/ Home & Energy, Money, Shopping, Technology

Campaigning for change: a win a week in 2014

Plasticine people getting medals

Happy 2015 everyone. I hope you achieved all of your aspirations in 2014. As you helped us achieve a number of our goals, we thought we’d kick off the New Year reflecting on the key changes we achieved together.

We’ve done some tallying up and worked out that you’ve helped us achieve 52 key changes this year. That’s a win a week – helping us keep up the pressure on all our campaigns and show decision makers that we have the power to make change happen.

With your input, we took your concerns to 300 top decision makers – ranging from politicians, regulators or companies CEOs.

Our 278,000 supporters have signed an impressive 600,000 petitions or taken other actions in support of our campaigns – from reporting nuisance calls to writing to your MPs to tackle mortgage fees.

Capping pensions charges

At the start of the year we secured a 0.75% cap on pension charges in a move that the pension minister Steve Webb described as a ‘full frontal assault’ on the pensions market.

More than 15,000 people signed their name in support of our campaign and 7,000 people shared their views on the pensions market. This feedback was compiled into a dossier of evidence and submitted to the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure the Government considered the views of those the changes will affect when setting the cap.

In March, Ofgem announced that it was referring the energy market for a full scale competition inquiry – a significant move and one we’d been calling for. It is now make or break time for the energy suppliers, who should not wait to be forced into action but take action now to put customers first, keep costs as low as possible and trade transparently.

In June, a new law came into force which bans companies from using numbers that charge more than the basic rate for their customer service or complaints lines. Nearly 90,000 people provided their support for this campaign – and it was your comments and concerns that prompted us to ensure the laws covered all companies and contacts you might need to call.

Stop sneaky fees and charges

With the horsemeat scandal dominating the headlines and our work in 2013, we were keen to ensure preventative action was taken in 2014. This came to fruition when in September, the Government responded to Professor Chris Elliott’s review by setting up a new Food Crime Unit.

In November, we called on the Chancellor to use his Autumn Statement to Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges on mortgages and make it easier for people to find the best deal. More than 45,000 people signed our petition and 3,000 emailed their MP to ask the Chancellor to take action.

The Chancellor confirmed in his 2014 Autumn Statement that we’ll be working with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) to determine practical solutions to end mortgage confusion for consumers.

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 2015?


Make “cooling off periods” actually about experiencing the service in order to make an informed decision – NOT a notice period in which to “change your mind”. It’s not fair to be locked in for 12-18 months or pay mega money to leave if you haven’t had a chance to evaluate the product or service, particularly utilities.

Andrew says:
1 January 2015

I would like to see Which? to campaign on safer & fairer trains for all passengers, specifically:
* A sufficient number of well-maintained ticket machines at all stations.
* In the light of the potential new crimes that may arise as smart tickets & contactless card travel increases, all conductors & penalty fare officers to have clear photo ID out on display when approaching passengers, to make them both identifiable and accountable.
* Where passengers are forced to board a train without a ticket, commitment from all train operating companies that their conductors will pass through the carriages to sell tickets to those passengers and that they will have out on display an ID with a photo from which they can clearly be recognised. I.e. an end to lazy conductors who expect passengers to make their way through the train to them.
* Notices informing passengers forced to board without a ticket (due to no machine/office at local station) that they can purchase a ticket from any conductor/PFO when they pass through the train or at their destination. These notices should clearly state that penalty fares do not apply under these circumstances (prohibited by Penalty Fare Rules 7.3), even if the passenger has changed trains (Penalty Fare Rules 2.o).
* Any passenger purchasing a ticket on board to be able to get the ticket with the same discount, e.g. with railcard, as if they bought it at a station.
* Equal access: Any online discounts, except advance tickets, to apply at the station. Not everyone is on the internet.
* Rail laws to be revised to reflect new technologies, e.g. Railway Byelaws 18 mandates you must hand over your ticket to a conductor on request. But what if your ticket is your contactless bank card? And what if that conductor refuses to show any ID to prove who they are?
* Connecting trains to actually connect, i.e. wait a reasonable time before departing, particularly where there is no adverse effect on other parts of the schedule (often true on branch lines).

Flowerpower says:
3 January 2015

More campaigning please on nuisance telephone calls as the problem has not yet gone away.

Landlines and broadband accessibility needs to be separated.
There is no competition in the market to provide cheap broadband with out tying customers to unneeded land lines. Of which the line rental price is too high. If I do not use a land line then I should incur no charges.
A land line is used to allow cold callers and land line providers to make money by forcing me to have the line.