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Banks 'win' credit card ruling

Manchester High Court
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 2 January 2010 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

Banks have won a partial victory against some credit card customers who have been trying to avoid paying their debts.

Claims management companies have argued that a debt cannot be enforced without a copy of the original credit card agreement.

But the High Court in Manchester has ruled that banks need only provide a "reconstituted" copy of the original loan agreement.

Money Box is joined by Guy Anker, news editor of the website, who explains what this ruling means.

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Loans secured against a vehicle could face ban

An expensive form of borrowing secured against the value of your car or motorbike could be outlawed under Government proposals.

More than 1,000 people have complained to the Office of Fair Trading about this form of borrowing. The loans allow the lender to repossess your vehicle without a court order if you fall into difficulties paying back the money.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills is consulting on plans to ban this method of borrowing.

The programme hears from the Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan and from Robert Shaw, who took a case to the High Court last month over a loan he took out.

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VAT increase to cause confusion

The temporary cut in VAT ends shortly and consumers are facing confusion as retailers dither over when to re-impose the full rate of VAT at 17.5%. The sales tax was slashed to 15% a year ago to boost consumer spending, but returned to 17.5% on New Year's Day.

But while some stores are imposing the increase from January 1st, others have decided to hold on until February or even longer to maintain the post-Christmas shopping boom.

And confusingly, some store chains will operate a two-tier pricing system, with selected goods kept at the current price while others bear the full weight of the rise.

John Whiting, tax policy director of The Chartered Institute of Taxation, joins the programme to explain how the changes in VAT will affect you.

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Chip and Pin fraud revisited

As we prepare to try and pay off what we've spent on debit and credit card bills in the run up to Christmas it's worth checking that all the items on the statement are for things we've actually bought.

Although the banking industry insists the introduction of chip and pin has dramatically reduced card fraud, experts believe criminals are getting better at cheating the system.

When we looked at some of the possible weaknesses in chip and pin security at the end of last year we got a big response from listeners. So we sent Bob Howard to visit Steven Murdoch, an expert in Chip and Pin fraud at the Cambridge Computer Lab, to put some of your theories to the test.

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Saving and investing- looking ahead

Despite an increasing number of savings products to choose from in 2009, interest rates are at record lows, hitting people who want an income from their savings.

The situation's not set to change in the short term either - with economists predicting that the Bank of England base rate will not rise significantly over the next twelve months.

The picture is more complex for investors. Though the FTSE All-Share index has gained more than 40% in value since April, the equities market is still volatile.

So what will 2010 be like for savers and investors?

Money Box is joined by Justin Modray from Candid Money; Andrew Hagger from the comparison website, Moneynet. The programme also hears from Justin Urquhart Stewart from Seven Investment Management, who explains how Exchange Traded Funds work as a form of investing.

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

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