The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.


To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

Looking for other areas to talk?

• Website feedback: Let us know about any technical issues, and share your ideas on the future of Which? Conversation closure: A discussion about the closure of

Which? Members: Discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance

Welcome to the Lobby!

So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?


If I could live my life again I might make the same mistakes but I’d make them earlier.

Welcome to Toothache day, the day in 1972 when the government declared a state of emergency after a month-long coal miners’ strike and the day in 1540 of the first recorded race meet in England (Roodee Fields, Chester)

An Economist is an expert who will be able to tell you tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.

I got this watch from my grandfather on his deathbed. He put up a heck of a fight for it.

I make money the old fashioned way. My salary’s the same as it was ten years ago.

Even the savings are of little interest.

Savings are comparable with intimate bedroom activities. When one withdraws one loses all the interest.

Hastily moving on. There are situations one finds oneself in that means loss of control financially. I try and avoid these but have been in them now and then. The supplier of a service has you as a captive and then is at liberty to charge a fee and increase that fee as they wish. They bank on the alternative to the customer as being more unpalatable than paying up. I was in that situation with the burglar alarm for a while until I finally managed to break the contract and move elsewhere. My roadside assistance increased regularly until I was able to move somewhere else. Currently marina fees have increased by four percent last year and this and the alternative is to move and find somewhere else. That is quite difficult, particularly as the facilities are good there. Television subscriptions regularly go up by a pound or two annually, and are heralded by a letter telling us what good providers they are. The alternative is to do without. My dental fees rise regularly for the same service and, as NHS is not an option round here I pay up or do without.
There are providers, like the National Trust, who are less avaricious and always provide value for money. I wonder at the captive audience syndrome. I don’t see any way of avoiding some of these situations, but still feel ripped off when the inevitable letter arrives telling me of “unavoidable” price rises above inflation and for my own good!

I share your feelings, Vynor.

Would it be feasible, perhaps, for above-CPI price rises to give the customer the right to break the contract and seek the same service elsewhere?

I don’t know how they have done it, and after thirty minutes on the phone I got lost in the detail and the arithmetic, but BT have given me a superior broadband service with additional benefits on telephone calls while cutting my monthly bill by £12.50.

If prices rise by more than the CPI then certainly there should be the opportunity to end a contract without penalty. This might not work for annual renewals because of factors beyond a company’s control, for example an energy provider faced with a rise in wholesale prices or changes in insurance premium tax affecting insurers.

For many years I had house and contents insurance with Abbey National and there successors, Santander. Annual premiums started to rise but I put that down to the fact that I was living near to a river in what had been identified as a flood risk area, long after I bought the house. Without any explanation the annual premium for house and contents was hiked to £1300 around ten years ago, which prompted me to take action, only to find that none of the Which? recommended providers would offer me cover. I was referred to Towergate, which Vynor, being a boat owner, is probably familiar with, and was quoted a sensible price.

It’s well worth shopping around, but many people stick with companies that have provided good service as long as they are not blatantly exploited.

I have little choice but to continue with Vodafone because of poor local coverage on other networks. What I have to do is to say I’m leaving and I’m immediately offered a good deal that was not available if I simply wanted to renew.

Welcome to Umbrella Day (that’s irony), the day in 1952 when India held its first general election and the day in 1720 on which Edmond Halley was appointed as the second Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory. Amazing to think he discovered a comet with his name on it.

Money isn’t everything, but it does encourage relatives to stay in touch

Never borrow money from an optimist. They’ll always expect it back.

The pessimist assumes that they won’t get back the money they lend.

What leads most folk into debt is trying to catch up with those who are already there.

Welcome to Safer Internet Day, the day in 1978 when China finally lifted a ban on Aristotle, Shakespeare, & Dickens and the day in 2009 Uri Geller purchased Lamb Island, Scotland.

What I want to know is how did a fool and his money get together in the first place?

Inheritance. It’s a matter of luck whether you inherit good genes or money.

Why is the person who invests all your money called broker?

A convenient prompt to relate Woody Allen’s well known joke: “A stockbroker is someone who invests other people’s money until it is all gone.”

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance

Saves worrying about where the next ATM might be. A sensible approach.

So, I have had better days than yesterday. I had my phone stolen!

Has anyone bought a refurbished phone before? Any recommendations for where to go? I’ve always bought new but it seems like a waste to be honest!

Hi Abbey, sorry to hear about the theft of your phone. Last September in Paris, my wallet was stolen by a pickpocket, but luckily my fellow travellers soon helped me get back on my feet.

I usually prefer to buy new phones but not usually very expensive ones.

Currently I’m using an Honor 8S which seems quite good and cost £100 at Argos.

In the past, I have also bought some used (or refurbished phones) from local branches of Cash Converters and Cash Generators.

In my case I trust those particularly well, because I also buy quite a few cheap second hand PC’s there.

In particular, I have recently bought a couple of iPhones there, as I would never want to pay the new price for one of those.

In my view, when considering a second hand phone, it is important to know what you are buying and especially the specifications and age of the item. Buying over the counter also allows you to inspect the item and ask whether or not it has any known defects.

Most reputable sellers will also offer a warranty, so you can also ask about that.

I can’t help Abby, but you have my sympathy. Now if you were in the Gloucester area I can think of someone who could sort you out with a phone. 😉

Bad luck, Abby. I presume it was password protected? If it was an iPhone, you can use Find my Phone.

Abby, can I interest you in a new Samsung Galaxy S20? Going cheap at £1400

Seriously though, have you tried any of the Find my phone apps and services? Google and Apple both have them, so if your phone is either an iPhone or has Android on it, it should be possible to find your phone if it’s turned on again. But you’ll have to work with the police and your phone provider to recover it

Please let us know if the theft also leads to identity theft and credit problems

A mobile can be remotely erased, so that if you can act promptly there should be little security risk.

If your phone is password protected, shouldn’t you try to recover it instead?

That would depend on whether there is a backup of the data. When I used a Nokia I periodically made a copy of what was on the sim card using a small device made for the purpose.

Nowadays, all my data is stored on iCloud and since it is shared across my iPhone and Apple computers. If the phone is recovered I assume that it would be simple to reinstate the data, much like it’s all there on a new phone. I presume that other phones do the same.

This short discussion has made me think about what I would do if I lost the phone.

I’ve spoken to the British Transport Police. They have warned it is unlikely to be recovered. I used the find my phone and it was turned off a couple of minutes after it was stolen. It’s been disabled so hopefully they will be able to do little with it. Thankfully the whole was more annoying than traumatic.

How did it happen? Was it pickpocketed from you, or pulled out of your hand?

Welcome to Darwin Day, the day in 1999 when Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial and the day in 1889 when Caesar Franck’s wonderful Dm symphony was first performed.

After any salary rise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you did before.

Living on Earth might be expensive, but it does include an annual free trip around the Sun.

Expensive? Some of my bills are astronomical.

My dad was born stupid. He worked at a bank and they caught him stealing pens.

He might have got away with it if he had taken the pens when the bank was open.

I use my phone for tethering so that I can use my laptop online when I am not at home. Once when I was on holiday a couple of years ago I was close to my monthly 5GB data allowance so I decided to set my account to avoid high charges for exceeding the allowance. I also set my account to prevent any additional call charges. Having a contract with unlimited calls and having never made a premium rate call on any mobile, it did not occur to me that there could be a problem.

A few days ago I tried to call the police non-emergency number and could not do so because I had no credit. This is because calls to 101 are charged at 15p and are not included in call allowances. My account settings have been updated.