James Walker: Valuable time out from the season of goodwill

Relax... there's lots of good advice out there if you need it.
Relax... there's lots of good advice out there if you need it.
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In 24 hours the presents will be unwrapped, kitchen hysteria will be fading and across the land, and people will be slipping into food comas in front of the telly.

Well, not all of us. Over 1,000 people logged on to Resolver’s free complaint app last Christmas. Sometimes chatting to friends and family about rubbish service motivates people to make a complaint. Others are starting to worry about the contents of their bank accounts and need a bit of advice.

But it’s not all about problems. Did you know there are lots of ways you could potentially claim back money for free? If you’ve got a few minutes to spare over the holidays, here are my top ways to boost your bank account with some free cash.

Train reclaims

Wrong type of snow? Staff off sick? There are lots of reasons why your heart might sink when you arrive at a suspiciously busy station to discover your train home has been cancelled. But you are entitled to compensation. You are entitled to get 50 per cent of your fare back if the train is delayed by more than 30 minutes and 100 per cent if it’s delayed by more than an hour. Some firms refund automatically, but not many, so put a claim in if you’ve been delayed.

Flight delays

If you’ve booked a later flight abroad in the past few years, you may have learned the hard way that as airlines have tight turnaround times, the later you fly the more likely your plane is to be delayed. But if you’re delayed over three hours, you’re entitled to compensation – and in theory, you have up to six years to claim (though you’ll need the flight details). I can’t tell you the number of people who don’t realise they have the right to reclaim. Find out more about the rules at www.resolver.co.uk. Once again, there are loads of dodgy claims companies that take a chunk of your money for doing nothing online. Don’t be taken in by them.

PPI

The clock is ticking on PPI claims; you’ve got around a year and a half to get yours in. Don’t give your cash to rip-off claims managers, find out if you had PPI, make a claim or learn more about how you could claim for compensation if you’ve been turned down previously with my free complaint app, www.resolver.co.uk/ppi. It’s likely that the people who haven’t claimed yet simply don’t realise that PPI was tacked on to loans or credit cards without them being aware it had been. So check your documents to find out if you can claim.

Specialist insurance

The insurance industry spotted a huge growth industry a few years back in “bolt-on” or specialist insurance products. These policies often have low premiums and are for things that you don’t really need to insure against (ID theft), are hard to claim on (warranties) or you’ve already covered with existing insurance policies – like your home insurance policy. Go through your accounts and cancel the ones you don’t need. Remember, £6 pcm adds up to £72 a year, so you can make some substantial savings. If you’re not sure about the value of a policy, speak to your home and contents provider to see what they can do to cover goods. Don’t forget that you can avoid expensive increases in premiums when they renew by shopping around other insurers.

James Walker is the founder of online complaint-resolution service Resolver.co.uk