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Page last updated at 18:40 GMT, Friday, 17 June 2011 19:40 UK

Insurance excess charges have been multiplying

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 18 June 2011 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Money Box reveals insurance companies are increasing the amount customers have to pay when they make a claim on their policy.

Figures exclusively prepared for Money Box by the independent financial research company, Defaqto, suggest the average cost of what is called the policy 'excess' has risen sharply over the last three years.

And some insurers are taking even more money from customers by charging the excess several times on a single claim.

Ruth Alexander reports for the programme.


Online shopping problems

The number of people shopping online continues to grow. UK online sales figures for January and February this year were a staggering £10bn - up 20% on last year.

But online sales inevitably result in plenty of terms and conditions - which some people choose not to read and even those that do might not fully understanding what they are signing up for.

Credit checks for debit card payments, large credit accounts opened for small purchases, shopping online can be confusing as Ben Carter has been finding out.

Tim Moss from talks to the programme.

Public sector pension changes

More detail on big changes to pensions paid to more than five million people public sector workers have been announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

And the changes do not just affect affect doctors, nurses, teachers, national and local civil servants, police and so on.

Everyone who pays tax contributes towards the pensions paid by the big six public sector schemes.

And many of those taxpayers have little or no pension of their own. So there is a great division of opinion on the subject.

Graeme Cooke, from the think tank the IPPR, and Richard Wilson, from the National Association of Pension Funds, talk to Money Box.

Will the cheque be saved?

The Government has threatened to step in and stop banks scrapping cheques in 2018.

The Payments Council, which is run by the major banks, announced in December 2009 that it planned to close the cheque clearing system if there was a paper based alternative to the cheque.

But this week Treasury Minister Mark Hoban criticised the lack of planning and threatened to intervene to help bank customers who may still want to use cheques.

The Payments Council was also strongly criticised this week by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee and Brian Hartzer, RBS's retail boss join the programme.

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

Money Box



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