The cashback website, TopCashback, has launched a new membership option offering users an extra 4% cashback on their spending.you'll also benefit from a host of added extras such as enhanced tell-a-friend bonuses.
However, for the first time, TopCashback will charge a membership fee.
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Cashback websites allow users to earn cashback on the money they spend online. You follow a tracked link to the relevant retailer from your cashback site, and the money you spend is monitored. The cashback website earns a referral fee as a result, a portion of which is passed on to you.
TopCashback has always based its proposition on paying 101% of the commission it earns onto its users (it survives through advertising rather than taking a chunk of the referral fee).
The new premium service from TopCashback has a flat-rate commission of 105% which will be earned on anything bought through the site.
Users who choose this option can also earn more money when referring friends, with this bonus now worth £12.50. Monthly statements will be sent out and premium users will have access to fast-track customer care and web pages without external adverts.
Faster-paying cashback is another benefit which is available with around 1,000 retailers. This means cash is paid on items from these shops at a much faster rate than the average 30 days.
The £5 fee isn't paid up front either, as this will be taken from any cashback paid.
If you're not sure about the new service there's an option to try it for free for three months for existing customers. It's also possible to carry on using the basic service for free which has a lower 101% commission rate.
How does it compare?
The announcement from TopCashback mirrors a similar change at the company's main rival, Quidco, a few weeks ago. It also has a two-tiered membership system which works in pretty much the same way. You can read our review of the Quidco membership in Quidco revamps membership charges.
Quidco says the main elements it offers which differ from TopCashback are access to more than 1,000 fast-paying retailers which pay quicker than any other website, enhanced customer care with a call-back service and live chat and bonus and tailored customer offers throughout the year.
Although it's pretty much identical, the main difference from the new TopCashback service is the higher flat-rate of 105% cashback, the free three-month trial for existing customers and its enhanced tell-a-friend bonuses.
One thing both websites have upped is how they handle customer service. Both now offer a free live chat service to all customers and Quidco also providers a free call-back option.
Both Quidco and Top Cashback also have mobile apps which allow you to take photos of your receipts and then earn money on purchases made in high street shops. Quidco also allows you to "check in" at certain retailers without buying anything to earn cashback.
10 consumer rights you should know
TopCashback launches premium paid-for membership
The law states that any goods you buy from a UK retailer should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time.
This applies even if you buy items in a sale or with a discount voucher. You may have to insist on these rights being respected, though.
Useful phrases to use when you want to show you mean business include, "according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979" and, if it's a service, "according to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982".
Some shops will allow you to exchange goods without a receipt, but they can refuse to should they wish.
If the goods are faulty, however, another proof of purchase such as a bank statement should work just as well.
If you attempt to return goods within four weeks of the purchase, your chances of getting a full refund are much higher as you can argue that you have not "accepted" them.
After this point, you can only really expect an exchange, repair or part-refund.
The updated Consumer Credit Act states that card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £60,260 (whether or not you paid just a deposit or the whole amount on your card).
Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping never arrives or the items in question are faulty or not as described.
Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.
Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.
You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.
The FOS settles disputes between financial companies such as banks and consumers.
If a financial organisation rejects a complaint you make about its services, you can therefore escalate that complaint to the FOS - as long as you have given the company in question at least eight weeks to respond.
The FOS will then investigate the case, and could force the company to offer you compensation should it see fit.
Bailiffs are allowed to take some of your belongings to sell on to cover certain debts, including unpaid Council Tax and parking fines.
They can, for example, take so-called luxury items such as TVs or games consoles. However, they cannot take essentials such as fridges or clothes.
What's more, they can only generally enter your home to take your stuff if you leave a door or window open or invite them in.
You are therefore within your rights to refuse them access and to ask for related documents such as proof of their identity. If they try to force their way in, you can also call the police to stop them.
Private sector debt collectors do not have the same powers as bailiffs, whatever they tell you.
They cannot, for example, enter your home and take your possessions in lieu of payment.
In fact, they can only write, phone, or visit your home to talk to you about paying back the debt. As with bailiffs, you can also call the police if you feel physically threatened.
Thanks to the Distance Selling Regulations, you actually have more rights buying online or by phone than on the High Street.
You can, for example, send most goods back within a week, for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault.
You will usually need to pay for the return delivery, though. The seller must then refund you within 30 days.
We enter into contracts all the time, whether it be to join a gym, switch energy supplier or take out a loan.
In most cases, once you've signed a contract, you are legally bound by it. In some situations, however, you have the right to cancel it within a certain timeframe.
Credit agreements, for example, can be cancelled within 14 days. And online retailers must tell you about your cancellation rights for any contract made up to stand up legally.