Don't go deeper into debt by spending yourself dry this Christmas

Simon Read: Pension mortgages, debts, splashing out for Christmas and the ghost meter

Don't go deeper into debt by spending yourself dry this Christmas

The FCA has imposed £1.1bn in fines on five banks over forex trading practices

Simon Read: Catch 22 for borrowers who are turned down by banks

There are many reasons for people to turn to high-cost credit, but being turned down by their banks for a loan is one

The sunlit uplands: switching out of a final salary pension may seem like madness, but there could be cases where it makes sense

Gold-plated pensions – the key to retirement freedom?

With some people are weighing up whether they will be better off cashing in their final salary pension next spring, Samantha Downes asks the experts

Weekly Money: Round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 17-21 November

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Five questions on: Battling fuel poverty

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Donald MacInnes: I was fired for making up horoscopes and then my lifestyle deteriorated

Judging by the literally no emails my secretary Karen received while I was off, you welcomed my break from The Independent as much as I did.

If you’ve got a card in your wallet that charges a low standard interest rate, there’s less financial impact if you can’t repay your full statement balance.

Money Insider: Save money with the right credit card

Research from Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards this week revealed that 15 per cent of people making a large purchase on their plastic didn’t use one with 0 per cent interest on purchases

Playmobil

Bargain Hunter: Discounts at Playmobil let you give your children some retail therapy

Playmobil is offering 25 per cent discounts to Christmas shoppers

Last week was hangover time, when Stock Spirits, a vodka producer, distilled a profit warning that sent its shares crashing more than 25 per cent. (image: Rex Features)

No Pain No Gain: Vodka causes a hangover as shares in Stock Spirits slump

Last week was hangover time, when Stock Spirits, a vodka producer, distilled a profit warning that sent its shares crashing more than 25 per cent

Investment melting pot: the price of gold may have fallen but Artemis Strategic Assets believes its value cannot be debased

Mark Dampier: Strong returns can be found if you go the opposite way to the crowds

Investment melting pot: the price of gold may have fallen but Artemis Strategic Assets believes its value cannot be debased

Questions of cash: If Scottish Power could read, my bills wouldn’t be so high

Q | We have had continual problems since July trying to get Scottish Power to correct our electricity bills.  In the meantime, based on its error, it has increased our monthly direct debit based and keeps charging us twice as much as it should.  We are on a “twin heat” tariff with cheap electricity for three hours in the afternoon and four hours at night.

I usually submit meter readings online and had a reminder at the beginning of July to provide current readings. When I went on the website, I noticed the previous “day” readings were shown in the box for the “night” readings and vice versa. I emailed Scottish Power directly with the correct readings.

I received a reassuring reply, but when the bill arrived, the readings were switched around. As a result our monthly direct debit almost doubled to £180.  After I complained, Scottish Power made a partial repayment and sent an amended bill, which was again incorrect. 

I complained again and was given a complaint number, but our case was not looked at for several weeks.  In September I went to the next level in the complaints process. Eventually the company accepted the readings had been switched and our complaint was forwarded to another department. But the bills are still wrong.   BH, Aberystwyth.

The Bank of England announced that interest rates will stay at 0.5 per cent

Simon Read: Banks can’t blame the economy for their low rates

Interest rates are currently as low as 0.1 per cent

The schemes work by using collective power to negotiate better deals with gas and electricity suppliers

Simon Read: Don’t blow a fuse with your energy supplier, just switch

The energy watchdog Ofgem has slammed Scottish Power, while Citizens Advice reports a string of complaints about it

John Lush from Hampshire got into debt with payday lenders and had the help of a debt management charity to clear the £20,000 he owed

Simon Read: The only place for debt is out in the open, don't be afraid to ask for advice

John Lush from Hampshire got into debt with payday lenders and had the help of a debt management adviser to clear the £20,000 he owed

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