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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Saturday, 8 May, 2004
Mortgage application forms

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 8 May, 2004, at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 9 May 2004, at 2102 BST.

Mortgage lenders are trapping unwary consumers into paying more than they should for a home loan, according to a Consumers' Association survey.

The campaigning group said that although some of the worst practices had been stamped out, some of the big lenders were still laying a number of "expensive traps".

Mortgage Indemnity Guarantees came in for the worst criticism, as the homeowner pays for it, yet it protects the lender, not the borrower.

And providers who charge interest annually were also criticised, as the borrower pays interest on money they no longer owe, until the lender recalculates the debt at the end of the year.

Rebecca Fearnley, Senior Researcher at the Consumers' Association joined us to speak about the hidden costs and how to avoid them.

Further information:


Marks & Spencer ISA

Marks & Spencer is pulling its mini-cash ISA off the market for new customers just 12 weeks after it launched.

The popular ISA was a good deal for savers as it guaranteed to pay interest at 0.5% above the Bank of England base rate.

M&S said the demand had far exceeded expectations, and it only ever intended to offer the product for a limited period to help support its credit card business.

Further information:


Savings accounts

Should poor paying accounts, which actually lose you money, be stopped from calling themselves "savings" products?

Jessica Dunbar investigated.

Further information:


Prudential in postcard blunder

Prudential building
Prudential have admitted it to an 'error of judgement'

One of the biggest life companies, the Prudential, has admitted that it blundered by sending out postcards identifying people who are saving with the company.

Prudential mailed 250,000 of its with-profits customers informing them they would be getting a bonus this year.

We heard from one customer who is angry at what he sees as a breach of confidentiality, and asked Director of Marketing Roger Ramsden how the blunder happened.

Further information:


Pension compensation affordable, say unions

Compensating workers who have lost all or some of their pensions when their firms went bust should not cost more than 76 million a year over the next 30 years, and could be as low as 50 million.

The figures were revealed by Amicus and steel union ISTC, who believe the amounts are easily affordable.


Producer: Louise Greenwood
Presenter: Chris A'Court
Reporter: Jessica Dunbar
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles


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