With over twenty years' experience and a reputation for being one of the most fearless and thorough consumer journalists in the country we're lucky to have Alic Beer on OUR side.
On Alice's inaugural agenda she'll disclosing what exactly our refund rights are, offering some very good news to mobile-phone users, and revealing the truth behind the recent headlines about the ever-increasing price of our weekly grocery shopping.
- When parting with hard earned money you need to know that the store is going to be there next week, next month or even next year.
- Remember, you start to lose your rights if you wait too long before contacting the trader or if you try to repair the good yourself in any way.
- If any damage was pointed out to you before you made the purchase then you are not entitled to return it - but you don't have to examine something before you buy it.
- The law doesn't say exactly how long goods should last - but generally the word reasonable keeps cropping up.... a car should last a few years - but it would be reasonable to replace the odd part after a while.
- If the trader refuses to sort your problemout, it's time to put pen to paper. Make it short and concise - factual and not emotional. The Citizens Advice Bureau has a letter format that you can use to notify the Trading Standards office, trade association, ombudsman, and court.
- Remember if you pay by credit card you have extra protection - there is something called equal liability, which means when you pay for something with a credit card the credit card company and the trader may be jointly responsible... as long as the purchase cost between £100 and £30,000.
Easy ways to save on food costs
- Make a list before you leave home, plan meals ahead, avoid impulse buys. If something is on special offer then why not use it to make a big batch and freeze it.
- Pre-prepared foods are much more expensive; so skip the bottled water, buy in bulk, never buy on impulse... and never shop on an empty stomach!
- Generally own label products are cheaper - but these are rising as well. Supermarkets have slapped a mark-up of up to a fifth on more than 40% of budget items.
- Make sure you have your loyalty cards with you - and use them!
- Get canny with the sell by and best before dates. If you're going to freeze the item then the best before doesn't matter.
- And put your fruit in the fridge - how many times have you chucked out the apples in the bottom of the fruit bowl? They last up to two weeks longer if you loosely wrap them and keep them in the fridge.
- There is only really one way to save money and that is to cut down on waste. The average family throws away nearly £700 of food in the bin every year. We buy too much and it goes off, we throw away leftovers and we prepare too much.