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21 June 2017

Ofcom should instruct BT to make its new Call Protect service available to all other service providers.

BT’s Call Protect service is free to its customers and helps to reduce the number of unwanted spam calls. However, it is using it as promotional leverage to persuade customers from other service providers to switch to BT. We are with Virgin Media and they tell me that they are technically unable to offer a similar call protect service as BT controls the call routing infrastructure and will not share their Call Protect service with other providers. This is unacceptable as spam calls are a national nuisance and often criminal in their intent. If, as it appears, BT can provide a similar filtering service for telephone calls as Internet providers do for emails, this should be made available to all landline telephone users. This appears to be another example of BT acting unfairly in this market.
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G Bono says:
18 June 2017

Fees from BMI Healthcare

I had an urgent need to have my ear cleaned because I could not ear any more at work. The waiting through the GP was 3 months and for fear of losing my job I went to a private provider, after contacting I found out that the ear specialist was with BMI Health, BMI London International Hospital. I paid for each consultation and then they send me an additional bill that I did not know anything about. There charges were not explained properly and I ended up paying twice from the original invoice. Is there any way to protect people who are using BMI services from this happening to them?
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DominicO says:
16 June 2017

Mobile network roaming all the time ??

So, now we have an end to roaming charges within the EU I have been considering how the mobile networks might react if I try and take an agreement out with a foreign supplier or network. Sounds strange at first but bear with me.
So, currently with Vodafone UK which is alright as networks go, but there are times when their coverage is poor and one of the others would be better.
So, what would happen if I were to take out a contract with Vodafone France whilst still living in the UK? i.e. Roaming 100% of the time.
Would I be able to roam freely across all the UK networks, with the phone simply selecting it based on the best signal?
I know I would have a French telephone number but assuming I could live with that, what’s to stop me?
Dom.
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Citerson says:
8 June 2017

Does UV, Blue LEDs, or silver ions increase the preserving power of fridges ?

Panasonic have introduced their “Hygiene active” Blue LED, and Haier have their “Anti Bacterial Treatment with UV light”, but does anybody know whether they work?

There are reports of 10mW / cm-2 of 405 nm blue light being effective against a range of dangerous bacteria, but does anybody know what the wattage of the LED(s) is, or whether they generate sufficient light?

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Bernardeta Jakubczyk says:
6 June 2017

Hi,

I occasionally use Which? when I am looking for a new product or a home appliance. I find your advice interesting but only useful to a degree. What I am missing, is a clear distinction between products of different price (top end, mid range, basic) and recommendations within these three groups. I was recently looking at washing machines. Apparently, Miele is the best brand, but their products are very pricey – £600 upwards. What I would like to find out would be: what is a really good washing machine at say £300 – 400 price mark.
Another thing. Is there an archive of reviews of older products? A lot of people buy second hand goods now, for which reviews are not available any more. I think that would be very useful as well.
Kind regards.
Bernardeta Jakubczyk

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7 June 2017

Hi Bernardeta, thank you for contacting us. If you change your search criteria on the Best Buy search page (http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/washing-machines/article/recommendations/which-best-buy-washing-machines) you can re-order the results from ‘Low to high’, this will show the price order of our Best Buys. Our cheapest Best Buy is this model – http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/washing-machines/zanussi-zwf91283w/review

If you have trouble finding anything else on the Which.co.uk website, please contact Which? Member Services http://www.which.co.uk/about-which/contact-us

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5 June 2017

Are claims for replacing night storage radiators with direct electric heating valid?

A “home improvement” firm recently pitched an idea to us to replace our night storage radiators with modern direct electric heating radiators employing “fuzzy logic”. The advertising appears to suggest that you only need much lower powered electric heaters of this type, thus saving on electricity. This sounds like misleading advertising to me – what do others think, and does anyone have experience of this? The proposed heaters are by Spanish firm Rointe, which I note has already been ruled against by the ASA regarding one of its adverts.

However if there is something in this, maybe it is worthy of note…

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Vincent Rossiter says:
5 June 2017

Car Insurance – new customer quotes

I have car insurance with Aviva and got a quote from them as a new customer which was neraly £90 less than the renewal quote for my existing policy. They did honour the lower quote but it seems that when shopping around don’t forget to check your existing insurer too.
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4 June 2017

Volkswagen issues following diesel emissions recall

Hi, has anyone else experienced an engine management problem a short time after their diesel emissions recall was completed? The fuel injector on my 7 year old 1.6 Bluemotion Golf needed work 2 months following the completion of the emissions recall at a local garage. Prior to that we haven’t had any issues of this kind.
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Dave Renouf says:
2 June 2017

Windscreen repairs

Have you had a windscreen repair or replacement?
Was the windscreen replaced with a genuine original car brand part?
Beware that some companies don’t always replace your windscreen with a genuine car brand but their own brand, unless you specifically ask!
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Vic Gerrard says:
26 May 2017

Uv eye protection

I’ve searched the sight to find info about uv eye protection and lens qaulity, I found the section on fake sunglasses but nothing about uv eye protection. What about this as a subject?
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JOHN PHILIP WEBSTER says:
24 May 2017

STANDARDISE SMARTMETERS

The other day i receive an email from BG asking me if i wanted to upgrade to smart meters.As my house is only 3 years old the smart meters were fitted as standard.However i decided to carry out some research,and my findings left me totally incredulous.It seems that if you have a smart meter fitted by for eg.EON,then switch to BG for eg.the smart meter becomes a dumb meter.Last year nearly 5m customers switched suppliers,so in a worst case scenario,if all the switchers had smart meters before switching,then after switching they would have dumb meters.How ridiculous is that?I would imagine that the smart meter rollout is being paid for by the customer via their bills.This is another own goal by toothless OFGEM/Govt.they should not have allowed the rollout to begin until a standard smart meter was available that worked for all energy suppliers.The rollout should be halted immediately,and anyone switching should be made aware that their smart meter will not function after the switch.So it will be back to reading your own meters again.I am not sure however if the energy monitor will still work
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Paul Corser says:
20 May 2017

Car tyre availability

We recently bought a new car (BMW X1), and within a week, had a puncture in one tyre. A replacement tyre was required, but my 2 local tyre dealers (in Aberystwyth) were unable to acquire one for 5 days. I managed to buy one on-line at a premium but that took 3 days to deliver. My nearest BMW dealer admitted to there being a supply issue. When a new car is introduced, should there not be some rule as to availability of parts ? I now feel that I need to buy a fifth wheel and tyre, just to feel secure when driving on long journeys.
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freelife says:
18 May 2017

Car rental abroad is having a nasty 2017 make over

After renting cars for the last 30 years I discovered this year a nasty addition to the hidden charges: the cross border fee! As we know the majors (Avis, Hertz, Europcar, etc) have each created a low cost subsidiary with fancy names, hoping not to tarnish their reputation & allowing them to boost up their own prices. However this year they introduced exorbitant cross border fees into their low cost subs (InterRent, Firfly, etc), making them as expensive. So hidden that when I phoned AutoEurope, a leading comparaison website, to check on a GoldCar quote, the agent told me no, but when I asked him to double check he found it, pretending not to know about it? That’s another matter. Is this the end of low cost car rental?
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Dave M says:
17 May 2017

Vulnerable Operating Systems – Microsoft/ Linux

I believe that many important professional organisations use Linux for security reasons not least. Why does the NHS not use this as it said to be more secure. Why does not WHICH COMPUTING also do more on this operating system instead of being so tied to Microsoft and Apple. I am seriously investigating UBUNTU to dual boot with VISTA on my old PC, as there are plenty of ways to give it a go and I am expecting that the off line Apps that I run on Vista will function normally whilst getting the best of on services.
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Anthony Barraclough says:
16 May 2017

Stop the Banks from having online accounts unless they guarantee that their clients money is ALWAYS safe.
The other idea is that all those social sites should be taken OFF LINE until they can guarantee the public a total clean and respectable site. One which a child of five would be safe.

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JUNE Viveash says:
16 May 2017

A lot of older people who cannot manage their affairs have someone who has their power of attorney. Perhaps the banks could flag up the power of attorney’s name and phone number so any unusual withdrawals could be flagged up straight to them. Perhaps this could help older people being a target

See above
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Susanne Lyndell says:
11 May 2017

Transparency and honesty by retailers

This query is quite frustrating and curious in particular
I always buy mineral or spring water to drink.. Depending on the brand (and the store) the cost varies from 38p to over one pound for 2 litres.
I always read the back and see where it is sourced and bottled.

I have decided after the tap water was analyzed and many things I would not drink were in it, that I would make soups and so on with a cheaper water.

I have been buying several bottles of Morrisons “still Table Water'”
Whatever that means.
These large bottle are only 18p but they do not state the source.
I do buy the ‘Yorkshire Vale’ from Morrisons sold at 44p for the 2 litre bottle for the table. This has the information on the back.

I called Morrisons several times andthey would not give an answer. I was promised a return call but did not get one.

I laugh with friends at the old comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses’, in the episode were they were filling bottles with tap water and selling it.

I am not saying this is what Morrisons (or any other store that is not transparent) does, but if there is any way that ‘Which?’ can find this information out, it would be extremely helpful.
They should put the ‘source and where it is bottled’ of ALL the waters that is charged for on their bottles

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Elizabeth Phillips says:
11 May 2017

I think a lot more should be done about decent housing for people who cannot afford to buy. One of the worst things that happened under the Thatcher government was allowing the councils to sell council properties leaving tenants forced into private renting from useless dodgy landlords who don’t care as long as they get their rent.

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James annandale says:
10 May 2017

Take the power away from the solicitor, how, read on.

The solicitor/conveyor quotes a price for the job. When they are good and ready, and ONLY when THEY are good and ready, the sale completes and they take there fee and hand over the other monies to whichever parties. Stop the solicitor taking his money, there should be a gap between the sale completing and the solicitor/conveyor getting their fees. Only if the customer is fully satisfied should they then be paid. I asked my solicitor to ask specific questions via email, their reply was something like, ‘I will ask the questions that I feel need answering and advise you in due course’. Not one of the issues I had with the sale were answered, just the ones they were interested in, and in their own time. They should give you a price, and an exact date when all searches etc in your property will be completed by. If this criteria is met, they get the full fee, if not, they don’t. Buyers pulling out at the last minute should be stopped, the French system, you commit to a deposit, you have 1 week cooling off, then you sign, pull out, you lose your deposit.
Another way,
You decide to sell, instruct your solicitor/ conveyor, they do the necessary searches, they all know the necessary searches, get them done before the new buyer comes along. The sellers solicitor should do this, not the buyers. Then approximately one month after the sale, the solicitor gets their fees less any agreed for his incompetence.
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Gurbax Bajwa says:
8 May 2017

3% tax for separated partners buying a new home.

The landlord tax 2016 levies 3% on additional properties bought. However this tax aimed at landlords is also costing couples when they separate. For example, if a marriage fails and the home is jointly owned unless the house is sold or one partner is bought out the partner vacating the marital home will be forced to pay 3% on a new home, even though he or she is not a landlord. This effects men more than women as if a woman is the main carer of the children she cannot be forced to sell and in many cases of without a salary or working part time, cannot buy out her partner, forcing her ex to support his children and pay 3% on top of buying a new home.
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Lesley Bacon says:
7 May 2017

Utility bills on line

I have been moving my bills on line to reduce my use of paper. However, when trying to sort out my late husband’s finances the solicitor seems to be insisting on an original bill as ID. Fortunately I have one, but should consumers be warned to keep one bank or utility bill in paper form?
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