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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? (consumercouncil.je) Home Insurance (consumercouncil.je) Car Insurance (consumercouncil.je)
Living Costs
Shopping
07 February 2024

Co-op may cut or cancel Islanders' dividend payments

The Channel Islands Co-op has announced that it could be forced to slash or suspend its “divvy” payments this year, as a result of ‘extremely challenging market conditions’. The local retailer has written to members to say that a proposition allowing its board to decide whether dividend rates should be reduced, or whether no dividend should be paid this year, will be presented in May at its Annual Members Meeting. Islanders have taken to social media to express their outrage at the announcement, which will affect consumers of all ages, as well as local charities who have share numbers that some shoppers choose to use. Today, long queues of customers queued at the Co-op’s Grande Marche store to withdraw their previous dividend funds from their accounts. Our Chairman, Carl Walker, has described the news as ‘another blow for consumers’. Speaking to the local media, he said that is was unfair and immoral to take a dividend from people who had been consciously building it up, with many Islanders choosing to shop at the Co-op purely because of the 4% dividend that they’ve always known they will receive – especially as every receipt they have received previously told them what they would be getting back. He said that many Islanders see the payment as a bonus, and many make plans each year on how they will spend it. "I've been speaking to Coop customers this morning, who are queuing up with their share books in their hands withdrawing their money which they've saved up in there over the years because they are angry at the decision that the Co-op surprised everyone with," said Mr Walker. "They're angry that the announcement hasn't come sooner or that the announcement isn't warning them that maybe next year's dividend would be withheld." Writing to members, the Chief Executive Officer of the Co-op, Mark Cox, said: “Regardless of our concerted efforts, our end-of-year financial report will reflect a notable reduction in our net surplus. Faced with this decline, the Society must make some tough decisions that will impact our members. This may involve either reducing dividend payments or suspending them entirely for the 2023 financial year."
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Living Costs
Phone
05 February 2024

Another price increase is on the way...

If you’re a JT customer, your bills will be going up from 27 March.  The telecommunications company have announced that they’ll be increasing their prices by 7.5%, in line with the latest Retail Price Index.   This comes on the back of other household price increases, from Island Energy, Jersey Water and the Jersey Electricity Company, and will no doubt be worrying for some consumers.  If you’re concerned about your JT bills, you can contact them on 882882 and see whether a different contract might save you some money.  To see how the increases will affect various plans and services, check out their prices here:  JT RPI Price Increases - JT Global  As always, our advice would be to always shop around for the best prices and to check whether you're definitely on the best contract for your needs. 
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Living Costs
01 February 2024

Amazon Prime Video introduce additional charge to avoid watching adverts

Amazon Prime customers will have to pay an additional £2.99 a month to avoid having to watch adverts on the Prime Video streaming service. Amazon has written to Prime customers to say that the change will come into effect from Monday, 5 February. If customers choose not to upgrade, they will instead have to watch adverts. Currently Prime Video costs £5.99 a month. It will now cost £8.98 to watch ad-free – the equivalent of a 50% increase. Viewers can sign up to get one month of the upgrade for free. Meanwhile, full Amazon Prime customers currently pay £8.99 a month, or £95 for the year upfront. To get rid of adverts, these customers will now need to pay £11.98 a month, or £130.88 for an annual membership. Amazon haven’t said when the adverts will be shown – whether they will be during the content you’re watching, or just before it – but they have said there will be  “meaningfully fewer ads than ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers”.
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Energy & Fuel
Living Costs
17 January 2024

Gas prices to go up by 12%

Island Energy has announced that it will be increasing gas prices by 12% from the end of this month. The announcement comes just three months after a gas outage left customers with no gas for weeks following an Island-wide fault on Saturday 7 October. Customers are still waiting for an update on what compensation they will receive and when, following our calls for the gas provider to act responsibly and fairly to its customers in terms of compensation, and take on board the guidance and advice it would be operating under if it was regulated by the UK energy watchdog Ofgem. The price rise comes into effect on 31 January and will mean that the average household bill will see an increase of approximately £13.80 per month. Announcing the rise, Island Energy said: “The price rise is due to several factors. Inflationary pressures on operating and importation costs, high interest rates impacting on capital investment programme and continued volatility in wholesale market means that we need to implement a price increase. “The last increase in Jersey and Guernsey was November 2022.  A review of these prices will take place in six months' time with a view that if market conditions are favourable prices may change.” They added: “We know even the smallest increases can sometimes be exceedingly difficult for customers and we want to be as supportive as we can during this time, our customer services teams are here to help and can be reached on 01534 755500.”
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Living Costs
09 January 2024

The rising price of milk

The price of milk will be going up from this week. Jersey Dairy has announced an increase of 7 pence a litre at wholesale price, which means that a litre carton will now cost you around £1.60. It comes as a bitter blow for households already struggling with the rising price of many other groceries, as well as increases to services such as electricity, water and postage costs from the start of this year. Unfortunately, dairy farmers are themselves facing increases in operating costs, which they say they have no choice but to pass on to the consumer. And unless we are prepared to lose our world-famous Jersey herd and its dairy products, it looks like we’ll have to bear the cost. The average cost of a litre of milk was £1.34 in January 2022 and £1.56 in January 2023, so let’s hope our supermarkets don’t give too much of a markup during 2024.