The Jersey Financial Services Commission has launched a campaign this year to raise awareness in respect of the mis-selling of financial products. Of particular concern are cases when individuals with limited resources and little or no knowledge of complex investments have been advised to invest in high-risk products that are suitable for sophisticated and experienced investors only.
Here are some key points to remember when taking advise about a financial investment:
- You may have a good relationship with your investment adviser but remember, ultimately this is a business transaction. In a small community, the lines between business and friendship can easily blur. Are you too close to the person advising you?
- Assess the advice on the merits. Do you properly and fully understand what the risks are: Can you clearly explain those risks to a family member or friend in just a few short sentences?
- Most members of the public are retail customers and not sophisticated investors – is the product been put forward for your consideration intended for the retail market or is it only suitable for sophisticated and experienced investors? If you don’t know the answer to this question, ask.
- If you are invited to sign documents, make sure you have read and understood the contents of those documents. If you need more time, you are entitled to take it. Has your investment adviser set out in writing the key risk factors relating to your product? Do you agree with the risk profile that has been ascribed to you by your adviser? If you disagree, say so.
- If you are advised to cash in early a relatively low risk investment or a pension, be extremely careful before agreeing to do so. This is particularly so if you are at or near retirement age.
- Take a step back and ask: does it sound too good to be true?
The Financial Services Ombudsman is able to adjudicate on complaints arising from the mis-selling of financial products and the obvious advantage of this system is that the investor does not incur costs by engaging the Ombudsman. However, the Ombudsman cannot consider complaints arising from events prior to 1st January 2010 and can only award a maximum of £150,000 in compensation. For those investors who have suffered losses in excess of this sum, or who acquired a financial product prior to 2010, the appropriate step is to bring a claim in the Royal Court.
Do you feel under pressure and tempted to spend money that you cannot afford at Christmas? To help you stay within your budget, the Consumer Council has put together a food and present planner.
If you use this or any planner, you are less likely to exceed your budget, and your money should go further.
Can’t print it? We can pop a copy in the post to you. Please call on 611161 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yuletide Puddings & PriceWatch
we taste tested 4 budget and 4 slightly more luxurious Christmas Puddings from our local supermarkets – Now it is your turn to see if you agree with our testers!
Heading out for a festive meal? Can a Service Charge be added to your drinks bill? Equip yourself with the knowledge to fully understand service charges.
We have joined forces with Trading Standards to list out Ten Tips to help survive Christmas
The Channel Island Financial Ombudsman has been in operation for a year now and the latest results show just what you have been complaining about and whether they can help or not.
Fancy joining us for one of our #free lunchtime seminars? The next topics include Financial Mis-Selling, Long Term Care, Curatorships, Consumer Protection, SCAMS and more….
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
Are you paying unnecessary IPT?
Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is a UK tax applied to general insurance premiums. There are two rates. Standard at 9.5% and a higher rate of 20% for travel insurance, mechanical / electrical appliances insurance and some vehicle insurance.
Premiums for risks located outside the UK are usually exempt. Therefore if you are taking out an insurance policy with a UK supplier, ask about exempting IPT before you enter into the contract or renewal. Some suppliers may ask you to fill out an IPT exemption declaration form confirming your residential status as being permanently outside of the UK for the period of insurance. It is likely that you will have to return this before the supplier deducts the IPT. Ask what the arrangements are before you sign up or renew. In most cases they will not refund retrospective overpayments.
3 Recent Case Studies Mick and Pam have private medical insurance. They are automatically charge IPT even though the supplier knows they are non-UK residents. In the past, they used to send Mick an IPT exemption form to fill out with their annual renewal. When it was returned they would send out a revised renewal with the IPT removed. They have stopped this practice and it is now down to Mick to request and send in this form on renewal and he will not receive a reminder. Remembering to follow these steps on renewal has reduced their premiums by £60 per month, although the provider will not entertain a retrospective refund for the couple of years Mick did not realise he was being charged IPT.
Vicky and her friends required travel insurance for a European holiday. As they booked through one particular operator, they opted for their travel insurance which was available online (through a third party provider). After obtaining a quotation, Vicky resisted the temptation to pay there and then. Instead, she called the provider giving her quotation reference and asked for the IPT to be deducted. After a little convincing and reference to their own website to prove the policy extends to Jersey, the provider was happy to take payment over the phone for the insurance cover less the IPT and the insurance policy was then emailed to Vicky.
Finally, Rob had experienced a few problems with hire cars. On one occasion he refuelled his hire car with the wrong type of fuel which turned out to be a costly mistake! He was also concerned that he would have a high insurance excess but felt the additional insurance available on the hire car desk seemed to him to be excessive (often referred to as Excess Waiver Insurance, Super CDW). As he was likely to hire other vehicles in the coming year he decided to look into an annual car hire excess insurance policy. He found one online that included £6,000 towards the hire car excess, £1000 towards misfuelling and other key benefits. Whilst ‘checking out’ he couldn’t see how IPT could be deducted. He sent the provider an email enquiry and they came back to him advising that if he took out the policy and sent them the policy number and the last 4 digits of the payment card used to pay for the policy, they would be happy to refund the IPT within 5 working days. Rob is now driving his hire car safe in the knowledge that he has comprehensive annual European car hire excess cover but also paid a reasonable price less the IPT!
Check out your insurance policies and let us know if you are paying unnecessary UK IPT. How much can you save?
4G Data Usage…How MUCH?
Peter Zunino, Head of Marketing, Airtel-Vodafone.
The introduction of 4G data services has totally changed the way mobile data is being consumed, as well as the amount of data. For example, one of our sites now takes more data traffic than the whole of our network did before the launch of 4G!
The quicker 4G experience means you can do much more online in the same amount of time. This uses more data, and can lead to unexpected charges if users are not aware of this. We have done a lot of work to help educate customers around data usage and here are some of the key things smartphone users should be aware of.
- Consider the activities and Apps that use lots of data, ie video streaming and downloading – think about doing them over a Wifi connection. Netflix for example can use 1GB of data per hour
- Most smartphones have built-in systems which track your data for you. These are not 100% accurate but will give you a fair idea of how much data you use
- Apps are constantly adding functionality. Facebook for example will auto play data hungry videos if this setting is not turned off
- Be wary of using your mobile device as a hot spot so your friends can connect to it, and watch videos for example – this uses a huge amount of data
- Contact your provider and ask them to review your plan – you may not have a high enough data allowance for the newer, faster 4G experience. You can bolt on extra data if need be
For a comprehensive guide to managing data, including step by step instructions on different smartphone operating systems, please visit our site
- all people involved with the project are competent
- the risks to health and safety are properly managed
- sufficient time and resources are available for the work to be carried out safely
- information about known risks, such as the presence of asbestos materials, is provided to those involved with the project
- if more than one contractor is involved, one of them is appointed, in writing, as the Principal Contractor, and ensure that a construction phase plan is prepared before work starts.
In addition, if the construction work is going to last more than 30 working days, or involve more than 500 man days (eg 10 operatives working for 50 days) then additional steps must be taken to ensure that:
a health and safety project coordinator (HSPC) is appointed in writing certain health and safety related information is provided to the HSPC
- retain and provide access to a health and safety file which is prepared for the project
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!
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.”
Telco Contracts – when does ‘Fixed Mean Fixed’?
When you sign up for a mobile phone, telephone or broadband contract you know you’re going to be committing to a fixed length contract, usually 12, 18 or 24 months.
You also know that the terms of that contract – including how much you pay for it – should be fixed over that period. The consumer is tied into that contract unless they pay an early termination charge (“ETC”) to leave before the end of the minimum contract period.
Remember that the Telco providers’ terms and conditions usually allow for price increases and variations to your contract during this term.
Thanks to a licensing condition called ‘fixed-means-fixed’ imposed by the regulator in April 2014, if your provider decides to increase prices part way through your fixed term contract, you should be given two calendar months’ written notice before the price rise and an option to end the contract penalty free. For example, if the amount of data included in your contract is reduced, you may end up paying more than originally agreed. As a result of change to licence conditions, you can exit the contract without penalty if the provider increases the cost of their deal.
This right only relates to changes to products within the list of services paid for by the recurring fee / subscription charge. If your deal includes a number of free services, the key point will be whether those were included in the original offer. If they were not, even if they were free originally, the operator is able to introduce a charge for them in future. It also does not apply other ‘out of bundle’ prices such roaming charges.
Please be aware that the protection afforded to you under ‘fixed-means-fixed’ only covers price increases ‘in-bundle’. In other words, your monthly allowances.
‘Out of bundle’ costs, being the amount you pay for exceeding your monthly allowances or new charges introduced for something which was originally free are likely to not be caught by this protection.
Our advice is to make sure you fully understand what is ‘in’ or ‘out of bundle’ when you sign up to a new contract and be aware that prices can change.
Flying off on Holiday
Check out our Plane Facts guide which highlights your rights if things go wrong
It is important to be aware of your rights:
If your flight is delayed or cancelled you are entitled to assistance and in some cases compensation. If you are denied boarding because the airline has overbooked the flight, you are entitled to compensation.
Your rights are protected by European Law (Regulation (EC) 261/2004) and are the same regardless of the airline you are travelling with.
Your rights are protected for any flight from within the European Union (EU) and on flights from a non-EU country into the EU, provided the airline is licensed in the EU.Read More