Your questions: How can I make sure that the Euro 2016 tickets up for sale online are not false ones?
Q. I am waiting to hear if I have been successful in the Euro 2016 draw. I have already booked my flights and am desperate to get a ticket. If I do not get a ticket in the draw, I am considering using an online ticket site - even if I have to pay more than the tickets are worth. Is there any way to ensure the tickets from these sites are legitimate?
Gary, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
A. The simple answer is no. If you decide to buy tickets from a ticket reselling site, you need to be very careful that you are not scammed into buying a fake ticket.
Scammers are always on the lookout for opportunities to deceive people and are likely to try to take advantage of the popularity of Euro 2016 as people try to get their hands on tickets for games. Tickets are in very high demand and are for sale through the official UEFA site via a lottery system. According to UEFA, its ticket portal is the only authorised way to buy tickets from people offering tickets for resale.
There may be other unofficial reselling sites, which may be offering tickets - but at a huge mark-up. You could end up paying a large sum of money for a ticket that doesn't exist or isn't accepted when you try to enter the stadium. If you do decide to buy a ticket from a private seller, either face-to-face or online, you won't have any consumer rights if you run into problems so it's important to be careful. Watch out for fake websites offering tickets simply to get access to your credit card details and only use the official UEFA reselling site if you are unsuccessful in getting a ticket from its lottery.
A. My partner popped the question last month and I am now in planning mode for my wedding day. A lot of the hotels I have visited insist on a hefty booking deposit upfront to secure the date.
As I will not be getting married till 2017, I am a reluctant to hand over money now in case something happens. Recently a friend lost her deposit when the hotel she had booked for her wedding went out of business.
Jennifer, Tullow, Co Carlow
A. A lot of businesses ask that you pay in full or in instalments for wedding items and it can be worrying if you are regularly handing over large amounts of money.
Paying by credit or debit card instead of cash offers you some protections if a supplier does not deliver the goods or services as agreed. You can request a chargeback if something goes wrong, for example, if something you ordered is not delivered. However, there are time limits on requesting a chargeback so you should contact you credit card provider to find out more.
Before you pay for any goods or services, research the companies or suppliers you are thinking of using, ask them for references and check online reviews to make sure they are as good as they say they are. If you can, pay as small a deposit as possible.
Don't sign a contract until you are sure you understand what is and isn't included in the price being quoted. For example, ensure the quote includes VAT so that you don't end up paying more than you planned. Unfortunately, there are things that can go wrong - such as last-minute cancellations or the failure of a business to deliver a service.
You may also want to consider wedding insurance to protect you from any financial loss as a result of unexpected events. Many insurance providers offer wedding insurance so compare the features and benefits of different policies, in addition to the cost, as they can differ widely in terms of what they cover.
Q. I am booking a spring break as the weather has been so bad this winter. I usually use my local travel agent but when I looked into booking the flights and accommodation myself it worked out much cheaper.
Are there any risks with booking everything directly?
Eimear, Ventry, Co Kerry
A. Sometimes it can work out cheaper and be more flexible to book each stage of your holiday yourself. However, if you do it yourself, it's important to know that you won't have the same protections as you would have if you booked a package holiday. So it's important to be aware of possible issues that could impact on you.
When you book a package, you have specific protections that you don't get if you book each part of your trip separately. You are entering into a contract with the tour operator or agent. They are responsible for ensuring that your holiday arrangements run smoothly. They should provide you with a contract, with information such as the cost, destination, duration, itineraries of any excursions, and details of the complaints procedure in case anything goes wrong.
You should also be given any other relevant information, such as vaccinations you might need to get and any passport or visa requirements.
If you do book directly, these protections are not available. You still have some protections if your holiday involves taking a ferry or flight and there is a delay. Consider travel insurance. Before you take out any policy, get a few quotes.
Q. I am hoping to buy my first house this year. I am saving hard and hoping to have the deposit together soon. However, I am getting a little anxious as there seems to be a never-ending list of expenses that go with buying a home.
How much should I put by for these costs?
Jack, Carrickmines, Co Dublin
A. There are a range of costs associated with buying a property, in addition to the house price.
Lenders can loan you up to 90pc of the value of the property that you wish to buy - under the latest rules from the Central Bank. This is provided the property does not cost more than €220,000 and the buyer or buyers are first-time buyers. For example, if you can afford to buy a house worth €200,000, your lender may loan up to €180,000. This means you need to have the remaining 10pc, or €20,000, of the price of the property saved for your deposit.
Another significant one-off expense is the legal bill as you will need a solicitor to manage the legal aspects of your mortgage. Fees vary, and may be either a percentage of your mortgage, or a flat fee. So, before you choose a solicitor, ask about their professional fees and other costs you may have to pay, such as land registry and search fees.
You should also consider valuation fees, which usually range from €100 to €150. This pays for a professional valuer to give your lender an estimate of a property's market value. Lenders will usually refund the valuation fee if your mortgage is not approved. Other costs include stamp duty (currently charged at 1pc of the total value of the property you wish to buy), surveyor or engineer fees (to check the condition of the house before you buy), and the cost of appliances, furniture and other contents for your new home.
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 'Your Questions, The Sunday Independent Business Section, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1'.
While we will endeavour to place your questions with the most appropriate expert to answer your query, this column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.
Sunday Indo Business