/ 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

I wonder what experience others have had with using Member Services.

I have had prompt help with changing my contact details a couple of times when I could not persuade the system to accept my updates and when I wanted to know how long I had subscribed this information was obtained easily.

My problem has been when I have tried to obtain more information about products. I have never obtained any information than is in product reviews on the website, so there seems little point in suggesting we call if we want more information. I may have been unlucky and I certainly don’t ask for help very often but wonder if others have managed to obtain more product information over the phone. I wonder if Alfa could have obtained information about headphone sizes, for example.

I didn’t think to ask wavechange and assume all their testing results are on the website. Perhaps someone will come and tell us if that information is available if they are asked.

I’m hoping that others will give examples of how they have been helped over product information. I may have been offered the contact details for a manufacturer but not much more. I suppose that for those who are not accustomed to looking up information contacting Member Services could be useful. An outline of what we can expect would be very useful.

For many products, Which? is the only source of comparative information. Ringing round all the manufacturers, or looking up their websites, could be very time consuming and not necessarily comprehensive.

To take Alfa’s headphones enquiry as an example, it might not have occurred to anyone setting the test specification and reporting template to consider whether head size was a critical choice parameter. A ‘comfort’ ranking will only apply to a standard head and at least half the population does not have one of those. The other half possibly does but some of them at least will be empty.

For tech products, cameras, and motor cars there are alternative publications that test and rank products but when I have looked at them they do not give much information on the non-technical aspects that contribute critically to practical usability.

For Which? to be able to provide such information – not necessarily immediately over the phone – could be an advantageous selling point.

When I last contacted Member Services I wanted to know which compact cameras come with a decent quality close fitting case that attaches to a belt. They did not have this information. I had already called Panasonic because my previous camera was this brand, but they could not help. There are many camera cases available but most are larger with space for accessories. I have a decent camera if I want to take better photos and I have a phone for everyday use, but a compact camera is handy to carry around when on holidays and is easier to use than a phone camera. It may be odd to choose a camera primarily on the basis of whether it comes with a case, but that was my priority. Alfa is also looking for information that might not be of interest to everyone.

What I want to know is what additional product information Member Services can offer beyond what is on the website.

You are dead right that contacting manufacturers and looking at websites is time consuming, John.

We have a Canon compact and wanted a hard case so I took it into a photography store and they found the perfect fit – a Lumix case.

Some of things I think should be standard on reviews are photos of ‘what’s in the box’, and test results. To me, those are basic requisites of a review.

I have never found ‘stars out of 5’ useful because there can be so much behind them that may or may not be relevant to a prospective buyer. A food processor marked down because it can’t grate cheese will be totally irrelevant to many and give a false impression of the capabilities of the machine if that is the only downfall.

I eventually found a Canon compact camera that fitted in my old Lumix case well, despite its rather large-format dimensions of 57 x 95 x 24 cm, according to the Which? website: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/compact-cameras/canon-ixus-190/technical-specifications I did report this for action and nothing has happened.

I tried to link it to my computer but had no joy, but have had fun with Canon instructions before.

I agree about the value of photos when providing reviews. The space in the magazine might be limited but that’s not the case on the website. eBay adverts often contain numerous photos.

Patrick Taylor says:
22 June 2020

I know that Which? did an excellent piece on stoves and pellet heating but I am pretty sure that they never mentioned this aspect, outlined below, which surely is highly relevant. This I know does not help stove sales, and of course Which? can benefit financially from traffic sent from its site, however I think overall people would prefer a trustworthy charity that gives a more complete picture.

Domestic wood -burningstoves have come increasingly under fire as they were fou d to be respon sible for 50%of a recent London pollution spike and doctors are warning of the health impacts of increased wood -burning in the U K, particularly due to PM2 . 5. Dr DorothyRobinson , a senior statistician writing in the British Medical Journal , wri tes
“Revised figures show domestic wood burning to be the UK’s largest single source of PM2.5emissions, 2.4 times greater than all PM2.5emissions from traffic. The new information (33% of PM2.5emissions in 2013-2014 from domestic wood burning, twice the previous estimate of 17%) highlights the extremely misguided nature of current policies….The disproportionate amount of PM2.5pollution from domestic wood burning continues to escape attention. Few people who install wood stoves are likely to understand that a single log-burning stove permitted in smokeless zones emits more PM2.5per year than 1,000 petrolcars and has estimated health costs in urban areas of thousands of pounds per year.”

My son is having a house built and the local authority insist on a secondary source of heating, apart from gas and electricity. A wood burning stove is what they suggest and approve.

We seem totally unconnected when it comes to the real issues of the day. They have not required solar panels or ground source heat pumps.

Hi Patrick – I am hoping that Which? will be doing a report on stoves following the forthcoming changes in the rules for burning solid fuels in the UK.

The emissions from burning wood vary enormously according to the design of the stove and moisture content and type of wood. I’m not impressed by the information from the BMJ because it does not reflect these variations. Maybe they are intended to be averages.

Our council does not have any smokeless zones and a few people including one of my neighbours sometimes burns coal. Roll on the ban. It’s sulphur dioxide rather than particulates that affects me.

Malcolm – As we have discussed elsewhere the best time to install ground source heat pumps is during construction of buildings. Likewise new builds offer the opportunity of a solar roof, which is more attractive than attached solar panels. Hopefully the house is orientated to make best use of the sun.

I don’t know what to make of the council’s requirements for a third source of heating.

Patrick Taylor says:
22 June 2020

Which council ? Seems a little bizarre unless the property is isolated. Scottish?

I have a neighbour who is a chimney sweep and he says the problem for most people is that there stoves even if new efficient ones require a decent fire for combustion and most stoves are actually banked and inefficient as they produce too much heat when operating maximally.

In the village where I live I have a neighbour where the wooden fire is lit daily, it is about 30 metres from me but we are pretty sure it is an old inefficient stove. With wood commonly available I cannot see them changing. There is a lot of propaganda about roaring fires etc but a lack of warnings on the byproducts. I bet there will be some peed-off parents with asthmatic children who are unaware of this “particular matter”

As you probably know, Which? has a series of articles about wood-burning stoves: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/wood-burning-stoves/article/guides

As so often happens, these are undated but there are usually some clues in the text.

I’m familiar with what you have said about efficiency.

Not everyone behaves sensibly and burns dry wood, which minimises particulate production. I found a friend who would take wood from my recent minor deforestation exercise. I had suggested that it was kept dry for a. year but it was burned within two weeks.

Quite a few television programmes highlight wood burning stoves when touring houses and these are seen as a good selling point by nearly every participant in the show. These are, clearly, a desirable asset in many minds. The fact that they can be misused, by burning wet wood, cheaply gathered, is overlooked. Short of legislation, the attraction of owning a wood burner might outweigh the pollution it causes. It needs a public awareness campaign and a change in attitude to alter the situation. People enjoy the sight, sound and heat of a real fire.

Estate agents’ blurbs always feature a wood-burner where there is one and it probably adds a few thousand to the asking price. We acquired one when we bought our present house but have never used it. We have a wood-store that is half full of timber and I have added some recently cut tree trunks and branches to it which can just sit there and dry out. Some of the logs are incredibly heavy and dense so would probably keep the fire going for a long time. I have posed the question whether to remove the wood-burner and make a more useful feature of the recess and hearth but a policy decision has been made that it will be kept in case of a prolonged power failure in the winter that shuts down the central heating – whether a pan of water on top of the burner would ever boil would be an early experiment. Our stove is a multi-fuel type but we don’t have any alternative fuel to wood so after a few days we’d have to start chopping up the furniture.

I have an open fire fire that is no more than decoration. It could be used if necessary. I have some wood that my predecessors had kept for emergency.

It seems likely that the sale of coal will be banned and householders allowed to use existing stocks, but I have no idea how any government will stop the use of wet wood. Education only works if people are receptive. Maybe the number of people who suffer from some degree of asthma may help.

The installation of new gas boilers is to be phased out within a few years.

I use my “old” (I have two 14 year old phones that still work) Galaxy S4 to make calls, message, photos, look on the net, but I do not use it to make purchases nor payments, nor for internet banking, nor to access any of my accounts that involve payment.

To advise me to stop using such a useful phone because I am open to a serious security issue seems, on the face if it to the uninitiated, to be an extreme suggestion. Perhaps someone can explain what I have missed and what threats I am exposed to.

I don’t think there is a problem with the old phones since they are not smartphones. Presumably the S4 is about five or six years old.

I would be very interested to know the answer because I have friends that use old phones for the limited purposes you describe and, in one case, email.

I would be concerned about the risks of synchronising an insecure old phone with computers etc. but that does not apply if you don’t use this feature. I do not know if this is the right Convo to get useful advice.

@gmartin @jon-stricklin-coutinho

Have you given up on the convos? Neither of you seem to have posted for at least 2 weeks.

Which Conversation – Lobby is all over the shop at the moment, I wonder if anyone cares any more?

I am concerned by the lack of support for people raising points or queries in the Conversations.
I appreciate that there are probably a number of difficulties arising from the present emergency conditions but I would hope the occasional progress report or update should be possible on where Which? has got to with some of the more important or urgent Conversations.

I sense that a lot of people in the complex and unprecedented situation of the EWS1 survey issue are relying on Which? to get some sort of resolution from the government or the lenders but there has been no word on progress for a long time now.

Hi Alfa. I’m active every day – all the site’s content is written/edited/published by me, so I very much haven’t given up!

It’s an extremely busy period across all our channels at the moment. Unfortunately Grace has also just left us for a new role at another company, so we’re working on hiring for her replacement ASAP as well.

I also took leave lately, Jon has been off and only returned recently – we’re juggling plenty of challenges.

Jon and I do our best to read all your comments, but if you think we’ve missed something at the moment then please do let us know.

We’re also aware of the issues with the Lobby – Jon is working on that too.

Hi George & Jon,

Glad to hear there were good reasons for your absence and hope you were able to enjoy your times off.

Can we help in any way – e.g. are there any convo suggestions that we could help by writing? (I exclude the one I recently suggested to you as my views on the subject wouldn’t get past your legal team so are better placed in the comments.)

Thank you , George and Jon.

I expect curating Which? Conversation takes up all your time. I was hoping that some of the topic authors could look in from time to time to keep their columns in order, summarise positions, and answer questions.

Patrick Taylor says:
30 September 2020

“My son is having a house built and the local authority insist on a secondary source of heating, apart from gas and electricity. A wood burning stove is what they suggest and approve. We seem totally unconnected when it comes to the real issues of the day. They have not required solar panels or ground source heat pumps.” Malcolm R.

Which Council ?

Several years ago I was disappointed to see new housing that could not usefully have solar panels fitted. They had the largest roof area facing north.

The growing risk of water shortage in the south of England was in the news recently but many homes still do not have water meters which are known to make many people more careful about water use.

In Bucks.

My current which membership costs £12.75 per month. This was originally £10.75 a month when I joined but increased in 2017 to £11.75 per month and then again a year later to the current £12.75 a month.

The current price to new members is now even lower then when I joined i.e. £9.99 per month a considerable discount.

It makes me contemplate terminating my membership to sign up again as a new member, which should not be necessary.

I am not sure if other members see this as an issue or not?

Hi, I’ve just had a chat with our member services team about this – they’re going to contact you to discuss.

Patrick Taylor says:
1 October 2020

Discounted pricing for those who threaten to leave which the magazine has promoted for other industries such as phone, insurance, media etc several times. There is no doubt that Which? is expensive compared to any other consumer body in the world that I know of. And I have belonged to six.

The drafting in of staff to a central London office and paying London wages is an interesting policy for any charity where money should be equated with value.

The question of leasing out all or part of the headquarters adjacent to Regents Park is one shrouded in deliberate mystery despite the obvious advantages [ normally] of operating from low cost premises in non-premium wage areas. The refurbishment of the offices and the addition of an extra floor and roof garden, in excess of £10m, is one use of subscribers money that would probably drawn more comment if subscribers had been aware of it.

However the existence of the tiny number of shareholders who in theory govern and guarantee the charity [if it is wound up] is hidden from subscribers who like them, really should see the Accounts, and what is done by the staff with the income.

Despite getting rid of PVS and his sidekicks the cost base of the charity is still vey high particularly in the upper echelons. Anyone can download the Accounts though finding them is easier by going to Companies House site rather than trying to find them on the Which? site.

Is it an effective consumer body? Not really given that its’ income is so large it is far inferior to QueChoisir [ France] and Choice [Australia] who each have around 10% of the income.

It has been ruined under the guidance of the Which? Ltd Board which featured a large number of businessmen who presided over the wasting of £40m in failed commercial ventures unrelated to the aims of the charity, the Consumers’ Association, which owns Which? Ltd.

I have been paying £29.25 quarterly for Which? membership. I phoned member services and have switched to paying £99 annually. I was told that this would not include financial advice, which is something I have never needed. I have suggested that the website is updated to make this clear.

Thanks to lelohe for providing financial advice. 🙂

I wont say how much I pay in case Member Services spot this and decide it should be increased. I take Which? and Which? Money monthly, and Which? Travel 6 times a year. I also subscribe separately to Which? Legal – almost never used but you never know – and a small monthly amount to something lost in the mists of time, maybe Online?

I cannot find any information on this when I go to My Account. It just tells me to contact them direct. Seems strange.

Kevin says:
2 October 2020

Inertia subscription selling model and a policy which discriminates against their existing customers. Isn’t this something that we expect Which? to campaign against, not emulate?

A pricing structure which can’t be found on their website (or at least not easily) is the wrapping on the cake.

As a long-standing member on monthly subscription I feel ripped-off.

If you are not logged-in the Which? homepage shows subscription prices for the magazine and online subscriptions and a link to join. The information was not easy to find in the past.

But it doesn’t show the other magazine subscriptions. I think you have to log in first to find those – Money, Travel, Gardening and Computing – by going to “Our products and services” so maybe you have to join first to see what else is on offer? I’d have thought it could be made much more straightforward – but I may have missed something.

At the bottom of the homepage is ‘More magazines from Which?’ and photos of them. Clicking on the links shows that the four packages currently available. Gardening and Computing cost £5 per month and Travel and Money £3 per month.

Patrick Taylor says:
3 October 2020

Looks like pre-knowledge of the other offerings is desirable – so if you type this in :
https://try.which.co.uk/gardening-membership
you find it but it does not refer to the other offerings either; that is unless you navigate the dropdown menu and go through a few screens to find the cost of Legal.

My son was commenting the other day just how expensive magazines are these days, even though they are packed with adverts. They cost as much as some paperback books. We’ve stopped buying them. The only subscription I take is to Private Eye.

I would have thought Which? could collect all relevant information for potential members together in a more prominent way. I really hope that somehow they could make a very substantial increase in its membership to present a stronger consumer voice. I suspect the subscription cost may put many off. Many may not want a monthly magazine but are happy to look online. So perhaps a low cost Which? Supporter subscription would attract them where they could add weight to campaigns, provide information through Connect, correspond with Which? and have a voucher to view a limited number of online reviews with the ability to buy more views.

Patrick Taylor says:
3 October 2020

Looks like pre-knowledge of the other offerings is desirable – so if you type this in :
try.which.co.uk/gardening-membership
you find it but it does not refer to the other offerings either; that is unless you navigate the dropdown menu and go through a few screens to find the cost of Legal.

*OOps I forgot that Which? does not whitelist mentions of it’s own sites so have re-posted ahead of it being monitored. And added extra detail.

I do think that the gardening mag was the best value of all the offerings. I am happy that subscriptions are below £100 however it still remains the most expensive of the consumer bodies I know of. Around twice the price of QueChoisir and Stiftung Warentest.

Basic Consumentenbond is around half the price but you can go fully loaded for €108 but that includes
Benefit from all our services and advantages. Go for Full & Trusted.
Switch & Save Service
Collective advantage
Member discount
You support our work
Digital Consumer Guide
View and compare all product tests
Financial and legal assistance
Personal (complaint) letters

It is astonishing that the Consumers’ Association has drifted so much in costs and of course it has singularly failed to notice or act on some incredibly obvious mainstream consumer problems in the UK.

As for its failure in its minimalist testing details compared to other consumer bodies test reports, and of course failing to institute longer-term testing by real consumers comments it seems as though it has been rendered into a lamb by the previous Which? directors.

The most active part operating daily is the Press Office which churns out comments daily on various things for the media. Paying for a barking dog that has no intention of using it’s teeth seems an unattractive role for a self-proclaimed consumer champion.

Patrick Taylor says:
3 October 2020

I was wondering regarding the cost base of the various consumer bodies. I see from the Page 49 of the Accounts that 24 people are paid over 130k which used to be the top 1% of salaries for the UK. Out of 790 people 177 are above 60k.

I see that there have been changes in the Articles which I hope have ironed out some of the problems. Perhaps my efforts were not all in vain : )

BRAND SCORE in Which? reviews

I have been looking at the information and reviews that Which? has for gas boilers. Essentially there are three main types – system, heat-only and combi. Which? now provides a ‘Brand score’ for each brand, so each model of that brand of gas boiler is given the same score irrespective of the type of boiler, despite the fact that say a combi-boiler is a very different beast from the others. Fortunately the specifications such as size and heat output are still there in reviews of individual models.

‘Brand score’ is explained here: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/boilers/article/how-we-assess-boilers

Can we really rate gas boilers by brand or is there a possibility that one model is significantly better or worse than others? It would be good to have supporting evidence.

I wonder if Which? is using brand score for other products.

After much deliberation, we have recently bought a new printer – Epson EcoTank ET7750. It has been presented as the A3 version of the ET7700 a Which? Best Buy with a score of 77% (top is 78%).

This printer was chosen as being capable of thicker paper, refillable ink tanks, and a generally favourable Which? review.

So far I really dislike this thing. It never occurred to me that a modern printer would be incapable of borderless printing unless it is on expensive photo paper – a very important point that should have been highlighted in the Which? review.

A main use for the new printer is for printing greetings cards on thicker paper than my old now broken HP could handle. I have an A4 landscape template with a narrow border that I used for my old HP printer so inserted a new design into it. I always do a trial run in draft mode on normal paper before going for the final print.

I cannot get it to print properly. So far, I have big margins, cropped bottom, the rear feed regular paper scrunches up so a skewiffed result. Draft printing mode is only available if certain conditions are satisfied.

I have only done one what I would call a high quality print on what was probably not the best paper, but I would still have expected a better result.

Some of the Which? review comments:
♦️ It’s certainly not cheap, but this top-end Epson EcoTank printer is excellent at what it does.
♦️ Prints photos and spreadsheets well
♦️ What’s it great at? Printing decent quality documents and photos at a rock-bottom cost.
♦️ As this printer is aimed at photo-printing enthusiasts, Epson has fitted a five ink system, including four dyes – black, cyan, yellow and magenta – along with photo black pigment ink.
♦️ Should I buy it? Yes, but with some caveats – notably around the price.

Did reviewers get printer results muddled up?

I really struggled to find a new printer. In this day and age they should be far superior than what is available to buy. You can buy thick greeting card paper, but there is practically nothing on the market capable of using it. When rubbish products are given such glowing reviews, it doesn’t exactly push manufacturers into improving them. The only thing going for it at them moment is the large refillable ink tanks.

editing . . . I forgot to mention the quality of the printer:
Before anything can be printed, the control panel has to be lifted up and the paper input feeds and output tray have to be pulled out. This is a real hassle otherwise if left out they are dust traps. They are extremely flimsy so not sure how long they will last. The control panel on my old HP printer was very easy and straightforward to use with a simple back button to return to a previous menu. This printer doesn’t like the return button and keeps demanding you set settings you may have already set or don’t want to touch. grrrrrrr

As the two printers are basically the same, I don’t believe the ET-7700 should have been given a best buy status.

I really regret buying the ET-7750 and think it is a waste of money.

My condolences Alfa. I too have thought about one of these and would have bought one if my current printers didn’t work any more. My last Epson, many years ago, was fragile and flapped around like a wet hen before producing anything. One of my current HP printers also does this, but the oldest just prints, and prints and prints. I recently bought a standby HP for the boat and have reported here on the issues I had with it. The touch screen decides when it will accept being touched which is a nuisance, and colour prints are imperfect. Text is instant and very quick so I continue to use it instead of taking it back, not easy with Corona restrictions anyway. I have yet to try a proper photo print, so this may be better at doing that than plain paper pictures. One plus point, it tells me that the colour cartridge needs replacing, but hasn’t stopped me printing anything because of it. Indeed in text mode any coloured bits are still good. The scanner is excellent and works very well as does the copier.
Your Epson experience is very valuable and I hope Which? will review their comments in the light of what you have told us. If they can’t get it right what’s the point?

I expect that the margin problem is down to software settings, Alfa.

I’m not a fan of the effusively positive comments about the better features in reviews, which look as if they have been written by a salesperson. At least we are usually told about the main drawbacks.

I struggled to find an A4 printer for a friend to produce greeting cards. The first Canon printer jammed repeatedly and had to be returned. It was replaced with a similar model (Currys was helpful for once) but that has proved disappointing for other reasons.

I have two HP printers but neither prints well on expensive HP glossy paper, even when I was using HP ink. For everyday prints I use Epson coated paper which I bought in bulk more than ten years ago, and Kodak glossy paper does well for better prints. I have no experience of inkjet printing on heavy paper.

Vynor – The message about the colour cartridge needing replacing is to remind you that you will need one soon. My printers have separate cartridges and most of the time there is a warning that one or more of the cartridges will need replacement – three out of four on one printer at the moment.

I am used to being able to print anything on anything from within whatever application I am using at the time, only limited by paper size and thickness. Years ago, when I reinstalled the operating system, I let Microsoft install the drivers for old my HP and installed none of any HP bundled software that it might have come with.

At nearly £700 (overpriced at the moment because of low stock levels), this printer is expensive, but the payback should be the savings on ink. Even so, for this price it should be a damned brilliant printer.

The printer came with 2 complete sets of ink in normal size bottles. It will be interesting to see how prices change in approximately 2 years time when I am likely to need new inks. These are the prices today 29th October 2020 on Epson:

Where there’s a will, there’s a way (sometimes, hopefully) so last night I started investigating the bundled software and it looks like I might be able to do it from within photo software. I still need to do test prints which are not easy when the rear paper feed does this with plain paper:

😤 😱 😖 😟 😭 ☹️

I had already looked at the ink prices and prefer this system of paying a sensible price for ink rather than having a cheap printer subsidised by expensive consumables. With cheap printers a set of high capacity cartridges can cost as much as the printer which encourages people to scrap printers.

Does plain paper feed properly from the rear tray if this is full of paper or could you do the test prints on paper from the main tray?

I love technical challenges but not when an expensive new product does not work properly.

Refillables and eco seem to go together in the printer world which also seems to mean a reduction in print quality on many printers.

I took the above photo this morning and just counted 14 sheets left – probably started with about 25. I will try it with more paper in the rear feeder and see what happens, so thanks for the suggestion wavechange, but don’t hold your breath !!!

This is from the manual:

Borderless Paper Type Compatibility
You can print borderless photos on compatible paper types in compatible sizes:
Borderless Paper Types
• Epson Photo Paper Glossy
• Epson Premium Photo Paper Glossy
• Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy
• Epson Premium Photo Paper Semi-gloss
• Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte
• Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte Double-sided
Borderless Paper Sizes
• 4 × 6 inches (102 × 152 mm)
• 5 × 7 inches (127 × 178 mm)
• 8 × 10 inches (203 × 254 mm)
• Letter (8.5 × 11 inches [216 × 279 mm])
• A4 (8.3 × 11.7 inches [210 × 297 mm])

Under Printing from a Computer
Selecting Basic Print Settings – Windows

Select the basic settings for the document or photo you want to print.
5. Select the size of the paper you loaded as the Document Size setting.
Note: You can also select the User-Defined setting to create a custom paper size, but you cannot
use the Borderless setting.
6. If you are printing a borderless photo, select Borderless. You can click Settings to access
additional options for borderless printing.
Note: You must select a compatible borderless paper type and size to print without borders. Check the borderless paper compatibility list for details.

Unbelievable that a printer cannot print borderless on A4 plain paper and something the Which? review should have pointed out.

The rear feed can do borderless but I just can’t get it to work from the main tray. You change one setting that automatically changes other settings. Very frustrating. My test pages have the centres blanked out to save ink, just hope undo doesn’t undo the print settings as well.

What I want is A4 plain paper, borderless, draft mode for testing then best card for the final. I don’t think I am asking for the impossible as my old HP could do it.

I looked at my A4 Canon MG5750 and under printer settings I can select borderless printing, standard quality on plain A4 paper. A text document with the margins set at zero does print borderless – although more slowly. Whether this is a default to higher quality is not apparent. Have you asked Epsom (are they human?) ?

Alfa – I have been wary about borderless printing because of warnings that the overspray can cause problems with some printers as a result of ink overspray. This excess ink must be collected in some way to prevent contaminating subsequent sheets of paper.

When I have wanted borderless printing for magazines, posters and leaflets I have needed multiple copies so have left it to printers, who refer to borderless printing as full bleed. Where I have wanted one or two borderless prints I have used a guillotine.

I’m interested to learn about borderless printing because it is something friends ask about. As Malcolm suggests would could ask Epson, and there may be a forum offering advice. I’ve certainly found advice online for HP printers.

To late to edit the first sentence. 🙁

An update . . . .

I have managed a borderless print with Easy Photo Print an app that came bundled with the printer and pleased to report my greeting card is now in the postbox.

Wavechange, my card design actually incorporates a narrow border so is not printing right up to the edge, so what I create and see should be what I get.

The Easy Photo Print software ignores the border initially but if I shrink it to 98% and use the arrows to move it into position it works. But what a hassle. ☹️

The result is not quite the bold colours I was aiming for, but quite good nevertheless. This is probably partly down to the almost pearlescent card I have used and partly down to the app’s available photographic papers to choose from which are: Epson Ultra Glossy, Epson Premium Glossy, Epson Premium Semigloss, Photo Paper Glossy, Epson Matte, Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet. I chose Semigloss as the card has a sheen to it. Next time I will try the matte or ink jet and hope the results are also acceptable as the card is too pricey to keep practising on.

I have had enough of this thing for a while but will look where I can get advice sometime.

Will I ever love this printer? I think not.

Thank goodness for that. 🙂 I appreciate the cost of decent paper and card but you can optimise settings by printing on part of a sheet and reusing the same sheet several times.

Years of messing around with colour printers have taught be to experiment with different papers, so if you have paper/card left over from your HP printer you might be pleasantly surprised. At least you don’t have to worry about the cost of ink now that you have an ink tank printer.

I have some thinner card and have just remembered I have packs of 6×4 photo paper that came ‘free’ with HP inks. They might be worth using for testing the different paper settings.

David van Rest (Dr) says:
29 October 2020

It bothers me that the Trustees are remote and extremely busy people. Do they have the time to look deeply into issues and practices. This is the comment I made: Dear Donald Grant,
Feedback as requested.
1. All candidates are posh and overcommitted. I would welcome a ‘Middle of the Road candidate’ with the time to give detailed attention to the procedures and practices..
2. It is patronising to give us no choices. It would be helpful if the Nominations Committee gave us two other short-listed candidates to give an element of choice: especially if there was a candidate more representative of ordinary members.
I hope this is helpful. Yours sincerely,
Long term subscriber and enthusiastic member

The answer was that selection was made on the basis of slots of expertise required. Also that Independent candidates would be included later.

Still I wonder if others agree with me.

I agree with you, David, but I am not an ordinary member of CA so play no part in its formalities.

I suits some organisations to have very busy people in governance roles.

Something you could raise at the AGM on 5th December if you are a Member, David. If not, it is easy to join.

Since so much of Which?’s work is to do with products – their effectiveness, reliability, safety – I wonder how many of the senior employees of Which?, or those on Council, have any background in industry, design, standards, that would inform their work?

I wish that trustees would join in with discussion on Convo.

Patrick Taylor says:
30 October 2020

You no doubt will be pleased to note that the AGM is being streamed this year. You write in to say you want to be party to it.

This raises the very pertinent point that as ALL subscribers vote then surely all of them should be able to view the AGM , and of course see the Accounts.

Just to be clear shareholders, that is Ordinary Members, have an absolute right to attend the AGM and in Company Law are the only ones who elect the Directors [Trustees] of the company- but importantly are the only ones who can hold the Directors to Account and move motions. I am not now aware how many Ordianry members are left and would hope that it will be a figure mentioned at the AGM if not before.

Perhaps someone here or the moderators know this figure?

It can be argued that when contentious issues need to be resolved – and this is part of what an annual general meeting is for – those people with a real interest in the organisation should be able to influence the outcome. Ordinary Members generally have expressed that interest by becoming such. Any subscriber can, after one year’s membership I believe apply to become an ordinary member.

So, a contentious issue, when raised formally, is debated at an AGM and anyone who is an Ordinary Member is entitled to express their view. The issue can only be satisfactorily resolved (a meaningful vote) when all entitled to vote have heard and considered the arguments for and against.

This is why allowing everyone else, who has not heard the debate, a vote really debases the process. They may well have strong views, they may well have confidence that the organisation’s recommendation must be correct, but others may point out powerful arguments that these voters had not considered. Reliance on these voters to follow the party line can allow an organisation to push its own resolutions through.

It is clear from this year’s Which? AGM that the opportunity has been taken to enable all Ordinary Members to take part and at least hear the debates before voting. I hope in future the same online system will be used even when a physical live AGM returns.

My personal view is that either only Ordinary Members should be entitled to vote – but persuade as many members as possible to join that group – or to allow every member of 12+ months standing the vote, as now, but also the right to join and contribute to the AGM.

I agree. The current system was pushed through council by PV-S, along with limits on trustee tenure, a gradual erosion of council power through seconding members and the pre-vetting of trustee applicants, so effectively allowing the real power of selection to reside in the hands of the CMG or / and Which? Ltd. Sadly, the council did nothing to stop what many must have realised was a dangerous and potentially fatal direction for Which? to take.

I’ve said very little on this, recently, although I know a great deal of the inside story which led up to the current situation. As an interesting example of how badly Which? has mishandled subscriber and member relations and communications for years, see if you can work out when this was sent to me by a senior manager (long gone) inside Which? (identifying information has been masked out):

Thanks for the mail. I think we all learnt something about the process
by which re-designs should be introduced during the last one. You’re
right. I made several mistakes – and not thinking hard enough about the
impact on the Forums ‘because we’re going to change them soon anyway’
was probably the biggest.

On the Forums – things were different in the early days. There was a
huge amount of nervousness about whether this organisation was wise to
open itself up to such public debate about its activities. That seems to
have diminished a little. The number of other CA contributors has
diminished ­ but you might be surprised about how much internal furore
is caused by postings. And I don’t just mean the AGM stuff from last
year.

Fundamentally, I remain convinced that opening these channels of
communication – especially if we can get the structure and
administration of it right – could be the most important thing we can
build with Which? Online. I’m pretty sure that you believe that, too –
why else would you invest your time and effort in trying to make them
the best you can, too.

I’m convinced now that **** isn’t the right technical solution to make
these changes. This is why I’m investing in a new approach. The lesson
I’m learning is that I need to give better indications of what we’re up
to as we progress. That way there are liable to be fewer shocks and
surprises.

Penultimate point: as I headed out the door for **** in the last
week of *** I said to **** **** ‘ Look after Debate of the Day
while I’m gone’. He did what he could to handle the Forum firestorm
(including a couple of slightly desperate calls to my mobile) – and
learnt a lot in the process. We’re using much of that experience in
developing our new Forums. We all know how hard it is to say what you
mean in a posting. And you may have forgotten that when you’re upset the
regulars can be a slightly intimidating bunch. I think ****
developing an interesting style of his own now as his confidence
increases.

I’m not surprised by the depth of feeling. I’ve had plenty of
examples of it over the **** years we’ve been running (including a
sizeable amount of personal abuse in my Inbox). But I still don’t see
you or anyone else as either irritants, malcontents or just customers.
You have a view, I’ve provided the means for you to express it and I
ignore it at my peril.

If it helps, my thinking is that as far as Forums go the current
regulars are contributors and everyone else is a potential contributor.
If everyone with a subscription to Which? Online ends up contributing
or being able to make use of the contributions then I think we’ll have
cracked this Forum stuff.

And I think (though I’m willing to bet that he never thought it would
happen like this) that will be my latest and hopefully not last
contribution to Michael Young’s ideals of empowering people to make
informed consumer decisions and achieving measurable improvements in
goods and services.

That is eighteen years old. Seems, at Which?, that some things never change.

Patrick Taylor says:
30 October 2020

Wavechange – you may be interested in how lightweight other consumer bodies are when reporting on products

TEST Blyss Anthao

Dry or Fluid Inertia Radiator – 1500 W
Indicative price: xxx.

77%
Likes Heat distribution in the room Average temperature stability
Regrets Nil

Details
The Blyss Anthao 1,500 W fluid inertia radiator is marketed by the Kingfisher Group (Castorama). It is made of aluminum and offers the following modes: comfort, eco, frost-free, control lock, heating programming, day/time setting. It is equipped with an extended window opening detector. It is 78.5 cm wide, 57.8 cm high, 12.5 cm deep and weighs 17 kg. It is delivered with a 90 cm power cable. The device has an IP24 protection rating.

The Blyss Anthao 1500 W heater heats quickly and evenly. In addition, it ensures a stable temperature over time.

Heating speed
With the unit thermostat set at 20 °C, the changeover time from 17 °C to 19 °C is 8 minutes. It will take 63 minutes to change from 8 °C to 19 °C with the thermostat set to maximum.

Accuracy and heat distribution
The heat with the thermostat set at 20 °C is well distributed in the room. From 30 to 60 minutes after the passage of 19 °C, the deviation from the set temperature of 20 °C is 0.6 °C. After this period the deviation is 0.6 °C. The average room temperature is stable.

Thermal safety
The maximum temperature measured with the thermostat at 20 °C is 68 °C.

Power consumption and cost
The power consumption in active standby is 0.7 W. To switch from 8 to 19 °C, the device consumed 0.25 € of electricity. Remember that consumption is related to the duration of heating.

Frost protection
In frost-free mode, the unit started heating at an average temperature of 9°C. The minimum temperature in the climate chamber was 5.6 °C when it was triggered. The frost protection mode is reliable.

Hi Patrick – I can tell that this is not a Which? review because it does not use terms such as brilliant or superb. 🙁

I presume that this is a review of an oil-filled heater and hopefully the purchaser would have already studied background information about different types of heaters if they were not familiar with them. Our Which? Advice Guides generally do this well.

This review has useful information but perhaps it is worth exploring possible weaknesses.

While it is useful to mention that at setting of 20°C the temperature can reach 68°C, surely this deserves some comment because this could cause injury. Diabetics, for example, can lose sensation of temperature in their feet and hands. I suspect that oil-filled heaters (rather than just this one) may not be ideal for use by these vulnerable people but hopefully accompanying information will refer to this issue. Similarly, the significance of IP ratings deserve explanation since many will not be familiar with their significance.

The details of the frost protection mode are useful as some users use oil-filled heaters as a safe way to protect from freezing when they are away from home. It would have been helpful to comment on the ease of use of the timer.

I don’t believe that the information about heating speed and heat distribution is of much use without giving information about the size of the room, and there is unlikely to be much difference between this model and other oil-filled heaters of similar power rating.

It’s useful to have brief information about the strengths and weaknesses of heater.

Patrick Taylor says:
30 October 2020

There is a very long article accompanying 20+ heater reviews that discusses the various types of heater and why some are more suitable for some areas and different room sizes. The article is in the order of 20,000 plus words. That is eight pages of A4 excluding all pictures and tables.

I have not examined other articles and the diabetic angle may be covered. I assume though that diabetics are actually warned of the problem and ways to avoid finding out by carelessness.

Surface temperatures of many devices are required to be limited by international standards to avoid harm. The limit depends upon the material, whether it is likely to be held or just casually contacted, with special requirements for products designed for certain groups such as children.

Hopefully the temperature of 68°C is a maximum and once the temperature has stabilised the surface temperature will be lower. Oil-filled heaters are generally regarded as relatively safe. A fan-convector heater would run cooler but these are generally wall-mounted. I did not see reference to diabetics in the Which? articles. Perhaps you are right that we rely on those affected (or their carers) will have been given advice as you suggest, Patrick.

Electric heaters have come a long way since I was a child, when an inquisitive child could poke a finger into live parts.

Patrick Taylor says:
6 November 2020

On the future of Which?

I recently subscribed to the “Medium” which is a daily collection of stories gleaned from the net. I have been glancing at it for over a year but it does have a monthly restriction for non-subscribers.
Anyway I made a comment on an article on the ReMarkable 2 which is just released.

This morning I received a weekly summary showing the number of people who had read my comment 101 and also a like from a named fellow-subscriber. The average read time was 7 seconds : )

Now you may well think that in an open environment members could write articles and be appreciated for the quality of the articles, and comments they post. Which may encourage better comments and encourage members to contribute more. The ability to find topics being hugely important.

Which brings me to ChoiceCommunity wherein a member originated post on Australian beetroot drew comments covered innate sweetness, why sugar is added, and why beetroots are the size they are in normal marketing. All illuminating posts from a variety of contributors.

And of course one can easily search and find the articles from readers and staff. I would recommend joining the free ChoiceCommunity to see what can be done with a membership organisation.

It is 14th November and I’ve already been seeing Christmas stuff on tv for quite a while. Soon we’ll be having Easter ads. But I have also received my December issue of Which? magazine. Why so early? And I am not usually the first to get it. I’d really like, and expect, to get a monthly mag just before the month it is for. My Private Eye comes fortnightly and usually just as the date on the previous one expires, so the news it contains is up to date. Which?, on the other hand, will be weeks behind the latest news.

Is this the norm for magazines and do Which? have to follow it? I can understand commercial mags, sold in shops, getting their December issue out earlier and earlier to try to steal sales from their competitors, but Which? is not in that race.