Q My son has great plans for how he is going to spend the money he received for his first Communion. I, on the other hand, see this as a golden opportunity to help him develop the habit of saving money. Do you have any tips on how to encourage him to start saving? Karen, Balbriggan, Co Dublin
A One of the best ways to help children learn about managing money is to open a savings account. Check what documentation you will need to bring to open the account. This may include proof of identity (your son will need to provide a passport or birth certificate in his own name), address verification – like a letter on headed paper from his school confirming he’s a pupil of that school and confirming your home address, and proof of his Personal Public Service (PPS) number. You may also need to provide proof of your identity if you are being named on the account.
To help your son understand why it’s important to save, why not sit down and agree a savings goal. It could be a short-term goal, like a new toy or jersey. Longer-term goals might be saving for a new bike or money for summer holidays. You could think about letting him spend some of his money from time to time on something he has his eye on – a treat as a reward will keep him motivated and make saving fun.
Managing money day-to-day is far removed from the world of an eight-year-old. To keep him interested, involve him in every-day budgeting decisions. Take him grocery shopping now and again and explain you have a set budget. Show him how to check prices of items and let him add it up as you go along. Explain that using coupons and special offers helps to keep within your budget. If you go over your budget, ask him for suggestions on what to do next. All of these little steps will help him to develop an understanding of budgeting, why it’s important and what steps can be taken if you exceed your budget.
Replacement for faulty TV
Q I recentlybought a new 32-inch TV from a store. Two months later, a red line about four inches long appeared down the side of the screen. When I brought it back to the store, I was told the TV would have to be sent away to be repaired and it would take up to 28 working days to get it back. The store wasn’t able to offer me a loan of another TV. As the issue was not my fault, my family are now without a TV for almost a month. Should the store have offered me a new TV? John, Ballinteer, Dublin 16
A When you buy from a shop, you are protected by consumer legislation. The item you buy should be of an acceptable standard, fit for the purpose intended and as described. If you buy something that turns out to be faulty, you have a number of options depending on the problem. These include a repair, replacement, reduction in the price, or a full refund. It is up to you to negotiate with the shop to agree which of these options you want.
If you choose a repair, then the repair should be completed within a reasonable time and without any significant inconvenience to you, taking account of the nature of the goods and their purpose. Also if you feel that it is vital for you to have a replacement while your faulty set is being repaired, you need to agree this with the shop – but the shop doesn’t have to offer you a replacement. The next step, if you cannot reach agreement with the shop, would be for you to complain in writing. In addition, if there are still problems with repairs or it is taking the company longer to carry out the repair than agreed, you can consider the Small Claims procedure, as long as the claim does not exceed €2,000.
No-show concert ticket
Q My favourite band is playing in Dublin this summer. I didn’t manage to get a ticket when they went on sale but I bought one recently from an individual through a social media site. My ticket has still not arrived even though I paid for it. Do I have any rights? Des, Ballina, Co Mayo
A As tickets can sell out fast, it is tempting to source tickets where you can. If you are buying from a private individual, either directly or through a social media site, you don’t have consumer rights because you are not buying from a business.
You are more vulnerable to scams such as counterfeit tickets when you buy tickets in this way. Another issue is that some private sellers will take your money, and then try to source the ticket, so it is worth asking the seller to prove to you they have a ticket to sell to you before you pay.
Your next step should be to contact the seller directly, tell them the ticket hasn’t turned up and ask for an explanation why, or see if they are willing to offer you a refund. If they cannot provide an explanation or refund, and if you paid for the ticket using your credit or debit card or PayPal, you could request a chargeback. In order to start a chargeback, you should contact your card provider (the bank or credit card company who issued the card) immediately, giving them details of the transaction you are disputing. The challenge may be for you to prove to the bank that you did not receive the tickets.
There is little else you can do in terms of getting your money back, but you should tell the social media site of your experience to see if it can prevent other users from being scammed.
Switching current account
Q I have been with the same bank for 20 years and am wondering if I should switch my current account. Is it a hassle to switch your current account to another bank? Jo, Raheny, Dublin 5
With the Central Bank of Ireland’s Code of Conduct on the Switching of Payment Accounts with Payment Service Providers, it should be very straightforward to move your account. You might also save some money on bank charges too.
A The Central Bank’s code is designed to make switching your current account quick and easy. All banks or payment service providers offering current accounts in Ireland must comply with the code. Under this code, your new provider must have your new account up and running within 10 working days of the switching date – this is the date agreed between you and your new bank or payment service provider for the process to start. You will be given the option to keep your old account, or to close it.
If you keep your old account open, you may have to pay charges on this account and stamp duty on your cards, even if you no longer use it. If you decide to close your old account, return any unused cheques to your old bank or payment service provider to receive a refund of government stamp duty.
Do a quick check to see if you could make some savings. Some banks or payment service providers still offer free banking but this usually comes with conditions such as having to permanently have a set amount of money in your current account (which will likely earn no interest) or lodging a certain amount per month or quarter.
Make sure you know what bank charges and fees you are paying by having a look at your bank statements and also check the volume of transactions on your account and see if you can reduce them. If you decide to switch, choose carefully and make your decision based on how you use your account. There is a current account comparison on ccpc.ie to compare fees and features.