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Latest News

09 April 2024

Shield your Wealth: Stay Alert, Scams Avert!

It’s really important that we all know how to protect ourselves and those around us from financial scams. The States of Jersey Police (SoJP) and Jersey Financial Crime Unit (JFCU) have issued a public warning following a series of sophisticated scams, where imposters posing as bank representatives have defrauded dozens of victims in the island, resulting in losses exceeding £10s of thousands of pounds, since January this year. They’re urging us to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity immediately by contacting the States of Jersey Police on 01534 612 612. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and loved ones: Never Share Sensitive Information: Do not disclose online banking passwords, one-time security codes, PINs, or tokens to anyone over the phone.  Verify Independently: If you're uncertain about the legitimacy of a call regarding your bank account, end the call immediately. Then, contact your bank or financial institution directly using the official number from your banking app or the back of your bank card.  Stay Alert: Your bank will never request personal security details, such as passwords and codes. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up at once. Do not respond to, or click on, links in text messages purporting to be from your bank.  Community Vigilance: Check on friends and family, especially those who are more susceptible to such scams, to ensure they are aware of these fraudulent schemes and know how to protect themselves. The SoJP and the JFCU are committed to combating financial crime and protecting all islanders from these predatory tactics. For more information on how to prevent financial fraud or to report a scam. States of Jersey Police - How to Spot a Scam or visit Report a scam by telephoning the States of Jersey Police on 01534 612 612.    
17 March 2024

A letter To mortgage providers

We've asked Jersey’s main mortgage providers to explain why the mortgage rates on offer in the Island are significantly higher than those in their UK high street branches. With housing costs being a significant driver in the cost of living in Jersey, and even the slightest fluctuation in interest rates meaning the difference of hundreds of pounds in monthly repayments costs, the Council is keen to ensure that Islanders are being treated fairly. In a detailed letter, we've has asked lenders to explain the factors influencing their rates in Jersey, a comparative analysis of the market conditions in Jersey compared to the UK, what regulatory differences there may be and what efforts are made to keep consumers informed about mortgage rates and why they differ here. The Council has written to Santander, NatWest, Barclay’s, HSBC, Lloyds and Skipton, all of whom were found to have at least a one per centage point or greater added to their local five year fixed rates compared to the UK rate. Our Chairman, Carl Walker said: “The mortgage industry in Jersey seems to be another one of those areas where a Jersey Premium is being applied for no rational reason, and with housing and repayment costs taking up to a third of people’s salary in some cases, it is important to dig deeper into the market and understand better why Islanders are being charged more than their UK counterparts for effectively the same product in a much more financially secure housing market. “We accept that most of the banks here are ring fenced and, in some areas, separate businesses to the UK banks under the same branding. However, mortgages offered to Jersey residents are intrinsically linked to the Bank of England’s interest rates so it does not seem right for banks to claim they are separate entities, but as soon as the BoE raises interest rates in the UK, Jersey’s mortgage providers do so within a few hours. They can’t have it both ways. “With housing costs being such a huge driver of our local rate of inflation, we have already contacted both the Housing and Treasury Ministers, who are eagerly awaiting the responses we receive from the lenders. Once we have a better understanding of the local market, we can consider what, if anything, can be done. That could be pressure for more transparency, pressure to open up the market and make it more competitive or exploring any options through the regulatory route.” Read the letter below: Inquiry Regarding Basic Mortgage Rates Discrepancy Dear Sir/Madam, I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you on behalf of the Jersey Consumer Council, an organisation committed to advocating for the interests of consumers in Jersey. Our goal is to ensure transparency and fairness in the local market, and we have recently received inquiries from consumers regarding the observed differences between the basic mortgage rates offered by mortgage providers in Jersey compared to their parent or equivalent lenders in the UK. We acknowledge that various factors contribute to the determination of mortgage rates, including market conditions, regulatory environments, and operational costs. However, in light of the concerns raised by consumers, we are seeking clarification from mortgage providers to better understand the justifications for the observed disparities. Our Inquiry: We kindly request that you provide a detailed explanation justifying why the basic mortgage rates offered in Jersey are higher than those provided by your parent or equivalent lender in the UK. Specifically, we would appreciate information on the following: Factors Influencing Rates: Clarification on the factors that contribute to the determination of basic mortgage rates in Jersey. Any unique considerations that may lead to differences between rates in Jersey and the rates offered by your parent or equivalent lender in the UK.   Competitive Analysis: Comparative analysis of the mortgage market conditions in Jersey and the UK. Information on how local market dynamics and competition are taken into account when setting mortgage rates.   Regulatory Compliance: Confirmation of compliance with all relevant regulatory requirements in Jersey. Details on any regulatory differences that may impact mortgage rates in the two jurisdictions.   Communication and Transparency: Explanation of the communication strategy employed to inform consumers about the factors influencing mortgage rates. Information on any initiatives in place to enhance transparency and consumer understanding of mortgage pricing. Timeline for Response: We kindly request that you provide a comprehensive response to our inquiry within three weeks from the date of this letter. This will allow us to address consumer concerns and keep them informed of our progress in determining the reasons why, on the face of it, Jersey customers are treated differently to those in the UK, particularly when our jurisdiction offers a more stable housing market. The Jersey Consumer Council values open communication and co-operation with industry stakeholders and believe that addressing these concerns will contribute to fostering a fair and transparent mortgage market in Jersey. Please feel free to contact us if you require any further clarification or if there are specific details that may assist in providing a comprehensive response to our inquiry. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your prompt response. Sincerely, Carl Walker Chairman cc. Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Elaine Millar and Minister for Housing, Deputy Sam Mézec
12 March 2024

Price Comparison website changes 

You may have noticed that our popular price comparison website isn’t currently being updated. This is due to some essential changes and improvements which we have been making. We will be ready to relaunch the site – which will have a new web address – sometime around Easter.  We thank you for bearing with us and apologise if this has caused you any problems.  In the meantime, you can keep up with all of our latest news – and price updates – by following our social media channels.  Follow @JerseyConsumer on Twitter/X and Instagram or search Jersey Consumer Council on Facebook or LinkedIn.   
Energy & Fuel
Living Costs
11 March 2024

400 households register their disappointment – it’s your last chance to complete our gas form

Islanders wanting to register their disappointment in the £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ offered following last year’s gas outage have until next Friday to complete our online survey. To date, around 400 households have registered with us to express their dissatisfaction in the offer made by Island Energy following the outage in October 2023 – which in some cases left consumers without energy for up to two weeks. Households have now been offered a £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ to make up for the disruption – however, numerous customers have told us that this goes nowhere near covering the true expense they experienced. We’re now working with a local lawyer to try and help consumers recover some of the losses they incurred. We’ve been running an online survey, which has now been completed by around 400 households affected by the outage, which occurred on 7 October when a technical fault by Island Energy left around 4,000 Islanders without gas. Had the energy provider been regulated – like in the UK – it would have had to pay £60 for every day a customer went without gas beyond the first 24 hours. Comments from those who’ve completed our online form so far include: “The way they’ve treated us is totally disgusting – we’ve been a lloyal customer for over 30 years and the £11.36 is insulting.” “That offer is insulting. Thankfully the outage was not during a cold period. The fact that the company has no legal obligation to reimburse customers for the outage should not absolve them from a moral responsibility.” “The Consumers are NOT idiots and shouldn't be treated as such! The offer is a total insult.” Before announcing the ‘goodwill gesture’, Island Energy increased the price of gas by 12%, which is about £13.80 for an average family house (in Guernsey it was increased by 8%). Advocate Philip Sinel, Senior Partner at Sinels and Co, has now agreed to work with us and act for Island Energy customers. He said: “Sinels is happy to act on behalf of those consumers affected by last year’s gas outage as, in our view, there has been a clear breach of contract. Losses have occurred, and as a result, the supplier should be liable for those in our view, and we will do our best to recover those losses for consumers.” If you’d like to be included in the action being taken by the Jersey Consumer Council and Sinels, please register below by completing our short online form by Friday, 22 March. You can also email to request a paper form. Please ensure that when you fill in the form you include an email address and your Island Energy customer number: REGISTER HERE Our Chairman Carl Walker said: “It’s clear that many Islanders were both inconvenienced, as well as financially affected by the gas outage. Consumers couldn’t heat their homes, cook meals, or even wash in hot water. An offer of £11.56 is nothing short of an insult to its customers by Island Energy.’
At Home
Living Costs
26 February 2024

Increasing insurance premiums – what are the causes?

We’ve been contacted by lots of you recently about spiralling insurance premiums – both for motor and household – and how they’re affecting you. We’re aware of this issue and how it’s affecting Islanders, as it is yet another cost-of-living increase for consumers to contend with. This isn't just a Jersey situation though, it's UK-wide, with premiums increasing across the board since 2022. In January 2022, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced some new rules to stop insurers offering better deals to new customers. While this is good for those customers sticking with their ongoing policy, the rules don’t stop or cap the rise in policy costs, so in that respect it’s not good at all.  As a result, many Islanders have seen big increases in their premiums this year. Unfortunately, without a cap on the level of premium paid, the price of cover will fluctuate to reflect a range of factors, such as inflation, building costs, and setting claims due to storms, floods, and the like. The average premium for comprehensive cover on a motor vehicle in the UK has gone up by 58% from this time in 2022, according to Which? Magazine's March 2024 edition. In Jersey, your driver profile will include factors such as your age and your driving record, which influences what you pay for car insurance. Younger drivers have been hit more than most, with those aged under 24 being forced to pay out for premiums into the thousands in some cases. These premium increases will be affected by rising car repair costs. And disaster-related claims are also a significant reason why car insurance rates are surging for many drivers. We're not sure what the answer is. All we can advise is to keep shopping around, try to haggle where you can, and look out for tips using national consumer news organisations such as Which? magazine and Money Saving Expert. Their pages relate to the UK, but you can often pick up tips that are relevant to use in Jersey. You can also check out some of our recent stories on insurance: Which motor insurance providers currently provide cover in Jersey? ( Home Insurance ( Car Insurance (
13 February 2024

Watch out for Valentine's Day romance scams

If you’re looking for love this Valentine’s Day, then online may seem like the easiest place to find it – but please remember to remain vigilant when online dating. While love is all around us at this time of year, if you’re currently single and looking to meet 'the one', be aware that, when it comes to online romance, not everyone is as nice as they may appear. In recent years, TV shows like The Tinder Swindler on Netflix have highlighted the fact that online scammers sometimes take advantage of people looking for love online. The act of catfishing – which involves setting up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes – is a common ploy they use. They then pretend to be romantically attracted to a victim by building up trust and then use manipulative and gaslighting tactics to demand money.  Many of us might be convinced that we could never fall for this type of scam but, sadly, it happens all too often, and victims are often scammed out of thousands of pounds. According to the BBC, there were 7,660 romance fraud cases processed in England and Wales by a self-reporting tool last year, up 60% from 4,842 in 2019.   Here’s some advice on the kinds of things to watch out for: Have you received an unexpected Facebook friend request, Instagram message, or WhatsApp? In this digital age, scammers frequently use social media and messaging apps to target individuals, often using bogus photos and stories to lure them in. Examples include Facebook friend requests or messages from someone claiming to be a highly qualified professional, such as a lawyer, doctor, neurosurgeon, soldier, or even charity worker. Fraudulent social media profiles will often show photos of the scammer in exotic locations, or helping others, but these photos have usually been copied from the internet and are not the person they claim to be. A reverse image search will often find where the image has been taken from. Look out for false promises These scams are often conducted over a long period of time, building up the victim's trust.  The scammer will often ‘live’ in a different country, explaining this is the reason they’re unable to visit, but promising to do so as soon as they can. They may promise lavish gifts and even offer to marry the victim, sending photos of the engagement ring they’ve apparently purchased.  Don’t be guilt-tripped into sending money Though many people won’t even meet their scammer, they will frequently be willing to transfer them vast amounts of money in the hope of a relationship. In fact, Islanders have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years. Once the trust is built, the scammer will ask for cash, often making the victim feel guilty if they don’t send the money. It may start with relatively small requests, such as to: help pay for a hospital bill pay for a child’s education donate to a church fund buy an iPhone or iPad to help keep in touch pay for phone calls to keep in contact with you pay for a ticket to visit you. Then the bigger payment requests start, and this is where many victims lose thousands of pounds. The scammer may request: money to put down a deposit on a house for you both money to help them pay a large building or legal invoice that, if unpaid, could mean they’ll be jailed. How to protect yourself from falling victim to a romance scam Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person.  Remain sceptical and, if any warning signs appear, try to remove emotion from your decision, even if your ‘partner’ appears sincere. Don’t feel guilty for refusing to make a payment and if they insist, stop all contact – they’re scamming you. Don’t give out personal information, especially account details. Do a reverse image search of your admirer’s photos. Often these romance scammers will steal other people’s photos, so these may be featured on a legitimate person’s social media. Go to Google and search ‘How to reverse image search’. Watch out for inconsistencies in their story and grammar. Be cautious about what photos or information you share with the person. They may use compromising photos or information as blackmailing material. If you arrange to meet them in person, inform friends and family of where you are going.    Remember, anyone of any age, gender or sexuality is a target for these scams: If you’ve fallen victim to romance fraud or catfishing, report it to the States of Jersey Police straight away on 612612. The Jersey Consumer Council is a member of the Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum and more information can be found on their website.