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We’ve had a number of comments about the closure of which.net on Which? Conversation, and so to make it easier for you to all share your thoughts, feedback and ask us questions about the closure, we’ve created this designated space for you.

Please do share your concerns with us about the which.net closure and we will reply to you as soon as we can. We are doing all we can to help users move to a new provider by 24 May with assistance from our dedicated which.net helpline team.

If you’re a which.net user and want technical assistance with the closure and help with the migration of your email account to a new provider, please speak to our specially trained which.net helpline team. You can book a time get specific help from a member of the team by calling the number that an be found in the guide we’ve recently sent to all which.net users.

As ever on Which? Conversation, we ask you all to make sure your comments adhere to you our community guidelines. We will respond to your questions as soon as we can, but please bear in mind that we work Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

If you’re new to Which? Conversation – this is a community from Which? for all consumers to debate the consumer issues that matter to them. You can find more help about getting started in our community in this guide.

If you’re a Which? member and would like to share feedback about Which? in relation to other issues other than which.net, you can do so in our ‘Help us shape the future of Which?‘ discussion area.

And if you want to talk about other issues that don’t fit into this topic or any other, please visit our off-topic area, The Lobby.

Indie Rai, Head of Member Services at Which?, commented on 19 April 2018:

The senior leadership team and I have been listening to what members and users of Which.net have been telling us about the closure, including reading the passionate comments you have been sharing here on Which? Conversation.

We appreciate from all the feedback that one of the main areas of concern is the inconvenience of updating email addresses with contacts, organisations and websites. We had been looking into providing a reliable automatic forwarding service – and I can now share that we will, therefore, be implementing auto forwarding for a period of six months following the closure on 24 May.


@patrick, Patrick, it is very disappointing that Which? have ignored replying to questions raised a long time ago in this conversation. It seems to compound the feeling amongst some Members that Which? hides from problems it does not wish to address. When Which? complains about other organisations and companies not dealing with customer complaints this might come back to haunt it.

It is still not too late for Which? to make an honest and straightforward response, of course, and limit some of the damage. I think it is important for members, and OMs who think they should be more involved in Which?’s affairs, to have faith in the integrity of the organisation.

Nine weeks later and no response.

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I don’t believe we are waiting for the new CEO, duncan. The questions asked of Which? could (should) have been easily addressed by the staff and, at least, cleared the air a little. Which? frequently ask other organisations to deal with customers’ complaints promptly.

I received an email from which? today. “Back in July, we wrote to you to remind you that the autoforwarding service from which.net will only run until 30 November 2018. After this date, you’ll no longer receive anything sent to your old which.net address.”

My response “I thought I had told everybody but still I am getting important stuff turning up without warning to the old email addresses.

Most recently car insurance renewal and seagate hard disc drive warranty.

Would it really hurt you financially not to extend the autoforwarding concession for a period which covers forgotten annual events? In other words at least 12 months.

Which? has already lost my trust and respect as a consumer organisation following the apparent underhand methods used to end the mail service.”

I think covering a 12 month period is a very reasonable request for the renewal of annual items which might have been overlooked. It is remiss this wasn’t thought of, or mentioned, earlier. I hope Which? will do the right thing.

The idea of extending the forwarding service was not only considered but promoted strongly, by a number of people at the time. It was only reluctantly extended to six months after protests, but personally, given what it costs us to remain with the organisation, it would seem perfectly feasible for Which? to continue the service on a indefinite basis. It does, after all, consume almost no resources, financial or technological, and perhaps – given the undoubted harm this entire appalling episode has done to Which?’s reputation – the new CEO might look again at how the most loyal and longest serving members of Which? have been treated and, if not reverse the decision, at least consider extending the forwarding service indefinitely.

As a short reminder, not only were the W.net members given no choice, they were not consulted in advance and were not given the option of purchasing the domain name, that Which? now sits on, not using and yet will not release to the members. It’s hard to believe any organisation can behave in this way, but a Consumer organisation? It defies belief.

Forwarding of email for a year is an absolute minimum. I am still getting letters for the previous occupants of my home after more than two years. Although I am not involved it’s disappointing to be a member of an organisation that is unwilling to lift a finger to help.

Received a printed note today warning that Which.net autoforwarding will end soon. “Please make sure everyone knows your new email address” Stating the obvious I suppose. I thought I had told everybody but still stuff is appearing due to the annual nature of my transactions. I remain dismayed by the whole attitude of which to this sorry process. Couldn’t even offer 13 months autoforwarding as a minimum to get over the likely scenario of annual communications. Do I feel valued as a member of long standing. What do you think?

I am annoyed although I was not a which.net subscriber.

I have been organising a 60th anniversary reunion for Old Boys of my school, some of whom had which.net e-mail addresses. I was aware that which.net was being closed down in a blundering rush but did not keep track of the Conversation so was unaware that auto-forwarding had been set up. These chaps are scattered all over the country and abroad. For some I had current postal addresses so was able to send letters and discover their new e-mail addresses but I think we might have lost contact with three of the individuals who I could not contact by any other means and are not in touch with any others of the cohort. It’s all over now but I shall try to make contact if possible within the remaining auto-forwarding facility.

I agree that the way this has been handled – not for any commercial imperative so far as I can see – has been appallingly inconsiderate. Thirteen months of auto-forwarding would have been sensible and reasonable to enable longstanding users to accommodate the change and make their new arrangements in an orderly manner.

Which? would have castigated any other consumer service company that behaved in this way. If they do so in the future it will be the height of hypocrisy.

It will be interesting to see how Anabel – the new CEO – reacts to the obvious disquiet and concern expressed multiple times in excruciating detail over the appalling ineptitude of the entire sorry saga. She will have the authority to reverse the decision to only offer auto-forwarding for a miserable 6 months (only extended to 6 after a massive outcry) and thus to go some way to restoring the confidence in Which? felt by the numbers of subscribers, many of whom I know have felt utterly betrayed by the entire process.

It would cost W? almost nothing to retain the service in perpetuity, which is – I believe – the least we are entitled to expect.

Which? have ignored this Convo since May. I doubt there will be any further interest. Most, or all, subscribers will have made new arrangements and will not, I imagine, want to return given the circumstances of their loss of service.

I think the new CEO will need to figure out whether she is running a “friendly society” of consumers or a publishing and services business.

Malcolm: I would not return to using a which.net address, as you can no longer trust them, but that’s not the point. We need auto-forwarding to be maintained indefinitely.

Bestyou Donotknow says:
2 November 2018

I think a few people will be going without their customary Xmas gifts this year. I send out a load of annual gifts. The site names and their geographical locations are wide and varied – but all faithfully email me – to which.net – in the first week of December each year, inviting me to send another gift, or to renew a gift subscription.. Having relied on this progressively increasing list for … well, as long as I’ve used e-commerce, without so much as a missed beat, there are going to be a lot of disappointed consumers this year.

I implore which? to extend the auto-forwarding facility until after Christmas. So many forgotten (by me) contacts are now emailing me and I am at a loss to know how to deal with it apart from appealing to you at a time of year when the expectation is for goodness and kindness. I hope someone in this so called consumer organisation of which I am a long term member, will help.

“The unique thing about Which? is that we are completely independent. We have no owners, shareholders or government departments to answer to and you’ll never see an advert in our magazines or on our websites.” “This means we work entirely on behalf of you, the consumer, and nobody else – so you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best advice available.”

OK so I need advice about how to deal with an organisation, a charity actually, of which I am a paid up member, that is behaving like something out of a Charles Dickens story. Christmas is a time for giving so please give an extra 2 months auto-forwarding. Happy Christmas.

I could not agree more, and I believe it’s incumbent on Which? to not simply extend the forwarding but to provide it indefinitely. After all, there was no provision for cancellation in the original contract; Which? chose to insert the clause a week or so prior to the cancellation. They have behaved appallingly, but the new CEO has the power to extend the auto forwarding indefinitely and I would ask her to do this and thereby set the minds of the most loyal, elderly and often infirm members of Which? at rest regarding this entire debacle,

I don’t think Which? are taking notice of this Convo. I’d be surprised if disillusioned .net Members have not put the question about the chaotic closure to the AGM.

I fear that we few original members just don’t have any voice inside this “new improved” flavour of consumer organisation. They print nearly the same organisational aims as previously but they now act like the beastly companies that they sought to expose.

Hi all. I’m aware this convo has not seen any replies for some time, and that there are still outstanding queries. I know how strong the feelings are towards this and your posts here are passed to the relevant people by myself and the other members of the Convo team. I also know questions have been asked around autoforwarding and what happens now – I’ve been told the following, which I hope helps:

From 30 November, anyone who sends an email to a which.net address should receive a bounceback alerting them that their email hasn’t been delivered. This should prompt them to check if you’ve contacted them regarding a change of email address, or to contact you if they have other details for you.

I’m continuing to speak with the relevant teams here and communicate your feelings. I can be contacted here, or directly via email if you’d prefer.

There is no real reason, George, why forwarding cannot be continued indefinitely for those that request it, I’d have thought. Most of us would happily contribute towards the cost. The problem is that we were never given the choice.

After changing the Ts and Cs of the original contract and banking on the fact that most of the original which.net members would now be too old infirm / destitute to pursue legal action, and publishing their intent immediately before the Easter break, so no one would be in the office to field the inevitable complaints, Which? has acted despicably and in a way that would have incurred the wrath of the same organisation were it still being run with the original aim of protecting the consumer against the tactics of greedy companies. Refusing to answer the numerous questions that have been asked in here is simply the last of the thirty pieces.

If we are willing to pay the cost, then what reason can there be for Which? to deny its members the opportunity? Unless it feels that the older members represent dead wood, and it wants rid?

Which? refunded me £270.75 recently in respect of payments for the provision of online services. Turns out that was already included in my quarterly subscription. I suppose they now feel that they owe me nothing for closing the email service.

I am now facing an agonising decision about whether their behaviour should see me no longer supporting them. Please don’t anybody from which? dare to say that you’ll be sorry to see me go.

I’m not from Which? DP – and I will be sorry.

You are too kind Roger.

An open letter to the new CEO of Which?:

Dear Anabel,

I would like to welcome you to what I’m sure you know is a venerable institution. Since its founding in 1957 by Lord Young, when it was conceived as a cooperative endeavour, it has fought for the rights of the consumer and pioneered many innovative approaches to consumerism, as well as scoring some notable successes on behalf of the consumer.

However, venerable institutions tend to acquire inertia; a sort of counter balance which can, at its most damaging, inhibit vital reforms, obscure the original goals and cause the senior management to start to look inwards and value existence for itself, rather than for what it ought to be accomplishing.

On the splash page of the Which? website, it proclaims “As an independent, charitable social enterprise, we’ve been on your side for more than 60 years.” and, following the hyperlinked box below that worthy aim, another statement opens:”Which? exists to make you as powerful as the organisations you deal with in your daily life. “

Sadly, that last has rung hollow for some time, and especially this year.

You will, I’m sure, no doubt be aware of the actions taken by your predecessor on Maundy Thursday this year, when the longest serving members (and the oldest) of Which? were peremptorily informed that their email service was to be withdrawn. Now, that might not seem a major issue, viewed dispassionately. Email services close all the time, so why concern ourselves over this one?

The email service was created by Which? at the time it launched its pioneering forum, content, webpage and email service in 1995/6. At that time, the internet and email in the UK were analogous to the Wild West in its infancy. It was impossible to know if a service you saw advertised was good, reliable, honest or decent. But when Which? entered the fray, it had the immediate effect of making all the other ISPs in the UK take notice.

True, it wasn’t free and you had to have a subscription to Which? to use it, but for those who did. and who had had a sub to Which? for many years, it was manna from heaven. At a stroke, launched under the catch phrase “The ISP you can Trust”, Which? subscribers signed up in droves.

And it was as good as its word. You knew your email was safe, You knew you could call the number provided and you’d be answered almost instantly by a member of the team dedicated to sorting out issues for which.net subscribers.

Best of all – and this is vitally important – there was no provision in the original contract for termination of the service. We, as members, naturally assumed it would continue until such time as Which? ceased to exist – or we did. It was, after all, “The ISP you can Trust”.

That was 22 years ago. I am sure you can imagine the shock the members received when told – now 22 years older than they were at the outset – the service was being withdrawn. These are the oldest, most loyal members of Which? and, as such, many will be frail and possibly infirm. Setting up email accounts remains one of the most problematic areas on the internet, particularly for those whose faculties might not be enjoying the first flush of youth, so to have to change to another email provider, especially after 22 years of using the which.net address, is no easy task.

There is also evidence that the question was asked within Which? as to whether the contracts could, in fact, be terminated as it was widely known there was no provision for that. There is also evidence that the staff involved in the mechanics of the operation advised that Which would ‘get away with it’ as the Which? legal teams would defend any challenge vigorously and, as had been noted, most of those members affected would be too old, infirm or otherwise unable to mount a legal challenge.

However, the question has to be asked: were these the actions of ‘The ISP you can Trust” and are they worthy of the Which? name and reputation, not to mention its mission statement ”Which? exists to make you as powerful as the organisations you deal with in your daily life.“ Sadly, it seems, not in this case.

Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect Which? to restore all the which.net facilities. But Which? has hardly covered itself in glory over this entire affair. Originally, it told its users that a forwarding service would be terminated in three months but following significant press interest this was extended to six months.

This remains insufficient. Only the other day I encountered an email I hadn’t used for nine months. And this is likely to happen again. The cost to Which? of providing an email forwarding service is negligible, but it’s worth noting that the members offered to buy the original domain name from the CA but this was refused out of hand.

Most depressing in this entire affair, however, and beyond the reputational damage done to Which? itself, has been the complete refusal to answer the questions posed in this topic.

So I will ask them of you, directly:

1. What reasons are there that the forwarding service cannot be maintained indefinitely?
2. Why did the organisation refuse to countenance sale of the domain name?
3. What are the costs involved in maintaining the forwarding service?
4. Would W? be open to continuing the forwarding indefinitely if the members contributed?
5. Has Which? exemplified those qualities it espouses over this episode?

I personally know a lot of members who will be canceling their W? subscriptions once forwarding ceases. Which? is not alone in the world of reviewers and consumerism. What sets it apart – or what has set it apart – has been the tenacious loyalty of its subscribers and members. If your first act as CEO were to lift the axe on the forwarding service it would go a long way to restoring how Which? is perceived.

I would implore you to consider this as a matter of utmost urgency.


Dear Ian

Thank you for your post on Which? Conversation, and for kindly welcoming me to Which?. I feel privileged to be leading an organisation with such a proud history of empowering consumers.

I have read your letter carefully and I understand that the which.net issue has been challenging since the announcement in March of its forthcoming closure. I also recognise that this decision has not had the support of all users of the service.

However, before the decision was made, a thorough analysis was conducted around both the benefits and risks of continuing the service, including costs, resource required and data security risk. Based on this, Council unanimously decided to close the service, but agreed a six-month period of autoforwarding after the closure in May.

I appreciate the inconvenience the decision must have caused for users, though I know that, throughout this transition period, our teams have conducted a thorough communication programme with affected users and provided considerable written and one-to-one support to mitigate the impact to affected individuals, including those who were most in need.

I’m sure you will understand that I don’t feel it appropriate for me to re-open decisions that were made historically by the Council following their detailed considerations of all available options. I have, however, asked my team, who have much more detailed knowledge on this topic, to answer your specific questions directly.

I have been recruited to ensure that Which? can continue its mission to empower consumers in the 21st century. I am excited to take on this opportunity – and engaging with members will form a key part of this journey. I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you and other members as I move the organisation forward.

Hi everyone. As Anabel mentioned, she asked her team to answer the specific questions here directly. The team has kindly passed those answers on to me, and I present them in full here:

What reasons are there that the forwarding service cannot be maintained indefinitely?

The decision to close the service was taken after full consideration of the impact both for members and for Which?. We appreciate that updating an email address with individuals and organisations is time consuming and inconvenient, but remain firmly of the view that the prevention of potential security risks to members of using an out of date service should always take precedence over inconvenience. Sustaining a service that is of the standard you’d expect from Which? requires continued investment in and recruitment of technical resource, which Council agreed we cannot justify and believe would be better used elsewhere as part of our overall mission to empower consumers. The world of technology has of course moved on and there are far better providers of this service at a far better cost to the user than we could provide.

We can assure you that, after 30th November, anyone who sends an email to your which.net email address should receive a bounceback alerting them that their email hasn’t been delivered to you, which may prompt them to check their files in case you have contacted them already or to contact you in another way if they have other details for you. This should help ensure that as many people as possible can contact you in future. If you have any technical queries you can still contact our which.net helpline at which.netsupport@which.co.uk or on 01992 825013.

Why did the organisation refuse to countenance sale of the domain name?

Which? is a highly recognisable and trusted brand name that has built up considerable goodwill over many decades. By selling the which.net domain name, we would be enabling a third party to use our brand, but in circumstances where we no longer have any control over the quality or delivery of the associated service. This has the potential to cause significant confusion over our connection with the third party and harm to our reputation. We take brand infringement seriously and there could be serious repercussions if which.net were to be treated any differently.

What are the costs involved in maintaining the forwarding service?

Details of exact costs are confidential, but were considered very carefully when decisions relating to the which.net service were being made. In the current climate, the which.net service risks being increasingly out of date and not fit for purpose. When we originally looked into our options, any option to continue to run the service indefinitely in any form would have needed substantial investment. Even continuing to run the service as is – which is not at a standard you would expect from Which? – would entail ongoing resource and hardware cost, as well as continued vigilance on data protection and reputational damage.

Would W? be open to continuing the forwarding indefinitely if the members contributed?

No. Even a contribution from members – though appreciated – wouldn’t offset the fact that that resource (and hardware) are diverted from products and services that could do more to fulfil the Which? mission to empower all consumers in the future.

Has Which? exemplified those qualities it espouses over this episode?

Yes. Throughout the period of the closure and autoforwarding, we have offered support to all users – a guide to changing and transferring emails, checklists, factsheets and a dedicated phone line for users to call our technical support experts for help. We have had good feedback on how this has helped users to make the change to a new email address – with the team achieving a customer satisfaction score of 4.8 out of 5 for their patience, clarity and helpfulness.

Which? exists to empower consumers and to offer advice in areas of consumer detriment. We do this by offering services, information and solutions to consumers that address needs and problems that are not met elsewhere. As technology has advanced in the last 20 years, other providers and services in the market have become stronger – to the extent that this is now a market where consumers are well served and not an area in which Which? is now needed.

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Dear Ms Hoult. Thank you very much for coming here and writing this. Your response and willingness to contribute to this forum is the first sign that those in head office, wish to acknowledge our presence here. The fact that you are at the very top of the organisation is like having the Queen coming to visit and I regard your post here with the same reverence that I would give to any person of such stature. While this might seem a little sycophantic you have, in this first visit asked for and obtained answers to questions raised above. Might I also respectfully direct your attention to the potential in Which Conversation to contribute to the research and ideas included in the magazine and your reports on line. While we would not claim to be totally representative of the general public, you do have, here, a wide, eclectic and very knowledgeable set of contributors who do have experience of life and the ways of the world. You can tap this data base with directed requests in the form of leading articles and, when we have contributed something useful, mention our thoughts in your texts. Thank you again for writing here. It is an encouraging sign for the future.

Hi VynorHill,

Thank you for the warm welcome. I’ve very much enjoyed my first two months at Which?, and I’m delighted to find such passionate community members here encouraging me to get involved. There’s been a lot to learn in the short time I’ve been here so far, but it’s clear from reading your comments that dialogue with our members (some new, some long-term!) would be very much welcomed.

As you say, we do have very knowledgeable contributors with a passion for Which? and the work we do. I look forward to having an ongoing dialogue with you all.

Earlier this year I cancelled my membership in despair, I shall now renew it with the same degree of enthusiasm!

We should have welcomed you sooner, Anabel, but were not aware you had arrived.

I think we understand that this tiny corner of the Which? empire does not justify [and possibly not deserve] an early visit, but you are welcome to drop in at any time – even, like many of our participants, after you get home from work and at the weekends.

For some curious reason few Which? people see Which? Conversation as anything other than a work obligation. But for anyone who consumes anything this is a good place in which to read and write.

Duncan – If I remember rightly you do not subscribe to Which? at all but I wondered if that has now changed.. ?.

Anyway to what George has written and the problematic rushed nature of the closure and the looming GDPR . You see I am not clear why this decision was not telegraphed a year ahead or even two years ahead. Is it because Which? is/was badly organised?

I think ultimately it is indisputable that this was handled very poorly but apparently nobody seems to have been involved in making this decision in a timely fashion other than when it was passed to the Trustees with a very short time frame to execution.

Speaking as a shareholder of the Consumers’ Association I have been painfully embarrassed by the ineptitude shown in this episode.

The abrupt removal of reader’s product reviews in September 2018 is more widely noticed and potentially will be more embarrassing in the long term.

Patrick, if the technical reasons for the closure of Which.net were clear and obvious well in advance of the GDPR implementation date, then I think Which? was too slow to act on them, leading to the untimely closure of those services and the associated pains for long serving members.

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Just curious as without you seeing the magazines, and not having access to the Reviews, and likely not seeing the Accounts and the AGM Minutes, I think your views may be slightly skewed by seeing a partial picture of the organisationsolely from on-line activity.

Anyone can post on Which? Conversation so we are open to all. However there may be a danger perhaps that non-members will be vociferous on matters and may be assumed to actually be genuine members with a subscribers insight.

Should members and non-members be indicated? Only a thought.

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27 November 2018

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: “The claims from this inquiry backup our own findings, which show that plastic backed fridges and freezers put lives at risk by contributing to a fire spreading more quickly.

“These findings raise real questions around why people in the US, where these appliances are banned, are better protected than those here in the UK and Europe. “Hundreds of fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers with plastic backs currently on sale in shops around the UK are a potential fire risk and should be urgently removed from sale.”

In 2012 the London Fire Brigade spoke out about the dangers of plastic-backed electrical appliances however Which? seems not to have been interested and continued to review and recommend them.

In 2017 the BBC reported ” The move by Which? follows a five-year campaign by the London Fire Brigade to have full fire-resistant backing on such appliances made compulsory.”

Can someone explain who at Which? decided in 2012 to ignore the London Fire Brigade’s stance. And was this decision influenced on providing the widest range to the public as with Which’s link to pricerunner/ Amazon it recieves money from sales originating at Which?’s website.

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Hi Patrick,

I’ve passed on the query.



Unless I'm mistaken, Ms Threadgould was the individual primarily responsible for the cancelling of the Which.net email service to older and loyal Which? subscribers, so for me those words ring somewhat hollow.

If we edit what she has said, slightly, it makes for interesting reading:

"The collapse of email providers is becoming far too commonplace and consumers must not be made to shoulder the costs for these failures."

When reference is made to "excellent customer service" one is tempted to suggest she examines the entire which.net saga which represented the antithesis of what Which? has traditionally stood for. [This comment has been edited due to violation of community guidelines]

Hey all,

As Malcolm has mentioned, personal criticism is indeed inappropriate. Ian, we’ve edited your comment as a result.

We’ve also moved the comments into the Which.net discussion area as they’re otherwise off topic in relation to switching energy suppliers.

As you know, the decision to close Which.net was unanimously decided by Council after a thorough analysis was conducted. Annabel explains this here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/which-net-discussion-area/#comment-1551641

Actually, the bit you edited was the jokey bit and not the critical aspect of the post. But the W? Net closure was not well handled, and a number of questions remain unanswered.

I think the personal criticism of an individual within Which? in this way, particularly the last sentence, is inappropriate. It was Which? as an organisation that chose to end the service.

I deplore the way the email service was terminated, But, like comments in Convos,we should perhaps be better to argue the comment rather than attack the individual.

The last sentence was a joke, really. Not intended to be taken seriously, other than by SG1 followers.

But on the thrust of your comment, surely that depends on just how much responsibility any individual carries for any specific action? You may say “Which? as an organisation…chose to end the service” but a great deal would depend on who did the report on which the decisions were made. Ms Threadgould is the CCO and thus surely should not be immune from valid critical observations?

If, of course, it was she; I’ve already said “Unless I’m mistaken” and, if I am mistaken, then I send my heartfelt apologies. But individuals at the top of an organisation do bear responsibility for actions they take, reports they compile and decisions they make.

This is a little bizarre. The post I made in reply to Wave’s comment about the energy company seems to have shifted to the Lobby. This post is a reply to Malcolm’s post there. If a mod shifted it, please feel free to shift this post, too. I can see how it might confuse newcomers.