/ Which? Membership

Help us shape the future of Which?

This is your space to discuss all things related to Which?, including our governance. Together with other Which? Members and our Ordinary Members you can discuss our past, present and help shape our future.

For those of you new to Which? Conversation, welcome! Our community website is your space to discover and debate the burning consumer issues of the day.

While our community enjoys getting down to the nitty-gritty details of big issues like stopping nuisance callers or exposing the wider risks of product safety, we also want our Ordinary Members* to be able to connect with one another and have their say on the governance of Which?. If you want to have a say in how we’re run and help to shape the future of Which?, you can become an ‘Ordinary’ (or voting) Member.

We’ve just celebrated the 60th anniversary of Which?. The views and support of our members have been key to helping us get this far, and so your views will also help shape our next 60 years.

Which? discussion

So we’ve created this space for you. Here you can connect with other members and discuss all things Which?, including governance, feedback about our organisation and issues you want our Council to consider.

To keep things running smoothly, we have a few simple rules specific to this area for you to follow:

  • Keep comments relevant to this area – sharing your thoughts about Which? and its governance
  • If you have something off-topic to share, please share it in ‘The Lobby‘ or find a relevant conversation to join. If you’d like to talk about the closure of Which.net, we’ve created a dedicated discussion area for you here.
  • Before you share a resolution, please check to see if another member has shared something similar and add your support to it by replying
  • Please be polite and speak to others as you’d like to be spoken to, whether that’s with other members or Which? staff.
  • Keep personal contact details private (eg email, phone number or address) – whether they’re yours or someone else’s.
  • We’re here to listen to your feedback about Which?, and we’ll try to answer any questions as soon as we can, but please be patient with us and mindful that we don’t work weekends

These guidelines are here to keep things running smoothly, so if you spot a comment that breaks these rules, please bring them to our attention by using the ‘Report’ button.

It’s easy to register on Which? Conversation, just click this Sign in/Register link and click the ‘Register’ tab. Our ‘Help getting started’ guide should explain any questions you may have about getting involved in Which? Conversation. Now, it’s over to you.

*If you aren’t already an Ordinary Member and are interested in finding out more, you can read about how to become an Ordinary Member right here.

Becoming an Ordinary Member means you can:

  • Vote in the annual Council election – the Council is the ultimate governing body of our charity, the Consumers’ Association, and oversees our whole organisation. We’ll send you the ballot booklets every November.
  • Come along to our AGM – meet our chairman, chief executive and team. You can find out more about what we’re doing and why, hear from our teams and ask your questions, and see how Which? works from the inside.
  • Stand for election to the Council – you can nominate yourself and ask for support from other ordinary members.
  • Nominate other ordinary members who want to stand for Council – to help make sure we have the right people governing.
  • Get our annual and interim reports and accounts – we’ll keep you up to date with all that’s going on, so you’re always in the loop.

Read the 2017 AGM Q&A here.

Read the 2018 AGM Q&A here.

 

Comments
Patrick Taylor says:
15 September 2021

So can we get to a more analytical W? which addresses the big systemic wrongs rather than just looking at nickel and dime savings on individual products.

And of course educates subscribers by providing links to books like Bad Pharma, and explains why AllTrials was necessary, what the Phoenix Cartel was.

Which? have promoted insurance companies showing what was paid last time, when requesting a new renewal premium. Should that sensible principle apply to other renewals?

When my January Which? mags arrived I nearly threw the address letter away as it normally does not interest me. Fortunately I read it. It told me my subscription to Which? Money mag would be increased to £4.99 a month from March. But it does not tell me why, nor how much I was currently paying. Logging into “my account” gave no information and, as I make 4 payments to Which?, it was not obvious. So I rang them.

I was, in fact, currently paying £3 a month. So a 67% increase. Why? A script had been prepared as it was anticipated many subscribers would be upset. It told me what Which? Money did, but not why they wanted nearly £60 a year now instead of £36. I could save 18% by paying a single annual subscription.

I indicated I was likely to cancel my subscription (given what is published online I wasn’t convinced it was worth the money). Then another offer was produced – cancel your current subscription and take a new one out for——— £39 for the first year. Just £3 more, just 8% increase instead of 67%.

This just seems against Which?’s (what should be) principles on two fronts – not explaining why the increase nor what was being paid, and offering a deal cheaper than, seemingly, is generally offered to other subscribers.

Loyalty – Part 2.
Looking online I see that the normal Which? Magazine + online subscription is £99 a year. But a new subscriber can get 50% off and pay just £49.50 in the first year.

So an existing subscriber is better off cancelling their subscription and taking out a new half-price one? Subsidised by all the Members paying full price.

I’ve subscribed to Which? for many years and helped fund losses of £30-40 million in the Indian venture and Mortgage Advisers, paid unwarranted bonuses to failed executives, support a lot of highly paid staff in expensive office locations, only to find I seem to now be subsidising new subscribers as well. I don’t think this is right. I have to admit that my subscription package is less than some others seem to pay, and while I hope it doesn’t now get increased as a penalty, I don’t think that is right either.

Which? has pushed for loyalty, so insurance companies, for example, will no longer be able to give new customers better deals than they give existing ones. Should that principle be applied to themselves? Or is the 50% offer an attempt to attract new subscribers – badly needed? But isn’t that just why other businesses, like insurance companies, use(d) it?

Maybe I’m just irked by this seeming lack of consistency and integrity. Maybe my view is misplaced and I have missed something in mitigation.

Patrick Taylor says:
1 January 2022

You are correct in finding this inconsistency upsetting. The aura of hypocrisy taints the charity.

I have often felt that the Trustees should be the ones written to as I have a strong suspicion that they are outside the loop on decision-making despite being legally and morally in charge. They are deeply responsible for the charity’s reputation and that includes the companies thta it controls. I wonder if they ever read comments such as provided by the public to Trustpilot or even have an idea of what complaints are logged direct to Which?

I concur wholeheartedly with these 3 contributions. And would add a general and regretable lack of transparency cconcerning pricing. A ‘wasted’ page of precious Which? space committed to promoting, Travel, Money etc Which? but lacking any obvious reference to cost.

I wonder if Which? will be informing us that loyal insurance policy holders will no longer pay more than new customers?

Perhaps the same policy should apply to loyal Which? subscribers.

I renewed our AA breakdown cover yesterday and haggled it to less than a new customer.

I pay an extra £17.50 on my motor insurance for breakdown cover.

So the rest of the cost is in your insurance premium or you are being subsidised by the other breakdown cover members, perhaps.

@alfa, I thought I had done well to reduce my AA renewal very substantially, as usual, close to a new member’s, but less than!! I’m distraught. I was going to say I’ll try even harder next year but, as it is an insurance, I guess the new members will pay the same as the existing ones, so haggling will stop? It will be interesting to see what will happen.

I should have pointed out that my £17.50 supplement for breakdown cover does not include attending problems at home, but I could cope if I had a flat battery.

I had checked online and was prepared to fight to get it as low as a new customer but was pleasantly surprised when the lower price was offered after requesting him to have another look. It is lower than last year with a stated discount of approximately £190.

In my view, we need a much larger consumers’ association membership to be representative, more influential, really address issues, influence in a constructive way and provide consumers with relevant guidance and information. Some, of course, they already do but I believe it needs a much larger membership than the one that currently funds it, one that seems to be declining rather than increasing.

Maybe Which? should critically examine its business model, what value it can offer, and see how it might attract more than 1% of consumers. I’d happily see part of my (quite high) subscription funding professional help to examine how it might best increase, substantially, its membership.

Much of what it does is good,useful, informative but clearly not attractive enough to the vast majority of consumers – those it seeks to represent. Are any other consumer organisations more successful?

Patrick Taylor says:
1 January 2022

The Dutch Consumentenbond has/had a much higher penetration rate that W? and that was partly due to AFAIR attacking business but cannot remeber which. However it is very much more transparent than W? and understands using members. Its CEO was earning around a third of Vicary-Smith. And a robust governance model by members with limited co-option

Bear in mind in the early days of CA it did use members, and the Trustees did go out and speak to members. It seems to me that there has been a deliberate policy of treating the members as punters to a magazine rather than the original approach of being genuinely representative of consumers.

OF course ConsumerReports is big, and Choice punches well above its weight. If I had the aim of emasculating the “consumer champion” from pursuing dishonest businesses in 2010 I would think I have been very successful. Builders, the great detergent cartel, Optical Express, not supporting the Fire Officers against plastic backed appliances, killing the members reviews, being ineffective in general. And of course wasting £40m that could have been better spent

As for the £10m plus expanding the offices for more staff – with roof garden – and then am I right in recalling them offering to rent out the ground floor of HQ !

Under “Share your ideas, treaclepumpkin says:Today 10:47
”Which? Money monthly increase
First time user…
Has there been any discussion abou the 66% monthly increase in the magazine costs?
More pages, more articles, justifying the increase that sort of thing…….

I raised this above. There has been no response from Which?

https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/which-discussion/#comment-1643210

Thank you for that.
Just been through and it seems that if I cancel my Which? and Which? Money subscriptions I can then take them both out again for £14.98 (£9.99 + £4.99) versus my current payment, after the Which? Money price increase, of £17.74 (£12.75 + £4.99). The first month wil be less as a “welcome” offer.
Maybe I’ll try haggling first ☺

I don’t know whether the Which? Mag half price offer is still available (£49.50 a year) and the offer for Which? Money of £39 given to me (not sure whether that was publicised) but if you took both those you’d be effectively paying around £7.40 a month. Seems all wrong to me.

Hi there, if you would like to keep your account but still explore any discounted offers it would be easier to make a call to our member services team. They would be happy to help with this – https://www.which.co.uk/about-which/contact-us

Could you explain why discounted offers are available to new members and not automatically offered to loyal subscribers, and why it is necessary to phone Which? to be offered one as I had to? My subscription is a rolling one, and had I not noticed the change notified on the address label I would not have discovered the substantial increase until I checked my credit card bill.

The (dis)benefits are far from insignificant. A Money mag 67% increase for me, a 50% reduction on Which? for a new subscriber. Is the answer for all subscribers to phone member services each year to get the best deals?

Which? have campaigned hard for some organisations to be prevented from offering new customers better prices than existing ones, insurance for example. Do Which? not really believe in this principle?

@chiragkhetiya, sorry Chirag,, the above comment was meant to be addressed to you 🙂

Hi Malcolm,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. With regards to your question, Legacy (older) memberships aren’t like for like with the newer memberships that were available at the discounted rate earlier this year.

Some of the services included in the Legacy Memberships are available as optional add-ins to the newer packages (Money Helpline being a good example), and it wouldn’t be fair to the Which? Member to change access to services without the Member’s understanding of what would change, and their consent to do so. After all, they may be using these services regularly, or happy to have the option to use them as part of their membership without paying extra.

That doesn’t stop you making the switch to the newer Membership tiers if one would like to do so, the best way we can accommodate this would be to speak to one of our Member Services team over the phone to explain what your options are.

Hope this helps,

Chirag

@chiragkhetiya, thanks for your usual informative reply Chirag :-). Yes, I am aware of the money helpline (I’ve not used it as far as I recall for a long time, if ever) but, of course, I also had access to that I believe by subscribing to Which? Money. My concern was with the heavily discounted Which? membership and with the ways to get W? Money cheaper but only, apparently if I asked directly.

John Rose says:
22 January 2022

Yep, all the signs of inertia selling. When I emailed to request a subscription change (£49 instead of £99, same product mix), the reply (10 days later) said could only be done by phone, and when I phoned the call handler said the offer had been pulled. I said theoffer was on the website on the day I requested it and no doubt the website archives would confirm that. After going to consult ‘a manager’ and calling me back, our man said that the request ‘could’ be met and would be done by charging me £99 and sending a refund for half of it ‘within 30 days or so’.
So which? is guilty of precisely the same make-it-hard-for-the punters selling tactics as those which are wisely excoriated when deployed by The Enemy.
I have lodged a complaint but don’t expect it to be taken seriously.
So, including this, about 3 hours wasted time claming an offer which was publicised as ‘available’ and I still havent got my £49 back.