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Jersey Consumer Council

Tag: home life

Charities & Bequest Issues

February 22, 2017 Consumer Skills, Home life No Comments
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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


Jersey Telecom’s Billing Changes

February 10, 2017 Home life, Telecommunications No Comments
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Both Jersey Consumer Council and Citizens Advice Jersey have received numerous telephone calls and emails from concerned landline only JT customers in relation to the costs being introduced for paper bills and payment choices, other than direct debits.

 

Your heartfelt comments, frustrations and anger have all been shared with managers from JT. It has to be recognised that we cannot stop the tide of change but we can help consumers to move with the tide as much as possible.

 

Over the last few days we have been talking to JT on a daily basis to sort out some steps to help the vulnerable and land line only customers who are overwhelmed and frightened by the proposed changes.

 

The JT team are sympathetic and have listened to all of your questions, comments and criticisms. The following options are being offered to help;

 

  • JT Prime talk customers with no other products on a monthly Bill can switch to a quarterly bill to reduce bill charges
  • JT customers with multiple bills can arrange to have all their products on one bill to avoid duplicate charges
  • JT will contact selected Prime Talk customers with more information on Direct Debit payment options
  • You don’t have to print your bills – if you have an iPad for example but no printer you can still opt to pay using traditional methods i.e. cheque or cash (albeit at a charge) you will need to write down the Account number

 

JT have assured us that they ‘always abide by the direct debit guarantee and distribute bills at least 5 working days prior to a direct debit taken out.’

 

We are still talking to JT, as consumers continue to contact us with ideas and initiatives to help our community.

 

Dominic Vye, JT’s Head of Commercial Development, said: “The new billing structure aligns JT with the vast majority of our customers, who receive their bills online and pay by Direct Debit. As their numbers have grown so has the cost of paper billing and administering non-Direct Debit payments.

 

“But we were always conscious that some customers would be affected, which is why we are working closely with groups such as the JCC to make this transition as smooth as possible”.

 

If you still have concerns please telephone the Jersey Consumer Council on 611161 or leave a message.


Christmas Puddings & Pricewatch

November 14, 2016 Home life, Top tips No Comments
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Having found our Mince Pie tasting in 2015 so revealing we decided to put Christmas Puddings to the taste and price test this year. Taste testers helped us from Citizens Advice Jersey, Trading Standards, the Channel Island Competition and Regulatory Authorities and 4insight, a local Market Reserach Company. Our 5 testers (we had two testers from Trading Standards as one was an entrant to the Great British Bake off 2015) each tester could award a maximum of 25 points per pudding; the clear winner was the most expensive of our pudding purchases.

The testers noted that the complexity of microwave cooking such as microwave for 2 minutes, rest for a minute, cook for 40 seconds and then rest again seemed to have benefits when it comes to the final texture. Detailed below are the scores from the ‘blind’ tasting. Now it is your turn to see if you agree with our testers!

Puddings Tested…full results will be published week commencing 28th November in our all island newsletter.

Brand of Christmas Pudding
Coop
Christmas Pudding
Irresistible Rich & Fruity
Marks & Spencer
Classic Recipe Pudding
The Collection Intensely Fruity
Tesco Alliance
Tesco Finest Pudding
Tesco Christmas Pudding
Waitrose
Essential Cider & Sherry
6 Month Matured

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


Tumble Dryer Update

November 3, 2016 Home life No Comments
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In August this year a blaze ripped through an 18 storey high rise in London. It took 120 firefighters to put it out. The cause was believed to be an Indesit tumble dryer which was subject to a safety notice issued by Whirlpool.

Alison de Bourcier, Director of Trading Standards in Jersey is in contact with Whirlpool UK and receiving local updates. She estimates as many as 5,000 units were supplied in Jersey between April 2004 and September 2015, however many of these will have come to the end of their natural life.

 

Whirlpool appointed two local service agents who are carrying out modifications.  At the end of July, 1,249 Jersey consumers had registered with Whirlpool customer services for the free of charge modification.  
The safety notice only affects a number of models of Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline tumble dryers.

Retailers in Jersey were quick to respond to the Whirlpool safety notice in checking that any new stock being supplied had been modified.

Whilst the agents are working through the list of registered customers, Alison de Bourcier would once again advise consumers to check if there model requires modification by visiting https://safety.hotpoint.eu or alternatively call a dedicated helpline (0800 151 0905).

She is also encouraging Islanders to register for notification of other product recalls and safety notices published on MyGov (www.mygov.je).

“It is increasingly difficult for consumers and businesses to keep up to speed with product recalls and safety notices. Safety is our primary concern.

It is really important that you are informed of any potential safety issues and know what to do if you think you have an affected product.”

 

Whilst there are mounting pressures in the UK for Whirlpool to do more, Trading Standards are reminding consumers who may be awaiting a modification to;

  • make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using and maintaining your electrical appliances, 
including checking and cleaning the filter after every cycle and ensure proper dryer venting
  • don’t put appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwasher on when you are going to bed or going out
  • turn off electrical appliances when they are not in use
  • fit smoke and or heat detectors to your home. You should have at least one smoke detector on each level of your home and they should be tested weekly
  • never tackle a fire yourself; get out, stay out and call 999

If you need help in identifying if your tumble dryer has been affected please contact Trading Standards on 448160 or email tradingstandards@gov.je

Seeing your Doctor?

September 7, 2016 Health Matters, Home life No Comments
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Seeing your Doctor?

Here are a few tips…to make the most of your time with your Doctor

Be Prepared…lists will always help and read them out at the start of your appointment. This helps the doctor to see the whole picture and to avoid leaving the embarrassing ailment until you are about to leave.

Try to pre-empt your doctor’s routine questions, prepare answers for: ‘how long has it been going on? Have you had it before and has anyone in the family had the same thing? And be specific and upfront about your history.

A symptom diary can help; these are helpful for tracking times when symptoms hit.

Your doctor may ask you to return to discuss one of your problems – it maybe that he or she feels that it deserves more time and a more detailed evaluation. A repeat visit will almost certainly incur a further charge.


4G Data Usage…How MUCH?

September 7, 2016 Telecommunications No Comments
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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


New Construction Regulations & You!

July 26, 2016 Home life, Money Matters No Comments
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 Domestic clients : roles and responsibilities  under the new regulations
A new set of Regulations for the construction industry, the Health and Safety (Management in
Construction) (Jersey) Regulations 2016 (Construction Regulations) come into force in Jersey on
1 October 2016.
These Regulations place legal duties on a number of people involved with a construction project, including clients, to help ensure health and safety is addressed from the very early stages of planning and design, through construction to eventual demolition of a building.
The Regulations make an important distinction between‘domestic clients’ and ‘commercial clients’,who commission construction work as part of a business.
Domestic clients and the Regulations
Domestic clients are exempt from the Regulations but the duties imposed on clients by the Regulations do not disappear – they are passed to other people, usually the designer but if no designer is involved, the contractor in control of the construction work.
What does this mean to the householder having work done on their own home?
Whilst the householder (ie the domestic client) has no legal responsibilities for the work, the
designer or contractor carrying out the work needs to ensure that certain things are done in order
to meet their own legal duties. This includes making sure that:
  • 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
Making sure the above matters are addressed is likely to incur some financial cost, which should be proportionate to the size and complexity of the project.
The domestic client is therefore likely to see a charge added by the designer, or principal contractor, as relevant, to cover these expenses.
It has been found, however, that paying a little extra at the planning stages helps with the smooth running of the project, with fewer unseen problems and delays, and can save money in the long term.
Can a domestic client refuse to pay for the costs arising from the requirements under the new Construction Regulations?
A domestic client is not legally responsible for discharging the duties imposed on clients under the Regulations and, as such, does not have any legal obligation to pay for any costs incurred in this respect. However, as the designer or contractor is legally obliged to ensure the necessary measures are in place, if the domestic client does not agree to cover the cost, they are unlikely to find any professionals willing to undertake the work on the property -as the designer (or contractor) will effectively have to cover the cost themselves.
It is anticipated that the cost will become a standard part of the fee proposal or quote provided
by the person responsible for ensuring the client’s duties are carried out.
For more information contact:
Health and Safety Inspectorate

Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm – Visits by appointment only

Health and Safety Inspectorate
PO Box 55
La Motte Street
St Helier
Jersey
JE4 8PE


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