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What can you expect from our campaigns in 2018?

2018 campaigns

2017 was yet another busy year for Which? campaigns. Take a look back at last year’s achievements and find out what’s in store for 2018…

Consumer issues were high on the news agenda last year. We’ve seen customers stranded following the cancellation of thousands of Ryanair flights. The threat of a price cap to tackle sky-high energy bills. A general election that thrust the issue of care for older people into the spotlight. And ongoing concerns about how we get the best deal for consumers as we leave the EU.

Throughout 2017 we continued to campaign on the issues that we all face in our daily lives. And last year, we made significant progress on some long-standing campaigns.

Safeguard Us From Scams

One of our biggest wins was just a few weeks ago when the financial regulator committed to more action on bank transfer fraud. Back in 2016, we used our legal powers and issued a super-complaint to the Payment Systems Regulator to tackle the rising problem of people falling foul to sophisticated scammers, who trick them into transferring money from their bank account.

At the end of 2016, we were frustrated with the initial response from both the regulator and the banks on this issue. Working with our campaign supporters, we collated stories from over 650 people who had collectively lost more than £5.5m to scammers in this way – so in 2017, we continued to pile on the pressure for action.

And in November, it was announced that a scheme will be introduced to reimburse victims of bank transfer scams within the next year along with other measures by the banking industry to stop from people sending money to scammers in the first place.

Fix Bad Broadband

2017 was also a big year for our broadband campaigns. We launched a new campaign in March to help people fix their problems with poor connections and slow speeds. This included travelling around the UK to meet with our supporters and the wider public and to hear directly from you about your frustrations with broadband.

Throughout 2017, we saw win after win for those who struggle with broadband. The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, announced plans to require broadband and landline providers to pay automatic compensation. And at the end of the year, the advertising authorities announced changes that will ban misleading broadband speed advertising.

Care Needs Care Now

With care for older people becoming a bigger issue, we were pleased when the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an inquiry into whether care homes were treating older people and their families fairly.

Once again we worked with you all to hear about your poor care home experiences – and we sent hundreds of them directly to the inquiry to press the CMA to make improvements. This led to a number of significant developments as the inquiry announced that a consumer protection case will be taken against care homes for potentially breaching consumer protection law.

Even more importantly, the inquiry’s final report set out how the care home market is unsustainable and has made a series of recommendations to the Government to ensure that people can access the affordable, high-quality care they need – both now and in the future. This will continue to be a priority for us in 2018.

Other campaign wins

Passengers’ poor experiences on the railways have continued to be a priority for in 2017 and we were pleased that all major parties recognised this in their election manifestos earlier this year, with commitments to introduce a Rail Ombudsman and to tackle confusing rail ticketing. In 2018, a Rail Ombudsman should finally be introduced and we’ll be keeping a close watch on it to make sure it really helps passengers to resolve their complaints with rail companies.

Our long-running nuisance calls campaign continued to make progress, particularly in Scotland, where we worked closely with the Scottish Government to deliver an action plan to tackle the issue.

And another long-running campaign made progress as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) committed to tackling extortionate unauthorised overdraft charges that many bank customers face. In 2018, the FCA will consult on fundamental reforms to unauthorised overdraft charges, including whether they should even exist.

Coming up in 2018

So what will 2018 bring for Which?’s campaigns? Well, we’ve got two clear priorities as we start the new year.

The first is product safety after a year where we had repeatedly highlighted flaws in our product safety system, particularly after the issues that millions of people have faced with Whirlpool’s fire risk tumble dryers. We remain frustrated that the Government will not force a recall of all of these affected machines – and their failure to overhaul our outdated safety regime.

This will be even more important in light of Brexit. And that’s our other big priority. There have been some wins on Brexit in the last year as the Government made commitments to maintain and protect UK consumer rights in the EU Withdrawal Bill, committed to maintaining EHIC cards in the negotiations, and finally said that they’d establish a way of engaging with consumer groups on how we exit the EU.

But as Brexit gets closer, the Government need to make consumers a much higher priority in 2018 – and we’ll be seeking assurances on everything from our shopping rights abroad to travel issues and from energy and food prices to product safety.

And as ever, we want to be doing all of this with you. Your support is vital for our campaigns. Whether that’s telling us about issues that you think we should be campaigning on, writing to your MP, signing a petition or telling us about your issues with a product or service.

So what’s your favourite Which? campaign win of 2017 been? And what do you think we should be campaigning on in the year ahead?

Comments
Guest
Ketts says:
28 March 2018

We live in a village yet are only 32 miles from central London. BT refuse to pay for the infrastructure required fro FTTP or even quote us. We have a microwave ‘line of sight’ ‘solution’ for some but this is flakey and they struggle to offer their promise. In fact because of the poor BT connecting and uncertainty of the Microwave solution I have to subscribe to both in the hope one will always be usable. We have tried the MP route but just get sent documents that tell us the government have spent a billion pounds on infrastructure and it goes no where when we point out not one penny not a single penny is spent on our village. What really gets me is that we pay the same to BT as central london users. It’s a corrupt setup and needs to be tackled. So my rant is to seek out others that are being ignored or fobbed off with untrue database information and statistics so that we can ALL get a decent service and a decent service needs to be over 20 mb download and Upload these days. We are falling behind as a nation and it is unacceptable.

Guest

Ketts why dont you get all those other telephone companies to provide FTTP ?? I dont have FTTP and would love to get it free but then reality sets in and I too live in a village .Find out why VM wont “cable your street ” . You along with all the vast majority said – sell off BT and they did as a private enterprise organisation , now you blame BT for acting like a private company ? You have a Microwave solution ? then your community council must have agreed to have one installed by a PRIVATE company and payed for it . Why didn’t you ask the community council to get all the tax payers in your village to club together and PAY BT or anybody else to lay Fibre to each of your homes , why because it would cost a vast fortune . Have you any idea of the cost and time taken for every home having ducting dug in your village or every home having overhead fibre installed thats EVERY overhead pole , have you counted them ? You are being unrealistic in engineering and cost terms and just hitting out at BT never criticising all those other companies who dont want to know because their shareholders wont let them pay for every village /remote cottage/farm in the land to have FTTP — 10,s of £BILLIONS . Before you all cried for BT to be privatised, I and others installed all those remote areas with a telephone at NO extra cost . Not only that with the help of the UNION we installed phones for the severely handicapped in remote areas — for FREE .

Guest

relay towers and wireless, costs cut by sharing my mobile phone

Guest

how about ban fireworks to the public? WE have to sedate our pets from early october to after bonfire night and before and after new year. Fireworks should be only in public displays by councils

Guest
Joyce Chalk says:
11 April 2018

I’ve been paying for Fibre Broadband with TalkTalk. I have followed the advice of Which, complained to TT & arranged for an engineer (Not TalkTalk) who came today & told me I’m getting 14Mb nothing like up to 38Mb. He’ll be putting in report to confirm same. I’ve written a complaint letter sent via email & post. I’ve also looked on the internet & don’t hold out much hope very, very bad reviews including about CEO. If they give me back the extra money I’v paid since the beginning of the contract. I would think that would a good solution & continue with them. The phone call charges suit us as free all day & weekends, including mobile etc., Virgin have recently put in underground Fast Fibre broadband but calls chargable weekdays so in a dilemma. what can I do if no solution is found?

Guest

Joyce , in plain speaking you cant have everything your own way, life is making choices -one company offers this another offers that , dont you realize its just to attract you to become their customer? Virgin Media has “cabled your street ” as their advertising slogan says ? then go with VM but not everybody is happy with them as witnessed by this and other convos on the subject . Dont you see if they make a loss (loss leader ) to attract customers they make it up in other places , VM do bundles to include cost of calls but obviously they are more expensive its really up to you to decide . As you stated “up to 38Mbps thats a clue as to what bundle you are on -the talk talk -TV faster fibre broadband bundle at £33/month ,its an 18 month contract so to get out of it you must find out what the MINIMUM broadband speed is allowable on your contract , if you are consistently BELOW it then you have the legal option of leaving without any financial penalty . Checking up on their website Talk Talk was asked the same question by a Talk Talk customer -Slyly they would NOT give a straight answer !!! only referring it to Openreach but remember Joyce TT have their own equipment in BT,s exchanges . If “speed matters ” move to VM.

Guest
Rob Auger says:
18 May 2018

Speed check tool not much use, since neither of the two real alternatives to BT in our semi-rural area are listed. Consequently, it is impossible to submit results, which are skewed in favour of the top few names that are listed. People trust ‘Which’ and – true or not – they regard the fixed list as being the only ones ‘endorsed’ by ‘Which’. A significant proportion of residents stick with slow (less than 5 Mbps) speeds when 30 Mbps plus is widely available to them at competitive prices. When asked why they do not switch to much faster broadband, they reply that ‘It’s not listed on the speed checkers’. Why does the ‘Which’ checker not (at minimum) include ‘other’ among the providers?
People in the area do switch – between the listed providers that offer identical ‘Open Reach’ speeds and based on extras that the infrastructure is often unable to support. When we changed five years ago – using exactly the same physical phone line – the measured speed went from 2.8 Mbps (on a good day) to 32 Mbps every day.
The system is skewed against smaller, more technically advanced, broadband providers and ‘Which’, by listing just the national operators, is complicit in the dominance of national companies that charge too much for too little.

Guest

Rob , the only way I know is going from 2.8Mbps to 32Mbps is being connected to FTTC . I take it you had an all copper line – copper from the exchange to your home but now you must have FTTC – fibre to the cabinet. It would take a miracle for that speed to be normal under all copper conditions . But you haven’t posted in detail so maybe I am missing something ,please elucidate for me .

Guest
chris says:
21 May 2018

Well, I don’t know what your speedtest would show as it would not even start for me. I have post office broadband, and while not the cheapest nor the best they were the only one from the half dozen companies I tried who could persuade Open reach to come out and connect my place to the telephone line. (even though all the companies I tried barr one use them!) The small print, under the “UP TO 17mps” said I would get up to 1mps, which is terrible but enough for skype (I work via that). Yet I have been getting a max of 0.33,mps. When I wrote to them and questioned it, and said aboutt the constant drop offs of connection, I got a snide reply saying the guy had “pinged” my line and saw no faults. Pinged! how can you test the consistancy of a connection with one ping? And no reference to the speed. Unfortunately, to get the connection initially I had to sign up for an 18 month contract. So I am stuck with useless connection speeds and no support from Which? as the test would not even start

Guest

Chris-as far as a “ping ” test is concerned I would ping the reliability of it right out the window , you obviously live miles from the street cabinet . Its one thing living in the country or isolated and enjoying it but did it not ring a bell with you so many ISP,s rejected your installation ? Honestly I cannot see a way out of this but I will try , can you tell me if you have FTTC or is it copper all the way to the exchange ? also have you thought of microwave radio or satellite ? If not do you live in the north of England ? if so B4RN will help if you DIY from the nearest road to your house https://b4rn.org.uk tel- 01524-555-887 this company can be relied upon , Get back to me and we can talk.

Guest
Chris says:
22 May 2018

Hi Dunc
Well, we are not so far from the box – maybe a mile. The cable is regular phone cable, up a pole. It is a residential caravan site, and I think the main problem with speeds is there are maybe 100 people tapped into the same cable here. South East England, so thanks for that but not pos. I did think of getting a phone with unlimited data, you know and tethering it to the comp; but you can’t be sure of the reliability of the connection (or even if there is a good one) without first buying it and getting tied into another contract that may be even more useless than what I am lumbered with.
The reason I was given (first by Sky then by the others) was that Open Reach would not install it as the address was not registered on their computer systems – its a new establishment. Which was daft as an Open Reach engineer actually lives in the village 1/2 a mile up the road.
Just tested my speed with Ookla and it is currently 0.19mps

Guest

Thanks for the info Chris , now I get the picture . Yes I have worked on isolated caravan sites , obviously must be copper to at least the cabinet from your caravan . Your right of course the larger the number of users on that cable which would be many overhead spans of wire then noise/interference would drastically bring down the speed . Looking at the charts 1 mile = approx 12Mbps from a FTTC cabinet . The question is –is it a FTTC cabinet ? Chris , have you checked up using your telephone number on the Openreach website https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html just tried it on my own number works fine . If it is a FTTC then your theory is right along with the high resistance of that long length of copper wire , if it is copper all the way to the exchange then apply for FTTC. Get back Chris.

Guest
chris says:
22 May 2018

Hi again Dunc
Well, I don’t have a phone so no idea what my number is; I suppose I should be able to get it either by looking through paperwork (oh, I don’t recall getting any; the days of having paper to refer to seem to have gone by) or borrowing somebody’s phone and calling my mobile from the socket. Will see what I can do in the next few days. One more question for you; as they keep adding more and more units to this one line, it must bring down the bandwidth we can each have; this seems illogical if not illegal, and ultimately unfair; as we have to adhere to “fair usage” policies, shouldn’t the providers too?

Guest

Yes you are right Chris but a saturation point arrives even in fibre cable but its much worse in copper . I was lucky that BT notified me years ago my local cabinet was being upgraded to FTTC and so I applied for my line to be updated . This entailed replacing my router with a router/modem I am now on HH5 which includes a modem , the latest one being HH6 but BT,s later modem/routers are pretty reliable . If you know where your cabinet is located you could take note of the number on it anything from 1 upwards and use that and the area where its located to help find out whether its FTTC or not and if it is and you are still on copper to the exchange then you can apply to be updated . FTTC is like having the telephone exchange located where the cabinet is . Use a LAN cable to see if that helps your speed instead of Wi-Fi. I dont know how much you are up on telephone/broadband technical jargon but if you click on https://www.pingplotter.com/manual/senariosaturatepipe.html and read the more understandable bits you will get an idea of how saturation works and it depends on the time of day as well. Please keep in touch as this is interesting me and I like to see things through to an end. Sorry Chris the silly asses have stopped access to the article from here although I can access it from my PC ( I am talking about ping plotter NOT Which ! ) . You can reach the website but not the article.