Newsletter

Jersey Consumer Council

Author: ConsumerCouncil

Calls & Data when Roaming

June 15, 2018 Telecommunications, Travel and Transport No Comments

 

Going on holiday is exciting but if you use your mobile phone while abroad you don’t want to come home to a nasty shock.

Whether you are jetting off somewhere exotic, hopping across to France with your car, or visiting friends and family, planning ahead will give you peace of mind that you won’t return to a big mobile phone bill when you get home to Jersey.

The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities have worked alongside local telecom operators, JT, Sure and Airtel to bring down the cost of using your mobile phone while abroad, but with ever increasing use of data hungry mobile device, bigger than expected bills are still a possibility. There are a number of things you can do to give you peace of mind, before you embark on your travels.

Louise Read, Director of the Authority, recommends adding ‘talking to your mobile phone operator’, to your pre-holiday to-do list. JT, Sure and Airtel will be more than happy to help, advising you about the charges for the country you are visiting and suggesting ways of minimising your bill. Find out if your call and data allowances are included for roaming,  should you exceed these you are likely to be in for a costly surprise.

Once you are abroad, look for free Wi-Fi services whenever you can (many public spaces, hotels, cafes and restaurants now provide free access to broadband) However remember that public Wi-Fi does not afford you complete security so use it wisely and be cautious.

Consider staying in touch with free-to-use Apps such as WhatsApp and Skype. If you’re not using Wi-Fi, avoid data-heavy activities such as watching videos, updating social media with photos or downloading music. It’s worth seeing if your operator has an app which allow you to monitor your usage – download this before you set off.

Another option is to buy a local SIM card to put into your phone, with pre-paid credit. It may be a bit fiddly and you’ll have different phone number but if you use a lot of data, rather than calls, it will help you keep track of how much you are using and paying.”

Finally, of course, if you really want to avoid bill shock, and have complete peace of mind – Louise goes on to suggest “a ‘Digital Detox’ live in the present and turn off your data roaming function!”

Happy holidays!


Food Prices up by 5%

June 15, 2018 Home life No Comments

Four family favourite recipes have risen in cost on average by 5% from mid-January to mid-May this year. Our research is based on Caring Cooks recipes for chicken pie, cottage pie, flapjacks and fruit crumble with ingredients being purchased from Coop, Food Hall, Iceland, Tesco-Alliance and Waitrose.

At a glance, you can see that although Iceland offers the 4 recipes at the lowest cost, their prices have risen by a hefty 10.7% over our initial 5 months of price watching.

Interestingly Waitrose is the second most expensive of our five supermarkets for the recipes but their overall price has dropped by -0.25%.

In isolation food cost rise may not be a show stopper but let’s add in energy costs; http://www.jerseyfuelwatch.com/oil shows that home heating oil has risen by 18% for the same period, petrol by 6%, electricity costs have just risen by 2% and gas 1.9%

Our price checker experienced a few difficulties and faced the stark frustrations on each collection day of essential items being out of stock, available packet sizes varying and confused pricing (with one product having 3 different prices in one store)

All resulting in additional visits for us, but for shoppers with limited time and budgets last minute substitutions and unwanted cost implications. Which is stressful and all too often financially unmanageable.

The simple potato caused us a headache as the bags vary between 2.5kgs and 1.5kgs – be diligent when it comes to sizes and costings. The simple mixed herb was startling with a branded refill product costing 18p per gram and own label 6p per gram. Leeks one month £1.49 for 500 grams and the next month £1.57 for 400 grams allegedly including 25% extra free!

Therefore, be substitution ready, sometimes bulk up your cooking with cheaper ingredients and use less meat, and make use of offers as long as they are labelled correctly when they come along.

 

Coop Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Fruit Crumble 1.84 1.85 1.87 1.87 1.87
Cottage Pie 4.83 4.84 4.97 4.97 4.97
Chicken Pie 6.26 6.48 6.51 6.51 6.63
Flap Jack 1.43 1.43 1.50 1.50 1.50
  14.36 14.60 14.85 14.85 14.97
           
Food Hall Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Fruit Crumble 2.02 2.02 2.02 2.02 2.02
Cottage Pie 7.56 7.54 7.55 7.55 8.20
Chicken Pie 7.27 7.28 7.28 7.77 7.80
Flap Jack 1.80 1.80 1.80 1.80 1.80
  18.65 18.64 18.65 19.14 19.82
           
Iceland Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Fruit Crumble 1.61 1.61 1.62 1.63 1.85
Cottage Pie 4.46 4.46 4.49 5.22 5.20
Chicken Pie 5.55 5.57 5.90 5.96 5.95
Flap Jack 1.52 1.52 1.52 1.55 1.55
  13.14 13.16 13.53 14.36 14.55
           
Tesco Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Fruit Crumble 1.99 2.00 2.00 2.01 2.01
Cottage Pie 4.20 4.12 4.30 4.34 4.90
Chicken Pie 6.42 6.42 6.42 6.55 6.66
Flap Jack 1.50 1.51 1.51 1.45 1.45
  14.11 14.05 14.23 14.35 15.02
           
Waitrose Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Fruit Crumble 1.66 1.77 1.77 1.77 1.77
Cottage Pie 5.61 5.63 5.53 5.61 5.66
Chicken Pie 7.21 7.32 7.34 7.34 6.66
Flap Jack 1.52 1.66 1.66 1.66 1.66
  16.00 16.38 16.30 16.38 15.75

 


Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

June 11, 2018 Health Matters No Comments

Macular Week: 25th June – July 1st

  • Have your eyes checked at least every 2 years. Your optician could pick up early warning signs of eye conditions even if you haven’t noticed any change to your sight. Early detection could prevent serious damage to your vision.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle for healthy eyes:

*Don’t smoke – there is a strong link between smoking and several sight problems.  The link between Age-Related Macular Degeneration (the most common eye condition in the Developed World) and smoking is as strong as that between smoking and lung cancer.

*Take some form of regular exercise as this can reduce your risk of AMD by 70%.

* A diet low in saturated fats and rich in leafy green vegetables could delay the progression of cataracts and AMD. Colourful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and oily fish could prevent, or slow down the progress, of some eye conditions.

*Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of diabetes, a condition which can lead to sight loss.

  • Protect your eyes from harmful ultra-violet rays by wearing sunglasses outside as this can help prevent cataracts and other eye problems.
  • Wear safety goggles to guard against injury when working with tools or participating in active sports.
  • When using a screen give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by focusing on something further away for around 20 seconds.

EYECAN: supporting islanders to have healthy eyes – enabling islanders whose sight is impaired.

Contact EYECAN: Tel: 864689 / or visit: www.eyecan.je


Advertised Broadband Speeds

June 11, 2018 Telecommunications No Comments

Do you think your broadband download speed is not as fast as promised in your supplier’s advertising? Public consultation in the UK has discovered that the current guidelines for broadband advertising need tightening to create more clarity and help consumers make the right decision when choosing their broadband supplier.

It’s an issue that has been looked at carefully by advertising watchdogs the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and they have introduced new guidelines, which came into effect on 23 May, aimed at creating greater transparency in broadband speed advertising.

Locally the Jersey Consumer Council has been working with Trading Standards and Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA) to ensure that the guidelines are followed here.

The new guidelines – key points:

  • Download broadband speeds should only be described as ‘average’ and must be available to at least 50% of customers at peak times;
  • Telecom companies should, wherever possible, promote their speed checking services in their ads;
  • Broadband speed advertising will be more transparent;
  • Consumers will be better informed enabling them to choose the right broadband service for their needs, whether at home or for business.

The move has been broadly welcomed by broadband providers, consumer bodies such as the Jersey Consumer Council and Trading Standards, and telecom regulators CICRA.

CICRA Director Louise Read said, “This positive change in the way operators can advertise broadband speeds brings greater clarity for consumers looking to make decisions about what they want from their broadband and the service they can expect”.

If you don’t think your broadband speed is as it should be, you should first of all talk to your provider. You can carry out a speed test using the online checker available on your provider’s website or ask them to carry out the test for you. If you’re not happy with the response you get, you can contact Trading Standards on 448160 or email tradingstandards@gov.je to investigate further.

 


Better Protection for your Personal Information

May 25, 2018 Consumer Skills No Comments

The General Data Protection Regulation is fundamentally about protecting individuals’ personal information in relation to the way that it is used by businesses. The concept of Data Protection is founded in protecting our human right to a private life.

The introduction of the new European GDPR in late May 2018 and Jersey Laws will drastically change the way businesses can collect, store and protect the personal information of their customers, clients, and even visitors to a website. It should be noted that whilst aspects of the GDPR and the new Jersey Laws are new, many of the requirements build upon the existing Data Protection legislative framework.

This means GDPR will cover all of our personal information

collected and used by businesses.

GDPR defines personal information as anything that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. Names, photos, email addresses, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information or IP addresses. Our personal information is a currency which should be respected and only used how we expect it to be used.

CONSUMER ESSENTIALS

Before you give YOUR information look for the PRIVACY NOTICE – businesses must be able to tell you about why and how they intend to use your information.   In some circumstances, you will be expected to CONSENT’ to the use of your information. In terms of consent, consent is one of a number of lawful bases for processing and it may be that organisations do not always need consent to process consumer’s data. In cases where they rely on consent, then that consent will need to be a positive, affirmative and unambiguous action confirming consent on the part of the consumer; for example, you will be required to opt into subscriptions rather than businesses relying on people to opt out.

The law gives all of us INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS in relation to our personal information. In simple terms the rights you can exercise are;

  • To access the information a business holds on you;
  • To get your information corrected
  • To ask for the erasure of personal information;
  • To stop direct marketing;
  • Control over automated decision making & profiling;
  • A right to information portability between controllers.

Businesses failing to look after our personal information according to the law face a tougher ENFORCEMENT approach by the Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC).

For more information contact the OIC, or visit their website at www.oicjersey.org. 

Telephone: +44 (0)1534 716530

 


GDPR – What is it all about?

April 23, 2018 Consumer Skills, Top tips No Comments

General Data Protection Regulations will drastically change the way businesses can collect, store and protect the personal information of their customers, clients, and even visitors to a website.

GDPR defines personal data as anything that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. Names, photos, email addresses, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information or IP addresses.

It is a Europe-wide set of data protection laws designed to harmonise data privacy practice across Europe. The emphasis is on protecting citizens and their data, and giving users more information about and control over how it’s used. The new regulations will come into force by May 2018.

It should be noted that whilst aspects of the GDPR are new, many of the requirements build upon the existing Data Protection legislative framework.

This means it will cover all of our personal information collected and used by businesses.

CONSUMER ESSENTIALS before you give YOUR information look for the PRIVACY NOTICE – businesses must be able to tell you about why and how they intend to use your information.   Plus, you will be expected to CONSENT to the use of your information. In terms of consent, consent is one of a number of lawful bases for processing and it may be that organisations do not always need consent to process consumer’s data. In cases where they rely on consent, then that consent will need to be a positive, affirmative and unambiguous action confirming consent on the part of the consumer.

The law gives all of us INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS in relation to our personal information and these are detailed below.

Businesses failing to look after our personal information according to the law face a tougher ENFORCEMENT approach by the Data Protection Authority. See below.

Privacy Notices

Empowering individuals by being transparent and clear about how their data are going to be processed, and by whom, is a key element of compliance with the GDPR.   At every point at which personal data are collected, whether that is from your clients, staff or others, review how you intend to provide the following at the time of collection:

  • Purpose of and legal basis for processing;
  • Recipients of the data;
  • Any third countries data are transferred to and safeguards in place;
  • Data retention periods;
  • The existence of individual’s rights;
  • Right to withdraw consent where provided;
  • Data Protection Officer’s contact details;
  • Whether data provision has statutory or contractual basis;
  • Details where the legitimate interest condition has been relied upon

Consent

The GDPR considers consent an important part of ensuring individuals have control and an understanding of how their data are to be processed.

  • Consent must be:
    • Freely given
    • Specific
    • Informed
    • Unambiguous
  • There has to be a positive indication of agreement.
  • Consent as a basis for processing gives individuals stronger rights.
  • Data controllers must be able to evidence consent was given.
  • Parental consent to process children’s† data on the internet. With regards to children’s consent, this is only required for ‘information society services’ (i.e. paid for internet services) and our law says parental consent is required for a child under 13 years, unless the data has been pseudonymised i.e. meaning that for example a name is replaced with a unique number to render the data record less identifying.

 the legal definition of a child will be determined at the law drafting stage with the upper age limit required to be within the range of 13-16 years

Individual’s Rights

Individual’s rights are enhanced and extended in a number of important areas. They include:

  • A right of access to data (Subject Access);
  • A right for the correction of data where inaccuracies have been identified;
  • A right to require the erasure of personal data, in certain circumstances (often referred to as the ‘right to be forgotten’);
  • A right to prevent direct marketing;
  • Control over automated decision making & profiling;
  • A right to data portability between controllers

Penalties and Data Breaches

The GDPR provides for a tougher enforcement approach by the Data Protection Authority including the ability to impose significant fines.

  • Data breaches must be reported to Data Protection Authority within 72 hours of discovery
  • Individuals impacted should be told where there exists a high risk to their rights and freedoms e.g. identity theft, personal safety
  • Fines can be issued up to €10 million under the Jersey Law
  • Data Protection Authority can issue reprimands, warnings and bans as well as fines.

For more information please see;

https://oicjersey.org/data-protection-new-law/

https://thinkgdpr.org/overview/


Number Portability

April 10, 2018 Telecommunications No Comments

2018 marks 10 years since mobile number portability was introduced in the Channel Islands. It means that both Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly customers choosing to move between operators (Sure, JT and Airtel) can keep the exact same telephone number, including the prefix (e.g. 07797). It’s incredibly easy to do, there’s no loss of service and it’s totally free of charge. Plus, unlike in the UK, you don’t need to contact the operator you are leaving or give any notice period (provided you are outside of the term of your initial contract which is usually 12 or 24 months).

Thousands of customers in the Channel Islands move between operators each year, and the majority keep their number when they do. Both CICRA and the JCC have recommended customers shop around and local providers fully support this, whether you are looking to move for superior customer service, a better network experience or simply because you can save money with a new deal.

To take advantage of the competitive telecoms environment we have locally, simply visit your new operator and they will do it all for you.

Visit http://jerseytelcowatch.com to compare prices.

Check with your existing provider if you are in or out of contract.  There may be early termination fees to pay if you are still in a contract. If the account is in debt, barred or suspended, the port is not possible.

Can I change landline operator and keep my number?

The answer in simple terms is yes & no.

Two providers in Jersey offer traditional landline services using Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and thus, if you are switching between Sure & JT, for example, you can keep your landline number. This is because the underlying wholesale product with the number ‘attached’ is still being provided by JT in Jersey, however the retail service being offered by the alternative operator may be different. Again, you will need to check the status of your existing contract.

For other local operators, not offering services based on the same underlying wholesale product this portability is not yet possible. However, it is still under consideration by Channel Islands Competition Regulator.


What is Bitcoin?

March 7, 2018 Money Matters No Comments

Simply put, it’s a type of digital currency, called a cryptocurrency. No notes to print or coins to mint. It’s decentralized — there’s no government, institution (like a bank) or other authority that controls it, but instead is controlled by the software itself.

By using blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies are not subject to any central controls. A blockchain is a global network of computers which can be used to maintain a digital ledger of every owner of a cryptocurrency and the transactions they make. When, for example, a Bitcoin transaction is made (buying, selling, transferring or creating Bitcoin), the record of that transaction is securely encrypted, time-stamped and updated into a block which is added onto the historical record of all Bitcoin transactions. Each block in the chain is unique and it is virtually impossible to remove or change data which has been added to the chain. This means that transactions are verifiable without the need for a central authority, such a bank, to oversee that process. In theory, Blockchain technology allows us to securely transact with one another via a peer-to-peer network without a middleman, such as a bank, charging us for the privilege of doing so.

It isn’t issued from the top down like traditional currency; rather, bitcoin is ‘mined’ by powerful computers connected to the internet, by slowly releasing a predetermined set amount, randomly as a reward to those helping secure the network.

Bitcoin was invented in 2009 by a person (or group) who called himself Satoshi Nakamoto. The stated goal was to create “a new electronic cash system” that was “completely decentralized with no server or central authority.”

Looking back, we began using money as the tool used to exchange value; historically this was gold as it is rare, tangible and worked very well. Although gold is heavy, so then came paper money which originally was ‘gold certificate’ being a piece of paper saying you own some gold sitting in a vault. Trusting in paper was not easy at first.

Nowadays we use what is termed flat money which means that it can’t be exchanged for just a single item. People accept this money in return for goods or services because they know that they themselves will be able to use it at a later date. Money now has no link at all with precious metals. Now we have cryptocurrencies of which Bitcoin was the first, and currently the largest.

What determines the value of a bitcoin?

Ultimately, the value of a bitcoin is determined by what people will pay for it. value of a bitcoin is based on its properties (digitally rare, trustless, secure and predictable issuance), and how much people will pay for it.

In this way, there’s a similarity to how stocks are priced.  The protocol established by Satoshi Nakamoto dictates that only 21 million bitcoins can ever be mined — about 12 million have been mined so far; but as it’s digital, each coin can be divided down to 8 decimal places. Even so there is a limited supply like with gold and other precious metals, but no real intrinsic value. This makes bitcoin different from stocks, which usually have some relationship to a company’s actual or potential earnings.

Without a government or central authority at the helm, controlling supply, ‘value’ is totally open to interpretation. This process of ‘price discovery,’ the primary driver of volatility in bitcoin’s price, also invites speculation and manipulation.

Because bitcoin is so new and decentralized, there is plenty of unknowns. Even the technical rules for mining are still evolving and up for debate.

 

 


Complaining or Complimenting?

March 6, 2018 Consumer Skills, Home life No Comments

We all enjoy a spot of praise now and again, and remember to praise where praise is due. Express your thanks when something goes well. BUT if you find yourself in a position of being dissatisfied with a product or service, follow our simple guide to making an effective complaint.

  1. In the first instance, give the business an opportunity to put things right. We all make mistakes, and a good business can be judged on successful complaints handling.
  2. Find out if the business has a complaints procedure and promptly follow it. If they don’t, ask. If the business is a member of a trade association or signed up to a code of conduct, that body may have a separate complaint handling procedure.
  3. It may be helpful to make it clear that you are making a formal complaint and then go on to:

* Identify yourself, quoting your customer number or any other references.

* Tell them briefly why you are unhappy/dissatisfied and what the problem is in   chronological order.

*Include supporting evidence: photographs, surveys, independent test reports, invoices, screen shots. Copies will do. Keep the originals.

*Set out what the impact of the problem on you has been e.g. any financial loss, inconvenience or distress.

*Say how the issue made you feel and what you want done to either put matters right or compensate you for their failings.

*If you are suggesting a monetary figure, you may want to explain how you came by that figure.

*If you are filling in an online complaints form and you have to categorise your submission, make sure you select complaint rather than comment. Complaints should be taken seriously and require action; comments can be ignored!

*Keep good records. Don’t assume you will be sent a copy of your online submission via e-mail when you press send or submit. Be prepared to take a screen shot and note down any reference numbers.

Monitor the businesses actions against those in their complaints handling procedures, remembering to keep copies of all documentation, emails, key actions, notes of conversations, and dates.

If the business fails to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, there may be other sources of help or avenues for progressing the complaint. For example, the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman is an independent body that resolves complaints about financial services provided from Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. It has powers to investigate complaints and can compel financial services providers to pay compensation if it upholds a complaint.

progress your complaint and advise on your rights and all complaints relating to consumer goods and services.

The Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman is a free alternative
to taking a dispute with a financial products and services to court. They are independent, informal and confidential.

The Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman,

PO Box 114,

JE4 9QG

 

Tel: 01534 748610

Email: enquiries@ci-fo.org

https://www.ci-fo.org

 

Additional information:

https://www.jerseyfsc.org/pdf/The-Ombudsman-and-how-to-make-Consumer-Complaints-Nov-2015.pdf

For all other complaints relating to consumer goods or services contact Trading Standards.

Trading Standards,

9-13 Central Market,

St Helier,

JE2 4WL

 

Tel: 01534 448160

Email: tradingstandards@gov.je

www.gov.je/tradingstandards

 


We are looking for new members to be more reflective of ‘everyday islanders’

March 6, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Are you passionate about consumer affairs in Jersey? If so, the Jersey Consumer Council wants to hear from you.

Perhaps you’ve got experience working 
in a customer-focused profession, or you are a busy parent juggling the household budget, or maybe you are a pensioner who appreciates how even the smallest of price changes can make a big difference?

The Consumer Council is about to start searching for new members and we want to hear from islanders of all ages who think they have something to offer.

Our role is to be the consumers’ champion; we investigate and publicise anomalies in consumer affairs and provide Islanders with accurate and timely information to help make #InformedDecisions. We also want to make sure that consumers’ voices are heard by the decision makers in our island as well as promoting a culture of transparency so that Islanders understand consumer issues better.

If you can help us strengthen our activities and voice by sharing consumer perceptions, contributing to projects, and have a ‘passion’ for consumer issues, please drop us a line by email or post, as soon as possible. We are looking to go through a simple recruitment process over the next few weeks.

We welcome applications from all members of Jersey’s community.

 

Further Information

Executive Officer

Jersey Consumer Council,

9-13 Central Market,

St Helier,
JE2 4WL

 

Tel: 01534 611161

jcc@jerseyconsumercouncil.org.je