Monthly Archives August 2007

Tax Refund Information Notice from HMRC

I’ve just received a supposed notification from HMRC that I am eligible for a £225 refund.

The HMRC logo is at the top, there is a picture of a stack of pound coins down the side and there is a link at the bottom of the email which I am required to click to process a ‘Tax Refund Request’.

The problem is the email address to which this notification came is not one I would have given to HM Revenue & Customs because it’s not one I use very much.

Secondly, the link at the bottom does not point to any of the official government websites I know of. HMRC can be found here:

Thirdly, I know what my tax situation is and I know I’m not due a refund!

Needless to say, I’m  not going to click on it because the email itself is spam and the link could go anywhere.

Has anyone else had a similar email? Has anyone clicked the link?

If you think you should be or are due a tax refund but you are not sure how to go about claiming it back then you can sent a request for assistance to .

It is estimated there are millions of pounds in unclaimed refunds available to self employed individuals and it’s a very cheap and simple procedure to find out if you are eligible.

Kuti’s Southampton, Bad Singing and a Moldy Cake.

Went out for a meal with some friends for my brother’s birthday last night to Kuti’s in Southampton.

It’s quite a nice Indian restaurant with a good reputation in quite a nice area of the city.

There was champagne, poppadoms and a varied selection of exotic dishes. All in all, a pretty good evening.

Then came the cake…

This was not organised but the restaurant was aware there was a birthday in our party.

The Maitre de, a slim blonde well presented woman approached our table with a microphone and announced to the entire restaurant that there was a birthday celebration taking place followed by a waiter carrying a small cake with a single candle.

The cake was presented to my brother after some more talking into the microphone and then she started to sing….

With a John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever stance she sang happy birthday in a very poor Marilyn Monroe style.

It was comparable to some of the very bad x-factor auditions. Her pitch was sadly all over the place.

Why would you do that? Sing in a restaurant full of people when you can’t really sing? Why haven’t the rest of the staff said anything? It was awful!

Nonetheless, there was cake to compensate. Or at least we thought…

The cake was divided up into very small pieces and passed around.

A few people dived in and started eating but one girl who was just picking at bits found a section of slightly green sponge. On inspection, the base of the cake was riddled with green spots of mould!

Double whammy! A terrible presentation for a moldy birthday cake!

Needless to say further compensation came in the form of a mediocre bottle of wine.

Still, the rest of the food was excellent and the service was very good!

An Expensive Bargain

I recently paid £5 for something I could have bought for £2 but the alternative could have cost as much as £25.

Anyone who uses Nokia mobile phones will know that several months ago Nokia changed the size of the charger adapter plug.

Not so bad because you are usually supplied a new adapter with each new phone. Unfortunately you are not supplied with a replacement car charger so, because you’re old one no longer fits, you have to buy a new one.

The old car charger then just gets thrown in the bin which a complete waste of resources or, it sits in a drawer taking up space.

Also, should the new mains adapter fail for whatever reason (the plastic sheath split on mine exposing bare wires that also broke…) you have to go out and buy a replacement.

New mains chargers range in price from £25 at most branded mobile phone shops. £12.95 from John Lewis and as little as £3.98 from ebay.

But for as little as £2, you can buy a converter for your OLD Nokia mains charger to make it fit your new phone!

I paid £5 for one because I couldn’t wait for the postage but this converter will work for car chargers and mains chargers alike.

Staggering BT Incentives for Switching to Direct Debit

From the 1st of July, BT introduced a discount for customers paying by direct debit or Monthly Payment Plan.

This discount will run for 18 months from the 1st of July to December 2008.

Exclusions include BT Mobile, BT Business Total Broadband and OneBillPlus customers.

But how much is it? What’s the discount?

It is, an amazing, £0.50 a month.


OK, so over 18 months it does stack up to quite a hefty £9….

So that’s the carrot but… NOT paying by direct debit will now be subject to a fee!!

Of £1.50 per month!!

Their recent circular explaining all this used plain English that did everything it could to make this sound like a positive step. Even to the point of justifying the move by saying, ‘Many telecom companies already do this, and in some cases their fee is higher’.

I bet in some cases the fee is also lower….

Having always used BT by default, I have never heard of a fee being charged for choosing not to pay by direct debit. Is this the case?

The letter even says that paying by direct debit can ‘save’ your business £24/year or more!

The way I read it was, if I don’t pay by direct debit, it will now ‘cost’ my business an additional £24 or more.

Although there is a silver lining.

In association with the Woodland Trust, BT will plant a tree on behalf of each of the first 10,000 customers changing to Direct Debit.

That’s got to be worthy of consideration…..