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Should we get insurance for the tablet device we have to buy our son for school?


Tablet product testing

Tablet product testing

Tablet product testing

My son is starting secondary school in September and we have to buy him a new tablet device. He will be taking the tablet to school so I was wondering if I should buy insurance in case it is stolen or gets broken. The shop that sells the tablet also offers insurance - what would you advise? Victoria, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

When you buy expensive electronic equipment, it makes sense to want to protect yourself. It's important to remember in the first instance that if the product develops a fault after you buy it, you have statutory consumer rights.

Insurance for electronic goods such as tablets or mobile phones can be quite expensive when compared with the cost of the item itself so there are a few things to think about before you sign up to any policy.

Firstly check with the school if they are offering a scheme for buying the tablets. If you are buying it through the school or in a shop it may come with a manufacturer's warranty which will cover any manufacturer's faults for a period of time. However, if the tablet is lost or damaged by neglect or misuse it may be your responsibility to replace it.

Find out what, if any, cover you may have under your existing home or contents insurance policy. 'All-risks' cover is an optional extra under most home insurance policies and protects you against loss or theft of, or accidental damage to personal belongings both inside and outside of the home. If you have all risks cover, check exactly what is covered, ask your insurance provider about any exclusions and mention that it will be your son rather than you using the tablet.

Find out if there is an excess to pay on the policy if you make a claim and consider the implications of that. Ask your insurance company what it would cost to insure the tablet under your home insurance and then compare this with any other insurance product you are considering. Check the excesses and exclusions and weigh up how likely your son is to lose or damage the tablet and the worst-case-scenario cost of replacing it.

For more information on your buying insurance visit www.consumerhelp.ie

I have booked a package holiday for later this year but I am considering cancelling it now due to recent political unrest in a neighbouring country. I won't be able to relax and enjoy my holiday. Do I have any grounds to cancel and get a refund?

Bernard, Letterkenny, Donegal.

When you book a holiday, you enter into a contract with the travel agent or airline and are bound by the booking terms and conditions. Getting a refund will depend on the reason for cancellation and whether or not safety concerns are accounted for in your contract.

If your contract doesn't cover cancellation and you decide to go ahead and cancel anyway, you may not get any of your money refunded, depending on the terms of your contract and how close it is to the start of your holiday.

Legally, you are not entitled to a refund if you cancel because you have "changed your mind". In some cases however, the travel agent or airline may be willing to offer you a full or partial refund or the option to switch holiday destination, but they are not legally obliged to do this.

If you have travel insurance check your policy document to see what you are entitled to as it will depend on your policy. Your insurance company is unlikely to pay out if you decide to cancel your trip because of safety fears but it is worth checking.

If, however, there are government or public authority restrictions in place that advise you not to travel, contact your travel agent or airline as they will have received instructions from the government on new travel or compensation arrangements.

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I recently came across an online advert offering a free trial for a detoxing tea, which helps with weight loss. The product had endorsements from some well-known celebrities. I wanted to give it a try so I can get into shape for a wedding.

To avail of the free trial I had to give my credit card number for postage and packaging. However, when my credit card statement arrived it showed that the company had charged me the postage and packaging, which is fine, but there was another charge for €98 a couple of weeks later, which I did not authorise. I have emailed the company to cancel my order but have not received a response. What can I do about this?

Sharon, Waterford city, Co Waterford

It appears that you have signed up to a subscription service. Sometimes these services advertise a "free trial" but, once the free trial period ends, a monthly charge applies.

A subscription service like this would have certain terms and conditions which may include an automatic rolling period. This means the subscription will be automatically renewed for a certain length of time unless you cancel it.

As you have already sent an email advising that you wish to cancel the subscription and received no response, you should contact your bank. Provide them with a copy of the email and ask that the bank block any more transactions from this company.

If the amount is deducted again you can complain to the bank. If this doesn't stop you may wish to cancel the card altogether and ask to be issued with another one.

Before signing up to any online subscriptions, it is very important to always check the terms and conditions and to be sure of the upfront costs, any additional costs and the time period involved.

Fergal O'Leary is head of communications and consumer help at the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

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