Modern Woman are keeping in touch with live updates from trusted sources and following Government guidelines surrounding current circumstances.
What Help Is Out There?
We have put together a quick few ‘need-to-knows’ surrounding the current situation on paying your utility bills and outgoings throughout the months ahead during this unprecedented time in the UK. Please note we are updating this page as and when we hear of further financial news.
Energy bill help
Disconnections are suspended for all providers – most are pushing back bill dates (and British Gas has confirmed it’s removing late payment charges) for those struggling financially. We await to hear others’ plans.
Struggling with council tax?
Speak to your local authority. Some councils are offering forbearance, eg, Telford & Wrekin Council is letting residents defer Apr’s and May’s payments (though you’ll have to make it up later in the year).
HSBC is giving £300 overdraft buffer – others may follow
Terrible timing means from Mon 6 Apr (earlier for some), regulation changes have resulted in almost all lenders charging about 40% EAR on overdrafts, nearly double high-street credit cards, making overdrafts the new danger debt. HSBC has said to help with coronavirus it’ll automatically increase buffer zones (which let you go overdrawn interest-free) on its Bank and Advance accounts, from £25 to £300 for 3mths.
Shops are extending their returns policies
For example, H&M upped its returns policy from 28 to 100 days for items bought in-store and online, so you’ve time to get things back during lockdown.
Contactless card limit increasing from £30 to £45 on 1st April
This is to reduce personal contact, though it may take some time to filter through to all retailers. Contactless limits often don’t apply to mobile phone contactless payments.
Package holiday or flight cancelled?
You’re due cash, not just vouchers. When package holidays or flights are cancelled, the rules state you’re due a full refund. Yet many firms are currently trying to direct you towards taking vouchers. Of course, if you’re happy with vouchers then take them, as we need to support travel firms right now – but if not, you are due cash. Enforcing that is tough though, as it may need court action. Plus travel expert Simon Calder has reported that the Package Travel Regulations may soon be suspended, meaning you only get vouchers for package hols.
Water bill problems
Trade body Water UK is working with water firms to arrange payment breaks, payment holidays and more for those struggling.
Life insurance & income protection should still cover coronavirus
Not nice to think of, but many have wondered whether insurance policies will still cover coronavirus. Yes (unless someone took one out while they had it). The same should be true with income protection policies. However, most critical illness policies won’t define coronavirus as a critical illness
Almost all train tickets are now refundable
Anyone with an advance ticket can now get a refund. Season ticket holders can get the unused portion of their ticket back but may have to pay a £10ish admin fee.
Please be aware: Some scammers are taking advantage of coronavirus to try to defraud people, especially the elderly and vulnerable. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau says it’s already identified over 100 reports of fraud relating to coronavirus, with victims’ losses totalling almost £1 million. These scams include calling saying: “This is your bank, we are currently struggling due to coronavirus, so will need to move money to a new account.” Be aware of this and spread the word! Keep your wits about you.
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