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    • MSE Sally
    • By MSE Sally 27th Nov 12, 3:33 PM
    • 70Posts
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    MSE Sally
    Real-life MMD: Should I share utility switching cashback?
    • #1
    • 27th Nov 12, 3:33 PM
    Real-life MMD: Should I share utility switching cashback? 27th Nov 12 at 3:33 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I share utility switching cashback?

    I share a house. While we split the bills equally, the gas and electricity bill is in my name. When the price hikes were announced recently, I listened to the boss and switched to a fixed deal saving us £150/yr, clicking through a comparison site offering the most cashback. I've done the legwork, made the calls and sourced the deal. Now the switch is nearly complete, do I split the £30 cashback with my housemates? (I'm staying anonymous, in case they're reading...)

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    Last edited by MSE Sally; 27-11-2012 at 5:20 PM.
Page 2
  • wolfmanrage
    Keep it.

    Its all in your name not theirs so you are the one constantly arranging the payment of the bills and such in the first place everytime - this is YOUR time.

    YOU were the one spending YOUR TIME (again not their time) researching and everything to save the whole house money.

    Did THEY mentioned or point out to you that it was possible to save money on the bills? Unlikely

    Don't see why some of the replies are shocked at the Keep it replies - its £30 not a life changing amount! Minimum wage from sorting out the bills would be more than that!

    If you really feel guilty spend it on some communal supplies but remember you were the one putting in the effort in the first place not them.
    • koru
    • By koru 28th Nov 12, 9:52 AM
    • 1,310 Posts
    • 664 Thanks
    Do as you would be done by. This is usually a good guide to ethical dilemmas.
    • snowleopard61
    • By snowleopard61 28th Nov 12, 9:59 AM
    • 769 Posts
    • 1,593 Thanks
    I think you would be completely entitled to keep the money, because you took the initiative and made the effort, and your housemates are benefiting from what you did quite apart from the cashback.

    If you have qualms of conscience, you could get in some beer and pizzas or buy something nice for the communal spaces of the house with the money, but IMO that's going the extra mile, not your duty. The £30 won't go far if you simply split the cash anyway.
    Life is mainly froth and bubble
    Two things stand like stone ó
    Kindness in anotherís trouble,
    Courage in your own.
    Adam Lindsay Gordon
    • deedee71
    • By deedee71 28th Nov 12, 10:01 AM
    • 854 Posts
    • 919 Thanks
    I would keep it. The bill is in the OPs name so if any of the other housemates skip out without settling their share of the bill, this money can act as a bit of a buffer.
    • snowleopard61
    • By snowleopard61 28th Nov 12, 10:05 AM
    • 769 Posts
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    Look at it this way - another housemate goes off to Mr T to buy house share items, eg Instant Coffee - large jar. He finds it is on BOGOF so brings back two jars - He puts one jar in the cupboard for communal use and keeps the second one to take into work to use for his coffee breaks? Does that sound fair to you? If it does then by all means keep the £30 - if it doesn't then I would hope the £30 goes into the communal pot of cash to pay the utility bills,
    Originally posted by irishjohn
    While this may sound comparable, I don't think it is. In the case of the coffee, the housemate has used communal funds to bag him/herself a freebie (and even that would, I think, be a grey area morally as the housemate has done the shopping and done so astutely). In the case in point, the housemate has taken the initiative and done something which costs him/her effort and everyone else nothing, and saved everyone else money into the bargain.
    Life is mainly froth and bubble
    Two things stand like stone ó
    Kindness in anotherís trouble,
    Courage in your own.
    Adam Lindsay Gordon
    • lazer
    • By lazer 28th Nov 12, 10:05 AM
    • 3,230 Posts
    • 4,519 Thanks
    It depends on your relationship with your housemates - are you friends or simply housemates?

    If friends - I would spend the £20 on something for the house to enjoy and keep £10!

    If simply housemates and you don't do things together etc, I would simply keep it.

    I help out my parents, aunts, cousins (and other non internet savvy people) with their online shopping at Christmas and insurance renewals etc, I get them the best deal (regardless of cashback) and keep any cashback for myself.

    My mum knows I do this - and does not mind me keeping the cashback - she says she is getting a far better deal than she would on the highstreet, so the cashback is my reward!
    Weight loss challenge, lose 15lb in 6 weeks before Christmas.
  • madanna
    feeling guilty?
    you're asking the question, so i think you may already know the answer is yes. the guilt lies in your mind; there's money in your pocket. i think i'd probably offset the £30 against the upcomming debt to all. first though, ask your friends, you may be surprised when they tell you to keep it for doing the legwork?
    • iclayt
    • By iclayt 28th Nov 12, 10:22 AM
    • 421 Posts
    • 823 Thanks
    Keep it. Nobody will be any the wiser. You've done the legwork.

    When I shared a flat everyone scarpered before me in the last few weeks, and left me to sort out the water and fuel meters, forwarding addresses, rent deposits etc. I got a nice cheque for £112 from the water company as we had overpaid. The bill had always been solely in my name as I had to do all the legwork when we moved in too. Did I split it? Did I heck.

    If they're a nice bunch, treat everyone to a takeaway or a night at the cinema.
    • rev_henry
    • By rev_henry 28th Nov 12, 10:24 AM
    • 4,865 Posts
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    This has happened to me twice. Last year I kept it as I was the only one with the nonce to sort the bills out, deal with the landlord etc, and one housemate was just plain difficult and wouldn't believe the comparison sites at first.

    This year my housemates are more reasonable and helpful, so I split it.
  • kwmlondon
    There's no right and wrong on this
    If I were your flatmate and I found out you'd saved us all £150 a year but kept the £30 cashback I'd be pleased I was saving all that money and not begrudge you the bonus. However, if I'd been the one to save that money I'd probably get a meal deal for a tenner to share and keep the rest. Everyone's a winner!
    • good advice
    • By good advice 28th Nov 12, 11:07 AM
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    • 10,505 Thanks
    good advice
    Hiya, a difficult question to keep the £30 cash back or not?
    I would not give the flatmates the cash but would spend the money on making every ones living more comfortable.
    I would spend the £30 on communal things like washing powder, washing up liquid, toilet rolls, cleaning things. Tea and coffee.
    • jazzali
    • By jazzali 28th Nov 12, 11:19 AM
    • 18 Posts
    • 25 Thanks
    I don't think you should feel guilty about keeping it, but I personally wouldn't. I'd pocket whatever costs you spent on the phone calls to cover your costs - many energy providers have 0845 numbers so you could easily have racked up £10 in calls - and spend the rest on a takeaway for everyone or communal bits for the flat.
    • pennypinchUK
    • By pennypinchUK 28th Nov 12, 11:22 AM
    • 382 Posts
    • 732 Thanks
    Is it really worth risking the harmony of your shared house for £30? I'm sure there will be times when you benefit from the kindness of others, perhaps in non-monetary ways, in the house. Or are you going to conveniently forget those instances?

    Use the money to buy a round, and savour the kudos of saving everyone a bit of cash.
    • onesixfive
    • By onesixfive 28th Nov 12, 11:33 AM
    • 314 Posts
    • 224 Thanks
    What if it was a HUNDRED and thirty - would you have kept it then ?
    Ok you do the deal for the Gas/Elec - but who in the household does the deal for the TV - could they keep say a Sky £100 cashback ? (perfectly feasible).
    What if the communal shopper/grocery buyer (if there is one) suddenly decided to buy own-brand goods instead of named labels, and pocket the difference - its all the same principal.
    What if all your shopping around deals had failed & it had cost you an extra £30 - you'd have expected everyone else to chip in.
    If you live together, you deal together.
    Buy a communal take-away with the £30 - discuss it all.
    • p00
    • By p00 28th Nov 12, 11:45 AM
    • 688 Posts
    • 1,535 Thanks
    If it was you that decided to look for a better deal then Id say it should go into the utility pot. If they asked to do the work ask them if you can keep it for your work.
    • mrshughes86
    • By mrshughes86 28th Nov 12, 11:46 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 98 Thanks
    I would keep it.
    You could have said to them before you arranged the deal, that you could save them some money in exchange for keeping the cashback, but as you didn't, and they don't know about it, I would just keep it anyway.
    • MR~Mrs
    • By MR~Mrs 28th Nov 12, 11:54 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    Me and my then husband (at the time boyfriend) had the same argument. He pays the electric bill but I did the work of changing tariff to get a cheaper deal and got £15 cashback. When it came, he claimed it was his because he pays the electric but I said it was mine as I'd done the work AND saved him money. We put it into our wedding fund as we couldn't agree who it belonged too. So why not do something nice with it like get a take-away and movie for you all to enjoy?

    I'd like to point out that it was a genunine falling out between me and my OH about the money, just one of our silly arguments. If we'd decided it was mine, I would have used it to pay for dinner and vice versa. We're not that petty!
    • matty_hunt
    • By matty_hunt 28th Nov 12, 11:57 AM
    • 323 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    Keep it. Everyone is saving with the new deal anyway. Any one of the others could have sourced a deal themselves but you are the one who put in the work. Its your finders fee, wage, bonus, call it what you will but your time is worth something. You spent your time organising this deal, the reward is yours.
    Value your time. You cant get your time back!
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 28th Nov 12, 12:09 PM
    • 29,095 Posts
    • 74,375 Thanks
    I think it's similar to getting points on a supermarket card.

    I sometimes do shopping for other people. It's never crossed my mind to give the financial equivalent of the points to them.
  • Metarie
    As the bills are in your name, does this mean the DD comes out of your account as well? Probably worth mentioning that if there's a DD, the cashback will go into that account automatically. Of course, if it's your account you have nothing to worry about. I would probably keep it based on previous experiences
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