Consumer Tips
17 June 2024

Jersey Consumer Council seeking new Council Members and other volunteers

Are you passionate about consumer affairs in Jersey? If so, the Jersey Consumer Council is expanding its membership and is looking for Islanders of all ages to join its successful, driven and friendly team, to help improve the lives of consumers in the Island. From price checking and researching products to feeding back on new Government policy and helping consumers with everyday issues, the roles is as varied as it is rewarding.  We’re hoping to attract applications to join our team of volunteer Council Members from Islanders with a variety of skills, including secretarial, digital, administrative, and social media, among others. Applications are being accepted from people of all ages, and we’re especially keen to welcome applications from any Islanders in their 20s and 30s, which is an area currently under-represented on the Council. In addition to searching for new Council Members, we’re also looking to recruit a team of separate volunteers who will help, when required, with research, data gathering and special projects – effectively acting as the eyes and ears of the Council.   What you need to do To apply to either join our Council, or our new team of volunteers, please include a covering letter – indicating whether you wish to join the Council or our new team of separate volunteers, or whether you’d consider either role – explaining a little about yourself and why you wish to join the Jersey Consumer Council. Please also include a brief CV, and answers to the following questions: Why do you want to join/volunteer on behalf of the Jersey Consumer Council? What are the three biggest issues facing consumers today? Choose one of the above and briefly explain how you would help tackle this? Do you have an example of when you have challenged a retailer or service provider, either on your own or someone else’s behalf, and what was the outcome? Approximately how many hours a month do you think you may be able to commit to helping the Consumer Council? Are there any other skills you have which you think will be of benefit to the role, to the Council or to Consumers in Jersey? You can see the full job description here. Please submit your application to contact@consumercouncil.je no later than 30 June 2024.
Consumer Tips
Money
12 January 2024

Keeping a roof over your head: How to prioritise your bills

Many consumers find themselves juggling numerous bills, each with different due dates and amounts, making it challenging to decide which one to pay first. Our friends at Community Savings, a Jersey charity dedicated to helping those experiencing financial difficulties, understand the importance of prioritising bills, and offer the following advice to Islanders on how to tackle this common financial challenge. START WITH HOUSING BILLS Your home is your sanctuary, and ensuring that you have a roof over your head should be your top priority. Begin by focusing on the following housing-related bills: • Rent or mortgage payments: Paying your rent or mortgage on time should be your absolute priority. Failure to do so could lead to eviction or foreclosure, which can have devastating consequences on your living situation. • Utility bills: Electricity, water and gas bills are essential for maintaining a safe and comfortable living environment. These should be paid promptly to avoid disconnection. CREATE A BUDGET To make the process of prioritising bills easier, create a monthly budget that outlines your income and expenses. Allocate funds for housing costs, utilities, groceries, transportation, and other necessities. Having a clear financial roadmap will help you stay on track. BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND Building an emergency fund can be a lifesaver when unexpected expenses arise. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This fund can act as a safety net to cover bills in case of emergencies. NEGOTIATE PAYMENT PLANS If you’re struggling to meet all your financial obligations, don’t hesitate to reach out to your creditors or utility providers. Many are willing to work with you to create manageable payment plans, or offer assistance programs for those facing financial difficulties. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP If you find yourself overwhelmed by debt and struggling to make ends meet, don’t hesitate to seek professional financial advice. Organisations like Community Savings offer budgeting advice and financial mentoring to help you regain control of your finances. AUTOMATE BILL PAYMENTS Consider setting up automatic bill payments for your housing-related expenses. This ensures that these crucial bills are paid on time, reducing the stress of managing multiple due dates. CONTACT COMMUNITY SAVINGS Call on 737555 Email: office@communitysavings.org.je
Consumer Tips
Money
Shopping
20 December 2023

Christmas shopping tips

Here are our top tips for consumers this Christmas: Plan early – organisation is key. Don’t forget your everyday bills – they still need to be paid. Shop around to get the cheapest prices. Be careful with your credit card – clear the balance straight away. Don’t reply on your overdraft – it always has to be paid back. Don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders. Always buy from a reputable company and do your research. Don’t be tempted to buy something just because it’s advertised with a big discount. You might find a better deal elsewhere. Check and track prices using sites such as camelcamelcamel.com who monitor Amazon prices throughout the year. Sign up to your favourite store newsletter or follow them on social media for the latest deals. Get a store loyalty card to receive loyalty points or special offers. Look out for two-for-one offers – get two presents for the price of one. Look out for scams - if it’s too good to be true it usually is.
Consumer Tips
Money
Shopping
20 December 2023

What to do if you've received any unwanted or faulty gifts this Christmas

If you've received any Christmas gifts you don't want or, even worse, that don't work, then it's important you know your rights. Most shops will allow you to return unwanted gifts, as long as you have either a gift receipt, or ask the person who bought it for the original receipt. But there's some important things to be aware of.   Returning faulty goods As a consumer, the Supply of Goods and Services (Jersey) Law 2009 protects you if your goods are:    Faulty or damaged    Useless    Not what was advertised or matching the description    These terms apply whether your goods were bought new, in a sale or even second hand. Usually you'll be required to provide proof of purchase when returning goods, such as a receipt.    If goods are faulty, within a reasonably short period of time after the sale took place, a consumer is entitled to a full refund or compensation. However, consumers could alternatively select a repair or replacement, which would then be at the company’s discretion to accept.   Returning unwanted goods When returning unwanted rather than faulty goods, consumers will usually have to follow the company’s internal returns policy. These ‘goodwill’ policies may offer either a refund, exchange or credit note. It’s worth noting that company’s aren’t required by law to have a returns policy. Time limits may be imposed on these returns, such as 28 days, and may increase around the Christmas period.     Returning online goods When buying online goods, you have additional rights for returns. This is because of the ‘expectation versus reality’ phenomenon, where the image online may look nothing like the physical item you receive. Under the Consumer Contracts regulation, you have the right to return items if you change your mind. Once your goods have been received, you have 14 days to request a return. Some companies will do pre-paid returns, but some will require the customer to pay for their own postage.      Gift cards Expiry dates for gift cards can vary enormously. These can range from just a few months to even a year. When receiving a gift card, make sure to check the expiry date to ensure you use it in this timeframe. The gift giver won’t get their money back if you don’t spend it!   If you lose a gift card, then you may be able to have one reissued for a small fee. However, this is ultimately within the retailer’s power.
Consumer Tips
Shopping
20 December 2023

Your Christmas shopping rights

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of year for some of us, but present buying isn’t always so merry and bright. Your husband’s shirt is too tight, the children’s Xbox doesn’t do what it should, and your gift card doesn’t have an expiry date. Knowing your consumer rights could protect you from any problems over the festive season.   Proof of purchases Hang on to your receipts, including till receipts, email receipts, gift receipts, gift cards, bank and credit card statements and cheque book stubs – of which can be used for proof of purchase. Some retailers are preferring to give an email rather than a paper receipt. You may not want to give your email address out, or perhaps you don’t have one. Don’t be afraid to ask for a paper receipt. Most retailers have the policy that they will provide a paper receipt if asked.   The Jersey Consumer Council have contacted both New Look and Dunelm who now prefer to issue email receipts. Both shops have confirmed that they will happily give a paper receipt if the customer asks for one.   Gift cards When purchasing a gift card make sure that the retailer includes any important terms and conditions at the point of purchase. Always read the fine print. Gift card expiry dates can vary enormously. Make sure at purchase that your card has an expiration date that gives plenty of time to spend it.   Product Safety Be safe this Christmas. Follow the instructions and appropriate warnings. Make sure that products display a CE mark, proof that the product has passed EU safety regulations, or the UKCA mark, which is the UK equivalent. All toys, including ‘free’ toys that come with magazines or food purchases, must display the CE mark. Even if a product is marked ‘this is not a toy’ it may still have to satisfy safety tests if it is ‘child appealing’.   Read more Christmas tips in the latest edition of our Consumer News newsletter. Click here to read it.
At Home
Consumer Tips
05 October 2023

Which motor insurance providers currently provide cover in Jersey?

You may have heard that certain insurance providers are pulling out of the Channel Islands due to a change of the law in Gibraltar. This law change has indeed reduced the number of motor insurers who will provide cover in Jersey. We've done some research and have compiled a list of those insurers still offering business to the Channel Islands. This is the list of insurers (accurate as of September 2023):  Accredited Insurance (Europe) Limited Ageas Insurance Limited Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance UK Limited Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company of Europe Limited Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE Allianz Insurance Plc American International Group UK Limited (AIG UK Limited) Assurant General Insurance Limited Aviva Insurance Limited AXA Insurance UK Plc AXA XL Insurance Company UK Limited CHUBB European Group Limited Churchill Insurance Company Limited Covea Insurance Plc Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc Great Lakes Insurance SE Great Lakes Insurance UK Ltd Gresham Insurance Company Limited HCC International Insurance Company Plc Highway Insurance Company Limited Hiscox Insurance Company Limited Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands Limited Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited MS Amlin Insurance SE National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited QBE Europe SA/NV QBE UK Limited RAC Insurance Limited Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc The Prudential Assurance Company Limited Tradex Insurance Company Ltd Travelers Insurance Company Limited Travelers Insurance Designated Activity Company UK Insurance Limited White Horse Insurance Ireland Designated Activity Company XL Insurance Company SE Zurich Insurance Company Ltd When looking for insurance, always remember to compare prices to get the best deal for you. Your insurance broker – such as Rossborough, Islands Insurance or Channel Insurance Brokers – might be able to help you with this.