Where in the World is Rebecca Today?

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Quidco a No-Go

Over the Summer, a friend was talking to me about Quidco, a website that offers you cash back based on your purchases you make through their site. I was a member of a similar site when I lived in the US (I currently can’t remember the site!) and had earned back around $20 on various online purchases, so I signed up for it, but then forgot about it.

In October, Quidco sent out an email with an offer to join Weight Watchers UK. The offer was that if you signed up for their 3-month package at £32, you would gain £30 in cashback, making your three month subscription £2. I decided to give it a try, since I felt there was little to lose since in the end I would have only spent £2.


[screenshot of the email offering £30 cashback]

I am now out £32.

Quidco failed to acknowledge the transaction so in mid-November, I submitted a claim on their website. Oddly enough, the site would only let me put in a claim for £15 instead of the £30 advertised, but I figured at least I’d get £15 back and wasn’t going to be too upset over losing £15. A few weeks later, an email from Quidco arrived that simply said “We have an update for you from the Quidcare team.” and directed me to log into my account. I logged in and the standard “this is what will happen” message appeared. I didn’t receive any more email updates from Quidco.

In all the excitement of planning my emergency trip back to the US, I forgot about it until today, when I realized that I would need to cancel my original WW subscription soon if I didn’t want to be charged another £30. I checked into Quidco to see if the reward money was there because if it was I would have used the £30 cash back to pay for an additional three months of WW. My reward wasn’t showing. Instead, it showed that my claim had been denied based on my not providing information they asked for “in an email”.

Er?

Here is a screenshot of my email box filtered down to messages from Quidco:


[apologies for the small print, I had to re-size this for WordPress]

No where in there, beyond the first update email do I see anything related to this claim requesting additional information, yet here’s what Quidco has on their website under my claim:


[screenshot of the claims screen on Quidco]

I found where it was possible to re-submit a claim, so I’m filling it out online:


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

As you can see, it still is allowing me only to ask them for £15, when the original offer read £30, but again, I’m kind of past that point and really now only want at least the £15 they are offering. I go to the next screen, where it asks for my username on WW and my confirmation number when I joined. I provided those details, and moved on to the next screen.


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

Getting a bit ridiculous, isn’t it? I clicked on “contact us”, which brings me to a page where I need to click on if I am a member of the site, an advertiser, or part of the media. I select member and go through another set of pull down options to get to the following:


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

Okay, I will click on that “denied cashback claim”, but oh look where it sends me right back to:


[screenshot from Quidco, Click for larger]

Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

I have now been through this circus about 5 times now, hoping somehow that something will have changed and it will magically let me re-submit the declined claim. Seeing how there appears to be no other way to contact this company, I went directly to their facebook page:


[screenshot from facebook]

The link they gave me? Goes to the same page as the previous image, which is the same page as the first image, so my options are to start the cycle on their site again, or write off ever seeing my £15, let alone the original £30 I was promised.

I’ve since gone to the WW site and cancelled my membership there so I wouldn’t be charged in January. It was a very simple form to fill out and asked for the reason. So I told them this problem as well, though I doubt WW can really do anything about it.

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Swagbucks Update

Back in August, I complained about Swagbucks Amazon UK vouchers being twice as much as US vouchers. I had decided that I would collect US vouchers with my points since the points would go farther. Well, I discovered that since my Swagbucks account is a UK account, I can’t get the US vouchers. Poo. So, I kept collecting my points, and a few weeks ago, I was able to swap in 849 points for £5 at Amazon.

And I’m already back up to over 200 Swagbucks, well on my way to earning another £5. It might not seem like much, but it’s better than nothing, eh? And it was free to sign up for and free to use, so why not?

So if you haven’t yet, join up! Swagbucks uses Google for it’s search results, so it’s no different than using Google, you just can win points. The points are given out randomly. Sometimes you score with 15 or more points, sometimes you get 5, other times none. But it’s still great fun. Swagbucks also offers swagcodes on their facebook page, and you can even earn points for using their firefox toolbar.

Search & Win

Or click here: http://swagbucks.com/refer/BeccaJaneStClair

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users can comment directly on Facebook.]

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Swagbucks: Not as Cool as it Looks….

I’m nearly to 450 swagbucks, so I was browsing around looking for the Amazon vouchers.

Yeah. US $5 voucher? 450 SB. CA $5 voucher? 450 SB. £5 UK Voucher? Frigging 849 SB.

See?


(click to make bigger)

Not fair, especially when the current US$ -> UK£ rate is really low. 600 SB I can see….but 849? That’s almost double!

So I might start collecting US$ Amazon certificates because I can always use them to buy gifts for people in the US or use them when I’m visiting the US and can bring them back with me…I think 849 is a rip for £5. And it sucks that people who don’t have a US address available to use don’t have the option of getting US certificates.

This all being said, I do like the idea of earning points for things while I search on Google, so if anyone is interested, here’s a pretty graphic link to join from:

Search & Win

Or click here: http://swagbucks.com/refer/BeccaJaneStClair

I could really use the referrals!

[x-posted to LJ]

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Annual Passes

Tim and I have visited various attractions the past two years that offer annual passes. We hardly ever take advantage of the offer since in many of the cases it’s an attraction that isn’t local, such as Walt Disney World or something like that. But I’ve been noticing a lot of attractions that are “local” (by local, I mean within a few hours drive) that offer an annual pass when you buy your admission.

Examples include:

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – Your admission price gives you unlimited entry to HMS Warrior 1860, Royal Naval Museum, and Action Stations for one year, however it is only valid for one entry to HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, and Harbour Tours. Tim and I went in fall 2008. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to return to use our tickets again, but if you live close enough that you can go over the course of a few days, I highly recommend it! There’s so much to see there. Currently, you cannot visit the Mary Rose, as they are in the process of building a museum around her and expect to open in 2012, but you can still see everything else. Touring the HMS Victory was well-worth the banged heads on the lower decks!

Shakespeare’s Houses and Gardens – Entry is valid for one year, and if you download the voucher located here, you can even get a two for one offer on the multi-house ticket until October 2010. Tim and I first went in the fall 2008, and then recently took my mom for a visit a few weeks ago. This time, we used the 2 for 1 voucher (didn’t have one last time) and are planning on returning before our year is up. Just like Portsmouth, there is a lot to do there that all fall under the one ticket. When we went in 2008, we only had time to tour two of the buildings since we also had tickets to see a show at the theatre.

Beamish is another place that gives you a full year for the price of a single admission, and with so much to see there, it’s well worth it. We purchased tickets in September (2009) when my mom and I were visiting, and Tim and I took advantage of the annual pass and took a trip up to Beamish with a packed lunch so it only cost us petrol for a full day out! The first two times I was at Beamish, I only was able to see a few areas, as it was the Winter season. We finally went during the “Summer” season, but there’s still more to explore!

Or, if you’d rather a large variety of places to visit, there are organizations such as English Heritage (Membership starts at £44) and National Trust (Membership starts at £36). Each organization manages over 300 sites throughout the United Kingdom, and an annual membership gives you free admission to ALL attractions they own/operate.

Another website I’ve found useful for planning trips is Enjoy England. Enjoy England frequently offers 2 for 1 deals on many attractions.

Going away for a weekend getaway doesn’t have to be expensive!

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me.]

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US2UK is ready to go!

http://www.us2uk.net

In love with a Brit? Working for a company offering a transfer to the UK? Studying abroad? BritianniAmerica offers an online community and information for those living in or planning a move to the UK.

http://board.us2uk.net

Uprooting your life and moving across ‘the pond’ can be overwhelming, exciting, and confusing. BritiannAmerica offers community, information, and guidance to Americans at any point in their journey to live in the UK – all for FREE. We will NEVER ask you to pay for any of the services we provide or ask you to pay to access additional features.

http://wiki.us2uk.net

The online home for Americans living in, working in, studying in, or wanting to move to the UK includes a growing wiki, an active forum, and a great community.

http://www.us2uk.net

BritanniAmerica is also great for networking and meeting new friends! Imagine moving to a country where you barely know anyone, but having a strong network of friends who are just like you! Friends who will offer advice and support whenever you need it, without that expensive phone call back to the US. From time to time, we’ll even be hosting various gatherings to get to know your fellow Americans face to face.

Not from America? No problem! We welcome anyone who is working their way towards a move to the UK, though most of our experience with immigration lies with US to UK moves.

We are still a relatively new site, so we also are looking for people to join our staff – people to moderate different sections of our site and board, people who want to add pages to our site (and who know HTML), people who want to write articles for the Wiki, and even people who just want to write a blog post about their experiences so far.

Come join us!

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Speaking of Food….

In honour of 09/09/09, Restaurant.Com is offering gift certificates at 90% off if you use code “NINETY” at check-out.

What does this mean? Restaurant.Com usually sells $25 gift certificates for $10, but with this sale, you only pay $1 per gift certificate! I stocked up to use as gifts for my friends and for myself to use. I have a lot of friends I want to give gifts to, and this is one of the best ways to give them something they’ll use!

You can use the gift certificates anywhere in the country (US only), so one option if you plan on traveling is to purchase some of these certificates and hang onto them until you travel, then redeem your certificate for a restaurant in the town you’re visiting.

Offer is valid only until September 13th, so hurry!

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For Sale: Complete Badge-a-Minit Kit!

FOR SALE
Badge-a-Minit Kit

Includes both Bench Press & Hand press for making 2-1/4″ badges, magnets, keychains, mirrors, and more!
Comes with enough supplies to make 8 dozen pins and 10 mirrors.
You’ll get 2 sets of rings plus an extra blue and an extra green ring.
Directions are easy to print off the badge-a-minit website for free!

Worth over $200!

Asking $125 OBO. Shipping an additional $15 and will include DC and Insurance within the United States. This item is unavailable for International Shipping (unless you’d like to pay over $50 for shipping, as this item is heavy!)

I accept PayPal ONLY or CASH on local pick-up.

badge-a-minit
(click for larger)

Crafters: Please promote this item and link anyone you think might be interested to this post!

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Domain Name for Sale!

(no not this one)

I am selling the domain http://www.burn-gorman.com. Previously, it was a very successful fansite for the British actor Burn Gorman, but after some unresolvable differences with the others I was running the site with, we decided to disband it back in March.

Originally I had planned to get a new team and re-build the site on my own, but due to time constraints that is no longer possible.

http://www.burn-gorman.com is *still* ranked within the top 5 google results for “Burn Gorman” (it’s third, behind wiki and imdb last time I checked). Previously, this site ranked as the number one search result for Burn Gorman, so I know with the right people behind it, it can rise again.

I currently own the domain and in order for me to transfer it to someone else, you would need to have your own web hosting already set up, either through Dreamhost or another provider.

I also have in my possession 7 gigs worth of Screencaps I personally took that I am willing to add to the deal. Files can be put onto a 10GB flash drive and sent in the mail.

If you think you might be interested, please send me an email with your offer to admin(at)burn-gorman(dot)com.

Please pass this on if you think someone might be interested!

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Finding Inexpensive Travel Deals

I ♥ travelocity. Let me back up. I ♥ moneysavingexpert.com.

Moneysavingexpert.com is a UK site for cheap bargains. I signed up for the weekly newsletter in the hopes that I’d find some good deals for Tim and I…and I have.

First, I discovered that for every £10 in Tesco vouchers we earn, we can trade it in for £40 in hotel vouchers instead of using it at Tesco. £10 off your groceries is nice, but if we can get a hotel room for free, we’ll take it! On our last Tesco statement, we had earned £12 in Tesco vouchers (which Tim used to get money off his groceries now that I’m back in the US), so we should be able to get ourselves £40 in hotel vouchers once every three months (Tesco earnings come out quarterly).

It also had deals on things that don’t apply to us, like credit card deals, deals on Sky+, etc. But this week, it had a link to their section on travel and tips on finding inexpensive hotels (which apply worldwide, btw). Since I have an upcoming trip to Ireland in September, I’ve been hunting for an inexpensive hotel.

I opened all their suggestions in tabs and compared it with the hotel I had already found (a self-catered place for ~US$250/3 nights). Travelocity found a fantastic deal. The Ardmore Hotel for only US$48/night! The hotel is a few miles from both the airport and the ferry port, as well as the train station. There’s a bus stop right in front that will take you into the city center….and the hotel has decent reviews on TripAdvisor. The other great thing about Travelocity is it will charge in USD, so we won’t have to worry about a currency conversion fee.

The minus to staying at the Ardmore is going to be that it’s NOT self-catering. It’s iffy if breakfast is included (hotel site says it’s available, but a review claims it cost €12 (~US$17) and apparently a cheaper breakfast can be had in town at Debenhams for €7 (~US$10)), but there IS a hotel restaurant/bar and they have daily dinner specials for €10 (~US$14) as well as room service, so if we can’t find anyplace else to eat, we can use the hotel as a fall-back option. But I can’t see us spending more than ~US$150 on food for three days (the price difference between the Ardmore and the self-catered place is ~US$150, and that’s before we’d have to shop for food for meals, too.)…if even that. Especially if I still head to a Tesco when we get there to stock up on some non-perishable snacks. If we eat a big breakfast at Debenham’s in the morning and pack snacks for the mid-day, as long as we eat an early dinner, we might be able to skip lunch (Tim and I did that frequently when we were traveling).

Do the discount websites work? Well, not always. And it’s always best to compare several in different windows or tabs to ensure you are finding the best deals. When I was searching for our flights I managed to find flights for $100 less through Priceline than even Kayak or Cheap Tickets was linking to (and those sites are my first stops for cheap air fare)! I also always open a direct link to the hotel or airline website to make sure there isn’t a better deal through booking direct. And if you’re looking at hotels, make sure you read the reviews or check Trip Advisor. Sure, a hotel for under $40 is nice, but is it going to be clean?

I also try to take advantage of membership cards. Obviously, airlines have frequent flier cards you can earn miles on for future trips and even spend buying other things. But did you know that many of the hotel chains have their own rewards system? Some even as easy as stay three nights in any of their hotels, get a one night stay for free!

Inexpensive travel is out there. You just have to be willing to search for it!

[LJ users reading this on the LJ feed, please click on the links at the top to go directly to my blog to leave comments, as comments left on the LJ feed do not get sent to me.]

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Restaurant.Com – Save 80%

Until 12:00PM CDT tomorrow, save 80% off ALL gift certificates on Restaurant.com! I just ordered 12 gift cards for my mom and I to use for friends and family and paid LESS than the cost of ONE card. Think of how impressed people will be when you hand them a $25 restaurant gift card! Consider enrolling people in the “dinner of the month club” for only $25 for the entire year. Or, purchase restaurant.com gift certificates for yourself and save them for when you travel!

Go to http://www.restaurant.com and use code EIGHTY when you check out!

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