At last! We’ve read your entries to our consumer concerns competition (all 570 of them) and the short listing is done. Read on to find out who has made it through to the final five – and vote for your favourite in our poll.
With nearly 600 of you speaking up to tell us your biggest consumer concern for the coming year, judging which five should be put to the public vote wasn’t an easy task.
So, how did we do it? First of all we gathered a group of judges from all corners of the organisation, each of whom shortlisted their favourites. We looked at originality, clarity of expression and relevance to make our choices.
From there, we grouped the long listed entries into topics to make sure we didn’t pick more than one on any given subject, and to ensure the best of each topic went through.
So, without further ado, here are the five remaining entries… read them carefully and then vote for your favourite below. Remember, the person with the most votes will win a brand new iPad 2 – happy voting!
The final five competition entries
SU: ‘My biggest concern is rising food prices and the way supermarkets are trying to trick us by reducing the size of tins/cans/packets but keeping the prices the same. I’ve realised this recently when I have had a packet of something bought a month or so ago, yet the new packet is smaller but the same price. I guess they are hoping we won’t notice, so they get bigger profits but we get less product. With a growing teenage family the cost of weekly shop has just escalated over the past year. I can cope with wearing extra layers of clothes etc., to reduce the heating bills, but I can’t cut back on food, and would expect the supermarkets to be more honest with their pricing of products.’
Tom: ‘My biggest concern is pensions. Along with the rising inflation I’m now looking at the state of my forecast pension and it’s not enough. The government is asking us to save more but there is no more. I’m forced to choose between saving for a house and saving for a pension but if I can afford a house my outgoings will gradually fall, if I can’t my rent will gradually increase. It’s a timebomb facing us all and noone has a sollution. An iPad might help though.’
Debbie C: ‘Although in the past I think you would have struggled to justify this in a list of consumer concerns with the recent changes I feel that we should add University fees to the list. My daughter is hoping to go to university in September 2012 and despite sitting through many presentations from Universities all keen to convince you that their fees are worth it how do I know I am getting value for money. What are the things I should be looking out for? Apart from a mortgage this is probably the biggest purchase decision we are ever going to take so I want to make sure we get it right.’
Hannah L: ‘My children growing up in a “throw away” society! Not that I’m blameless by any means. Just this year we have had to ditch our microwave, toaster, tumble dryer, pushchair and baby car seat, all because they have broken beyond economical repair. Like many people we usually have to buy products in the cheaper range, although we will stretch ourselves to the maximum as we think this will give us a better product and will last the longest. However, the tumble dryer lasted less than 24 months with minimal use due to electricity prices, and both the pushchair and car seat lasted 13 months. I saw a documentary about where broken and unwanted electrical goods from this country often end up, it’s tragic that other countries have to be paid to be a dump for our thrown away stuff, stuff that we “need” to live. We are now making do without most of the items listed above, we have had to replace the pushchair and have borrowed a car-seat from family. We couldn’t have afforded to replace them all even if we had wanted to with daily living costs as they are, but in a way I am glad that in two years time I won’t have to dump them all over again!’
Ellie Peabody: ‘My biggest concern is the lack of transparency in the pricing of gas, electricity, oil and LPG. With regards to gas and electricity there are far too many tariffs, and it is far too difficult to compare products and suppliers. There is not enough genuine competition on price, in effect it appears that a cartel is operating. There is not enough, or indeed any, transparency on the difference between the cost of fuel purchased by the supplier and the price charged to the customer. Last winter oil and LPG suppliers profiteered, and I cannot see why they are not regulated.’
Voting closes on Wednesday 10th August, 2011.
[UPDATE WEDNESDAY 10 AUGUST] – Voting has now closed and the winner will be announced on Friday 12 August! Good luck!
[UPDATE MONDAY 15TH AUGUST] – Congratulations to our winner Su, who told us how concerned she is about rising food prices. Here’s a breakdown of the votes: