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Live event: Which? magazine editor Harry Rose – 3:30pm 16/9/21

We’ll be joined live on Which? Conversation by Harry Rose on 16 September. Ask your questions about the magazine and its latest investigations in the comments.

We’re pleased to announce that Which? magazine editor Harry Rose will be live on Which? Conversation on 16 September to answer your questions on our latest features, investigations and our increased focus on sustainability.

📄 Which? magazine editor Q&A

🗓 3:30pm Thursday 16 September 2021

The event itself takes place in the comments on this page – it is not a live stream/Zoom meeting.

If you’ve got a question about Which? magazine, our latest issues and the investigations they’ve featured, leave it in the comments in advance.

Harry will be with us from 3:30pm on Thursday 16 September to start answering and chat with you in the comments.

We’re looking forward to seeing you then.

Comments

Hi Harry – Although the word ‘sustainability’ is frequently mentioned in the magazine and on the website, I believe that there is an opportunity for Which? reports to encourage consumers to consider repair of products rather than replacement and to encourage them to carry on using tech products for longer than many do at present.

I very much support the move towards putting detailed product reviews on the website, where they can be kept up to date.

It would be good to see Which? Conversation mentioned more often in the magazine. I hope the live session goes well.

I agree with this. I think a key issue is that it’s been so long since repair was a regular activity that there’s a general assumption that most things can’t be repaired, either because they were designed not to be repaired or because it’s not clear where to go for repair services/skills. I would like to see Which? focus on helping to close that gap, perhaps leveraging the local trades approach.

Ian Barker says:
12 September 2021

Well, that’s all well and good, but the tech producers leave us high and dry with built in obsolescence in some cases and updates that stop well before the item is shot in others. Consumers are not just being over charged once, but at every contract renewal in some cases.

Ian Barker says:
12 September 2021

Further to ‘sustainability’. How about some honest discussion about the con of renewable energy. Firstly, consumers have been saddled with huge price hikes for years for ‘green’ energy? Has anyone asked about the CO2 created in building a wind turbine or solar farm? Ever noticed turbines still spinning on a still day? Thought of asking ‘XR’ how they plan on running the country when on any given day over 50%+ of our energy is from power stations 25%+ from nuclear and less than 25% from ‘green’ energy? Just how many food producing acres are ‘XR’ planning to give to renewables? Or if the land is coming from livestock grazing, when there’s ‘compulsory veganism’, are we just going to slaughter millions of animals and not eat them. Because if you really want to save CO2 there’s over 55,000,000 dogs and cats that can go first.

I completely agree. Our ‘repair or replace’ features are always very popular with members. We’re planning our next big article on this for February but will also look to include regular advice on repairing products where relevant.

Thanks Harry.

when you are looking and giving out information about products and the best buy in many cases they tend to be the more expensive we are on a fixed budget so it may be good to look at products that are better priced for families like ours

We have just had our latest Which? magazine, and much of it is well-nigh impossible to read. White text on pale coloured backgrounds is really pretty pointless. Text should always be high-contrast; if you want to have coloured backgrounds to a page, use black text! And I remember one page which had grey text which was almost illegible, but with occasional phrases in nice clear black. Did nobody actually think about how easy or otherwise it would be to read, or are they all 20 years old with perfect eyesight? I am afraid that the magazine went into the recycling bin with at least one-third of it unread.

Those with dyslexia often struggle with black text on a white background and other high contrast options. I met this frequently when I was a university lecturer.

You are not the first to mention difficulty in reading some of the text and it would be interesting to know if Which? has their magazine checked by experts who understand these issues.

I agree, and it’s actually a legal compliance issue?

I agree white text on pale backgrounds is something we should avoid. Most text should always be black and, while it is necessary for design reasons to use white text in places, the backgrounds should always be dark enough to make it easy to read. Getting the balance right is something I discuss with our designers most months.

I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience with this recently and it’s a useful reminder to me that we need to think very carefully about the colours we use.

I totally agree. I normally scan the magazine for anything I am particularly interested in.
Then either get my highlighting pen out and read through to get the main points so I can then scan through my highlighted points. or I photocopy the article and then work on it.

As the owner of a Master Locksmith Association (MLA) Approved Company and also a Which? Trusted Trader I would like to see an article on ‘Smart Locks’ as these are becoming an increasingly popular request from consumers. Maybe a collaboration with Which? and Sold Secure, the testing house of the MLA to highlight the potential weaknesses of such products and if any have a standard recognised by insurance companies.

You hold MacBooks in high regard. I’d like to see a feature on switching from Windows. How steep is the learning curve? What about familiar Windows applications that might have to be replaced with new ones? What are the hardware disadvantages vs. Windows laptops, e.g. which keys are missing from the keyboard?

Hi Dave, we have covered this in Which? Computing – perhaps you should consider subscribing? 😉 You can sign up here https://signup.which.co.uk/wlp-tech-support

jeffrey cope says:
12 September 2021

Why doesn’t Which offer an on-line magazine only ? This would allow savings in printing and postage and hopefully some form of saving in subscription.

I’d support the idea of an online, rather than printed, magazine. The cost savings to Which? would be significant. It’s difficult to believe that many subscribers would read the entire magazine, given the huge range of products and services which appear in each edition, so allowing members the opportunity to dip into the online parts which were of interest makes good sense.

Justin says:
12 September 2021

I’ve never liked the look of the magazine from the old style, now reminds me of a Sunday Supplement. I glance through it, gets left on the side until next months arrives!

Wish there was a cheaper subscription with an online only option.

Turning to the subject of fake reviews which you made a big thing about over the years berating various other sites. Suggest you get your own house in order on Which Trusted Traders, I gave an honest review a few years ago. To my horror it was re-wriiten because it didn’t match your criteria in that every Trusted Trader should be 5 star.

Jeffrey and Martin – You can save £20 with a digital subscription for the first year: https://join.which.co.uk/join/offers?from=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.which.co.uk%2F&source_code=809FHJ

After that, the cost is the same. Maybe Which? can explain Why? 🙂

The mag is available digitally via app and web – but that print offers a different experience that we know most members still value.

Sorry to hear that, Justin. The magazine contains a similar mix of in-depth features and Test Lab articles, along with regular pages and sections, to what it has for decades. I think our design team does a brilliant job of bringing such a wide range of topics to life in a way that inspires members to read and enjoy the magazine. But we do have an online-only subscription option if you would prefer.

Robert says:
12 September 2021

I use the Which app on a tablet and like to browse the News section but find the experience is spoilt by having to scroll down through the pointless large photos every feature starts with. I know what a laptop, a house, a car, etc look like and I don’t need every article to be headed by a large picture of a laptop etc getting in the way of browsing through the articles to find those of interest to me.

Food freshness was a good idea but did not go far enough. Often the dates on food packages are hard to find. Big culprits are the plastic tubs for dips such as houmous etc, where the dates are on the rim of the lids.

In fact information about the packaged food we buy is printed so small that I challennge anyone to read it. It must be time to campaign for clear printed labels for ‘use by’ dates and also washing instructions labels which are impossible.

Which is a great publication and organisation and I welcome this opportunity to have a say.

Good ideas for us to follow up on at some point, thanks Laura.

Michael Reid says:
12 September 2021

Hi Harry
We are all paying a fortune for state provided services . We are their consumers. Can we please review them. For example lets see if The DVLA, the Pensions Service, The Tax office etc actually are available on the phone or on line to the paying public ? (My experience suggests they are not).

Well it might make them very expensive because it means considerable staff increase. (mind you it would make the unemployment rate lower!)

I really miss consumer comments on the devices etc that you test. I know that you may only get negative comments, and from only a small sample, so that may be the reason you have stopped including them as the sample isn’t big enough to be a true representation. I know that your testing is rigorous and does include users’ feedback, but it is good to see other users’ experiences, too. I very much value your work, and always start a search for a device by looking at your reviews, although, depending on the time elapsed since the review, it isn’t always possible to source a particular device as it has been superseded by a newer version, which, understandably, you haven’t yet tested.

Patrick Taylor says:
12 September 2021

I concur with your desire to see reader comments on items they have bought that are reviewed by Which?’s contractors.

The huge virtue of loyal subcribers comments were that :
a] they were members
b] W? testing is of brief duration and for the long term testing it was readers who provided that.

I think it was a huge mistake to destroy the readers comments as they were very useful. I myself bought two different robot vaccum cleaners so I could comment knowledgeabley on them for the benefit of other subscribers being that I was testing them over months rather than a couple of weeks. In case you wonder Roomba was superior to the Neato.

In other cases where numerous peopel reported handles coming off the same kettles the long term use revealed a design fault that would have otherwise been hushed-up. I recommend strongly the consumer body Choice in Australia which does a much better job of listening, and of allowing members to start conversations on consumer matters. In fact it can be done by non-members also.

The huge difference between W? and Choice is that Choice actively vet peoples contributions to see that only sensible topics and comments get added. Basically once you have established your are a useful contributor they do not vet. Given Choice has a tenth of the income of W? they do a far better job of dealing with consumer supporters – and I am sure their CEO is not paid over £0.4m.

Have a search under Choice Community.

Hi – do you have a rolling calendar of when reviews are updated? I note that the info on American Fridge Freezers is from 2018; my recent experience of purchasing one indicates that this is well outdated – eg, a large amount of (new Samsung) models have the water filter outside of the fridge, a big design change that impacts buying decision (ie where do you put a filter cartridge on the outside with it being unsightly or inconvenient?) and choice. Big thumbs down for Samsung, IMO. This isn’t mentioned in the 2018 reviews at all of course, and nearly caught us out when outlaying a lot of cash for an expensive and longterm appliance investment. 4 + years feels like a very long time since Which reviewed them … thanks very much

Richard Coates says:
12 September 2021

I think the Which? magazine has started to lose its way. No longer does it concentrate its tests and reports on life’s basic consumer needs. And some of the reports it does publish, don’t suggest the best value because they don’t take into account typical product costs any more. It’s one thing to test products and tell us which is the best but we’d also like to know which is the best value for money. Batteries are a good example.

When you are reviewing products I believe it would be useful to get the manufacturers/suppliers to advise on the availability of spare parts and how long they will be in stock. I have several power tools and gardening tools that I use infrequently and really the guarantees given from the time of purchase are not of use to me. For example, my hedge cutter which I would only use maybe three or four times over the guarantee period of a year but of course I would hope it goes on working for much longer . I always try to repair items rather than bin them but parts to fix them are often unavailable. I already have a broken garden shredder and a jet washer that I can mend but I can’t get the parts. We must all change from being a “throw away society” A repair = sustainability !!

Richard Anthony Pearman says:
12 September 2021

Having renewed my Broadband supplier I noticed that the cost is increasing every year and they are increasing the contract to two years I am now paying £250 per year for a basic Broadband
Richard

The freshness article was quite revealing. However, I have found through experience with Waitrose products, the produce always stays fresh up to 4 days after the expiry date and produce from Tesco and Sainsbury’s usually goes bad just before the date or on the day.

Michael Goldman says:
12 September 2021

In the magazine, care is needed to avoid to avoid unnecessary padding out. An example of this is the crossword – which is entirely wrong in a consumer magazine – there are lots of these to be found elsewhere

Walter says:
12 September 2021

I agree. Reduce the space wasted on content and editorial material. Every page should be used for consumer information. Butt I love Which?.

Graham Rose says:
12 September 2021

I am getting concerned about second hand car prices they seem to be getting out of hand there is no controll. Now that we no longer have parkers second hand price book guide we no longer seem to have any public references guide to fall back on..Now that the new car industry are in a state of malfunction with substantial delays from ordering to delivery being I understand 12 months. How do we the general public know if we are getting ripped off.Which have you any suggestions how we can resolve the problem.

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Car auctions used to be a useful barometer of used car prices — or at least the value of specific models relative to each other — and the bigger dealerships around large towns sometimes had enough variety of stock to enable price comparisons but that was only within a local market. The internet has changed the approach to buying and selling second-hand cars with a more-or-less national market place emerging. There are good and bad aspects to this and it would be useful to have a seriously-researched article exploring the best way to get a good price if selling and a good way to get the best deal when buying. Part-exchange and financing options tend to complicate a simple supply-&-demand economic model. Another factor is that no two vehicles available at any particular point in time will be identical in specification or condition. Getting best value is indeed quite a tricky process.

Chubbs says:
12 September 2021

I regularly buy lottery tickets which support good causes and charities. I have asked on a number of occasions if which can provide details of all the lotteries for people to compare where their money goes. I would like to see the cost, prize money, what is given to good causes and what is paid to directors/ shareholders etc. I’m sure this would be a popular article for which members to see these details.

An article might help participants in any of the Lottery games realise that not all of their money goes to support good causes and charities. Of course it is easy to bypass all the costs and commercial profits by supporting the charities and good causes directly.

You are still stuck with costs and salaries incurred by charities.

Within the different charitable sectors there always seems to be a lot of overlap and duplication that must be wasteful of overall resources. There appears to be unproductive rivalry between, say, health and medical charities, those that support the military in various ways, research-based organisations, and those that deliver direct and practical help. There is virtually no independent evaluation of the effectiveness of human welfare charities in meeting their basic objectives, and the role of animal charities seems to be driven by sentimental appeal rather than objective assessment of achievements against recognised objectives. And that’s before we get onto the question of international organisations for whom there is very little reliable information about their activities. It is good that there are an infinite number of good causes that people can choose to support but unfortunately most giving is relatively uninformed. It is easy to start new charities but stopping them is an impossibility because so long as there are funds in hand they have to continue to exist and be managed – mergers are very rare in practice and very few charities wind themselves up because their job is done or there is a better provider to whom accumulated funds or resources could be transferred. Any organisation that undertakes an educational function can obtain charitable status and that leads to a number of anomalies that disguise the underlying business model as being primarily commercial.

Malcolm wrote: “You are still stuck with costs and salaries incurred by charities.”

I mainly support smaller charities with no paid officers and where I have some inside knowledge of their financial affairs. I also support a national. organisation where the hard working chief exec and secretary receives a modest income, certainly within the £60k figure that would have to be declared.

Maybe a feature on 4G and 5G broadband v ADSL and Fibre Broadband, particular for those customers who have very slow linespeeds. For example Three are now offering 4G for £14 per month.
Also, does Which? take into account reliability and durability when recommending products? For example, when recommending LG televisions – is reliability and durability taken into account? Do they last longer than other makes?

I had a van passing me on the motorway and he must have been doing 100mph. I read the side of the van as it went by me and it said HYPERSPEED CABLE!

Gillian Goss says:
12 September 2021

Lots of reviews of mattresses, but none of pillows. Do the widely advertised pillows actually help people to get to sleep?

Reviews and product descriptions of pillows, when they do appear, have seemed to prioritise their content [i.e. filling material] rather than their structure and even then the properties and quality of the content is rarely examined comparatively. Most pillows available today seem to be over-filled giving a a plump appearance of even contours but actually quite an uncomfortable feel and lack of flexibility in how to cushion the head and shoulders area for restful sleep.

I wish hotels and other hospitality providers would spend more money on decent pillows than on superfluous cushions which have nowhere to go when you need to go to bed.

and no electric beds