/ Community

The Welcome Lounge: introduce yourself πŸ‘‹

Hello and welcome to Which? Conversation’s Welcome Lounge. Introduce yourself to our friendly community and let us know what brought you here.

This is our space to welcome newbies into our communtiy, help them discover Which? Conversation (and all of Which?’s online advice) and get to know each other a little better before jumping into our discussions.

Whether you’ve been a member of our community for a long time, or this is your very first time posting here, we want you to share what’s brought you to Which?. Plus, we’d love to hear about a consumer issue that you keep questioning.

This is also an area for Which? staff to say who they are and what they do.

Introduce yourself

You don’t have to be a Which? member to join in on Which? Conversation – everyone is welcome. Here are a few ideas for things you could tell us:

– the name you’d like to be known as here (often your username!)

– your hobbies and interests

– the consumer issue you keep questioning; what would you like to see change for the better?

The Which? Conversation team will be on hand to greet you, as well as our brilliant regular contributors, who are always happy to help provide answers to your consumer queries and point you at some of the discussions we’ve had here in the past.

I’ll go first!

I’m George, and I joined Which? back in 2015.Β I’ve got a background in content creation/writing and social media – most members will be aware of Which?’s Weekly Scoop Email – that was one of my responsbilities until I joined Patrick’s team in 2018 to work here on Which? Conversation.

When I’m not at Which? I can often be found on a football pitch (I’m from Croydon, so I’m a Crystal Palace fan!) and I also play a lot of tennis, table tennis and badminton.

The consumer issue I keep questioning is also one of the Which? campaigns I feel most strongly about; our railways are plagued by delays, cancellations and constant overcrowding. When will passengers get the service they deserve?

I’m proud that we’re keeping up the pressure to bring about change in the rail industry, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.

The spirit of our community

As always, have a read of ourΒ Community GuidelinesΒ if you haven’t already. Just like any other conversation, we want this area to be a healthy and friendly place for new community members to get involved with us.

Please do join us in making everyone feel welcome!

Comments

Good day to you all. Let me introduce myself. I am Iain Reid, and live in Logierait, just South of Pitlochry. We have been here for 18 months, since retiring and moving from Alyth. It is not far as the crow flies, but a massive change in climate. I have taken a job as a Safari Ranger, which involves taking folks up the local hills / mountains in a Landrover, showing them sights and explaining what it is they are looking at.
What I find most refreshing about this forum, is the wondeful use of the English language. I have to confess, I thought it was a dying art, but my confidence has been suitably restored. I simply cannot abide the modern speak, and peoples’ inability to differentiate the various spellings of there, their, they’re etc. It is probably just me!

Welcome Iain. I wonder how many people write your name as ‘Ian’. I have been away from Scotland since I was a child but it is always good to go back for a holiday.

Which? Conversation is more civilised than most of the forums, etc. that I have encountered and that is one of the reasons I contribute it. We all make the odd mistake, so there is a 30 minute period during which errors can be corrected.

Good Afternoon, Iain and welcome to Which? Conversation!

That sounds like a wonderful job. Do you, by any chance, tell a good shaggy dog story when on top of the hills?

Bob says:
24 July 2019

Introduced by my Dad, who used to take us to the local reference library to research “Which” reports with as much respect as we gave the bible, before making any domestic purchase involving his spending more than Β£15, I went on to become an avid follower and subscriber of your consumer forum, from buying my first second hand car after passing my test in 1974 until my most recent wireless speaker just a month or so ago. I have introduced countless family members and friends to your services and have yet to be disappointed with a wrong call. Well done! and keep up the increasingly proactive good work.

Welcome to the Conversation Bob, it’s great to have you here!

Thanks for the kind words as well, it’s good to hear Which? has made such a difference for you and the family.

Hello to anyone with time to spare. I call myself DeadEyeDicky because I don’t see in 3-D sterio any more. But now I’ve had a cateract op the 1-D image that I do see means I can even read 8pt text and have once more been able to read my Which? magazine. I’m also safe behind the steering wheel again. I used to make occasional comments on the original Which members facility before it seemed to fade away and nobody passed comments in my direction.
Navigating this system seems less simple but perhaps age is creeping up on me. I actually considered re-joining to see if I’m the only one who has tried the ‘LastPass’ internet password program given the OK in the August edition of Which? Like many friends and family I have relied on just one password for quite a while because the banks that have direct control over where my meagre pension goes have more complicated (but often easier to use) ways of getting to my assets. I therefore thought this might be easier and safer to survive the internet.
Downloading LastPass was more complicated than usual and it took several tries to persuade me to click the right buttons. Initially it wanted me to run the app in Google Chrome although I clicked on the Firefox option. I don’t have Chrome so maybe the app worked this out for itself as it is now present on Firefox and also Vivaldi (but not Opera). Now that I think its installed there are no instructions on what I should do to actually make myself safer.
If there is anyone out there who knows and can say what, if anything, I should do next or can give me a link to clear instructions I would appreciate the help.

Welcome back to the fold, and in respect of Last Pass I’m afraid I don’t use password generators. Both Safari and FF store the passwords I use and for all non-internet stuff I store all passwords in an indexed pages file with an 12-digit security lock.

Scott says:
29 July 2019

Thanks for the reminder of Lastpass. Been meaning to reinstall it for months. Just done so on Firefox addon, its working fine for me.

Welcome DeadEyeDicky. I’m sure you will find topics of interest here. Sorry but I cannot help with LastPass.

Welcome @dead-eye-dicky! Nice to meet you, and glad to hear that your cataract operation has been a success.

LastPass has some helpful guidance on how to get set up on their support pages:

“Get started flyer” (PDF)
General LastPass support pages.

How LastPass and other password managers work is by creating a secure password “vault” accessible with its own set of login credentials. With LastPass this vault is stored online, and you access this via your LastPass account with a very strong password (in theory, the last password you need to remember).

You then store your passwords in this account. When you’re logging into a site for which you’ve stored your information, you’re then able to sign into your LastPass account via the browser extension, and your stored password information then gets supplied for you.

Similar to how browsers store passwords, however the argument is that this is more secure.

I’d be interested to hear how it works for you once you get it set up. I’ve been meaning to set one up for a long time and only got as far as you have…three years ago…πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ

As the Care Home Conversation seem to be grinding to a halt I am looking for further my involvement in other issues , I have years of experience in the Building Industry and started my first Company in 1966 any one any ideas ?

Is anybody there?

Have been a which member for as long as ……… Age 77 manage things technical with much finger trouble. Have a smart phone , which I don’t always get right 1st time. More at home with microsoft and struggle with ipad. Get a bee in my bonnet about many things. Latest is e-ticketing and plus bus tickets. Not able to get them combined, though you can if you go and collect ticket at a main station 8 miles away. Or by post Β£6! Come on railways with your ticketing?

Hello Brat673 – Welcome to Which? Conversation.

You are eligible for free bus travel [after 9:30 am and at any time on weekends or bank holidays] anywhere in the country. Do you actually need Plus Bus tickets when you make a train journey?

Hi Brat673 – From your username I recognise that you are not a new face round here. Welcome, and what is the significance of the username?

Hello, my name is Cheyenne Matthews,

I live in Cullompton with my husband Steve. Steve has taken early retirement and I am a private Maternity Nurse. I am passionate about keeping newborn’s safe. I am particularly interested in trying to ban cot bumpers and the like from shops and manufacturers. Anyone want to help me, save babies and make a real difference? Any campaigns already in motion for this and other potential safety risks? Hot water makers for bottles/ car seats/ bedding/ sleep aids/ etc the list is endless

Hello everyone! I’m new to the Which? Conversation. I currently work at the Member Service Centre working specifically with the Service Support Team. My passion and focus is on Sustainability and Tourism, our carbon footprint and behavior change in relation to sustainability.

I’ve previously campaigned for awareness of fair trade produce, which included me dressing as a giant banana walking around the high street! I look forward to getting involved with the debates, and in the future, writing some articles and getting some engagement and thoughts on the pressing environmental issues of the day.

Hi Chris – Welcome to Which? Convo.

Although we have spent much time discussing waste plastic and short-lived electrical goods, I cannot remember anything much about sustainability and tourism.

Giant telephones have featured here before but you are first with a giant banana. 🍌

Welcome Chris! Great to have you in the conversation – as to how the banana story never came up before, I’ll never know. It’s got great…

Brain:
Don’t say it
Don’t say it
Don’t say it

…appeal…

…I’ll get my coat.

@jon-stricklin-coutinho

Jon – one day you are going to slip up on one of these jokes and scare people away.

Welcome Chris! You will find no end of sustainability discussions here. πŸ™‚

Dressing as a banana, eh? I can hear the peals of laughter even now, as you pursued your lonely but ultimately fruitful foray into the high street. Helps to have a thick skin, of course. Still, it could have been worse; you could have become decidedly meloncholy had you dressed as another comestible, but I’m sure you were the pick of the bunch, very appealing and destined to start your own banana republic…

Cower in abject shame, JSC…

Thanks for the welcome! I hope to write some reports and articles on these issues in the near future. The Giant Banana was very warm, especially on a hot day!

Thanks for the welcome Abby. Hope to get more involved over the next few weeks.

Thoroughly enjoyed the puns Ian! Thanks for the welcome.

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I am Eric (the Curmudgeon) Very Long in the tooth but keeping active with outdoor activities and boat modelling when the weather dictates.
I sometimes engage in Victor Meldrew mode and get on my high horse. My current beef is digital gas and electricity meters and smart readouts. I have these in my current abode, they are the series 1 types and my neighbour has them also. (Both houses built 8 years ago).
The problem is that our gas meters (Landis + Gyr Libra 310 series) are failing. The call out engineer states that they have a big problem with them, they are dying like flies. Would you believe it ? the meters in order for them to operate incorporate batteries with NO charge facility . The battery is estimated to have a 10 year life but on failing, stop working, cut the gas supply & cannot by fitted with a new battery but must be replaced . How daft is this ? the old gas meters lasted donkeys years with no attention.
Energy companies are years behind in the Governments Smart Meter programme, only just starting to get to grips with the series 2 meters and they now have to start on replacing the series 1 meters . Humph.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hi Eric! You will find you are in good company here about smart meters. I am not sure there are many people on convo who you could describe as a fan of how they were rolled out.

Appallingly, sums it up, Abby.

Hi guys! I’m Phoebe and I’ve been working at Which? for a little over a year now in the Member Services department. Currently, I’m on the Service Support team (we deal with emails and post), and in a week I’ll start my new job as Salesforce Coordinator with the Business Improvement team here in Cardiff.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 7 years and I’m interested in the environment and animal conservation. I did drama and psychology at university so I’m interested in those as well!

I love reading everyone’s comments on here so I thought it’s about time I introduce myself and get commenting.

Welcome! Me and Phoebe are currently on the same team and she’s certainly very passionate about all things environmental! Hopefully we can collaborate on an article in the near future.

Hi, folks; good to have you both joining in the fray, here.

Hi my name is Gordon and I’ve only joined conversation to ask one question. I have solar panels and recently received a letter addressed to The Homeowner from a company called Resolved Claims. They state they can claim money back for mis-sold solar panels which I feel I may be open to. However there is no company address for Resolved Claims either postal or e-mail which makes me a little suspicious. Has anyone heard of or had any dealings with Resolved Claims? Would appreciate any feedback.
Cheers Gordon

This is their websire http://www.mis-soldsolarpanels.com/. They are a “legal services” company based in Milton Keynes and take 29%+vat of any benefit they get for you.

Hi everyone! I have been working at Which? for a year in the CRM team, however on Monday I am moving into my new role as Community and Social Engagement Officer, so I will be a lot more involved with Which? Conversation and this is really exciting for me.

I take a keen interest in the convos and debates that take place on here and I have written a piece before which talked about university fees and I touched my own personal experience at university and how I got by – https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/university-funding-parents-paying-uni/#comment-1573266

I’m interested in lots of different topics so I look forward to being a lot more involved on here.

Hi Grace, welcome to the, er, conversation πŸ™‚

Thanks, George! I’m really excited to get going. University and student life is a topic that really interests me but I think I’d also like to write a travel piece soon as well. I travel a lot, I normally go abroad once a month so a topic within travel is most likely on the cards next.

Hi Grace, and welcome from me too. I went to university and landed up working there. One of my favourite jobs as a lecturer was arranging meetings between students and staff. I would love to see the return of student grants instead of pushing young people into debt.

Thank you! I agree, I would also love to see fewer students being pushed into debt.

I am in favour of grants instead of loans, but I should also like to see fewer university students.

I agree with grants – for useful courses and for students with talent. The problem I see is far too many universities have been created out of other institutions that had perfectly sound objectives for students not really cut out for university, resulting in devaluing the degree qualification in many cases. We should encourage people to enter further education in courses that are appropriate to the abilities of students, whether academic, vocational, apprenticeships, and stop being hung up on the notion that everyone must have a degree.

I would like to see taxpayers’ money go to support those who show both ability and motivation to work for a degree, John. There is a lot to be said for school leavers working for a year before applying to university. This can improve self-confidence, think about careers and decide whether three or more years at university is worthwhile for them.

When I was an undergraduate students worked during the long vacation and sometimes at weekends or in the evening, but nowadays it’s not uncommon for students to miss lectures etc. to do paid work. They may drop out or go on to achieve a qualification that demonstrates under achievement. I once had a student plead with me to phone their employer who had said that they would lose their job if they took time off to attend my lectures on Tuesday mornings. I refused but gave the student the confidence to tell the employer what he could do with his job.

Malcolm – I agree with you on there being too many universities. Some of the polytechnics were doing a great job but were pushed into becoming second-rate universities lacking a track record in research, which is complementary to teaching in universities. Thankfully some of them have gone on to catch up with the older universities.

Welcome to the convos Grace. πŸ™‚

Thank you!

Hi all, Born in 1948, Retired Electronic/Electrical Engineer, facilitator to a local heritage open-day site, Radio Amateur, Active re-enactor, and…. my Doctor says I’m at severe risk if I catch Corvid-19.
So I take great interest in the protestation of the Supermarket CEO’s when they say they are doing everything possible those Forbidden/’Do not go out shopping’ members of the public, with attention to ‘Waitrose’, ‘Aldi’, with personal anecdote’s on ‘Iceland’ during the next 15 weeks of isolation.
And my name is John, in Surrey.

Welcome to the Conversation John! Certainly glad to have you here, and certainly plenty to talk about with supermarkets and their ability (or inability) to make shopping more accessible during the lockdown.

Elrond5 – Welcome – but please note: Which? Conversation isn’t always as lively as it is today with one dominant Conversation racing ahead and hardly any room for any other contributions. Sometimes we have to wait twenty minutes or more for another comment to pop up and, even worse, it could be on a completely different topic.

You will find a number of people [like me] – ‘the regulars’ – who have become fixtures, which is sad, because the world of consumer affairs is really incredibly exciting, packed with thrills and a laugh a minute. So fresh inputs from new inmates are much appreciated by the regulars and keep us occupied.

Don’t be alarmed, but occasionally an actual ‘conversation’ breaks out with real dialogue and important information on something significant. Most of us haven’t got a clue whether we are in an approved school or on the magic roundabout so we behave accordingly. Politically diverse and often incorrect [according to the Officers] we swing between “God Save the Weasel” and “Pop Goes the Queen“.

The people with a red halo and a red bar down the r/h side of their efforts are the Officers who keep us in order and tell us off if we step out of line or bring something funny into the place. Those with a blue halo and a blue bar are the Visitors who tell us things the Officers don’t know about and make sure we are comfortable.

Enjoy!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all keeping safe and well in the times we find ourselves in. I’ve been in the interesting situation of joining Which? entirely from home these last few weeks – I’m the new Director of Brand and Communications.

As well as wrapping my head around the day job I’m also really interested in where consumerism meets sustainability – I’d be really interested in your thoughts.

I’m looking forward to getting more involved with Which? Conversation in the future. Communities are a powerful tool, especially for a membership organisation such as Which?, so I’d like us to work together to help make sure ours is working as well as it can and reaching its potential. Thanks.

Hi Neil – Welcome to Which? Conversation. I’ll bet you wish you could have joined Which? in happier times. πŸ™‚

You mention consumerism and sustainability, and that’s something that I feel very strongly about. I would like to see each Which? product review suggest repairing rather than replacing products.

I would like Which? to fight against obsolescence, whether this is planned or just happens. If you buy a smart TV, it’s likely to lose some of its functionality within a few years. Which? should be running a campaign to force manufacturers to provide long-term support and providing consumers with advice on how they can, in the meantime, prolong the life of their TVs by adding an inexpensive device to provide the missing apps. Which? keeps us up to date on smart devices but makes no mention of how long they are likely to last.

In my view, Which? has damaged its reputation for independence by suggesting where we can buy products. I particularly object to the reviews pages suggesting “Amazon Marketplace” as a place to buy products since Which? has demonstrated that Marketplace traders sell some dangerous products and Amazon has no legal responsibility. The same applies to other online marketplaces.

I hope that does not sound negative and look forward to your first Conversation.

Glad to hear from you, Neil.

The thoughts of many of the regular contributors to Which? Conversation on sustainability relative to consumerism were set out in the Conversation called What does it mean to live sustainably? authored by Alfa. See –
https://conversation.which.co.uk/sustainability/sustainable-living/

I am pleased you acknowledge the importance of communication and the role of communities. I feel this could be better reflected in Which? Magazine which rarely makes any reference to Which? Conversation or the feedback it provides on the testing of products and the articles on consumer issues. A number of the Conversation regulars feel that the role of Which? staff relative to Conversation is unfinished business and characterised by its general invisibility. It would be useful when the time is right to converse with you on these points and see how the sense of community can be developed.

Thanks John and thanks for the link to the sustainable living conversation.

Thanks wavechange. It’s certainly been an interesting time to start!
Not negative at all and all issues that I have already heard being discussed as I have (albeit virtually) made my introductions across the organisation. Still early days for me but thankyou for putting your views forward.
Neil

Welcome, Neil; interesting time to jump aboard but you do bring an important brief with you.

I suspect one major issue with which you’ll have to contend is the definition of ‘sustainability’. There’s really no universally agreed meaning, and it’s one of those terms that seems to change shape according to the economic environment of the time. But many of us deplore what seems to have been an inexorable slither into a disposable culture, if for no other reason than those who promote recycling seem unaware that the recycling industry is in little short of chaos, in many ways.

But good luck.

Nigel Reese says:
7 May 2020

Hi I’m Nigel and although I’ve been a Which subscriber for many years I haven’t posted here before. I’m a happily retired Chartered Accountant now 70 years old and living in Stanmore North West London.

I have a beef with Boiler insurance policies and particularly HomeServe who I’ve been with for 4 years. Their service is fine and the engineers sent have always been knowledgeable and able to fix problems. It is an insurance based service with an excess for each call out.
For the second year in a row they have sought to almost double my premium on automatic renewal. This year’s proposed rise was 90%. A telephone call to them immediately brings it back down – I was offered a rise of just 10%. This also happened last year. However, I’ve had enough of this underhand behaviour and have voted with my feet. I’ve changed to YourRepair at a fixed fee for three years less than I paid HomeServe last year. I’ve told them that their behaviour is why I’ve gone and that I would do my best to publicise their underhand tricks.

Hi Nigel and welcome from me too. I’m just one of the infantry who visits these Conversations.

I am very annoyed by insurance companies that hike insurance premiums without a valid reason such as claims during the previous year or a change in risk. My solution is to switch provider and ‘out of courtesy’ ring the old company when the insurance is about to expire, to say I’m leaving. Every time I do this I am told that I should have asked if the premium could have been reduced. I reply to the effect that they could have kept me as a customer if they had not hiked their premium. I also warn them not to contact me again or I will not consider using their company in future. This has worked so far.

Well done finding a company that offers a fixed price for three years.

Lynne Ryan says:
9 May 2020

Morning everyone, I’m Lynne and am with Iain in that the use of the wrong spelling of a word like there, their really irritates me. My pet hate regards the government slogan which I believe is about to become obsolete. It’s “stay home” where’s the “at” gone. We don’t say stay school or stay work so why stay home?
I realise, given the seriousness of the global situation, the absence of a two letter word is completely irrelevant and it’s probably displacement therapy, nevertheless, “stay home”, “go with” and several more missing or regularly misused words remain annoying. I do have a real consumer problem as well, I’m not just here to complain about spelling and grammar.

Hi Lynn,

Nice to hear from you and thanks for posting.

I also thought “stay home” did not sound quite correct, even though its meaning was clear.

I think those who ask and expect us to follow certain rules should not set a bad example by being seen to be breaking other rules.

It’s interesting, Lynne, since these things tend to irritate me as well. But the noun ‘home’ is different, in that it can be preceded by a verb directly without needing an intervening preposition.

For example, you’re right when you note we don’t say ‘Go school’ but we do say ‘Go home’. It’s similar to ‘here’; we say ‘Come here’ not ‘Come to here’, whereas we often say ‘Come to Mummy’.

The only thing that remains constant about linguistic ‘rules’ is that they’re in a constant state of change.

Hi Lynne – The official leaflet about coronavirus does use: “Stay at home”.

I’m trying to get money back from Ryanair for flights in June which have been cancelled but Ryanair insist haven’t been cancelled.

Also trying to get a refund for a ski package holiday from the travel agent. The tour operator repaid the money to the agent on the 7th April but they haven’t passed it on.

Hi
recently read the article on energy saving and perhaps changing your boiler. Please be aware that many people are influenced to change their boiler unnecessarily due to reading firms adverts. Which could do a “how old is your boiler and what is the make and model ” to give members non tech advice?

I am very wary about the reliability of modern condensing boilers since I know of ones that have had to be replaced after ten years. My old non-condensing model with a cast iron heat exchanger has, I believe, been in since the house was built about 21 years ago. I have been recommended by the service engineer to hold on to it.

I’m all for saving energy but reliability is my top priority for a boiler. Nowadays you are obliged to have a more efficient condensing boiler, but these are more complex and have aluminium heat exchangers that can start leaking. That’s worth remembering if you are thinking of putting on upstairs or in the loft.

Trusted trader. If you use a furniture removal firm don’t use the trusted trader dispute Ombudsman. Absolutely useless. The ombudsman has no teeth to pronounce on liability. The movers smashed a piece of furniture and acknowledged it that day. Paid for insurance! Clearly inadequately stowed. Yet when I claimed a little over a month. The mover said out of time? Offer by mover Β£40. Offered to repair if I took it to them, (25 miles) , no offer of costs! Ombudsman scheme no better than a wet lettuce. Still wondering should I go to court after more than 6 months. Breech of contract, unfair conditions?

RubbishTriathlete says:
15 July 2020

Hi, I’m new to the Which? forum. I live in Oxforshire, UK, and in my early 50s, and work full time – normally in London, but now mostly from home. We’re renovating our house and so will be upgrading and replacing all the appliances, fixtures etc. over time. I like to have the best quality things that meet my needs… but doesn’t everyone!

Greetings RubbishTriathle and welcome to Conversation.

I think quite a few of us here like to own quality products built to last, even if finding them can be a challenge today.

Welcome to the Conversation πŸ™‚