Money and Prices in the UK
Find out how to save money in the UK.

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PRICES, FEES and RETAIL PRACTICE

It helps to know in advance what fees are due if, for example, you want to buy a television or if you watch TV on your computer.
It is also useful to be aware of certain retail practices, especially relating to computers and mobile phones, and your rights as a consumer in the UK.

We will post certain bargain deals, here and in the forum, as they become available.

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TV LICENCE FEES

If you have, buy or even borrow a television, you must buy an annual TV licence. It costs £145.50 for a colour TV and £49.00 for a black and white set. To quote the TV licensing authority:

It’s against the law to watch or record TV programmes as they're being shown on TV without a valid licence. This includes the use of devices such as a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

When a person buys a TV in a UK store, the seller informs the TV licensing authority of the buyer's address. Inspections take place and anybody who fails to pay for a licence is committing a criminal offence. The fine can be up to £1,000 plus court costs. Do not take the risk of using a TV without a licence.

No licence is needed to listen to radio programs.

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PRICE HEADACHE

Suffering from mild aches and pains? Don't pay for branded over-the-counter medicines. A pack of 16 Neurofen caplets can cost as much as £2, while Tesco outlets sell 16 generic caplets for 20p or less. Always ask if a generic version of the medicine is available.


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LATE TRAIN REBATES

Few in the UK realise that train users can reclaim a proportion of their fare if the train is late. The amount repaid varies from one company to another, but is usually between 20% and 50% depending on the lateness of the train. One or two companies will refund 100% if the train is more than 1 hour late. It pays to apply for a refund. Always keep your receipts and records of payment.

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MOBILE PHONES

The market for one of life's must-haves has something of the Wild West about it. For one thing, it's almost impossible to claim on insurance for loss, theft or damage. Most insurers simply refuse to pay out claiming owner negligence. The same applies to most, if not all, retailers when they're asked to repair a phone under the terms of the manufacturer's warranty. Again, manufacturers will claim that the unit is damaged and that the owner was somehow responsible. Or they will claim that it is 'unrepairable' and offer an 'upgrade' that will cost the owner more. If you ask to have your phone returned, it will often be 'lost'.
If any of these things happen while your mobile phone is under warranty, you have the right to reclaim the original price of the item.
Remember to keep all receipts, warranty documents and correspondence with companies you deal with.
If you believe you've been badly treated by any retailer in the UK, you can contact your local Citizens Advice bureau and receive free, independent and confidential advice.

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TRAVEL GUIDES

If you travel in the UK, or indeed outside, you can save money by borrowing travel guides from your local library.

In fact, public libraries can save you cash. You can borrow books for free (provided you don't lend beyond the return date), borrow CDs and DVDs for small fees and access local information services. If your computer crashes in the middle of that all-important assignment, you can go to the local library - it may be closer to where you live than your uni or college library - and use a computer for a minimal fee.