Consumer Skills Category
Being a good consumer is about making informed purchasing decisions. We can help you to do this by equipping you with the sorts of questions we all need to ask ourselves, before making our purchasing choices – whether we are planning to buy or hire items in shops, over the telephone or online.
Act on scams
‘PLAY YOUR PART’
Behind every deceptive money grabbing, life destroying SCAM & Fraud there is a crooked plot – acted out by unscrupulous people. Every plot has room for at least one walk on part and that’s where you and I can change the script.
July is the Citizens Advice National Scams Awareness month ‘PLAY YOUR PART’ and Citizens Advice Jersey is spreading the word about scams to help stop more people across the Island from being conned.
Malcolm Ferey, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Jersey says
“Being scammed can ruin people’s finances. During Scams Awareness Month we’re encouraging people to play their part in preventing scams by reporting them and telling others about them.”
Play YOUR Part ….
Ask your friends, family and contacts to share a story about a recent unwanted call, they have received, an unwanted email, text or letter with you or their friends. Encourage open discussions about SCAMS.
Share the FACTOID that 45% of people think that hearing someone’s voice makes it easier to judge their honesty. Remember, they are still strangers! #TakeFive.
Check your consent box – to tick or not to tick the box allowing your personal information to be captured by legitimate companies and then shared or sold to affiliated/third parties simply because a consent tick box had been missed.
Remind everyone that they shouldn’t be rushed – genuine organisations won’t mind waiting
Let others know to listen to and TRUST their instincts – if it doesn’t feel right walk away.
Only 5% of all scams are reported so there’s so many more plots of horror we don’t even know about yet. Which makes it so hard to help those affected or to prevent others from becoming a part of the SCAM.
Scams are becoming highly sophisticated and often use grooming social skills to prey on communities.
The charity is being supported by the Consumer Council and Trading Standards to help spread the word throughout Scams Awareness Month, a campaign encouraging people to report and talk about scams that starts on Saturday 1 July, 2017.
Executive Officer of the Consumer Council, Anne King hopes that our island community spirit will play a pivotal part in keeping people safe from the emotional trauma and impacts of financial loss.
She goes on to challenge islanders to select the PART they can PLAY
Alison De Bourcier, Director of Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards in support says that:
“Trading Standards is actively supporting this campaign, the aim is to reduce the risk and impact of scams and fraud by raising awareness and encouraging Islanders to take action – recognising, reporting and talking about scams.
We all need to play our part in stopping this menace”
The first ever Caring Cooks of Jersey Healthy Eating Week takes place from Monday 12th June through to Saturday 17th June. The local charity which aims make nutritious and tasty food part of daily life is encouraging us all to think about how we can eat well and eat together, even when short on time and on a tight budget.
There are plenty of inexpensive, nutritious and delicious foods available all of which can be used to prepare healthy meals from scratch in a much shorter time than you might think. Planning your meals and smarter shopping can help you to make your money go further and help you cut down on waste too.
Here are just a few top tips from Caring Cooks of Jersey on how to be cost conscious but enjoy healthy, delicious and nutritious food.
- Plan your meals. Planning your weekly meals, writing – and sticking to, a shopping list will help you avoid making the impulse buys which often tip the bill over budget. Scan the shelves for lower cost items, be aware of special offers but don’t be tempted to buy something that may actually go to waste. Supermarket economy ranges can be great value and nutritionally there is often little difference to the standard or branded versions.
- Look for special offers on long shelf-life products. Stocking up on store cupboard staples such as dried pasta and rice, tinned or dried beans and pulses and tinned tomatoes can save money. All these ingredients can be used to bulk out your meals to make them go further.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat. Use chicken thighs rather than breast for example, and whilst you may not be familiar with cooking a whole chicken, this can be great value, especially if you use it for more than one meal. A traditional roast chicken is delicious and really simple to do, then use any left overs for curry or with salad or vegetables the next day.
Mince is also a great ingredient, versatile and inexpensive, there are lots of tasty, satisfying dishes you can make with mince such as lasagne, bolognaise, cottage pie or one of our family favorites mince and pea curry.
Caring Cooks of Mince and Pea Curry Recipe
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Pack of beef or lamb mince
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and finely diced (optional)
- 4tbsp medium curry paste
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsp. tomato puree
- 250g frozen peas
- Coconut cream (optional, as it can be quite expensive)
- Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion on a low heat until lightly golden
- Add the garlic, chillies (if using), cumin seeds and curry paste and fry for 2-3 mins and then add the mince, cooking until it’s browned
- Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar and 100ml cold water.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes, add in the frozen peas and coconut cream (if using), and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with boiled white or brown rice
Supermarkets often have ‘bulk buying’ offers on meat such as ‘three for two’ and similar. Anything you are not going to use straight away can be put in the freezer for another time.
- Make use of canned oily fish. Canned sardines and salmon can be cheaper than buying fresh fish, plus they are easy to prepare and have a long shelf life. Choose those canned in spring water to keep the salt content to a minimum. You can make fishcakes with canned tuna, cooked potatoes and chopped parsley with a squeeze of lemon. Roll the mix in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and then fry lightly. Using frozen fish is another great way to help ensure you are getting Omega 3 fats and can often be added to dishes straight from the freezer.
- Use frozen and canned fruit and vegetables. Using frozen vegetables can be cheaper than using fresh and they count towards your 5 A DAY. If you have a stock in your cupboard you can use them when you want without them going off, which cuts down on waste. But do watch out for those that have added sugar and opt for varieties in water when possible.
- Buy fresh fruit and vegetables when in season. Here in Jersey we have an abundance of wonderful, locally grown produce – make the most of it! Fresh fruit and vegetables in season are often great value and they taste fantastic.
Of course budget planning, shopping and cooking food from scratch can seem a little daunting, many people may never have learned to cook, or perhaps have lost their confidence in the kitchen. If that sounds familiar then why not join one of the Community Cooking Courses offered by Caring Cooks of Jersey? These courses are a great way get into the kitchen, to learn new skills in a friendly and supportive environment and to help change the way you and your family eat. The courses run over a five week period on either a Monday and Wednesday evening at Le Rocquier School, St Clement. All the ingredients are provided and each week you get to take home a tasty two course meal. For more information and to book a place visit the ‘Our Services’ section on the Caring Cooks website www.caringcooksofjersey.com.
More top tips
Use leftover vegetables to make soup. Soups made with added pasta, rice, beans, lentils or root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips and carrots are tasty, filling, cheap and freeze well.
Baked potatoes are great as a healthy and filling meal. Experiment with your favourite toppings. Make the most of having the oven on and add some extra potatoes that can then be kept for a couple of days in the fridge (or longer in the freezer) and microwaved for a quick meal another time.
Store bread in the freezer. If you don’t use bread that often and you have space in your freezer, why not freeze the loaf when you buy it and then take a few slices out as and when you need them to avoid waste.
Make your own ‘ready meals’. Simply double your usual recipes and freeze half. Dishes such as chilli, cottage pies, soups and stews all freeze well and are ideal for those days when you don’t have the time to cook.
The majority of us will have had personal experience with specific charities. For many, it is important to support these charities after our death so that their services can continue to provide a benefit and make a difference. Leaving a bequest to a charity in your Will is a great way of doing this.
When leaving a bequest some may have a specific purpose in mind for the bequest they are making, however it is important to bear in mind that there are a vast number of charities, some with very specific aims and some with a wide and general purpose. Is it possible therefore, to bequeath money to a charity and specify how they put that money to use? The short answer is that in general, it is not possible to specifically direct how you would like your money to be used. This is because once a bequest has been made the funds belong to the charity and they are free to decide how best to use it. Having said this, it is possible to express a wish in your Will that the money be used for a specific purpose. This will give the charity a clear idea of how you intended the money to be used even if it is not binding. One of the most common examples that we see, is a bequest to a medical charity, with a wish expressed that the money to be used for research purposes.
Advocate Zoe Blomfield, Managing Partner
t: +44 (0) 1534 888666
Settle down with a warm drink and peruse our Christmas survival tips…ranging from call out charges to buying on line and the risks of fake products.
- Buying Online
In most cases if you shop online with a Jersey, UK or EU trader you have a right to cancel and receive a full refund, even if you just don’t like the goods or have simply changed your mind.
This is in addition to your normal statutory rights. There are some exceptions and time limits apply. Check it out before you buy. Extra tips here… http://www.jerseyconsumercouncil.org.je/consumer-skills/shopping-online/
- Product Safety
Be safe this Christmas. Follow the instructions and appropriate warnings. Make sure toys are CE marked and follow the intended age warnings.
- Know who you are buying from
If you are shopping online make sure you know who and where the trader is based. For example don’t assume you are buying from Amazon when you may be buying from an Amazon seller outside the EU.
Your goods may not comply with European safety standards, they may take a long time to arrive and the cost of returning them may be uneconomical.
Don’t be tempted to buy really cheap branded goods online. Electrical goods may be a fire or electrical shock hazard and perfumes and cosmetics may contain harmful substances.
- Additional Protection
You get additional protection when you buy goods or services over £100 if you paid using your credit card. If something goes wrong and the trader won’t help, the credit card company may have to step in.
- Christmas Loans
If you have to borrow money, make sure they are a reputable lender. Do you understand exactly what you are signing up to and what will happen if your financial situation gets worse? Is the lender a subscriber to the Jersey Code of Consumer Lending? See www.gov.je/tradingstandards/consumerlending
- Call out Charges
If you have to call out a tradesman for an emergency repair during this festive season make sure you know what the ‘call out’ or ‘minimum charge’ will be before you agree. Make sure you both understand what work will be carried out, what it will cost (or how it will be calculated) and when and how the trader expects payment.
- Faulty Goods
You have statutory rights if goods are faulty or not fit for purpose. Try to keep gift receipts as it will help if things go wrong and don’t delay in complaining.
- Unwanted Gifts
Your statutory rights do not apply if you simply changed your mind. Check out the store’s returns policy before you buy. Remember if you bought online, you may have additional rights.
- Recall and Safety Notices
Trading Standards publish product recalls and safety warnings. To sign up for notifications, visit www.mygov.je
You can select the category of goods you are interested in, for example food, toys, electrical goods and nursery products.
Finally, do you know where to get help? Trading Standards offer a free and confidential Consumer Advice Service. The drop in service is located under the clock in the Central Market. You don’t need an appointment. Alternatively you can call on 448160 or email email@example.com
In the build up to Halloween, the Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards are reminding parents to
• check Halloween costumes for the CE mark,
• always follow instructions and safety information,
• avoid naked flames by replacing candles with LED equivalents, and
• make parents and children aware of what to do if any costume or clothing catches fire – ‘stop, drop and roll’
The safety of children’s costumes, in particular Halloween costumes, came to the attention of the public and gained prominence in 2014 when television presenter Claudia Winkleman’s 8 year old daughter was severely burned after her witch costume caught fire, having been in contact allegedly with or close proximity to a lit candle inside of a pumpkin.
In September 2015 a nationwide investigation into the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes was commissioned.
These costumes currently have to comply with toys safety standards. The standards do not require costumes to be non-flammable, but the rate at which they burn has to be within an acceptable range, and where applicable relevant warnings are present, to minimise the risk.
Results of the 2015 investigation
A program of sampling was co-ordinated and of the 309 samples submitted for testing, 80% passed.
Of those that failed, 14 costumes were too close to the prescribed limit so they were recorded and neither pass nor fail.
47 costumes failed.
10 of these were technical failures due to the absence of warnings.
37 were due to the rate of spread and therefore unacceptable failures.
Trading Standards up and down the UK have been working with suppliers to improve the compliance rate.
An interesting fact to come out of the investigation was that the cost of the outfit had no real bearing on compliance. Therefore cheaper costumes did not result in more failures.
There was also little difference in the failure rate when sampling costumes purchased through UK local or national retailers.
A number of national retailers now voluntarily ensure their costumes meet higher standards contained within the Children’s Nightwear standard.
Advice to parents
In the run up to Halloween, the advice is to avoid naked flames, replace candles with LED equivalents and to make parents and children aware of just what they should do in the event of a costume, or any article of clothing for that matter, catching alight through the Fire and Rescue Service’s advice of ‘stop, drop and roll’.
Will you be taking our ‘Jersey Price Perception Survey 2016?
In a bid to get a fair deal for Island consumers, we are taking up a challenge to look into the transparency of our high street retailers’ pricing mechanisms.
Always keen for a challenge, we picked up the gauntlet, thrown down by a JEP reader, to unravel the pricing policies of some of the Island’s high street retailers, to ensure that consumers are getting the fairest deal.
The Consumer Council were challenged to look into our high street prices including UK retailers and franchises trading locally, who are sometimes perceived to be charging customers the same prices for goods in Jersey as they do in the UK – suggesting that they are not always removing VAT.
In the first instance, we have decided to ask local consumers to tell us what they think and, to this end, we have set up a survey on our Facebook page to help us to assess the real perceptions around local high street pricing policies.
We obviously want to hear from as many people as possible and we are urging consumers to click onto our Facebook page or via this link Price Perceptions Survey and spend five minutes completing our simple questionnaire.
This important feedback will enable us to go to our local retailers, armed with meaningful findings about the public perception of their pricing structures.
We want to give retailers the opportunity to address these perceptions and perhaps look at the transparency of their pricing mechanisms or tackle any misconceptions that exist among consumers. We feel that it’s important that we understand how sellers compile the prices that they charge – for example, how much of what we pay is down to the retailers’ overheads.
We all live and operate within a small Island community and the reality is that neither retailers nor consumers could survive without one another here in Jersey.
We hope that this initiative will help to improve understanding of the challenges faced by all parties and ensure that Island consumers are getting the fairest deal possible
Condor Jersey Consumer Group
First Meeting held today (25th May)
Open & Honest discussions between Group Members & Condor
To keep us all grounded we have our own Group Charter and Objective
Group objective the Group will make every effort to identify and craft mutually acceptable resolutions that are aimed at reducing and resolving dissatisfaction, to improve relationships between Condor and the public
The Charter ensures that we all understand our own responsibilities and commitment to the Group.
All participants are presenting individually to the Group highlighting their own views on;
· main areas of dissatisfaction and the impact it has on those around you
· areas of satisfaction
· thoughts on how things could really change going forward
Half the Group had the opportunity today and others will be afforded the same at our next meeting.
The attendees, including Condor’s CEO Paul Luxon, listened, clarified and talked through various aspects of the service. Group members were open, honest and eloquently made numerous substantiated points. Although timetabling, reliability, communication and customer care was amongst the most cited areas in today’s resumes, each speaker articulated the reality and full implications of these dissatisfactions to each person, their commitments and obligations.
As one member said that it’s ‘when all these shortcomings converge at once’ you get a potent recipe for frustration and dissatisfaction.
The Group talked through with Paul about the Frequent Traveller Scheme as there is clearly confusion about decisions made regarding the longevity of the scheme; Paul clarified that they are currently consulting a selection of Frequent Traveller Scheme members to explore how it should look in the future – he assured the Group that it will be staying but will look different.
The points raised by each member will formulate a robust agenda for discussion.
In a bid to address the frustrations some Condor Ferries passengers have experienced of late, the Jersey Consumer Council has established – the Condor Jersey Consumer Group.
The aim of the Condor Jersey Consumer Group is to open up positive communication channels between the company and its passengers and to facilitate independent, open and transparent discussions between all parties.
The hope is that this new forum will help to optimise the experiences of Condor passengers and alleviate the frustrations that many customers have endured in recent times.
The Jersey Consumer Council has recruited 14 members to the Condor Jersey Consumer Group who have been stringently and fairly selected from 39 applicants reflecting a varied range of passenger characteristics, across Condor’s sailing routes. They will join members of the Jersey Consumer Council on the group. Condor Ferries chief executive officer, Paul Luxon and Corporate Communications Manager, Helen Day, will also be attending.
The first meeting of the Condor Jersey Consumer Group will take place next week.
Executive officer of the Jersey Consumer Council, Anne King comments: “We are pleased to have established this consumer-focused, independent forum. By bringing together Condor with a cohort of passengers, we hope that the ensuing face-to-face dialogue will help both parties to fully understand the issues which need addressing, in order to optimise the service the company provides in the future.
“We were delighted with the number and quality of the applicants who came forward to participate in this forum. The group needs to be relatively small, in order for it to be effective, whilst maintaining its representation and integrity. Whittling numbers down has been a difficult but necessary task and we would like to thank everyone who has offered their support to this initiative.
“We look forward to keeping Islanders posted about the progress which is made by the Group – we all have a vested interest in our ferry service working as well as possible.”
You are in a rush to get your new gadget or kitchen appliance out of the packaging.
You may have seen a warranty or guarantee card fall out of the box. What exactly is it for and should you fill it in? Trading Standards has provided answers to these questions.
What is the card for?
The card enables you to register for a free warranty (or guarantee) which adds to your legal rights. It may be a condition to fill in and return the card before the warranty becomes valid.
Do I need this additional free warranty?
It may be easier to claim on the free warranty for a repair or replacement if something has gone wrong. Under the law, after 6 months you have to prove you didn’t cause the problem, which can be tricky. It is also a good backup if the retailer has closed or gone out of business or you bought the goods out of the Island.
Have I still got a manufacturer’s warranty if I didn’t fill out and return the card?
It depends. Get in touch with the manufacturer. They may still accept your registration and you may be able to do this online.
Who can claim?
It is usually just the person who purchased the item who can make a claim. Check the small print. Some warranties extend to other people, referred to as ‘third party rights’.
Are there other limitations?
Check the terms and conditions. There will be strict time limits when the warranty expires. Find out who is responsible for the postage and packaging if goods need to be sent away for repair.
Are there other benefits of registration?
The manufacturer will have your contact details if your goods are then subject to a safety notice or recall.
What about extended warranties?
Take care when filling out warranty or guarantee registration cards to ensure you are only registering for a free warranty or guarantee. Don’t confuse it with extended warranties or guarantees which are similar to insurance policies. These cost money. You should think carefully about the benefit of buying an extended warranty against the value of the goods, the risk of them breaking down and always shop around as you may be able to purchase a multiple product policy for less money.
Do I have any protection without a manufacturer’s warranty?
Yes. Under Jersey law you are protected if goods are faulty if they are not of satisfactory quality or fit to do the job intended. You may also have additional protection if the goods were over £100 and you paid in full or part payment on a credit card.
For more advice, contact Trading Standards on 448160 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The world is at your ‘keyboard’ when using the internet to research or book your holiday or other travel arrangements.
Take a moment to check out all the risks even if you think you may be aware of them all.
- Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages
- Flight scams:
- Where you book a flight and receive a fake ticket, or pay for a ticket that never arrives.
- Holiday scams:
- Fake websites and email offers for holidays or villas that do not exist. They require you to pay a deposit, which you never see again.
- Fake competition scams defrauding you out of a fee to secure a holiday.
- Inadvertently advertising the fact that your house will be empty when you are away, by posting on social networking or travel tracking sites. Some insurance companies are now rejecting claims if homes are targeted by burglars while the owners are away on holiday and made reference to it on social networking sites.
- Ensure that any holiday or travel company unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them online. Ensure that they are a member of a recognised travel authority which offers financial protection and a complaints service.
- When possible, pay for holidays and travel using your credit card as this offers additional financial protection over other methods. Please note that your holiday or travel company may levy a surcharge for credit card payments.
- Double check all details such as travel dates, itineraries, destinations and travellers before confirming payment, as you may be charged for amendments.
- Take out travel insurance adequate for your destination, activities and everyone in your party.
- Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
- If renting a private apartment or villa, call the owner/agent directly to ensure that it is legitimate. If the number is not provided, email and request it. Check reviews on TripAdvisor or similar sites.
- Get the full address of the property and find it on Google maps to check its location and legitimacy.
- Prior to payment, obtain a contract setting out terms and conditions of the rental, deposits, payment terms etc.
- Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
- There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
- The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
- If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
- Some websites will redirect you to a third-party payment service (such as WorldPay). Ensure that these sites are secure before you make your payment.
- Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa.
- When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
- Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
- Keep receipts for all online holiday or travel bookings and payments.
- Check credit card and bank statements carefully after booking to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the booking.
- Before you post details of your travel dates on social networking or travel tracking sites, ensure that the correct privacy settings are in place.
- Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
Please refer to the following websites for more information:
ABTA Association of British Travel Agents
ATOL Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing
AiTO Association of Independent Tour Operators