Newsletter

Jersey Consumer Council

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.

Trading Standards & Consumer Council Top Ten for Christmas

November 3, 2016 Consumer Skills, Home life, Money Matters, Top tips No Comments
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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.

  1. 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/

 

  1. Product Safety

Be safe this Christmas. Follow the instructions and appropriate warnings. Make sure toys are CE marked and follow the intended age warnings.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1.  Fakes


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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 tradingstandards@gov.je


Scary but Safe

October 21, 2016 Consumer Skills, Health Matters, Home life No Comments
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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’

Background

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’.


Are We Getting a Fair Deal on the High Street?

June 8, 2016 Consumer Skills, Money Matters No Comments
Got an opinion on retail prices

Happy with your local stores?

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 – How did it go?

May 25, 2016 Consumer Skills, Travel and Transport No Comments
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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.


Condor Jersey Consumer Group Maiden Voyage is Scheduled!

May 20, 2016 Consumer Skills, Travel and Transport No Comments
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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.”


Registering for a manufacturer’s free warranty or guarantee

May 11, 2016 Consumer Skills, Home life No Comments
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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 tradingstandards@gov.je


The world is at your ‘keyboard’ when using the internet to research or book your holiday or other travel arrangements.

April 20, 2016 Consumer Skills, Home life, Scams, Travel and Transport No Comments
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Take a moment to check out all the risks even if you think you may be aware of them all.

 

The risks

 

  • 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.

 

Safe Booking

 

  • 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.

 

More Information

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


Holiday fraud: look before you book

April 20, 2016 Consumer Skills, Home life, Insurances, Money Matters, Scams, Top tips, Travel and Transport No Comments
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Holiday fraud: look before you book

Get Safe Online is joining forces today with ABTA (the UK’s leading travel association), Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to warn you about the dangers posed by holiday booking fraud. Anyone booking a holiday either in the UK or abroad is at risk.

For information and advice on safe holiday and travel booking, click here

 

We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money, which most of us simply cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, more and more people are being affected by holiday fraud, which means that not only do you not get your holiday … you normally end up losing your money too. The holiday, accommodation or flight they paid for doesn’t exist, or the booking hasn’t been made.

Read More

We’ve done something awesome for one autistic young man, and he did something even better for us …. Our new treasure trove of consumer information and at £0 cost to us!

April 15, 2016 Consumer Skills, Money Matters No Comments
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We’ve done something awesome for one autistic young man,
and he did something even better for us ….
Our new treasure trove of consumer information and at £0 cost to us!

An extensive, new on-line resource, containing invaluable consumer information is available, with the unveiling of Jersey Consumer Council’s new website www.jerseyconsumercouncil.org.je  Developed together with young entrepreneur, Jonathan Channing and supported by the Jersey Employment Trust and the Community Jobs Fund, the new site promises to equip Island consumers with a wealth of useful material, to assist them in making informed purchasing decisions.

Chairman of the Jersey Consumer Council explains:  “The guidance and lobbying materials the Jersey Consumer Council has been producing for over two decades, has been driven by what Island consumers would like to see.  The representation and guidance we provide is based on extensive research – undertaken by ourselves or other agencies.  Over time, we have compiled a huge amount of useful data; articles; tips; newsletters and advice and we decided that it would make sense to provide as much of this information as possible in one, accessible, regularly updated ‘library’.

“The easiest way to do this was to make our treasure trove of consumer information available on-line, but this required us to upgrade our website facility – something we lacked the relevant skills to do in-house.

“The Jersey Consumer Council is an independent body, with limited funding and so we applied to The States of Jersey Community Jobs Fund (CJF) and Jersey Employment Trust (JET) for funding and support, in which we were successful.

“Through a joint initiative with both the CJF and the JET, we were put in touch with Jonathan Channing, a freelance coder, who was looking to broaden his work experience.  Jonathan greatly impressed at interview, with both his skills base and the extensive preparation he had undertaken, on his own initiative, in advance of meeting us.  This included expanding his coding knowledge to incorporate Word Press and producing a mock-up of how he saw our website looking!

“Jonathan has recently been diagnosed with Autism, which he sees (as do we!) as a distinct advantage in his chosen career.  What he describes as his ‘unconventional thought processes’ are definitely an asset when it comes to the world of coding.

“We are delighted that Jonathan has been able to join our team to establish the Consumer Council’s new website, of which we are very proud.  We think that Island consumers will find it an amazingly useful source of important information, when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

“We are welcoming feedback from Islanders regarding the usability of our new site and the information it contains.  We’d also like to hear about any other specific areas of advice and research that consumers would like to see featured within the resources available at www.jerseyconsumercouncil.org.je.  Islanders can contact us by phone; email or through the social media links on the new site.

“In the meantime, we would like to thank Jonathan and congratulate him on the successful establishment and development of the Consumer Council’s new website.  We wish him all the very best in his future entrepreneurial endeavours.”


Calling Cohabitees

April 7, 2016 Consumer Skills No Comments
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Calling Cohabitees

#freelunchtimeseminar

Our next seminar is going to be rather interesting..do you cohabit? Are you considering cohabiting? Perhaps it is worth knowing how you stand legally and what the rights and wrongs are of cohabiting?

Book now via Eventbrite