M&S Money Announce Winner Of M&S Travel Money Loyalty Points Competition Prize

M&S Money has announced the winner of M&S travel money prize. The Bolton mum-of-four is celebrating after winning one million M&S loyalty points worth £10,000 to spend in store.

Janet Smith was delighted when she received a call to tell her she was the lucky winner of the competition organised by M&S Money.

Anyone buying M&S travel money using their M&S credit card or chargecard between 1 May – 30 June 2008 was entered into a prize draw to win one million M&S points. There were also five prizes of 100,000 M&S loyalty points worth £1,000 each.

Janet was entered into the draw after buying Canadian Dollars from the bureau de change at the M&S store in Bolton. Janet and her husband Paul used the currency during a trip to see their daughter Jennifer, who emmigrated to Canada two years ago.

Janet said: “I was in the shower when I got the call to tell me I had won – I couldn’t believe it. It’s a wonderful prize and I’m looking forward to spending the money at my local store. I’m going to start by treating my mum for her 88th birthday next week. I’m so glad I bought my travel money at M&S.”

Fraser Millar, M&S Head of Travel Services, said: “We had a tremendous response to the competition with over 100,000 entrants. We hope Janet enjoys spending her points in M&S.”

M&S Money offers the same currency exchange rates across all services including telephone and online ordering ensuring that customers get the same deal however they decide to purchase their currency. The bureaux also offer a commission-free currency buy back service with a wide range of currencies available.

M&S Money has been continually expanding the availability of the Travel Money service. Currently Travel Money is available at bureaux de change in over 100 M&S stores, as well as by telephone and online through the M&S Money website.

About M&S Money
M&S Money (originally called Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top-ten credit card provider and the second-largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers insurance for homes, cars, travel, pets and weddings, as well as loans, savings and investments.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations with over 9,500 offices in 76 countries and territories. The business continues to operate under the M&S Money brand, with an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

The company employs 1,200 staff at its headquarters in Chester, delivering personal financial services to its customers, reflecting the core values of Marks & Spencer – quality, value, service, innovation and trust.

Via EPR Network
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Best for Bride Toronto’s One-Stop Wedding Destination

Best for Bride (www.bestforbride.com) is excited to announce that it is now partners with VideoBabylon for wedding photography, Wedding Videography, Limousine Services and Wedding Disk Jockey services. Best for Bride is Toronto’s premier wedding boutique, providing a one-stop shop for all your wedding needs. VideoBabylon (www.videobabylon.ca) is Southern Ontario’s best bet for wedding video, photography, limo and entertainment services. The new partnership between the two wedding experts will form a comprehensive wedding conglomerate, granting all wedding wishes for brides and grooms-to be!

Best for Bride is renowned for their top quality designer wedding dresses and formal gowns for every occasion. All the wedding dresses are made of luxurious fabrics and embellishments and available in colours and sizes for every bride and to suit every taste. Their top quality workmanship and competitive prices have made them a hit with brides for years. Recently Best for Bride began offering wedding gowns for rent as well at a fraction of the purchase price, allowing customers on every budget to able to afford thewedding dress of their dreams. Aside from providing brides-to-be with beautiful bridal gowns and dresses for the entire wedding party and delectable custom wedding cakes, Best for Bride has recently expanded their inventory to include wedding favors andwedding invitations as well. These little details can set the mood for the wedding and create a unique theme that is personal and reflective of the couple.

Best for Bride’s partnership with VideoBabylon seizes the opportunity to provide everything required for creating the ideal wedding day from start to finish. VideoBabylon prides itself on vast experience in film, digital video and digital photography, to capture all the details of the special day at a competitive rate. It also provides other essentialwedding services such as limos and entertainment.

“Our new partnership with VideoBabylon is exciting because it allows us to grow our business, while providing our customers with even more options for their wedding,” says Olga, manager of Best for Bride Boutique.

The new partnership will capitalize on the success of both these thriving companies and expand furthermore their presence on the forefront of wedding suppliers in the Toronto area.

For additional information on the news of this release, visit http://www.bestforbride.com orhttp://www.videobabylon.ca.

Best for Bride Bridal & Evening Wear Boutique is a full service quality bridal clothing store, located in Toronto, Ontario, which prides itself on a warm and welcoming atmosphere and expert wedding advice.

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Debt Management Company Gregory Pennington Have Warned Consumers About The Dangers Of Credit Card Transfers As A Means Of Debt Management

Responding to findings that many credit card holders are transferring their debts onto another card, debt management company Gregory Pennington said that this is another sign of rising costs of living limiting people’s ability to repay debts, and warned of the risks involved in transferring debts between credit cards.

The report by Abbey showed that almost a quarter of people with credit cards will transfer on average £1,600 of debt to another card in the next year.

Abbey said that borrowers are opting for cards with 0% interest periods in order to avoid their debts getting any bigger, and switching to another card once the 0% period is over.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington commented: “Most of us are now feeling the pressure of a weakening economy in one way or another, and for those people in debt, it can be an extremely worrying time.

“Credit cards with 0% interest periods can be very tempting, because they essentially stand for ‘free’ money, if only for a limited time. Unlike many forms of debt, interest won’t grow in these accounts until the 0% interest period finishes, which is very appealing to people struggling with debt.

“This particularly applies to people with credit card debts, because once the lenders do start charging interest, it tends to be very high. The average APR on a credit card is currently around 17.4%.”

Taking advantage of the best deals around makes sense, but the spokesperson warned that ‘juggling’ debts between credit cards is potentially dangerous if used as a means of debt management, and should not be considered a long-term solution.

“Every credit card you take out will be listed on your credit rating, and while abiding by the terms of a credit card reflects well on the borrower, some creditors may become concerned if they see you have had a string of credit cards for only a few months at a time,” she said. “In this sense, your credit rating could suffer.

“Eventually, it’s possible that lenders will start refusing applications, or reduce the credit limit – which is especially a risk with the credit crunch ongoing. If that happens, borrowers can either repay the debt in full, or face high interest rates that can cause the debt to grow very quickly.”

The spokesperson continued that there are cheaper, more effective debt solutions available. “A debt management plan or debt consolidation loan might be a better option for people trying to manage their credit card debts. Both set out affordable payment plans that can be scheduled over a longer period of time – although it’s important to realise that the longer the repayment, the more interest can build up in the long run.

“For those with more serious debts of around £15,000 or more, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) could help. An IVA allows people in debt to repay only what they can realistically afford. They do this over a fixed period, normally five years, after which any outstanding debt is written off. An IVA may, however, require a homeowner to free up some of the equity in their home. It also requires a real commitment to making regular monthly payments and has a significant impact on an individual’s credit rating. We advise people to speak to an expert debt adviser before making a decision.”

Via EPR Network
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Telephone Directory Information Will Help Speed Up Systems

Tracesmart, renowned for helping companies to trace people and conduct electronic identity checks, have been granted a license by British Telecomm (BT) to hold the Operator Services Information System (OSIS) database, which contains all listed telephone numbers in the UK. Holding the OSIS data in-house will both quicken telephone look-ups and enhance overall systems performance.

Historically no single organisation was responsible for assembling all UK telephone numbers as although BT was the main source of telephone number information, they did not hold other telecommunication companies telephone numbers. As such in 1999 a subdivision of BT, The Directory Solutions Unit (DSU) was formed to act as an independent body with their prime duty being to collate telephone number information from several sources, including BT, Cable Companies and Mobile Phone providers. Today the DSU administer OSIS and provide licensees with a daily file containing between 30,000-100,000 added, deleted or amended UK telephone numbers.

The daily supply of data from OSIS means Tracesmart’s Customers will see a further increase in system performance as Paul Weathersby, Technical Director at Tracesmart, explains “Following a comprehensive data security audit, where we thoroughly demonstrated how extremely stalwart and resilient our in-house data protection measures are, we have now been granted direct access to the OSIS data. Previously we relied on a third party supplier for the data but now that we have it in house our customers can conduct faster telephone look ups and the system as a whole runs more efficiently.”

Obtaining accurate telephone numbers is an essential part of any form of tracing, whether it be an asset reunification project aiming to reuniteunclaimed assets with their rightful owner or an exercise to locate absconded debtors; having instant access to the relevant telephone number allows the tracer to facilitate instant contact. Telephone numbers are supplied via the company’s tracing, identity verification and data cleansing services.

Maximising performance is a key part of Tracesmart‘s commitment to its client base as Mike Trezise, Managing Director of Tracesmart, commented, “I know firsthand how utilising accurate data is paramount for success and as such Tracesmart constantly aims to supply its customers with accurate, instantly accessible data in order to ensure they get the results they need. As a company we are committed to constantly upgrading and improving our service offerings and new data acquisition is a key part of this process – we will always strive to enhance the customer experience through the provision of comprehensive data.”

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LV= Research Has Revealed That Thousands Of Landlords Have Failed To Join A Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, Leaving Renters Money At Risk

New LV= research has revealed that thousands of landlords have failed to join a tenancy deposit protection scheme, leaving up to £4 billion of renters’ deposits at risk.

The findings, from home insurer LV, reveal that 29% of renters who have moved in the last 12 months are not part of a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. Despite this being a legal requirement for landlords to ensure tenants’ deposits are protected by the Government approved scheme.

Introduced in April 2007, the TDP scheme was set up to ensure that tenants’ deposits are not wrongly withheld at the end of a tenancy. The LV= research found that 48% of current renters are unaware that such a scheme exists, and a further 24% said they had heard of the scheme but didn’t know any details of it.

All rental properties where a deposit has been taken since April 2007 are legally covered by the scheme, yet among private renters just 27% said their landlord is signed up. This means thousands of tenants could be at risk of having problems recovering their deposit, with over 77% of renters stating they had previously had some or all of their deposit money unreasonably withheld. The average deposit taken by landlords in the last 12 months is £670, so the potential loss is considerable.

To counter this 13% of private renters surveyed said they had refused to pay rent towards the end of their contract, because they expected problems to arise with the return of their deposit.

Under the TDP scheme, landlords must sign up with one of two schemes run by three Government approved financial companies. In the ‘custodial scheme’, the landlord pays the deposit to the scheme for safekeeping, and in the event of a dispute independent adjudication will decide who receives the deposit money.

In the ‘insurance scheme’ the landlord retains the deposit and pays a premium to an insurer, who will return the money to the tenant if the landlord does not comply with the adjudicated outcome of any dispute. With both schemes, landlords have 14 days from the date the deposit is taken to inform their tenant of the scheme details.

The LV= survey also revealed that 40% of people living in private rented accommodation don’t have any home contents insurance in place, despite the fact that rented properties are more prone to being burgled. Also, of those that do have home insurance, only 10% have a policy that includes a legal advice helpline, which could be used in the event of a dispute with a landlord.

John O’Roarke, Managing Director of LV= home insurance, said: “This research highlights the need for the Government to raise the profile of this legislation and for it to be more strictly enforced, to protect both renters and landlords, as awareness is currently very low. Although the majority of private landlords are undoubtedly honest, our research shows that many tenants have experienced problems getting their deposit money back in the past, and are worried this could happen again.

“The average deposit is over £500, which is a significant amount of money, so renters need to make sure they know their rights. Renters should also always ensure they have home contents insurance in place, as not only are they more likely to be burgled than home owners but some polices will include a legal advice helpline, which could be used in the event of a contractual dispute.”

Via EPR Network
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Eastern Refinishing – Bathtub Reglazing Specialists Introduce Hot Tub, Spa and Swimming Pool Restoration

Eastern Refinishing Inc., the largest bathtub and tile refinishing company in North America, has operated for nearly 35 years, with the current ownership being 17 years. The business has representatives servicing most of the USA, with office locations in Boston, Buffalo, Conneticut, Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Florida, Atlanta, South Carolina, Nashville, Detroit, Virginia Beach, Richmond Virginia, Mariland, New Jersey, Chicago, Milwaukee, Rhode Island, Rochester & Wilmington Delaware.

Eastern Refinishing has again expanded its product line, this time to include hot tub, spa and swimming pool restoration. Different swimming pools are painted with different coating systems, and these various systems can be incompatible with each other. Attempts by other companies to sell an all-inclusive pool paint have typically met with poor results. Hawk Laboratories, an industry leader in refinishing products, which Eastern Refinishing uses exclusively, has used its extensive knowledge database to develop an array of premium pool, hot tub and spa refinishing products to suit any application.

CRP-12â„¢ is a premium quality, chlorinated rubber based coating system designed to be applied to new concrete and gunnite, and surfaces previously coated with a chlorinated rubber-based product. Hawk CRP-12â„¢ is a truly high performance product, giving the maximum durability and long lifespan required of commercial, hotel and apartment building swimming pools.

FIBERBOND 5000â„¢ is the toughest, longest lasting epoxy coating in the industry. Hawk FIBERBOND 5000â„¢ is a two-component, satin finish, extremely high build coating system that will give unmatched performance on the most difficult surfaces, including water slides, and wave pools, where durability is a necessity. Ideally suited for fiberglass surfaces that need to stand up to abrasion and need constant U.V. light protection in demanding situations such as water slides.

SPA-COTEâ„¢ is a premium, low-build, high gloss epoxy coating system for use below the water line. It performs well on spas, hot tubs, and therapy pools, as well as surfaces that have been previously painted with an epoxy coating. This tough durable finish is designed for constant immersion and is available in a wide range of colors.

LP-14â„¢ Water-Based Latex Pool Paint is the economical choice for light duty usage, and applications that prohibit thorough drying of surfaces before painting. This is an easy to apply, medium duty coating system designed to last several years. It gives the benefit of a very short return-to-service time, excellent for application during the swimming season, when downtime is a critical factor. It’s also great for concrete decks, walkways and outdoor fixtures.

If you own a hotel, motel or apartment building, Eastern Refinishing can refinish your pool(s), tubs, sinks, countertops, ceramic tile, concrete surfaces and just about anything else! ER also does residential work covering most of the continental U.S.

Owner of Eastern Refinishing, Charles Gayler, has worked with the industry’s leading manufacturer, Hawk Research Labs – Wood Dale, Illinois to develop a complete proprietary line of professional refinishing products. Utilizing a proprietary Acrylic urethane Coating System, Eastern Refinishing has taken longevity to new levels by being able to offer 5 year warranties on all refinished tubs. In fact, you can expect extended refinishing lifespan of between 10-12 years with proper care.

Via EPR Network
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