/ Money

What should we campaign for in 2016?

2015 was a bumper year for us at Which? as we managed to persuade the government, regulators and private companies to help achieve a whole host of aims. But what does 2016 hold?

In 2014 we achieved a win a week for consumers, and were a little anxious about being able to keep that rate up – but we have and there are more people taking more action with us than ever before.

Which? now has a campaign supporter base of over 600,000 people, and together they’ve taken over one million actions since July alone. At the start of December we had our busiest week ever, with more than 108,000 actions taken in just seven days.

Our campaign wins

At the end of last year, thousands of our supporters wrote to their MPs asking them to pressure the Chancellor to stop sneaky mortgage fees and charges. During 2015 we’ve been working with the Council of Mortgage Lenders on how to make sure each fee is clear so you know what you’ll be charged. And this year we launched a new ‘tariff of mortgage charges’ which introduces a standard format for how lenders communicate their fees.

We also persuaded the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to say that insurers should print last year’s premium, convinced the Government to take action on mobile unlocking and made switching savings accounts easier.

The insights of supporters and community members helped us make sure that these campaigns kept the pressure on decision makers. As one MP remarked to me; ‘I can really tell when you are campaigning on an issue. It makes me take notice.’

Using powers that set us apart

One of the things (and there are quite a lot of them!) that makes Which? special is our super-complaint powers. These are conferred on just a few organisations and enable us to take action on behalf of all consumers to regulators about elements of the market we feel are harming consumers’ interests.

We don’t take filing a super-complaint lightly, but this year we decided to publish two. The first on supermarket pricing saw us ask the regulator to clamp down on misleading pricing tactics. The second, launched just last week, took issue with delayed train refunds.

We wanted to see how our supporters felt about these issues beforehand, to see if their concerns match the ones we have identified. This occasion was no different with thousands of supporters responding to our surveys.

Developing tools

We’ve begun to develop more tools to help people solve problems themselves, whether it’s helping you get compensation for flight delays or with returning faulty goods (particularly handy this time of year). You can also help us take action on nuisance calls by reporting the calls you receive with our free tool. I’ll give you a very large hint that we are looking at doing more of these in the new year.

Relaunching Which? Convo

It’s been a long time coming, but we were pleased to give you a brand spanking new site this year. The old one had become clunky, and after four and a half years it was time for a spring clean. Many of you were extremely generous in giving your time to test and refine the site and we still have some way to go. However, with more comments than ever and lots of new regulars, we’re pleased with the results so far.

Don’t stop us now

We may be on a roll with campaign victories, but we can always get better. The ongoing energy and banking inquiries from the CMA will continue to loom large in the campaigning activity we do and we will use milestones, like the first anniversary of pensions reforms, to reassess progress.

We’ll also be looking to see how we can better use the feedback we get from you on Which? Convo and our campaign supporters. Seeing the views that were left here get raised in Parliament to hold VW to account for rigging emissions was a personal highpoint of the year. That thread also showed the brilliant depth of knowledge that exists in people who use this site.

We’re committed to our work on the core issues that affect people – from the financial sector, energy market, supermarkets and telecoms providers – but we’re always open to new ideas. What campaigns would you like to see us work on in 2016?

Comments
Member

I am having trouble signing in “somebody trying to tell me something ” ? grayed screen comes up with details but when I click on it it reverts to =sign in .

Member

I suspect that you can only login/join when they can check you are a subscriber and that is only when the office is manned. Many many people have told me of their efforts to try to join the Community Forum.

Regrettably many just give up. Apparently it was launched around the time of the AGM in November 2014 though nobody thought to mention it at that AGM or indeed in 2015 AGM. I was told it would be closed if there was insufficient activity in June 2014 when I met a Trustee and a Which Executive.

My feeling is that the Forum is being deliberately kept low-key as a forum where members start Conversations would compete with this Conversation forum where we get given topics. Or parts of topic.

“Conversations” is of course open to all even non-members so in theory has an huge potential base. Looking back some of the biggest Conversations were on winter tyres and medicine. The tyre matter I see has fallen of Which?s radar this year which is a great shame given the new all-season tyres that have been launched this year by the major manufacturers.

Member

Hi Duncan, I think this was the cookies problem you rectified after this comment. The cookie allows the site to remember that you’ve signed in so you don’t need to keep doing it. If you haven’t been able to fix this, let me know by sending me an email: https://conversation.which.co.uk/contact-us/ Happy to help.

Dieseltaylor, we don’t need to be around for people to sign in – the system should recognise you all by itself. If you ever have problems, don’t hesitate to ask. And you know I love seeing you commenting on Which? Conversation and hope you’ll continue to do so.

Member

Thank you for your reply Patrick , yes your right I have 3 separate cookie/ tracker/beacon blockers which together are quite effective but as observed it causes problems with some websites as I posted before -BT email website must allow cookies or you cant access it as well as Yahoo email service (US) so as I frequent Which ,and in all fairness , I have blocked the blockers for Which website .

Member

Great, glad you’ve managed to find a solution that means you can still block cookies elsewhere 🙂

Member

Hi Patrick
Tried to sign in but said can’t find my account. Why

Fred Roberts

Member

Hello Fred, sorry to hear that. You’re definitely in the system – your username is FredRoberts as one word if that helps? Thanks

Member
Martin Scherer says:
31 December 2015

We pay for Council services. They are monopoly services so should gain greater scrutiny than non-monoply services. Councils services are poor, often incompetent, and the greatest blight on our lives. There is a bias in council services towards the rich. Those on low incomes suffer, especially in council’s neglect in low income area street maintenance and refuse collection. That leads to social degeneration and encourages social unrest. The campaign Which should launch in 2016 is GET THE BINS OFF THE STREETS. Some councils have done it. Most are incompetent and negligent.