Stop snow from getting on car seats

In the snow, it is easy to clear the windscreen and side windows off, then you open your car door and whoosh!

The snow around the edge of your door gets sucked into the car and all over your seat.
You probably try in vane to dust it off and just like me, you end up getting more snow on the seat than was there in the first place!

Great, now not only are you having to dig the car out and freeze whilst you do it, now you get a wet seat of your pants to add to the fun... not anymore!

When leaving your car after you park up, leave your front seats tilted forward, as if someone is getting out of the back.
When you next come to get in your snow covered car, the magic suction created by opening the door will suck the snow in and place it on the back of your front seat, pull your seat back into the upright position, hey presto... a nice dry, snow free seat to sit on!

A much better option that purchasing a top of the range car with heated front seats.

Using a credit card to pay the mortgage

A credit card is an unsecured debt. These are being used more and more to meet monthly payments on people's mortgages.
The idea being, is that people will not fall behind with their mortgage, if they cannot keep up the payments on their credit card, they will not lose their home, as the debt is "unsecured."

A report out today, shows that charging orders - where an unsecured debt is secured against your home - are on the increase, by 722%

Once in place, a court can be asked to action the charging order by the company who request it be placed on the home.
If the court grant the action, then the home would be sold and before any funds are passed to the former owner, any charging orders on the property must be paid.
In one case that I helped with, a high street bank made out that the charging order was just a "formality."
Once in front of the local magistrate, for a debt less than £4000, the solicitor instructed the magistrate that he would be seeking to enforce the charging order in full, ie, forcing the owner to sell their property to pay the company he represented off!

We have already covered how to defend a charging order but for those that are not sure, here is a summary:

  • ALWAYS defend a charging order
  • Always have the case heard in your local magistrates court
  • Always appear in person and make a defence

Points you can make to help your defence (For more details click the link above):

  • Offer only what you are sure you can afford, there is no point going back to court in the future or struggling to meet a payment you offered
  • Keep your repayment offer, the same as any other creditors that you may have
  • To grant a charging order on your property would give an unfair prejudice to any other creditor who did not have a charging order on your home
  • Point out that the original debt was unsecured - the company were happy to give you what they gave you, unsecured, why do they require it now?
  • As the debt was unsecured, you would have been charged a higher rate of interest upon taking it out and any payments that you have made towards paying it off. Ask for a refund of the difference in interest between a secured product and your unsecured product - they now want to secure the debt, you should get at least their secured debt rating?
  • If you have any "administration" charges in the total amount the company are claiming you owe them, only offer a partial admittance, add up your "admin" charges or "late fees" and request that these be taken off the full balance being claimed.
    Point out to the court that you have asked for a detailed breakdown of each charge and as you have not been given one (no company will!) you can only assume that they are making some level of profit from each charge and as such it becomes a penalty charge - which under common law in England and Wales, is unenforceable (as a penalty charge can only recover ACTUAL LOSS and not make a profit)

As with anything legal, if you are unsure about any of the points raised, please seek legal advice or contact your citizen's advice bureau, BEFORE you take any action or decisions.

A 722% increase in charging orders being applied for through magistrates court is a huge amount, be on your guard gang!

Defending a charging order 

Eon key meter failings - Eon staff must do better!

Eon fitted us a smart key meter - after paying for credit to go on the meter, the emergency £5 credit was showing at nil and unavailable, Eon staff insisted that it was my fault and that I had used the "emergency" before my own credit ran out!
Here is a list of excuses given by Eon customer service staff to myself, regarding problems with our "new" and "more efficient" smart key meter:

  • "The engineers add £10 emergency credit when installing a key meter" - this is incorrect!
    The £10 credit they put on our meter was credit and still left £5 emergency credit, which my first credit payment paid back.
  • "You have used the emergency £5 credit already!" - factually inaccurate!
    Once the £10 credit was used I activated the £5 emergency credit, using £1.87 of it. I then entered the smart key into the meter with £20 on it, which paid back the £1.87 back on to the emergency credit, which left me with £18.13 in credit.
    The £18.13 credit was used over the next two weeks and when the key meter was showing less than £1 I attempted to activate the emergency credit reserve, which showed as being nil and unavailable.
    Can I physically use emergency credit whilst also using paid credit? No was the reply, well how can I have used the emergency credit then? The advisor had no answer!
  • "The meter takes a few weeks to bed in!" - utter tosh, it is an electrical device, it should work correctly and accurately from the moment it is installed!
  • "Key meters remove the need to send people round to your house to read your meter" - a blatant lie!
    At present, by law, a meter must be read at least once every two years (It was previously every 3 months) Your meter must still be read once every two years, no difference what-so-ever from the law, as it stands today.
  • "Any difference in price of electricity from when you put credit on the meter until you put more credit on it, is written off!" - completely the opposite to what the three previous advisors told me. I am more inclined to believe them as our six monthly statement showed a shortfall of more than £50 for electricity that is paid for in advance. This outstanding amount fell to just £12 by the next statement, clawed back by the meter settings.

It is time that big business was punished severely for misleading customers.
For the past ten years the regular line has been trotted out by managers and senior company staff, "This has identified a training requirement."

It is not a training problem highlighted all to often with big business, it is blatant misleading of customers and knowingly giving out inaccurate information to explain away their profiteering, at the expense of the customer!

Eon smart key meters costing customers more money
Eon want to fit key meters - why?
Eon customer service number

Nappy rash - try vaseline

There are a vast selection of fancy creams and lotions around to help prevent and to relieve nappy rash.

Without doubt the best method we have come across (and one of the cheapest), is good old fashioned vaseline.

Rubbed well in, vaseline creates a barrier.

Other creams such as sudocrem, might be the market leader, but on our baby - who is now almost 4 months old - we found after two days of using sudocrem, nappy rash started appearing.
We returned to vaseline and within a day or so, the nappy rash cleared up.
After about 12 weeks, we ran out of vaseline and used the sudocrem again for about three days, once again the nappy rash returned.

So we went back to vaseline and are staying with it, because it works!

Companies I wish never existed - Direct line car insurance

Direct line car insurance - not just direct line, but all insurance companies.
(I have chosen direct line as they do our car insurance)
Why is it that what ever I do always ends up costing me more money?
I changed our vehicle today, went through all the information with a woman on the phone - after about 12 options selected first - took me 15 minutes, told them the old car, told them the new car, only to find that I was incredibly lucky and that the policy on the new car would remain the same price!

Hold on a moment... the old car was almost brand new and direct line informed us to insure it would be more expensive than our previous car as it was "newer and parts for it were more expensive!" (previously they increased the cost of the insurance every year as "it is getting older and parts are harder to find should it need repair!")
Our old car was newer, more efficient, same engine size, kept at the same premises, etc, yet still the insurance increased every year.

So back to this "new" car, which is a lot smaller engine (from a 1600cc down to a 1200cc) same place kept, same mileage used per year etc.
Why is it more expensive to insure?
The lady didn't know, she could only tell me "that's how the system works!" - yeh bet it does!
I was informed everything was sorted out and the new car was on the insurance policy. I could be transferred, if I wanted to, to a department that deals with discounting policies and adjusting the prices. OK lets have a word with them and see what they can do. (I wasn't holding my breath)

I was greeted with "hello?" - not very professional - I gave all my details yet again and confirmed my identity for a second time.
I was told the price would be the same, as I was at the midway point in the policy. There was a £15 "admin charge" for changing the vehicle which was not being applied - whoopy! - so why not just cancel the policy and start a new one?
There is a £26 admin charge for ending a policy!

Queue the wild rant at the advisor...
- You are a bunch of crooks, why is there an £11 higher charge for cancelling a policy and starting a new one, over the cost of changing a vehicle, when the exact same paperwork (which is computer generated) is sent out automatically?
* I don't know sir
- Is the vehicle we have just had put on the insurance cheaper to insure than our former vehicle?
* It is listed as being around £48 cheaper should you be a new customer sir
- You cannot transfer this over so I get the discount?
* No sir, the system will not let me do this
- So I can cancel the policy and start a new one?
* Yes sir, but you will incur a £26 admin charge for ending the policy
- Do you value your customers? As we have two vehicles insured with you!
* Yes we do value your custom sir
- Show it then by transfering the discount across that a new customer would get?
* I am sorry I can't do that sir

I was then told I could write in and complain to their head office. blah blah blah.
It then transpired that despite all the discussions with the previous advisor lady, nothing had been changed and the old car remained on the policy! (What was the point of telling her all my information then?)

How many times have you been into Argos (for example) and ordered or returned goods for a refund and been told at the counter, "that's x amount sir/madam, plus a £10 admin fee?" - No I haven't either.
No matter what you do, insurance companies sting you all ends up, it's a blatent rip off and legally, something should be done about it.

Don't get me started on the price of my insurance increasing because they have had more claims over the previous 12 months, of which I have not claimed a single penny piece!