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The cost of lost investments

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 05 February 2011 at 1204 GMT on Radio 4 and Online

A company which tracks people down to reunite them with lost investments is charging hundreds of pounds for a service which can be obtained for much less.

ProSearch actively seeks out shareholders who companies have lost track of. It then offers to 'reunite' them with their shares and dividends. Money Box hears the experience of one listener who was contacted by ProSearch on two occasions about shares and dividends she was owed.

She complained to the company about its fees after the second transaction - as the dividends recovered were less than ProSearch's costs. Some of her shares were sold by ProSearch to cover its bill.

ProSearch says their terms and conditions are clear. Ruth Alexander reports.

The programme also hears from James Jones, of the credit reference agency, Experian. The latter runs the Unclaimed Assets Register, where members of the public can search themselves for missing assets, at a far cheaper cost.

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The rising cost of credit

Figures out this week show that new credit card customers are facing an average rate of 18.9% - a 13-year high.

The rising rates come despite the fact that banks have been benefiting from a base rate of 0.5% for almost two years.

The low base rate has resulted on poor returns for savers but as our reporter Ben Carter has been finding out the banks are keen to point out that base rate plays no part in the cost of credit. So what does?

The programme hears from Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee and Peter Hahn, a banking specialist at Cass Business School.

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Pension changes to hit half a million women

Anger is mounting over proposals to make 500,000 women work at least another year before collecting their State Pension.

Money Box has been receiving dozens of e mails from women born in the mid 1950's who say they face hardship as a result of the upheaval to their finances.

The state pension age is to be equalised for men and women at 65 by 2018, and then increased to 66 by 2020.

Women who have contacted Money Box insist they will not have enough time to boost their income to allow for a later retirement.

Pensions Minister, Steve Webb and Rachel Reeves, Shadow Minister for Pensions. speak to the programme.

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A spy on the dashboard

With the cost of car insurance soaring - particularly for young drivers - some insurers are holding out the promise of cheaper premiums if you allow them to monitor your driving habits.

The insurance industry has tried once and failed to reward drivers according to when they chose to drive.

But now some specialist firms are once more trying to harness technology to make safe driving pay.

Bob Howard reports.

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

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