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What a year! Reminiscing on our 2011 campaign successes

The year’s coming to a close, so I’d like to look back on our achievements. Together, we’ve accomplished many positive changes – some have taken days to resolve, others have been the result of months of hard work.

And while many of our successes are a step towards a bigger change, this doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate them.

Our campaigns timeline (which is embedded below) will show you everything we’ve achieved, but I’d like to highlight a few of my favourites.

An end to ‘rip off’ surcharges

You helped us convince the Office of Fair Trading and the government that the costs associated with paying by card are excessive. Over 43,000 of you signed our pledge, and many more helped us lobby financial secretary Mark Hoban and consumer affairs minister Edward Davey, to ban these excessive surcharges.

Our argument certainly wouldn’t have been as convincing if we hadn’t received so much support from our brilliant supporters. So, a big thank you to all who helped the cause.

Banking reform on course

Which? has worked hard over the years to ensure that your concerns have been accounted for when the government has considered how to reform the banks.

The Independent Banking Commission (IBC) proposed a number of banking reforms for the government following some consultation sessions with UK consumers. And the feedback you provided helped shape the IBC’s recommendations.

So we’re incredibly pleased to see that the government has accepted the ICB’s recommendation to ring-fence investment banking and protect your money, as this is something we have been calling for.

The sun’s not shining on these solar panels

We might not have had a particularly sunny summer, but this hasn’t stopped people from buying into solar. Our investigation into the solar thermal and photovoltaic industry revealed examples of mis-selling, which resulted in the suspension of two companies by their trade body.

We worked with the Energy Saving Trust, the British Photovoltaic Association and the REAL Assurance Scheme to produce an online solar checklist to help consumers see the light.

Cheque please!

When word got out that the cheque might be scrapped, you told us loud and clear that you wanted it to stay, especially right here on Which? Conversation.

We told MPs and the banks what you’d said about it, and the groundswell of public support for the humble cheque made everyone sit up and listen. Queue the Payments Council announcing that the cheque is here to stay!

Payment Protection Insurance

I couldn’t reflect back on 2011 and not mention Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This year we helped over 8,800 people claim back mis-sold PPI through our free online tool.

And in May, we were pleased to see that the banks decided not to appeal a High Court judicial review which told them that hey had to compensate everyone for mis-sold PPI.

So, those are my highlights for what we’ve achieved together in 2011. But we won’t be resting on our laurels, as there’s still so much to do. To that end, I’m very much looking forward to working with you again in 2012!