone calls, to establish that they are refusing legal tender.
With 21 bags of change to be deposited in the wife's account, we were advised previously (when the bank was Abbey) to notify them in advance, should we have a large amount of change bags to be deposited.
We finally got through to a call centre, that deals with branches, despite trying to phone the branch direct, who have refused to take more than "Five bags of change per customer, per day only!"

It is deemed to be a security risk to have more than this on the premises - when was the last time you heard of a bank robber demanding the bank teller to load up bags with just change?
As a result of Santander's wonderful lack of customer service, we now have to trek across town for five days just to deposit legal tender in the wife's current account.

Have you ever heard of anything so stupid?
Like customers have nothing better to do with their time and money - this is on a par with Natwest's mobile banking service.
After closing many local branches, in the name of security and losing many jobs, they have devised and advertised their wonderful mobile banking services, as if it is the best thing in banking history.
Sadly, it is less secure than small local branches were originally, proving that their excuses for closing said branches, were false and misleading.

As you can surmise, I loathe banks with a passion, they are money making machines that care not one jot for their customers, if all banks were closed down tomorrow I would not care one bit.