Have you ever been short changed? Shorted changed refers to those times when you have been given less money back than you should have. It could be when you were given too little change back. On a larger scale it can include times when you have been ripped off or not recieved the money back you expected. It can also include those times you sign up for a cheap deal and it rolls onto the expensive deal without you realising. This post looks at how to protect yourself from being short-changed.
Research from paymentsense has shown that many of us do not notice being short changed and that this can cost us financially. I have had this happen to me a number of times and one of them had a huge huge impact.
I am obsessive about checking receipts in supermarkets because I know that often the offers don’t show on receipts. In January for example the buy a bottle of prosecco for £5 was up in tesco. I bought a few bottles but the till charged me £6.90. A quick trip to customer services sorted it out. I do miss the old double the difference though when you could make money on these mistakes! This is not advertised anymore but recently I have found out from this newspaper article that the policy iss still in existence.
When we moved house I changed all our addresses as you should and even paid for the Royal Mail redirection service. This was back when Chloe was only little. This was a time in our life that budgets were close and I watched the pennies. Except I failed to notice that my child benefit had stopped. In fact it stopped for two years without me noticing. Despite in my head I was spending it – justifying the cost of dance lessons as ‘well child benefit pays for that’.
It wasn’t until I was teaching one day and recieved a call through the school switchboard that the mistake came to light. I had failed to let them know about our move and the payment had been suspended. It was picked up by HRMC who immediately credited me with several hundreds of pounds. I was very pleased but I had actually been short-changed for years without realising. This gave me a kick up to ensure that I started to protect myself from being short-changed.
Another example is that I took out an offer for Which magazine. Initially it was just for a supplement of Tablets as we were looking at buying a new tablet. When on the phone I was offered three copies of the magazine for £3. I took this out and before I realised I was paying £10.95 a month. Realistically I only needed to ring up and cancel but of course I had forgotten. I know that this offer often runs and not just for Which? but for most magazines. Usually I can just go onto my Online Banking and cancel from there but you actually need to ring and cancel which I kept putting to the bottom of my ‘to do list’.
This short changing can also happen with those taking out Amazon Prime. You can have a month’s trial but need to cancel before the end of that period otherwise you will be charged for a yearly subscription.
If you participate in some of the money making sites like Swagbucks or 20 Cogs these give points by signing up to various trials. You need to be really organised and know when you need to cancel these subscriptions otherwise any money you make is cancelled out by the yearly subs.
Top Tips for Avoiding Overcharging and How to Protect Yourself From Being Short-Changed.
- Check receipts when still in the store. It can be a pain to go back later to reclaim overpayments.
- Be careful with contactless payments. You can buy a card defender so protect you card.
- Never open a tab in a bar. You are under the influence of alcohol and so less alert and you rarely get a receipt from a bar.
- Check buy one get one free deals come off purchases.
- Set reminders on your phone for when automatic subscriptions or trial sign ups expire.
- Check your bank accounts regularly, look for any regular payments and even check those regular payments have gone in!
So that is overcharging – but be honest here what do you do when underpaying? How many of us take that as a win and don’t speak up? Let me know in the comments below.