/ Money, Shopping, Travel & Leisure

What New Year’s resolutions do you want companies to make?

The New Year is in full swing, and so are our resolutions (hopefully). But what if we could submit a wish list of resolutions that we’d like companies to commit to?

Today marks the Twelfth Night or the last day of Christmas, and so traditionally we should pack away our decorations and make the transition into the New Year.

Many of you might have made resolutions for the year, and some of you may have already made a start on yours – good work, keep it up 🙂

Being back in the office post-Christmas comes with a standard conversation:

‘Hello, happy New Year!…How was your Christmas break? Did you do anything nice for New Year’s Eve?…make resolutions yet?’

Which got us thinking…we all make resolutions to help us achieve our own personal goals. But looking back at our 2015 investigations we’ve found some pretty big issues which we think companies and manufacturers could resolve in 2016.

1. Airlines to pay up for flight delays

Last year we found that some airlines weren’t fulfilling their responsibilities for flight delay compensation, leaving millions of pounds going unclaimed. We want this to stop. If you’ve been delayed then you can use our flight delay tool to start your claim process.

2. Ticket resale websites to clean up their act

Despite the new Consumer Rights Act coming into force last year, we found key booking information missing from a number of ticket resale websites, which is a breach of the new Consumer Rights Act. We think all relevant information needs to be provided so that you can make an informed decision when buying tickets.

3. IFAs to be clearer about their fees

Last year, our money team revealed that it’s almost impossible to find out on financial advice firms’ websites how much you should expect to pay for financial help. Of the 500 websites checked, more than two thirds gave no indication as to what you’d pay for their services. We think financial firms need to be more transparent about their fees.

4. A guarantee on guarantee claims

We’re told by manufacturers that their washing machines and other appliances should last for years. So why not offer a warranty to match the claim?

A manufacturer might say that its washing machines should last seven to eight years, with consumers replacing it within five to six. But often the standard warranty covers you for only one year.

5. Longer term support for your tech

We want manufacturers to ensure that all services, software, and apps remain available for a reasonable lifespan for the products you buy. When buying a smart TV, you’d expect the apps you’ve been sold on to remain available. But updates to smart TVs (which you can’t avoid) often remove apps such as iPlayer and YouTube. And it would seem that it’s happening across all kinds of tech products, last year we were inundated with similar stories from peeved consumers.

A tall order?

Well there’s our little wish list for the year, you can see a few more on our online news story. Wouldn’t it be grand if these were all resolved?

So over to you then, do you agree with our wish list? What would you like to add?


The company Consumers’ Association Ltd [owners of Which? Ltd] to reform itself to become more transparent to shareholders and subscribers to Which? on pay and governance issues.

A simple request and one which this organisation could accomplish in a single year. Currently the governing Council is made up of eight co-opted and appointees , and six elected members which is at variance with the mandatory requirement for nine elected, and the possibility of up to six co-opted.

The election results next week will provide for eight elected members and either 6 or 7 co-opted/appointees. This is an improvement and who knows what else can be accomplished.

” But we will continue to uncover the truth over the upcoming year in the hope that firms really will begin to turn over a new leaf.”

I am glad that Which? will continue to be hot on the trail but hope that the site can be made more cohesive where it is possible to read all the relevant information on a subject area OR company. Also thta WHich? is more in-depth in is coverage.

Is Which? intending to examine the laser eye surgery industry again as last year there were media rumblings on implants.

The pharmacological companies, and indeed the agro companies need the benefit or discipline of reporting all trials to prevent the selective use of trial results in advertising, and the total suppression of ones that reveal adverse results. Which? could easily publicise the AllTrials campaign to subscribers and even sign up itself as the World Health Organisation and BUEC have along with 500 plus institutions.

That in itself would be a major gain in informing UK subscribers and pressuring the two industries.

I don’t know that we will be investigating the laser eye surgery industry again in the near future, but thank you for suggesting linking to AllTrials: I will look into it.

For companies to stop being part of RipOff Britain. I’d also like regulators to grow a pair and not be the waste of space that so many are. ICO, OFCOM, TPS pointless. OFGEM useless etc.

Emily says:
6 January 2016

Hi Lauren, I think your point about the re-sale of tickets is really relevant at the moment and a huge problem for some fans. I work at Vibe Tickets which is a platform for fans to buy and sell tickets at the price they were originally bought for, unlike a lot of other secondary ticketing sites. It would be great to talk to you some more about this! The secondary ticket market is such a hot topic at the moment, especially with the letter sent to the government which was signed by the likes of Chris Martin and Ed Sheeran’s manager- but what will be done with it? Be great to hear from you!

I would like to see all companies to look at the public criticism that applies to them or their sector and respond appropriately. This is particularly important with large companies that have a substantial share of the market.

In relation to Lauren’s point (4), I would appreciate if Which? would tell us more about longer guarantees in product reviews. Perhaps we could have a magazine article about the retailers that offer extended warranties either free or at a sensible price.

Lauren’s point (5) is quite complex because more than one company is involved. Before we are all brainwashed into accepting that a TV will retain full functionality for two or three years we need pressure from Which? and other European consumers’ associations, since it is in the manufacturers’ interests that products should be replaced frequently.

Thanks for your comments, Wavechange – I’m just finishing off an article about washing machines for the February edition of Which? and in it I touch upon the warranties offered by manufacturers and retailers.

We’re also considering including additional information in our online product reviews – warranty length is one of the things we’re considering. I’ll post here when I have more news. Thanks again for your comments.

Matt, are you looking at durability – either years, cycles or hours used – as a criterion that manufacturers should declare? You also quote reliability (% or stars) but it is not clear what this really means – how long will it be expected to last without breakdown is surely what reliability should mean.

And will you also include repairability and affordable repairs? BEUC promote durability and repairability.

Matt –
Will you be discussing the hygienic aspects of the 60C wash? Stiftung Warentest AFAIR in their work last year found a machine doing this 60C wash at 27C.

Perhaps given the number of workers required to wash their uniforms and clothes – which must be over a million. The NHS directly employs over 1.2m staff so add ancilliary workers in care homes, farmers , and labourers there are a large number of people where believing a 60C wash means what it says are being mislead.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks Matt. A decent warranty helps sell cars and few manufacturers offer a one year warranty these days. It would be very helpful to be able to look at Which? reviews and find out what warranties are offered as standard or regularly as a promotion.

I hoe to goodness our TVs last longer than 2 or 3 years Wave
I await the washing machine write up with interest
I have a strange US made machine that is over ten years old and needs a little nursing but has been a wonderful machine
I’m trying to figure out should I scrap it or fix it. It is the best diy washing machine I have ever seen but it is quirky
I like manufacturers warranties even of they are via some form of insurance but just as long as I dont have to phaf about with extra payments and differing conditions
manufacturers warranty and I always got along better.
I would take additional warranty not if you paid me

The advantage of a warranty is that you will usually get a faulty product repaired free-of-charge and without fuss providing that you have not misused it. Some of us here are able to stick up for our rights, but most would just scrap the product and buy a new one.

Best of luck with keeping your washing machine going, DK. I’m going to have a small celebration to mark the 34th birthday of my washing machine next month. 🙂

Whilst I would like longer guarantees, it is more important to me that something I buy is not faulty and does not fail in an unreasonably short time. So reliability and durability is what I would like promoted. Why put up with a faulty or short-life product? Lets make them better and avoid all the hassle of out-of-action, arranging repairs and such.

Long guarantees/warranties are probably the best way of ensuring reliability and durability. If a product fails within the period of cover, the retailer will be responsible for repair or replacement and that could more than wipe out the profit made on the sale. In order to continue to make a profit, as any business must do to be sustainable, the number of repairs/replacements must be kept down and the way to achieve this is to improve build quality.

Guarantees are a bit chicken and egg. I’d suggest a sensible company will make the reliability of their products their first priority and then give them a longer guarantee, otherwise excessive early failures will damage their profitability.

However, I want a situation where if I pay decent money I expect a decent product, one that does its job, lasts a reasonable time without failure, and is economically repairable. What I don’t want are manufacturers marketing perhaps 3 year guarantees on, say, washing machines, with the appliance only lasting a little longer. A decent washing machine, used normally, should according to Wrap and BEUC last around 8 years (if my memory serves me right).

So I would like product reports to tell us, and manufacturers to declare, how long a product is normally expected to last. I can then make an informed decision on which product to purchase. Such products should either carry matching guarantees for a reasonable time or additional, but sensibly priced, manufacturers’ warranties that extend the cover (repair or replace).

I’d like insurance companies and agents to stop charging excessive fees for alterations to policies during their term. To be told that there is a £45 ‘admin fee’ for any changes or cancelling the policy seems more like a punative fee rather than having any relation to the work involved.

If car manufacturers can guarantee their products for up to seven years – and typically up to three years – with all the adverse conditions that a car has to contend with; then it is truly pathetic that something with no moving parts, in a static position, subject to even temperatures such as a ‘fridge is offered with a one year gurantee.

Hi Bob, Fridges have moving parts! It’s called a compressor. And do you really mean ‘truly’ pathetic-that is to say, ‘truly arousing pity’?

I would like companies to be open with their contact details.

All companies should have postal addresses, national rate telephone numbers and email addresses.

I am fed up with only being able to fill in online forms, waiting in an expensive telephone queue, not getting past their first line of defence and now I am about to deal with a service company.

I don’t object to a first line of defence but it is so frustrating when they fob you off and won’t pass you on to someone who has the authority to help.

John says:
9 January 2016

Communications companies – one I particularly have in mind – improving their communications with their customers. Getting in touch with them/it has been & continues to be a nightmare.

Back when crude prices were rocketing, the airlines were quick to introduce Fuel Surcharges. Remember arriving at the check in desk and being asked for another £50 each before you could get a seat?

Well now that crude is plummeting (note that it dropped 7% today to a tad over $31 brll), the airlines should introduce FUEL DISCOUNT. Imagine the surprise at check in when they offer you a £50 REFUND before you get your seats!

Dream on.

It’s not just the pocket that suffers from the dishonesty of some retailers. It’s also your health. Here is a very common occurrence. You buy (from Sainsbury’s say) a small salad, a drink and some crisps say, as part of a “meal deal”. Before you buy you check the “traffic lights” for fat, salt and sugar content and it’s green lights all the way. “Hurrah! It’s healthy”, you think. You assume that this constitutes ONE meal. Not two, or three, or ten for that matter. (Can you see where I’m going with this?) You eat it all for your lunch. While you’re munching, you peruse the packaging more closely and realise that the “traffic lights” apply to HALF a salad. So it turns out that you have eaten twice the fat, salt and sugar you thought you were. The whole idea behind the “traffic light” system is that you can quickly see what you’re eating at a glance, not so that you can see what you could be eating if you starve yourself and eat half of a tiny salad, or even space it out over a week. And let me just say for the sake of comparison that I am not overweight or a big eater (5’3″ and 8 stone) so I don’t think my perspective is skewed in any way. They might just as well tell you what a 10th of a doughnut contains – that would make it sound really healthy!