5 Top Tips When Planning A Wedding Budget
Murphy’s Law = Anything that can go wrong, will. If you’re planning a wedding budget these 6 words are well worth remembering…
Taking out wedding insurance will help cover your big day preparation should disaster happen, but there are also some other, less-known strategies that you should be aware of. Julia Kukiewicz, consumer choice expert from Choose.net gives 5 essential pieces of advice you need to know about protecting your purchases, meaning you aren’t left out in the cold.
Max out on consumer protection…
The way you spend makes a difference to the amount of consumer protection you’ll be entitled to. Use a credit card to pay, for example, and your credit card provider must protect any purchase between £100 and £30,000.
This is due to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. If a retailer goes bust, if your goods are faulty or they’re not delivered, your credit card provider must refund you in full.
Debit card users or credit card purchases under £100 are also protected in a similar way. This comes under the chargeback schemes from Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Chargeback is not a part of UK law like Section 75, but it can still offer a full refund if goods are not delivered. Claims can be made via your card provider (not Visa or Mastercard directly) after the problem arises subject to each scheme’s rules. It’s also worth noting that some credit card providers offer protection on purchases over and above Section 75.
These insurance policies usually cover loss, theft and accidental damage for around 90 days after purchase. Each card provider is different though so make sure you check the small print.
…but don’t max out your credit card
Section 75 was designed to prevent consumers getting into debt over something they never even received. Credit cards are covered under the scheme because they are a way of borrowing money. As with all forms of borrowing though, they come with a potential downside if you’re not careful. Debt! If you’re sensible about using them when planning a wedding budget, you should be fine though. Interestingly, research by MoneySupermarket.com shows that two thirds of Brits who take out wedding loans don’t own a house.
It’s worth noting too, that you don’t have to pay any interest on a credit card to gain the forms of purchase protection listed above. Simply make sure you pay back the full amount within the standard interest-free period. You could also carefully use a 0% purchase credit card to spread the cost of a period of high spending (say, a wedding). Don’t forget the promotion end date though, or you could get a nasty surprise!
As an added bonus, Section 75 covers a whole purchase even if it’s only partly paid for on a credit card. If you buy a £500 dress and pay £50 on a credit card and remaining £450 on a debit card you’ll be covered. If the shop goes bust and you’re left dress-less, the credit card provider must give you the whole £500 back. Definitely something to consider for expensive purchases that may involve a risk when planning a wedding budget!
Exceptions to the rule
All these forms of consumer protection are great options when planning a wedding budget. Be aware though, that just like an insurance policy they come small print that you should be aware of. Section 75, for example, is an extremely complex piece of legislation.
To demonstrate, let’s look at one big loophole in Section 75 protection – Third party suppliers. If you pay on your credit card, but through a third party supplier such as PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon Marketplace your purchases won’t be protected. That’s because the law states, in order for the credit card provider to be equally liable for supplying your goods or services, they and the retailer must have a direct relationship. Third parties disrupt that relationship and the result is that the purchaser (you) isn’t protected!
Similarly, chargeback schemes come with their own specific rules that govern when consumers can make a claim. Visa, for example requires consumers to submit a claim within 120 days of them having become aware of a problem with a purchase. This increases to 180 days if the purchase was made abroad. Choose.net have written a full guide to chargeback and how it works if you need further info.
The small print becomes even more important if you’re taking advantage of any extra protection your credit card provider is offering. Common exceptions include second-hand goods and jewellery, but every provider is different so check that small print!
Know your statutory rights
Don’t forget all this extra protection comes on top of the standard Sale of Goods Act 1979. This says goods must be:
- Of satisfactory quality
- Be as they were described
- Be fit for purpose and
- Last a reasonable length of time
There’s a lot of confusing words in there – What’s satisfactory? What’s reasonable?. Use them as guidelines when making a complaint to a retailer about a fault. Hopefully, most retailers will be able to resolve a dispute without you even having to resort to making a claim.
Don’t forget the honeymoon!
Finally, remember when planning a wedding budget that there’s now extra consumer protection for holidays/honeymoons under the ATOL scheme. If any company you’re dealing with – from an airline, to a hotel or car hire goes bust you should be covered for any loss. On top of that, ATOL also entitles you to a refund of any additional costs you incur as a result of the problem.
In early 2012 the ATOL scheme rules changed so more holidays than ever are protected. It used to be the case that only very specific kinds of package holidays were covered.
Now booking a flight and any additional part of the holiday such as accommodation or car hire will be covered through an ATOL protected provider, but only if the two parts are booked within a day of each other.
Even though the definition of a package deal has been expanded, however, it’s still vital to check that small print before relying on extra protection.