Here’s what’s happening on Which? Conversation and around which.co.uk during the month of September.
27 September: Petrol queues, cladding protests, and rising energy bills
Did you get caught in petrol queues over the weekend? The rush of panic buying and ensuing shortage has been all over the news this weekend, with the latest being reports the Army may be drafted in to deliver fuel.
What’s been the situation where you are? Were you waiting in the queues–or caught in the traffic backups around them? If you did fill up, how long did you wait? Have the rushes on the pumps caused you to rethink how you travel? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.
The latest on energy suppliers
Which? experts are still on top of rising wholesale gas prices and the effect it is having on energy suppliers (and consumers). So far, nearly 1.5 million customers have been affected since the start of September.
Check out the latest updates on failing energy companies. If you’ve recently been told that your energy supplier has ceased trading, or if the rising energy bills are affecting you in another way, we’d love to hear your experience so far.
Hear the voices of those affected by the cladding crisis
The Which? Video team recently went along to the Leaseholders Together rally to hear directly from those affected by the Cladding Crisis. Watch as they share their stories, or listen along on the latest episode of the Which? Money podcast:
15 September: If you change your mind…
Something we’re watching this week: energy bills. It’s only two weeks away from the planned price rises in energy bills, so if you’re out of contract or approaching the end of your current energy bill contract, you may want to consider switching to a new provider to avoid future price rises.
We’ll be starting a new conversation about switching this Friday, 17 September about your experiences of switching. If you’re thinking of switching and want to hear from others, or if you have a bad switch that you’d like to tell others about, please do join us then.
For some, changing providers may be less of a choice, as half a million households will be moved to new energy companies after Utility Point and People’s Energy go bust. If you’re one of them, check out our guide on what to do if your energy supplier goes bust, and our discussion on how long you may wait for a refund from your former supplier, if you’re owed money of course.
Something we weren’t expecting to happen this week – the return of ABBA. The Swedish band have announced a new album and virtual concert coming to London in 2022. Earlier many of you had shared your thoughts on digital fakes and de-aging in our earlier discussion of Paul McCartney’s video:
…deep fakes are a potentially worrying technology, as might be used by bad actors for criminal purposes. (DerekP)DerekP
… the problem is that it is probably a very time-consuming and expensive process for which very few events would generate sufficient audience [and hence the advertising revenue] to justify the cost –John Ward, in relation to remastering/colouring vintage film
Would this be an experience you’d pay for? On the one hand there’s nothing like live music, particularly after concerts being on hold for so long due to the pandemic. On the other hand, is it really live though – and if they’re not really there, couldn’t you just watch it on a screen at home?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
8 September: T&Cs, sneezes, and the future of money
Inspired by Em’s comment in the Lobby, what do you do when you are wearing a mask and have to sneeze?
With more people travelling, we’ve been hearing a plethora of complaints about travel tests, from tests being ordered and not arriving to people unable to find a cheap test from the list of providers. Following a lot of these complaints the cheapest firm on the government’s list of travel test providers has been removed. We’ll update these as more details emerge, particularly with talk of upcoming lockdowns and of scrapping the traffic light system in favour of a Green/Red system.
Updating our Terms and Conditions and Community Guidelines
We’ve reviewed and updated our Terms and Conditions on Which? Conversation. If at first glance these appear very similar to the previous version, you’d be correct; materially these are consistent to the earlier version, with much of the update being in page style and navigation.
Here’s a summary of the key changes:
- We’ve clarified the wording on the registration process for Which? Conversation, including how to register using your email address, using a social media account, or by commenting as a guest.
- We’ve added in a section about how to remove your data from Which? Conversation, including removing your user account from the site, and how you can hide or remove your comments from Which? Conversation.
- We have clarified the rule on posting of personal information in regard to business email addresses linked to an individual (e.g. email@example.com) – the most common example of these is a CEO’s email address. These qualify as personal contact details under our Terms and Conditions, so going forward our moderation team will be removing these as we would with general personal contact details. Email addresses not linked to an individual (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), or linking to pages which feature one’s business contact details, is allowable under the Terms and Conditions.
Alongside this, our Community Guidelines page has also had a refresh. The key change you’ll see here is how the page is organised: we’ve taken the previous long list and divided it into Do’s and Don’ts, as well as making sure the wording is consistent with the updates to the Terms and Conditions. Should you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here, or equally get in touch via the Contact us page.
The death of the wallet and passbook?
A couple of interesting stories on the subject of banking and the future of money caught our eye this week:
- The Telegraph is reporting that 250,000 Sandander customers will no longer be able to use their passbook to manage their banking in branch.
- The Wall Street Journal has declared wallets to be over following a rise in mobile phone-based payments in the US during the pandemic.
We’d be interested to know what these changes might mean for you – is your banking passbook an essential or a relic? Have you started using your mobile phone to pay more often? If so, why did you change from other payment methods?
Let us know in the comments.
1 September: When does autumn start for you?
When does autumn actually start for you? With school starting and holidays ending? Cooler temperatures and shorter days? Maybe the return of pumpkin spice in your coffee? Can autumn actually start if summer – and the warmer weather it is expected to bring – didn’t really happen?
This question started a short debate around the virtual office the other day, and we’d be interested to hear how you’re marking the seasons, especially given the the regular cadences of summer holidays aren’t as regular due to the pandemic.
New petrol and the costs of holidaying at home
Some of the stories we’re watching:
- The new E10 petrol has started arriving at a petrol station near you, and the BBC is reporting that as many as a quarter of motorists are baffled by the changes. Have the changes caused you any issues?
- Which? Travel looked into whether UK holidays are really a ripoff and found that the story behind why prices are so high may be more complicated than it seems.
- You may also be able to pay later for your holiday, as more travel and leisure firms are available on buy now, pay later (BNPL) schemes. Roughly a third of UK adults have used a BNPL scheme – but would you trust it for your holiday?
What’s in store this month
Our scheduled events will resume later this month, where we’ll welcome Which? Magazine editor Harry Rose to the site for your questions. Watch this space for updates to come.
As part of our test and learn period as well we’ll also be updating and refreshing a lot of the older pages on the site and changing what pages appear in the comments and activity feeds so that we’re better able to steer people to topical conversations. We’ll announce these changes here as they go live.
One of the more immediate changes you’ll see is in this post itself. Rather than a new post posted each week, we’ll be posting one post for the month and updating it each week. This should hopefully reduce the number of pages you would need to click through to follow the conversation.
Over to you – what’s in store for September? Let’s chat in the comments.