/ Health

An update from our CEO, Anabel Hoult

In these unprecedented times, I’d like to take the opportunity to update you on Which?’s activities and responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

As everyone will know, the situation we find ourselves in is constantly changing, and the impact of the pandemic is being felt in almost every aspect of our lives.

Firstly, I’d like to say that I hope you are all keeping well and safe through what will be a difficult period for not just our country, but the entire world.

In line with government advice, all Which? staff across our three sites are now working from home.

We have planning and systems in place to ensure that the essential work that we are doing can continue throughout this period, and we will continue to deliver helpful guidance and support to our members and the wider UK population.

Which? has an important role to play

Our organisation is essential in offering people reassurance and advice and holding businesses and government to account across a wide range of issues – from travel to personal finance.

The daily changes and challenges that UK consumers are facing during this crisis means that Which? is an essential voice of expert advice.

Our joined-up approach means that the hard work of our experts across the whole organisation has already resulted in our insight and advice reaching as many people as possible, via our website and social media channels as well as in newspapers and on the television and radio.

Our press office continues to work hard issuing advice statements in response to the changing guidelines on travel, event and wedding cancellations, mortgage holidays and even how tech can help the elderly and isolated feel less alone.

What’s next?

I could not be more proud of how hard everyone is working to ensure that we can continue to help our members, supporters and the wider UK population.

I’m speaking with my teams regularly to make sure that we remain focused on the issues that matter most and that we can continue to support our members and the public in such difficult and strange circumstances.

And, while the role of Which? is indeed essential right now, the safety and wellbeing and the safety of my staff, their families, as well as that of the wider community, is of paramount importance.

We’re supporting staff throughout this period of working from home with whatever they may need, while also running mental health initiatives internally.

For me, it has been rather odd not seeing my colleagues and teams on a daily basis. I’m now working at a little old desk in my tiny office surrounded by my children’s coats, dirty football boots and a lovely photo of my Dad.

Thank you for your ongoing support during this period. As always, Which? will be here for UK consumers.

Stay safe and take care.

Anabel.

Comments

Thank you for your message, Anabel. I am glad the organisation is able to continue operating and that you are ensuring that the priority issues are addressed.

I presume that the consumer landscape is going to change dramatically over the next few months and beyond so we shall need Which? more than ever. There will be fewer product launches, many changes to terms and conditions, and – regrettably – many people trying to exploit a bad situation to their own advantage. I guess testing will be running down so there might be less content in the Magazine from now on.

While changes to travel plans will be many people’s first thoughts I would suggest, with respect, that Which? should not over-exert itself in that area. There are plenty of other sources of advice out there and we have all got to learn how to be more self-reliant. The key areas are to ensure that the population is keeping fed, keeping safe, and keeping warm, and is adhering to the advice from the government. I am sure Which? will play a valuable role in our survival albeit life will not be the same on the other side of it.

Now that many London Underground stations are closing indefinitely [including Great Portland Street] the seriousness of this situation is becoming very clear and Which? is to be commended for taking comprehensive and responsible action at this early stage.

Thanks Anabel. It is very encouraging that staff at Which? are continuing to support consumers during these difficult times. It is good to know that staff are able to work from home.

Thank you.

Stephen Bligh says:
19 March 2020

I appreciate your efforts:
As a result the virus emergency, I have opted to take my daily paper and a weekly magazine electronically. It is of note that some more technical magazines have have small text my computer screen aids ageing my eyes
Perhaps Which could be offered in the same way.
An advantage is a much smaller amount for paper recycling and the fewer piles of magazines about the place.
Yours faithfully
Steve Bligh

Ivana La Valle says:
26 March 2020

Thank you very much to Which? for being there with up to date and extremely useful advice at a time like this. Like some of the other contributors I can also see the silver lining of reduced pollution and consumption, which will hopefully show that if we change our behaviour we can tackle the climate crisis in the same way we are tackling the corona virus crisis. However, it is sad to see the opportunistic behaviour of some large and greedy companies. I had easy jet and a Ryanair flights cancelled due to the corona virus. I had some difficulties claiming the money back from Ryanair but it seemed to be due to their site being overloaded when they first announced the flight cancellation and within a couple of days I was able to claim the money back. However, easy jet seems to be intentionally making it impossible to claim a refund. If you go to ‘manage my booking’ as instructed, you can only change your flight and there is no option for claiming a refund. If you click on refunds it tells you to contact the customer team but the on line chat and the telephone line are both closed. I managed to find the easy jet compensation claim form through a google search, but you can’t enter the flight number in the form and as this information is required to submit the form, you are then not able to submit the form. I think this behaviour is disgraceful and I hope Which? will call them out and shame them into taking action as you have done numerous times in the past.

Could you not print off the form, complete it manually and send it in to easyJet? They cannot force customers to apply on-line.