Up to 40 per cent have not made key checks on their credit rating or electoral roll entry

Questions Of Cash: 'My disabled parents have lost out on scooter refund'

Q. My parents are both disabled and retired. They ordered two mobility scooters from Virgo Healthcare for £4,600 last March. They quickly discovered they were unable to use them, so they contacted Virgo Healthcare, which agree to a full refund and collected the scooters on 27 April. Since then, no refund has been supplied. KB, Hertfordshire.

David Prosser: Do the credit rating agencies dare hold the US to account?

Outlook It wasn't all that long ago that the economic debate in the UK was paralysed by the fear that the credit ratings agencies were about to remove our cherished AAA rating. This was the nub of the row between Labour and the Conservatives during last year's election campaign: just how much deficit reduction was needed to save our credit rating and how quickly?

Need cash? Bypass the banks entirely and find your lender on a social website

Peer-to-peer lending is growing in popularity and offers competitive rates. Chiara Cavaglieri and Julian Knight report

Pension troubles remain for UK firms

British businesses are failing to reap any benefits from plugging their pension black holes, reveals a new report by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

Sssh, say it quietly...but sub-prime lending might be coming back

High-street giants now cherry pick borrowers, leaving their respectable rejects to new, smaller lenders

Errors in switching accounts put off customers

Fears over missed direct debit payments and administrative errors are stopping bank customers from switching current account providers according to Consumer Focus.

New loan scheme targets low-income customers

Getting a loan has long been a challenge for those on low incomes. Shunned by the mainstream banks they often have to rely on doorstep and payday loan firms charging extortionate rates of interest.

Five Questions About: Credit cards


On 11 August we ran an item about one person's experience obtaining a credit report ("How I became an innocent victim of the credit agency"). The credit reference agency concerned was wrongly identified as Experian: a mistake for which we apologise.

House Doctor: 'I'm struggling to remortgage though I have lots of equity. How can this be?'

Question: I can't seem to remortgage to move house for love nor money, having tried two lenders – with a third midway through application. It's very surprising as I've £48,000 in equity and £12,000 savings to put into the next property which should give me a healthy loan-to-value of roughly 75 per cent. The only downside that I can think of is a £2,000 overdraft that I don't often climb out of – and three unauthorised overdraft penalties in 12 months. But that's the only debt I have and I earn £30,000 a year. What am I doing wrong?

David Prosser: China plots a move into credit ratings

Outlook Given the kicking the three big American credit-ratings agencies have taken for their failures during the financial crisis, they can hardly be surprised to see would-be rivals emerging. There is already talk of the launch of a new European agency, but the greater threat to Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch might come from China.

Poll result puts Japan's credit rating at risk

The ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned yesterday that it might cut Japan's sovereign grade as the ruling party's mauling in a weekend election created new hurdles for the plans of the new Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, to cut huge public debt.

Insurance may not be the best way to protect against identity theft

While this type of fraud is on the increase, most banks and credit card companies have services that can help. Chiara Cavaglieri reports
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own