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Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Friday, 8 April 2011 16:31 UK

Continuous payments trap

Credit card and padlock
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 9 April 2011 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Money Box listeners have been contacting the programme frustrated by payments taken by the AA for a service they thought they'd cancelled.

The method used that's causing concern is a recurring or continuous payment, often used to purchase services such as insurance or pay for a subscription.

These can be set up with a debit and or credit card, giving the service provider control over how much is debited from a customer's account and when.

The AA insists it writes to customers in advance when a recurring payment is to be taken to allow them to cancel the service. But admits that administrative mistakes are sometimes made.

Ben Carter reports. Money Box also hears from Sue Beeson from the AA and also from Jemma Smith from UK Payments.

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State pension

Plans for a new flat rate, state pension of around £140 a week and a system to automatically raise the pension age have been published by the Government.

The existing means-tested arrangements would be replaced for new, but not existing pensioners.

No set date for implementation has been confirmed, but it's thought the pension, paid in full to anyone who has 30 years of National Insurance contributions, could be introduced after 2016.

Paul Lewis put questions from Money Box listeners to Pensions Minister, Steve Webb.

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Prescription charges

We reported last week that NHS prescription charges in England were rising by 20p an item.

Money Box has since learned that prescription costs for some customers will more than double, because of another change in policy.

Bob Howard investigates.

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Child maintenance fees

The Government is planning to take a cut of the maintenance paid by an absent parent for their children.

Under the plans there would be a flat fee of up to £100 to start the process and then a levy of up to 12% of any maintenance paid through a new body which will replace the Child Support Agency.

The absent parent would also pay a supplement. These fees would raise about £100m per year towards the new Agency's running costs. The consultation on these radical proposals ended this week.

And nine women's organisations have written to the Government asking for a rethink. The Families Minister Maria Miller, and Emma Scott from the organisation Rights of Women, speak to the programme.

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box is broadcast on Saturday at 1204 BST and repeated on Sunday at 2102 BST.

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