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Live event: ask your questions about Which? Campaigns – 11am 3/3/22

We were joined live by Which? campaigners Neena Bhati and Camilla Eason. They answered questions about our campaigns in the comments.

Neena Bhati and Camilla Eason were answering the questions you left here in the comments about all things Which? Campaigns on 3 March 2022.

The event took place in the comments with replies appearing as text – it was not a live stream/Zoom meeting.

📄 Live Which? Campaigns Q&A

🗓 11am Thursday 3 March 2022

   
Comments

I don’t go to live events any more because of all the excruciating noise and all manner of other aggro. But in a previous life before things got far worse I used to help set up live music events and I sometimes operated the main mixer for the PA which was a real power trip as it controls everything that the audience hears, it was a bit like getting my hands on the throttle of a large diesel locomotive, and I used to sometimes share a table with a celebrity who once used to live near me.

Crusader – I think you will find the live [on-line] Which? Conversation event about Which?’s campaigning activity somewhat less exciting than your previous event experiences but possibly quite informative. You can participate, or merely observe, from the peace and comfort of your own home.

We are often asked to support Which? campaigns but other than keeping a note or checking emails, it is difficult to know which ones we have ‘signed’.

I suggest that those of us who have Which? accounts should be able to check but no action has been taken.

Which? should, I think, be careful to support a request to “join our campaign” with fair and balanced evidence. Otherwise the robustness of the campaign can be challenged. For example, the campaign to protect cash includes ”We’re losing free cash points at an alarming rate. is very misleading, given the free access to cash through 11500 post offices. And the premise that cash might disappear is very questionable.

Hello! All our campaigns are available to view on https://campaigns.which.co.uk/ – as you’ve mentioned, regular updates are given via email to those who’ve signed up to support them.

In terms of being able to check which ones have been signed through your account – great idea, we’ll get in touch with the team responsible to see if we have the technical capabilities to make this happen.

Thanks Camilla. I have suggested this numerous times and it would be good to see action.

Convos begin with an explanatory introduction of some sort, some balanced, some partisan, and then develop with contributions from commenters, no doubt many guided by the content of the intro as well as responses to other contributors’ views and information.

Some topics seem then to be publicised to a much wider audience, such as the online scam topic, and we then see a flood of comments, generally very brief, almost exclusively supporting the “campaign” but lacking argument, appearing as contributions in a Convo. That is not typical of comments made in a “normal” Convo. Is this audience presented with the same Convo information when asked to comment? We never see here what Which? tell them.

Hi! The question of people who support our campaign leaving comments on Conversation articles that cover campaign issues has come up before. This happens when we email updates to those who’ve signed our campaign petitions and have requested to be kept informed on how the campaign develops. Here’s a previous response from Jon speaking to this issue:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/which-campaigns-have-your-say-vote/#comment-1635554

There are occasions when we reach out to supporters of a campaign, asking for their thoughts on certain topics, directing them to a Conversation article.

Our charity/advocacy work is completely open to the public: anyone, including Which? members, can become a campaign supporter, and receive these emails by signing a campaign and opting into those communications, which you can opt out of. When it comes to our campaigning work, we want to encourage as many consumers to take part and share in the opportunity to bring about change.

I would like to see all campaigns run honestly, starting with consent from Which? subscribers and supported wholly by registered contributions.

Many campaigns are run with little consideration given to the consequences. Which? has over 600,000 members/subscribers who should be invited to participate in a conversation to discuss the merits of a possible campaign before too much effort is put into it. A positive outcome would give consent to the campaign.

Consequences of previous campaigns include:
– increased travel fares to pay for compensation that will hit low paid workers who cannot afford annual season tickets.
– customers will end up paying bank for bank compensation with higher interest rates for mortgages and lower rates for savings.
– much reduced guaranteed broadband speeds resulting in reduced customer service. My 40 Mbps is now guaranteed at 27 Mbps and I have been refused acknowledgment of a problem above that speed.

Very long-standing regulars and members of Which? and the convos have always been surprised to receive no notification of campaigns but suddenly find the convos bombarded by unregistered, unnatural ‘support’ and as Malcolm said ‘we then see a flood of comments, generally very brief, almost exclusively supporting the “campaign” but lacking argument’. If you read the Which? article on how to spot fake reviews, these comments tick most of the boxes.

All support for campaigns should come from registered supporters who build up history. It has been pointed out previously that it doesn’t matter where support comes from, but it does if that support has come from the many sites that provide the ‘support’ Which? wants. If Which? cannot gather support from subscribers and members, there is something wrong somewhere.

Many excuses have been given why people are not asked to register and none of them are valid excuses. If people really want to support a campaign, they will be happy to register to give that support. If you give your support to ANY petition elsewhere you have to be registered and verified, so why not on Which?

I know I have been banging on about campaign support for a long time, but as a long-time Which? subscriber, I don’t think wanting campaigns to be honest is too much to ask, none of my points are unreasonable and none have been addressed satisfactorily. I really don’t understand the reluctance on the part of Which? to legitimise campaigns. So I will repeat:
I would like to see all campaigns run honestly, starting with consent from Which? subscribers and supported wholly by registered contributors .

One of the great privileges of running campaigns at Which? is that we have access to brilliant, rigorous research, testing and consumer insight that helps us to understand what is happening in different markets and how people are affected. We also have strong relationships with businesses and policymakers to ensure we know how consumer markets are operating and how they could be reformed to improve the lives of consumers.

However I truly value direct engagement with people across the UK who share their experiences with us, through case studies, calling our helplines, continuing to comment on Which? Conversation, and sending us evidence to ensure we reflect their experiences accurately and amplify their voices effectively through our campaigns. It’s important that the voices and experiences across all of these different areas and platforms come together to help us make informed decisions around campaigning.

Many of the campaigns we have run are borne out of what we’re being told by consumers are issues for them. On occasions these have come from Which? Conversation itself – the nuisance calls campaign is a prime example.

I encourage anyone who has a view or experience on our campaigns issues to please reach out as this helps us only make them stronger.

We also want to hear what we should be campaigning on! Have a look at our previous Have Your Say convo post to see some of the ways we do this – https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/which-campaigns-have-your-say-vote/

Thank you Neena, but you didn’t exactly answer my post.

Why is it that the subscribers/members who fund Which? can be the last to know about a campaign?

@neena-bhati, Neena, the “flood” comments that Which? attract are almost all of the kind “something must be done” such as fraud is bad, we should stop it. No one would disagree with that but they present no constructive comments, proposals, such as a normal Convo would feature. So they seem to me to be better added to a campaign or survey, rather than a Conversation that surely seeks to discuss and debate topics.

One problem with “ flood” contributions to topics is that they totally obscure all the previous discussion. Later readers will have no knowledge of earlier relevant contributions that have been made.

Thanks everyone for pre-submitting all of your questions for today’s event, and if you’re reading this live, also for joining us here now! We’ll be getting started on answering your questions shortly so please do keep them coming.

Remember to refresh the page to keep up to date with the comments!

Hi All, just to confirm this is a virtual event and the campaigns team are in the comments section taking questions. Please feel free to drop your questions in the comments below.

The recent Conversation “Make tech giants take more responsibility” has attracted a great deal of support: https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/dear-nadine-scam-ads-online-safety-bill/

Which? has also been very active in publicising scams and hopefully many people are better aware of how to avoid them.

Social media companies make money from scam advertising and should I believe be required to reimburse scam victims. The companies could protect themselves from scam advertising by requiring a large deposit that could be forfeited if their site is misused, in the same way that a landlord would require a deposit from a new tenant.

Which? if offering the government advice regarding the Online Safety Bill and I wonder what can be done to help protect us against scams. Keeping us informed about the latest scams is not enough.

Yes, it has attracted a large number of posts.

But don’t you find yourself wanting to offer advice to some of the posters but know it is an utter waste of time as they will never see your reply as they have not logged in to post?

Thanks for the support wavechange! We’re particularly proud of this campaign as we’ve tried to be really brave to get this issue acted on by Government and tech companies, the overwhelming support from the public and from industry groups, law enforcement and other consumer groups has been invaluable in getting change to happen.

That’s all the time we have for the moment unfortunately, so thank you everyone for joining us today, and thank you to @neena-bhati and @ceason for joining us here and fielding so many questions for us.

If you are seeing this past the question hour, please do feel free to post a question here and we will do our best to get some answers back to you.

Thanks again, have a great afternoon everyone!

With reference to the ‘Home Appliance Warranty scams’, although advice on how to avoid these scams is welcome, could Which? please place greater emphasis on how consumers can help tackle the problem by reporting the calling number to the ICO and TPS.

Reports from consumers allow the ICO to gather vital intelligence, investigate and take action. The most effective method to tackle these rogue callers is by reporting calls to the ICO and therefore it remains essential that consumers report these calls.

I support that. It would be useful if Which? could explain how our efforts to report these scams achieves results, and is one way that we can all do our bit to help.

Thanks Wavechange. Much of the work undertaken by the Authorities remains sensitive and although it often seems there are no tangible results, I am aware these rogue callers are becoming significantly squeezed by the Authorities and it’s becoming much harder for them to operate. In addition to disrupting their activities I am also aware that action is being taken against some, which should hopefully lead to serious consequences.

As you suggested, it would also be useful to know whether Which? have any information relating to progress or results achieved.

Which? avoided answering or discussing some points raised. Bit of a shame.