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Jersey Consumer Council

Consumer News

Amazon phone scam

June 26, 2020 Scams No Comments

Be on your guard! Scammers are getting more devious.

We’ve been made aware of several Amazon related phone scams in the last couple of days. The calls vary in what is being asked but here is a couple we know of:

1). An automated message stating that £7.99 will be deducted from your account for your Amazon Prime membership, and if you do not want this to happen you should press option 1. A real person then tells you that to stop the payment being made you must download an app called TeamViewer.
Do not do this. TeamViewer gives the person full access to your computer, iPad, phone etc
Hang up the phone immediately.

2). ‘Amazon’ calls about a new subscription to Amazon Prime which will be charged to your credit card. In order to cancel this payment, they need your authority and request your email address and/or your Amazon account password.
Never give away any personal information to anyone who has called you out of the blue. states they will never ask you for:
– payment or offer you a refund you do not expect.
– payment outside of our website (e.g. via bank transfer, e-mailing credit card details, sharing gift card details over the phone, etc.)
– remote access to your device e.g. by asking you to install an app.
Do not share any personal information.
Disconnect the call immediately.

Condor Ferry Cancellations

April 3, 2020 Coronavirus Matters, Travel and Transport No Comments

With ferry crossings cancelled until at least the end of April, the Consumer Council has received complaints from passengers having difficulty getting a full refund.

Travellers are being offered vouchers for future sailings rather than cash refunds. We understand this is because Condor expects to be able to honour the travel at a later date.

We approached the company about this as there are points to be considered:
– by law, a full refund should be given if requested
– the cancelled ferry journey may have been a one-off crossing for a wedding etc
– if a voucher is accepted, can customer change their mind at a later date, should the situation change?
– if a voucher is accepted, what happens if the customer is unable to travel in the next 12 months, due to illness etc?

Condor have advised that they are having to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and that the recent measures they have taken are to ensure the future of the company and jobs, and the continuation of lifeline services for the Channel Islands, including freight-only sailings to provide a sterile working environment.

They stated that initially offering a voucher is the position being taken by most ferry operators and the wider travel industry.

The company is offering passengers with existing reservations, who wish to alter a booking, the option to change their trip to a future date without incurring an amendment fee at the current time (although fare differential may still apply), and a complimentary seat upgrade for both their outward and return journey onboard their high-speed ships (subject to availability).

If you can’t yet commit to a future travel date, Condor is providing a travel voucher to the total value of the original booking without any cancellation penalty. The voucher has a validity date of up to 18 months.

Every email received by their Customer Relations team is being looked at on a case by case basis. Unfortunately, due to such high email traffic, responses may take several months to complete, which is not good news.

In response to this Condor advise that if there is a need to amend the booking voucher date many months into the future, their normal amendment policy may apply which includes the ability to change online up to seven days before departure free of charge. Should a more expensive sailing be chosen, the difference in fare will apply.

Jun 2019 EDTN 90

July 5, 2019 Newsletters No Comments

Flybe hand baggage

Many Island consumers were in touch at the beginning of the year concerning the enforcement of Flybe’s hand baggage policy.

Despite their promises to the Jersey Consumer Council that they would be addressing the three key issues we had raised, we are sad to hear that nothing much seems to have changed at Jersey Airport, with passengers still being left very upset at the way they have been treated.

The problem for the JCC is not the fact that the baggage policy, or a £50 fine for oversized hand baggage exists. The airline’s terms and conditions are there for all to see and Islanders can choose whichever airline they want to use. The problem for consumers is the way in which the airline – or its ground handling agents Swissport – are enforcing the policy in Jersey.

Read more…

Feb 2019 EDTN 89

February 22, 2019 Newsletters No Comments

‘Excuse me. When is your next delivery?’

A number of islanders have been in touch since the beginning of the year to share their stories of the different levels of customer service they received while doing their Christmas shopping. While some of the stories were bad, some were great – which shows that a number of our retailers are doing their bit to try to make the high street as attractive to consumers as possible. If anything, it seemed to be the smaller, independent retailers who are really making a difference.

Read more…

Sept 2018 Edtn 88 JCC Newsletter

September 23, 2018 Newsletters No Comments

Jersey Issues

Turn to our September newsletter to find out more about;

Jersey Health Watch – our newest price comparison website to be launched next week.

The Unfair Commercial Practices Law – 12 simple points you should know

‘We need joined up thinking – when it comes to the retail sector’ – Carl Walker, Chair

When your bank writes to you – what should you do?

All change at the Consumer Council – meet the new members

22 lunchtime talks to choose from

Read more…

Meet the new Consumer Council

September 7, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

We are pleased to introduce you to our new members of the Consumer Council. The eight everyday islanders’ have been recruited to help tackle and highlight consumer issues

Under the leadership of newly-elected Chairman Carl Walker, the new members will help shape the views of the Consumer Council by drawing on their day-to-day experiences of island life.

“Our role is to be the consumers’ champion. We investigate and publicise anomalies in consumer affairs and provide Islanders with accurate and timely information to help them make informed decisions.”

Carl has made up a Council from a cross-section of the community so that all consumers are being represented. The Council investigates and publicises anomalies in consumer affairs and provide Islanders with accurate and timely information to help them make informed decisions.

We are constituted to

  • Help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing goods and services. For example, we offer tips and guidance on how to employ a tradesman; advice on the ins and outs of different phone and broadband packages and explain how consumer feedback helps shape services for others.
  • Undertake research and surveys to measure public opinion. We then present our findings to the public and to those who are in a position to respond to the results and make any necessary changes.
  • Raise consumer concerns with decision makers and policymakers within businesses and at the States of Jersey. This is on a whole range of issues, including primary health, transport difficulties, fuel prices and much more.

Front row left to right;

Sheila Ponomarenko, Anne King (executive officer) Michael Sampson, Pat Le Masurier

Back Row left to right

Curt Volpert , Mike Le Galle, Dave Crocker, Amanda Shaw,  Laurent Ybert, Carl Walker (Chair)

The aim of the JCC is to encourage businesses to put the consumer first and to help those consumers understand the issues that matter to them.

Looking to make an investment? Taking Financial Advice?

July 10, 2018 Banking, Budget No Comments

Remember it’s your money.

Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions or complain.

Don’t be too trusting, be wary of promises of a high rate of return with apparently little or no risk. All investments carry some degree of risk. Greater returns mean greater risk i.e. potential to lose some or all of the money you have invested.

  1. Double check everything, and don’t feel pressured into making an investment. Ensure you are given enough time to read through the product documentation and consider your options.
  2. Ask the independent financial adviser IFA [who should be registered with the Jersey Financial Services Commission {JFSC}] to explain in your language about their investment options and the risks. Licensed advisers are required to fully assess your attitude to risk, capacity for loss and ensure solutions are suitable. Ask for evidence of these key points.
  3. Do not sign any investment/product agreements that you do not fully understand. Always read the small print and any supplementary documentation. There may be hidden terms and conditions. Take the paperwork away and read it in your own time. If you don’t understand something ask for help.
  4. Consider spreading the risk between investments; Avoid ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ – splitting your money between a few investments could help to reduce potential losses
  5. Know exactly what you want; duration of investment, do you need access to any of the money during the lifetime of the investment. How could this be changed by an unexpected change in your circumstances? Are there any penalties for withdrawing your money early?
  6.  Ask the IFA to explain how their recommendations meet your purpose; if what they say doesn’t match what they have provided in writing, be wary.
  7. Challenge the information, ask lots of questions. Make sure you fully understand the proposed investment and how much you could potentially lose. Only invest if you are completely informed, know the risks and how returns are generated.
  8. Do your research. Is the IFA licenced by the JFSC? What’s their feedback like – can anyone recommend them? Always research the person and the company selling you the investment, even if you know them personally and believe them to be trustworthy. You may have developed a good relationship but regard this as a business transaction and always ask yourself whether they are acting in your best interests – not their own
  9. Beware of putting money into “can’t miss”, “once in a lifetime” and “guaranteed return” opportunities or investments in which your adviser claims to have already invested their own money.
  10. Is there a choice of investments on offer or is your adviser just proposing a single product? And be wary if you are you being invited to cash in an existing investment such as your pension.
  11. Consider what compensation may or may not be available should the investment fail or the company selling it become insolvent. Jersey does not have an investor compensation scheme. What would a total loss scenario mean for you?
  12. Never be rushed; always be aware of pushy sales tactics. A professional adviser should never pressure you into making an immediate decision. If you are not given enough time, steer clear.
  13. Reflect, research and take advice. Consider talking to family or a third-party expert before you proceed. Perhaps have someone present when you meet with your adviser, particularly if you do not consider yourself an experienced investor
  14. Do not be fooled by cleverly worded marketing material on websites and in brochures – it could be misleading.
  15. When considering ‘alternative investments’ (e.g. wine, coins, stamps) rather than traditional financial services products, always do your research and understand the associated risks. These products, and usually the companies that sell or advise on them, are not regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission
  16. If you do invest, make sure you monitor the investment and ask for regular updates

You are the client – ask questions and make sure you get the answers so you are fully comfortable with your decision; how long will you be tied in for? Could you lose all your money?

When your bank writes to you.

July 6, 2018 Banking No Comments

If your bank writes to you requesting action on your behalf, here are our recommendations;

  • Do not ignore the request; if you are concerned that it may be a fraudulent letter contact your bank directly and ask. But be advised that potentially NO response from you can ultimately result in your account being closed.
  • Once you are sure that the bank contact is genuine follow the instructions or contact the bank if you are unable to provide the requested information by the deadline, explain the situation and ask for assistance as necessary. If this does not work, complain to the bank, then contact the Channel Islands Financial Services Ombudsman for guidance;

Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman (CIFO)
P O Box 114
Jersey, Channel Islands

01534 748610

When responding to your bank’s requests for information – keep copies of your letters, notes of conversations, dates and bank responses.

  • Remember that a bank will never contact you by phone, email or letter to you to ask for your account passwords or your PIN number. If you get a call or email ‘out of the blue’ do not assume the telephone number or the email address, the caller may provide you to contact your bank is in fact your bank’s.  The safest approach is for you to call your bank back on their general number (shown on the back of your debit or credit cards or on your statements).  The bank’s call centre staff can transfer you to the appropriate bank department to resolve the matter.
  • Ensure the bank has your up-to-date address and contact details so that you do not miss any important correspondence.

Other banks can be understandably hesitant to open  a new account for you if they know your account at another bank has been closed.

Having your current account closed creates difficulties, for example with missed direct debits. Be mindful of course when setting up any new account to be vigilant that all your regular payments are set up and are not disrupted.

If your bank wants to close your account, they should give you sufficient time to make alternative arrangements. Be sure to ask for an extension, if you need more time.


Planning on upgrading your mobile phone soon? Think data & apps Think security ……

June 29, 2018 Telecommunications No Comments

Your mobile stores sensitive data and you should take a moment to ensure you are protecting that data. Nothing complicated, just a quick review and maybe a settings change to enable encryption. Sooner or later you will upgrade when your old one is lost, stolen, or becomes too slow.

Firstly, set a password or PIN to unlock your handset if you have not done so already. Even with phones that support fingerprint or facial recognition, you can set a password to require when switching them on or changing security settings.

Next, enable encryption on your handset. All modern phones support this.

To check whether your Android handset is encrypted touch Settings > Security & location > Encryption & credentials and look for the message “Phone encrypted”. If you do not see this go ahead and enable it on that same screen. This could take a little while if you have a lot of data stored.

To check whether your iPhone handset is encrypted touch Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and scroll down to look for the message “Data protection is enabled” This is enabled by default once you set a passcode.

To permanently erase all apps and data on your your Android handset touch Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset). Because your device storage is encrypted, your data is now inaccessible.

To permanently erase all apps and data on your iPhone touch Settings > General > Erase All Content and Settings. Because your device storage is encrypted, your data is inaccessible.

This means that ALL device data is gone; photos, email, messages, installed apps and app data, everything. Online backups are something to be mindful of, but data on the handset is inaccessible to the next owner (or thief) so can be considered safe.

The final thing to consider is any device you paired your mobile handset to. That includes your car! If you transferred your contacts or other data (such as your home address or GPS points of interest) then be sure you also delete that data before selling your car. That may be more complicated, but your owner’s manual or service garage should be able to help you.

As a reminder, handsets contain chemicals and metals that should not be thrown away in your rubbish. Take it back to your mobile provider and ask about recycling or take it to the recycling centre at La Collette for advice on how to dispose of it properly.

Tom Brossman, IT Consultant

Car Hire ‘Rip-offs’

June 25, 2018 Consumer Skills, Travel and Transport No Comments

Which have listed the top three tricks of the car hire trade to avoid;

Trick 1 – Damage charges

Trick 2 – Excess waiver fees

Trick 3 – Fuel options

Which also mention a few other car hire tricks;
Automatic toll collecting equipment can be costly with a hefty hire charge per day to pay, so check whether this is a legal requirement and whether it can be turned off. And if unexpected or unauthorised payments appear on your statements, raise this with your card company or bank.

Be aware of the cost of sat nav hire – it could be cheaper to buy foreign maps for your sat nav rather than hiring one with the car.

Travel Supermarket share 7 of the worst car hire rip-offs.

Car Hire #Ripoffs
Rip-off #1: Sky-high excess costs
Rip-off #2: The ‘full-empty’ fuel policy
Rip-off #3: The ‘upgrade’ option
Rip-off #4: Paying for extras you could bring yourself
Rip-off #5: Buying at the desk
Rip-off #6: Unexpected charges when you get home
Rip-off #6: Unexpected charges when you get home

Have you experienced one of these car hire tricks? And if you’ve been faced with other tricks let us know.