How Banks May Have Short-Changed Your PPI Claim

Filed: Finance @ 4:59am on April 7, 2014 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , ,

A regulatory loophole called “Alternative Redress” allows banks to recompense their consumers by taking a single-premium PPI policy, paid in full by consumers, as a regular-premium PPI policy. Regular-premium policies cost less than a single-premium policies, which means if you received £2,870 it might not be the actual total for your compensation.

The Guardian had exposed the Lloyds Banking Group’s exploitation of this loophole, allowing them to save millions of pounds in refunding PPI to consumers. According to Cliff D’Arcy, a journalist who specializes in financial services, it is a new scandal “coming out of a scandal”, which is the mis sold PPI troubling millions of UK consumers.

The Financial Ombudsman even acknowledged the existence of alternative redress complaints. The FOS described it as a small number of complaints that progressively increased in number.

According to The Mirror, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS have exploited the loophole as well in different dates. Those who had claimed from Lloyds since February 2013 may be short-changed, for Barclays, October 2012-2013, for RBS, since January 2013.

According to claims handling company Payment Protection Insurance Claims Co, if your letter contained phrases such as “alternative redress” or “comparative redress”, you could process your refund further as these are evidences that you have received a lesser refund.

Several Reasons Why Coupon Travels Are Greatly Affordable

Filed: Travel Advice @ 1:47am on March 10, 2014 No comments yet! :( Tags:

Couponing is not just for supermarkets and malls, it is also for travellers looking for an affordable vacation. But some wonder how resorts can afford to provide 70% to even 90% discounts despite the luxurious services they offer. As a travel agent, I can offer an explanation.

Vacation spots are commonly seasonal. If there is no snow in Europe, skiing resorts will have to close down and offer new services, which they do not conventionally offer, which will often cost less. Whatever these activities may be, I do not know, but they will not par the experience of skiing and snow sports.

Another reason is that it helps with their upkeep. Every business expects a certain number of consumers for their services. With a specific number of people who bought the coupons for a vacation in their resorts, businesses can rest easy and advertise more or less to profit better during the peak season.

Coupons are also a form of advertisements. With low prices, people can try out the resort’s services and should they find the services compelling, they may even want to do so even without coupons, which helps the business flourish.

However, most resorts will only provide a limited number of coupons for consumers because it could cost them their business.

Making Pleasures Earn Income for You

Filed: Personal Journal @ 5:57am on February 4, 2014 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , ,

Now I know you might think a travel agent is not reliable to give you tips about making pleasure your income because it is a form of a corporate occupation, but we have many ideas regarding making pleasures earn you the income you want while doing what you want. Why we aren’t doing these is because we are already finding pleasures in our occupation, at least that’s how I look at it.

Travelling is a pleasure and is particularly the easiest to earn income. We all recognize the internet as a highway of information and a larger spotlight that anybody could get for him or herself. By starting your own website or blog, you could gain many followers to read about your stories, share your experiences and ideas, just like what I’m doing. Except, you get to travel to earn your income.

For example, if your pleasure is riding a cruise ship, you could start investing to get to trying out the five-star service a cruise liner has to offer. Then you could write your remarks online. If your readers love what you wrote, then they could follow your advice for themselves.

As your popularity gains, companies will start noticing you and inviting you into new cruises and even new vacationing methods. In this way, your pleasures earn income for you because of your influence in writing. This is how you see popular blogs end up with capital, banner advertisements and sponsors.

So, why not try it? It might work for you. Here’s a primer to help you start.

Why I’m Excited For the Self-Driving Car Evolution

Filed: Vehicles @ 4:14am on January 3, 2014 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , , ,

I’ve always loved cars and I’ve had picture books of cars and storybooks dedicated to four-wheeled vehicles in my childhood. My interest in vehicles had not waned for the longest time and it is still growing as we speak. Today’s technology had enthralled me with the fact that self-driving vehicles, which I only read in books I had, will be entering reality in a decade.

Experts estimate that self-driving vehicles could be arriving at the world’s doorsteps by 2025. Automakers recently announced that the race for the self-driving car evolution begins this year, 2014.

Why I’m excited is that all the benefits of modern vehicles are already efficient, except for its gas usage (but we have electric cars and hybrid cars for those). Traffic is tiring, which is why you have several distractions, such as internet connections or even games in your car, to keep you awake in traffic. But the best option is sleep, and a self-driving car will allow you to have extra sleeping time going to work, or going home.

That feature alone is helpful, but what’s more is that these vehicles will likely eliminate possible road accidents caused by human error. Connected car technology and today’s already existing sensor technology ensures safety from collisions.

So, cheers to the waves of the future!

-M

Travel Coupons: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Filed: Travel Advice @ 3:57am on December 18, 2013 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , ,

Couponing is a great service for people looking for great getaways while paying for a lower sum at an earlier time the coupon is offered. The internet has allowed many couponing companies and consumers to purchase products and services at lower prices. But couponing is not always as advantageous as it seems.

In my experience, consumers buying a coupon have to follow the schedule given in the coupon. They will present the coupon, show it to our department and the discount will be confirmed once the coupon is recorded. Coupons cannot be re-used once its expiration date is reached.

It is advantageous because some coupons can afford you 50% to even 80% discounts on some products and services. You could pay less for a travel ticket. Some even provide fares for airplanes that cost nil.

However, you must consider that these tickets, products and services are sold for a lower price for a reason. Some of these products have no warranties. Some of these travel coupons do not provide you with onboard travel insurance and you must pay for that by yourself.

Travel agencies such as where I work at warn consumers about certain coupons lacking the necessary medical precautions for travel. Remember, when you pay for something, regardless how expensive, you might be paying for quality and for your safety as well.

 

Connected Car Technology Features You Might Possibly Imagine

Filed: Vehicles @ 9:22pm on November 21, 2013 No comments yet! :( Tags: , ,

Connected car technologies have your vehicle make use of the Internet to “communicate” with other vehicles and through the use of an artificial intelligence, even drive your vehicle for you and choose the best path by “talking” to other vehicles about traffic jams and the safest route for users. With connection to the Internet, connected car technologies will also use cloud technology for storing data about your vehicle. The best features of connected car technologies, according to me, include the following.

1. User-Independent
Connected car technologies still allow you to be the man of the vehicle and not the passenger. The vehicle will instead inform you of temporary road blocks, approaching emergency vehicles and other information that will help you make driving decisions early before such events arrive at your location, increasing your safety twentyfold on the road.

2. Car Manufacturer Design
I’ll admit it; I almost crashed into other vehicles making use of my smartphone’s GPS services that help me navigate to my client’s location instantly. You could put your smartphone on your lap or through a makeshift accessory that allows you to place your smartphone under the rear mirror view of your vehicle. With an integrated car manufacturer design, this GPS feature, along with a plethora of good heads-up displays, will greatly help you avoid accidents by ensuring a smooth interfacing with your vehicle.

3. Car Crash Detection
The capability of your car to “communicate” with other cars enables it to limit your speed when approaching other vehicles. When a driver is operating a vehicle possibly under the influence of substances, the vehicle could still protect other drivers in the road by having its own emergency mechanism for any kind of danger.

Foreign Languages and How they Help You Abroad

Filed: Travel Advice @ 5:33am on October 18, 2013 No comments yet! :( Tags: , ,

Most feedback I get from my recent customers in my day job is that they find it troublesome to go abroad, especially in the nether regions of countries with beautiful sights and resorts is that they could not communicate properly with the locals. I advised them to take a crash course in studying languages. Yes, I know it’s a big hassle to study languages, but they help you greatly, even if you’re just carrying a book of the usual phrases of such countries.

1. Language Barrier
The most obvious reason to bring along a small book of common phrases is that it helps you transcend the language barrier. Customers usually tell me they find it difficult to ask where the bathroom is, often resort to pointing at items in the menu without any idea what to try and so on. For obvious reasons, carry a language translator app on your smartphone or a book.

2. Culture
If you take at least 2 months to study the language of where you’re staying in, you could actually reap benefits by knowing more about the culture of your vacation location. Culture is an important thing to know during your vacations. I myself once travelled to South Korea and studied a bit of Korean and I enjoyed conversing with the locals, who explained to me with pride the history and culture of their country.

3. Respect
Respect from foreigners is a big thing, even if here in London we encounter different races knowing how to speak the language to show respect for us locals. When you speak their language, locals feel respect from you and they give you plus points for effort, and a few more surprises sometimes. Trust me on this.

Saving on Smartphone and Mobile Phone Charges Abroad

Filed: Travel Advice @ 1:17am on September 18, 2013 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , , , ,

Many of my clients ask me how they can save money from smartphone and communications bills while they’re abroad. Because most telecom providers do not have local equipment and facilities to support international roaming, the costs for your mobile and internet could skyrocket quickly. Here are a few things I learned from clients who improvised to save money from smartphone and mobile charges.

1. Unlock Your Device
Probably the easiest way to save money would be to unlock your smartphone or mobile phone from a “network locked-in” period. Most telecom providers will contract their customers with a brand-new device, which they will pay through instalment via monthly bills and they will be locked-in with the network for the next few years. Unlocking it helps you get more usage out of your device.

2. Get a Local Mobile Device
You’ve got your smartphone and if you could buy a local mobile device, namely phones below £7, you could actually make calls. Buying a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that runs on the local telecom services will definitely save you money rather than using an international roaming data plan.

3. Prepaid or Post-Paid
In some countries, you could buy a mobile phone and the SIM card from a network operator separately. Most of these retail SIM cards sold virtually anywhere are prepaid. This means you could buy credits to use the phone’s services. This could save you more money rather than going for postpaid, especially if you are staying less than a month in-location.

The Leading Health Problems of Travelers Today

Filed: Travel Advice @ 1:48am on August 27, 2013 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , , ,

One time, Ben was my client. Ben was the average-looking guy, with a lovely wife and a young son. He wanted to visit Nepal with his family. So I got him everything he needed. I gave the itineraries and he and his family were okay with it. He skipped the health insurance; he said he didn’t look the type to need one. And so they were off.

A few weeks later, Ben came home having contracted Hepatitis. It seems his vaccinations were not enough to prevent him from getting the disease. What should have been a fun time trying out new kinds of dishes and learning about the culture of other people was spoiled because of his disease. Today, he is fine, but he doesn’t look like the aveage-looking, adventurous husband he used to be after the experience.

I always advise my clients that before they go on their trip, they should consult with their medical professional first. I tell them about the health alerts regarding every country they wish to have a vacation in. Travelers who get diarrhea are lucky to go home in one piece; some tourists come back having contracted dengue, malaria and other bug-related diseases.

The leading health problem of the tourist today is not the hazards most countries and vacation spots have; it is their carelessness and the lack of anticipation for any danger that awaits them. Travel is fun, but like anything fun, it also has its dangers.

Finance Tips: Reducing Your Taxes on Capital Gains

Filed: Uncategorized @ 5:43am on August 6, 2013 No comments yet! :( Tags: , , , , , ,

Capital Gains Tax or CGT is really a pain in the neck and if you’re earning more than £10600 in profits, you’re going to have trouble going through 18% or even 28% of taxes in your profits. I’m a travel agent and travel agents know that £10000 is possible in a year and investing in properties is a good way to get rid of the excess.

Why I invest in properties is because it ensures my money generates more money in the process. When I’m not around, I have a landlord handle the security of my estates. These estates are quite expensive, and if sold, they could get more than £10600 in profits.

Here’s one way I avoid the 28% tax. First, I have tenants live in the properties and charge them an adequate monthly rate. In the first three years, I could have the property rented out. When it falls below the £10600 mark, I sell it. It increases the value of the properties while ensuring I have less capital gains tax.

While I have to worry about the properties tax, the CGT is a bigger problem that needs to be reduced. One time, my father, also a wise investor, sold futures at separate years to avoid the high tax on capital gains. It makes much better sense to take advantage of a yearly allowance of £10600 rather than sell it all in what seems a big profit until you see how much tax you pay.