Tales of everyday consumerism – good, bad and ugly


I don’t keep a diary, but if I did then the pages of the past month would have been littered with tales of everyday consumerism – good, bad and ugly. I’m sure you’ll recognise some familiar themes…

Clueless car dealers

I need to change my car soon, so went to test drive a couple of options. When I asked one dealer a few basic questions about the car, he simply started reading the blurb off the manufacturer’s website. Another chap – similarly clueless – accompanied me on the test drive. How do they manage to sell any cars, I wonder?

Rip-off insurance

I received a renewal letter for my boiler cover (I know it’s poor value, but my ageing boiler is starting to struggle…). Spotted the huge premium hike, so called to query it. I didn’t even need to utter the words ‘I’d like to cancel’ before they dropped the price by 60%. 60%! But there was no apology for attempting to take me for a ride…

Terrible trains

Talking of which, my commute on Southeastern and Thameslink trains has been the usual mix of late running, overcrowding and broken seats. Our latest rail survey reveals just what my fellow commuters think of their services. And our Rail Refunds campaign now has more than 40,000 people supporting our super-complaint to make refunds for delayed trains easier.

A happy customer

Popped into Richer Sounds and saw the Which? booklet on ‘Your consumer rights’ at the counter. We worked with Richer Sounds to get these booklets in their shops, so I’m really pleased to see a retailer educating shoppers about their consumer rights, not deflecting them. Crucially, staff knew the products, gave a fair price and great service. Why can’t others do the same?

If you had a 2016 diary (perhaps you do!), would yours be filled with any similar stories to me?


I very much support efforts to make consumers more aware of their rights. Just today I suggested in another Convo that retailers should inform customers of their rights rather than turn them away if they could make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act after the guarantee has expired. It’s good to read Richard’s tale about Richer Sounds and hopefully more retailers will follow their example.

Like many others, I am fed-up with price hikes in annual premiums. I don’t approve of Which? encouraging haggling because knowing that customers will haggle just pushes up the initial price. That’s not a problem for those who are able to haggle, but it disadvantages many elderly people who are no longer able to haggle. I don’t want to be part of a culture where people only care for themselves.


Retailers have had plenty of time to inform customers about their rights, under SoGA and now CRA, but (some) seem either to not wish to do so or to have ill-informed staff. We need real publicity of rights (I hesitate to suggest a leaflet with every purchase) and links to an informative website, or perhaps a well-prepared leaflet prominently displayed in all shops to be mandated. Trading Standards did a good one for SoGA. Maybe they could do a good one for retailers to display for customers for the consumer Rights Act. Or Which? maybe (who would pay for it?).

On a positive note when being shown my prospective new car the test drive was with a well informed (and enthusiastic) person who knew the car inside out. When I took delivery the “salesman” I had been dealing with spent a good hour going through the controls and, in particular, all the gadgets – setting up the satnav , linking my mobile phone and putting in all my data, changing any settings to suit my preferences…….

On another embarrassingly positive note I recently tried to pay a credit card by phone. After 40 minutes hanging on (whilst I did another task as well) the phone hung up. All numbers were then engaged until, about an hour later I got through on a number aimed at overseas callers. The transaction went through and I asked if there had been a phone problem. I couldn’t understand the reply (foreign accent) so asked again, same result and finished the call. I emailed the only contact I had – their CEO – who, to my surprise, replied in around 10 minutes that there had indeed been a phone problem and apologised. To cut a longer story shorter I had several phone calls about “investigating my complaint” (which it was not, just asked for information) culminating in a significant payment being placed in my account (which I hadn’t asked for, nor expected – hence a bit embarrassed). Nevertheless prompt and attentive service.

Life isn’t all bad.


Yes Malcolm, , ,Curry’s etc all need a brief notice setting out the consumers basics rights for all to see
Curry’s always features in my head yet I use them for near all white goods not because I like them but because the others around me here I find even worse. . .
Getting out the door having not been talked into buying an item I dont want and without add on warranty is an uphill battle.. . .
The last couple of items I have bought on line and not went near their pushy staff
A notice not unlike the ones that have to appear in the workplace about health and safety would do well


Currys used to put their receipts in a leaflet that included advice on what to do in event of problems. One of the points was that Currys may refer customers to the manufacturer. I did write to Currys and explain that they could not avoid their legal responsibilities but the same information was there a few years later. I don’t know what their leaflet contains now because the company is boycotted for this and other failings.

It would be good if their leaflet briefly summarised rights our rights under the Consumer Rights Act and indicated where to find further information.


Thanks Wave, , I’m very of the opinion that whilst there may be rules/laws etc there is so little policing they are all but pointless just the same as I know there is a lot lacking in quality and there is no one willing and able to look at anything it seems
To me there is no point in testing or Standards etc if there is to be no one or no body fit to follow up or make sure the normal routes have been followed
Malcolm sorry if I used the word Standards. . .
Just look at the VW thing. . .Was that not prime territory for Trading Standards
Is the dryers thing not the same

I must just say just now as I remember Patrick that I noticed a few days back that a Tumble Dryer write up here on Which somewhere made mention about Beko and White Knight having fire problems is to say the least a little dated as there is no mention of the current problems mentioned there
It turned up in a search I was doing and I was surprised that is was there with no mention about current issues


Ah yes Currys and the infamous Which? Best Buy Logiks L90sss11 steamer. SO talking of durability …..

Not Good
I have no doubt that if you can get a good one then it is exceptional value for money and it does cook well. Ours lasted < 3 months – display broke and on / off button doesn't work anymore . I can genuinely say this is the only which best buy in 20 years plus of buying recommendations that has turned out to be a real dud. I would be amazed if it was tested now (especially over a extended owning period) it would even score 20%

I wonder if he got a replacement.


Hello dieseltaylor, I just wanted to let you know that due to the significant number of complaints from Which? members about the poor reliability of the Logik L90SSS11 steamer we carried out research which found an extremely high failure rate. We therefore decided to remove Best Buy status from this product.

We surveyed Which? members who own or have owned this steamer, and found that 92% of the steamers owned by the survey respondents had developed a problem that was serious enough to cause them to return it or throw it away. 65% of those problems developed within 12 months of purchase, and 84% developed within 18 months of purchase. Therefore, we do not think this product is reliable enough to remain a Best Buy.


Having looked at the reviews, it would be better to make this product a ‘Don’t Buy’ or simply remove the review.