Making difference to consumers lives

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					Making a difference
to consumers’ lives

 Annual Review 2007/08
Our mission
We exist to make individuals as powerful as the
organisations they have to deal with in their daily lives.

This power will come from independent advice and active
support to counter the morass of misleading information
and bewildering choices that people face all the time, and
                                                             From the Council Chairman
will lead to better products and services.
                                                             Whether it is in health or pensions legislation,        reflect the views and interests of all subscribers
It will also come from ending unfairness in the way some     food labelling or financial services, we have           to Which? publications.
                                                             continued to make a positive difference to                   2007/08 was a year of change. The Chairman
markets are structured and operate.                          consumers’ lives this year.                             of Which? Limited, Michael Moore, stood down
                                                                  In our food campaigns, we have been really         after 11 years’ dedicated service leading and
                                                             pleased to see several large companies making           developing our commercial activities. Our sincere
Only by the actions of Which? can consumers feel truly       major changes to their policies to benefit              thanks go to him for everything he has done for
                                                             consumers. Both Warner Brothers and Disney              Which?. Michael’s successor is Mike Clasper, who
confident, and powerful vested interests be kept in check.   committed to phasing out the use of their cartoon       brings a wealth of experience with him.
                                                             and film characters on less healthy foods –
                                                             something we had been lobbying for. We will
                                                             continue to challenge others to follow their lead.
                                                                                                                     We have made radical changes to
                                                                  In personal finance, Which? has been active        allow hundreds of thousands more
                                                             in the many debates around the level and                members to vote in our annual
                                                             transparency of bank charges and will continue to
Contents                                                     fight on behalf of consumers to achieve a banking       Council elections.
                                                             sector which is profitable and which meets the
                                                             need for transparency and fairness for everyone.            Mike's most recent role was Operating Managing
Council Chairman’s statement          03                          Every year we also identify the issues of          Director at Terra Firma Capital Partners Limited.
                                                             the future that will impact on consumers. This          Prior to this he was the Chief Executive of the airport
Chief Executive’s statement           04                     year we kicked off some significant work on             owner BAA, and spent 23 years at Procter and
                                                             nanotechnologies – the use of materials on a            Gamble, culminating in his role as President of
                                                             minute scale, enabling them to take on new              Global Homecare and New Business Development.
Chairman of the Board’s statement     05                     properties which can be used to produce everything      He is currently a non-executive director at ITV and
                                                             from cancer drugs to the coatings for self-cleaning     has recently been appointed Chairman of HM
Saving families money                 06                     windows. Using a Citizens’ Panel, we learnt that        Revenue and Customs.
                                                             while people are excited about the potential benefits       Sadly, this year we said farewell to Which?
                                                             of nanotechnologies, they are also concerned about      magazine’s first editor, Eirlys Roberts, who died
Which? products                       08                     the potential risks some applications present. We       in March at the age of 97. Described by Which?
                                                             believe that research and regulation are not keeping    founder Michael Young as ‘the most considerable
Making change happen                  17                     up with the pace of development and are calling on      figure to have been thrown up by the British
                                                             government to take swifter and more decisive action     consumer movement’, Eirlys transformed the
                                                             to ensure these new technologies can be positive for    early magazine into the trusted and courageous
Financial summary                     20                     consumers, rather than an unnecessary risk.             publication it remains today.
                                                                 Away from campaigns, we have made radical
Council members and directors         22                     changes to allow hundreds of thousands more of our      Robert Pickard
                                                             members to vote in our annual Council elections, as     Council Chairman
                                                             long as they have subscribed to one of our products
                                                             for at least a year. Previously, around 10,000
                                                             Ordinary Members – fewer than two per cent of our
                                                             subscribers – were eligible to vote. We believe that
                                                             the composition of Which?’s governing body should

    From the Chief Executive                                                                                 From the Chairman of the Board

    This year we can look back over the success              As people tighten their belts, Which? has       I am delighted to have taken on the role of            Which? Computing also showed strong growth,
    we have had in finding better ways of engaging      a unique role to play. We save people money          Chairman of Which? Limited and am proud to             increasing subscriber numbers by seven per
    with our customers and look forward to              not only in buying big-ticket items like TVs,        be associated with such a trusted brand. For more      cent during the year. Elsewhere, Which? Holiday
    developing new products and ventures that           but in everyday purchases too, and when              than 50 years, Which? has fought on the side of        and Which? Gardening showed modest declines.
    will continue to benefit consumers in an era        buying unavoidable items like car insurance.         the consumer, not afraid to take on some of the        The redesigned Good Food Guide 2008 was
    of growing economic uncertainty.                         In addition to all of this, we continue to      biggest names in business on their behalf. I am        received extremely positively by consumers and
                                                        achieve positive changes for consumers through       very much looking forward to working here and,         critics alike and the title was sold out by early
                                                        our campaigning work. Earlier this year, our bank    in particular, to helping the organisation realise     summer. And we also launched the new Good
    In 2007/08 we achieved a long-term                  charges campaign scored a major victory when         the massive potential for getting our invaluable       Food Guide London, our first foray into regional
    ambition with the introduction of a                 the Office of Fair Trading won its court case        and independent advice to an even wider                titles for many years.
                                                        against banks on unfair overdraft charges.           audience online.
    Which? product to the high street.                  In the coming year, we will be developing our             I am pleased to say that one of my first duties
                                                        policy in three key new areas of the environment,    is to report a third successive year of growth in      There are significant challenges in
         In June this year, after many months’ hard     utilities and regulation.                            both subscriber numbers and revenue. This is           the new economic climate of 2008
    work, we launched a completely redesigned                We also held the second Which? Awards           a particularly strong performance given the
    and restructured Users have told       ceremony this year, celebrating the very best of     generally tough trading conditions for print
                                                                                                                                                                    and beyond.
    us the website looks more modern and that           UK products and services, from Best Carmaker to      publishers and the tightening economic climate.
    it is much easier to find what they need. We        Best Value-for-Money Retailer. The event attracted   Our total subscription numbers grew by 5.8 per              Finally, Which? Legal Service extended
    will continue to refine and develop our online      even more business interest this year and our aim    cent to almost 1.1 million in the year to the end      its product range this year, adding neighbour
    offering in the coming year, to ensure we           is to make it a regular and important part of the    of June 2008, and our total in-year revenues by        disputes and private tenancy issues to the advice
    reflect the latest consumer trends and interests.   corporate calendar.                                  11 per cent.                                           it gives consumers. It ended the year with
         In 2007/08 we achieved a long-term                  Through the information we provide and the           Which? Online continues to be a significant       14 per cent more subscribers than in 2006/07.
    ambition with the introduction of a Which?          actions we take, Which? is dedicated to making       success story, particularly considering that                There are significant challenges in the new
    product to the high street. For the first time      consumers as powerful as the organisations they      content from its online competitors is free to         economic climate of 2008 and beyond. We
    in our history, we are selling Which? Car on        deal with every day. We will strive to find new      use; evidence of the willingness of people to pay      firmly believe, however, that people will see the
    the newsstand, exclusively in Sainsbury’s. To       ways to meet this goal in the year ahead.            for truly independent content. Which? Online           importance of rigorous, independent testing and
    date, sales have far exceeded all expectations.                                                          subscriptions grew by 17 per cent. Nevertheless,       no-nonsense, unbiased advice in helping them save
         Last year I told you about the early success   Peter Vicary-Smith                                   the Board is conscious of the ever-increasing pace     money and buy good-value products and services.
    of Which? Money. This year it has continued         Chief Executive                                      at which we need to develop our online offering
    its meteoric rise, almost doubling its membership                                                        and, during the year, oversaw a significant            Mike Clasper
    to 53,000. This confirms it as the UK’s                                                                  investment programme in our online services.           Which? Limited Chairman
    bestselling personal finance magazine by                                                                      Alongside this significant growth in online
    some margin. Its unique blend of practical,                                                              subscriptions, we also managed to grow the
    independent, research-based advice proved                                                                overall number of subscriptions to our portfolio
    extremely popular as consumers became more                                                               of magazines by two per cent.
    conscious of looking for ways to make their                                                                   Which? magazine numbers were held roughly
    money go further.                                                                                        level, closing the year with 516,000 subscribers.

4                                                                                                                                                                                                                       5
      Which? Family                                                                                                                                                        Opting for a nearly-new
                                                                                                                                                                           car rather than a brand new
                                                                                                                                                                           model saved more than

    Saving families                                                                                                                                                        £9,000, and financing the
                                                                                                                                                                           vehicle with a Best Buy loan,
                                                                                                                                                                           instead of borrowing from a
                                                                                                                                                                           bank, saved more than £60.

    money all year                                                                                                                                                         Darren said: “We bought a
                                                                                                                                                                           two-year-old seven-seater
                                                                                                                                                                           Toyota Verso diesel, from a
                                                                                                                                                                           dealer who gave us a

    round                                                                                                                                                                  12-month warranty. This
                                                                                                                                                                           vehicle was far more economic
                                                                                                                                                                           than our previous VW Golf
                                                                                                                                                                           and gave us the versatility
                                                                                                                                                                           of carrying other family
     Raising a family, holding                 We have given Darren and            more confident and savvy. If you do                                                     members instead of taking
                                               Toni Jones, and their children,     your research and go prepared, you                                                      two vehicles on trips, again
        down a job, doing the
                                               Harriet and Sam, the ultimate       can tell providers exactly what you                                                     saving us money.”
      housework… No wonder                     makeover – 12 months of             want and expect, whether it’s a
        parents find it hard to                hands-on advice, Best Buy           savings account, a vacuum cleaner
    spare the time to research                 products and support from           or a trip to a theme park. Being
      whether they’re getting                  the Which? team.                    the ‘Which? Family’ has made
                                                  In the first six months alone,   us more confident in dealing
       the best deals for their                we saved them thousands             with companies and much more          Around £150 a year was saved
          money. That’s where                  of pounds, recommending             proactive in getting the best deal    by changing energy provider.
      Which? comes in, doing                   Best Buy products and services      for us and our kids.”                 The Joneses used our Switch with
                                               on everything from finance and                                            Which? website to do this, saying:
     the legwork so that busy
                                               recycling to cars and vacuum                                              “It took us only a few minutes to
     consumers don’t have to.                  cleaners.                                                                 fill in the online forms.”
        In the past year, we’ve                   Here’s what Darren and Toni
       taken up the challenge                  said about the experience:                                                Transferring money from a savings
                                                  “We’ve benefited immensely                                             account to a high-interest Isa
           with one particular                                                                                           earned them an extra £270 a year.
                                               from the whole process – our
        family, to show others                 mindset as consumers has                                                  “I should have set up an Isa years ago”,
       how they can do it too.                 changed and we’re much                                                    said Darren. “Ten minutes of my time
                                                                                                                         to open an account online could earn
                                                                                                                         me up to £270 extra this year.”

       How did Which?
       save the Jones                                                                                                                                               Choosing the most
                                                                                                                                                                    energy-efficient tumble

       family so                                                                                                                                                    dryer will save the Joneses
                                                                                                                                                                    at least £65 a year. Toni
                                                                                                                                                                    said: “The model we chose
       much cash?                                                                                                                                                   dries clothes much quicker
                                                                                                                                                                    than our old machine. We’re
       By using the Which? team’s expertise,
                                                                                                                                                                    also using the washing line
       Toni and Darren, pictured here with
       Harriet and Sam, have made sure                                                                                                                              much more, which should
       their hard-earned money is being                                                                                                                             save us even more money
       spent wisely.                                                                                                                                                on our electricity bills.”

6                                                                                                                                                                                                          7
    Which? Magazine
                                                                                                                             2007/08 was our 50th anniversary year. Here is
    A track record                                                                                                           what three of Which?’s longstanding members
                                                                                                                             had to say about us.

    like no other                                                                                                                                                      How do you think Which?
                                                                                                                                                                       has helped consumers over
                                                                                                                                                                       the past 50 years?
                                                                                                          Why did you first join Which?
     For more than half     2007/08 was dominated by             Our goal is
                                                                                                                                                                     “ The advice given in Which?
                            the magazine’s 50th birthday –
                                                                                                         “In 1987, I was a building surveyor                           over the past 50 years has made
      a century, Which?                                          to be more                               in local government, in charge of a                          many people more sceptical
                            celebrated with a memorable          essential to                             multimillion-pound budget for housing                        about accepting claims at face
     magazine has been      October edition, when we             more of our                              grants. I was aware of cowboy                                value and must have helped
     helping consumers      reproduced every front cover from    readers for                              builders and wanted to know                                  improve overall reliability and
         make informed      our history – all 587 of them.       more of their                            more about how to offer sound                                service. The magazine is in
                               We also published a special       time – and                               advice to the public and protect                             plain English, concise and there
    decisions about how     supplement that recalled many        we believe                               householders (and my budget)                                 is always something of interest.
        they spend their    of our successes – from rating       our balance                              from fraud, overcharging and                                 Which? has made me more
      money. And it’s as    contraceptives to bringing about     of reporting on consumer durables,       substandard work. I read a copy                              discerning about what I buy
                            safer cars, via the occasional       money products and a widening array      of Which? and decided that                                   and helped prevent what could
       relevant today as
                            improved washing machine             of services helps us to achieve this.    becoming a member would be of                                have been expensive mistakes.”
         when it started.   and more reliable television set.    The annual Which? Car guide grew         personal as well as professional                             Robert Thurman
                               During the year, we tested more   to 148 pages this year, with nearly      advantage. Little did I realise that
                            than 2,600 different products and    100,000 members contributing to          I would still feel it worthwhile
                            rated an increasing number of        our motoring survey – making it the      20 years later.”
                            everyday items. This is of growing   largest piece of research of its kind    Gerry Baker
                            importance as we seek to save even   in the UK.
                            more money for our members.

                                                                                                                                                   Would you recommend
                                                                                                                                                   Which? to a friend?
                                                                                                                                                  “Yes.Which? gives good, impartial
                                                                                                                                                   assessments of products and practical
                                                                                                                                                   advice. We first joined when we were
                                                                                                                                                   starting out in our new home. We
                                                                                                                                                   wanted the best-value and most
                                                                                                                                                   reliable products to kit it out. We
                                                                                                                                                   used the magazine to buy our first
                                                                                                                                                   washing machine, an Indesit, which
                                                                                                                                                   lasted 15 years. For major purchases
                                                                                                                                                   we always check the Which? Best
                                                                                                                                                   Buys first because there is always
                                                                                                                                                   good product testing and assessment.”
                                                                                                                                                   Susan Cross

8                                                                                                                                                                                                         9
     Which? Online                                                                                                 Which? Money

     Yours at a click
       Some prefer to get
        their information
                               This was a year of significant change
                               for Which? Online.
                                  In summer 2008 we relaunched
                                                                        which explains how to connect your
                                                                        home entertainment equipment for
                                                                        optimal enjoyment, is the most
         from magazines,
      some prefer online.
         Many people use
                               the Which? website to give a much
                               improved service to members and
                               non-members alike. As the website
                               was developed, it was tested with
                                                                        comprehensive tool of its kind on
                                                                        the internet.
                                                                           We also launched two completely
                                                                        new content areas on our website:
                                                                                                                  sense of your money
      both. Which? Online      many people to ensure the final          ‘Your rights’, a thorough guide to
      has been developing      service was useful and simple to         consumer law in the UK, and                     There are so many    Which? Money has enjoyed                products, covering everything from
           fast in 2008 to     use. In addition to the core ‘Reviews’   ‘Greener living’, a range of practical                               another very successful year.           cash Isas to credit cards. Members
                                                                                                                        financial products
                               part of the website, the new service     advice for the environmentally                                       Membership rose by 85 per               choosing our Best Buys and following
         meet consumers’                                                                                         around – but how do you
                               also offers a comprehensive ‘Advice’     conscious consumer.                                                  cent, making the magazine               our money-saving tips could have
         changing needs.       area that provides a wide range of          To encourage more people to use          know which are sound     the UK’s bestselling monthly            saved up to £36,000 over 12
                               information on a variety of topics,      the services that we provide, Which?                                 personal finance title.                 months – a great return on an
                                                                                                                   and which are not? Our
        Visit our website at   from computing and photography,          Compare now offers an online price                                      During the year, the                 annual subscription of £36.
                               to financial guidance.                   comparison service that is available        researchers have been    magazine’s research team picked
                                  During 2007/08 Which? Online          to non-members too.                                   finding out.   more than 600 Best Buy money
            to read reviews,   also embraced multimedia and                The campaigns area of our
      obtain advice and get    interactive content. Each month          website has also had a makeover,
         up-to-date prices.    the Which? podcast attracted             now featuring detailed information
                               thousands of listeners keen to hear      on five of our key campaign
                               the latest Which? news and advice.       priorities, as well as a host of other
                                  We published a wide range             reports offering consumers advice
                               of online videos, including our first    on topics as diverse as estate agents                                    How Which? Money helped the
                                              impressions of just-      and dentists. There are also plenty                                      MacKinnons recoup £35,000
                                               launched products        of ways for consumers to join in
                                                                                                                                                 This year we have taken action
                                                and cars and a          with our campaigns online, from
                                                                                                                                                 on behalf of consumers who have
                                                range of step-by-       downloading template letters to
                                                                                                                                                 bought poor-value payment
                                                 step guides.           help them claim back unfair bank
                                                                                                                                                 protection insurance (PPI) – those
                                                     And we believe     charges, to sharing their stories
                                                                                                                                                 policies which are heavily sold to
                                                  that our TV           about the marketing of junk food
                                                                                                                                                 consumers when they take out loans
                                                   connection wizard,   to children.
                                                                                                                                                 and credit cards and which claim to
                                                                                                                                                 cover their debt repayments if they
                                                                                                                                                 can’t work.
                                                                                                                                                     When PPI, costing a staggering £22,568, was added to
                                                                                                                                                 Shirley and Bob MacKinnon’s £56,000 loan, the Which?
                                  ‘ I just had to congratulate you on your new                                                                   Money and Which? legal teams took up a mis-selling
                                                                                                                                                 complaint against their lender and the PPI provider. It took
                                     website. It is much, much better than the                                                                   well over a year, but in the end the lender upheld the complaint
                                     old one. It’s easier to navigate and has                                                                    and reduced the loan redemption figure from £80,794 to
                                                                                                                                                 £56,000. The PPI provider also gave a refund on the
                                     a much fresher, more modern look. Well                                                                      insurance of £9,619, added interest and a goodwill payment
                                                                                                                                                 to this and sent the MacKinnons a cheque for £11,000.
                                     done Which?.           ’                                                                                        Bob and Shirley said: “ We didn’t know where to turn as
                                                                                                                                                 no one was listening to us – until we asked Which? for help.”

10                                                                                                                                                                                                                      11
       Which? Computing                                                                                        Which? Holiday

     Keeping it simple                                                                                         Don’t get
          As PCs and laptops
     become a part of almost
                                  Which? Computing increased its
                                  membership by 10,000 during
                                                                           And we’ve
                                                                                                               ripped off
                                  2007/08, ending the year with            readers’
        every home and new        150,000 subscribers.                     tips, which
                                                                                                               It’s a wonder people go     The fiasco of the launch of            way through the travel maze.
      hardware and software          The Which? Computing                  have proved                                                     Heathrow’s Terminal 5, tales              We’ve highlighted costly extras
                                  helpdesk remained popular,               a big hit with                        on holiday when you
          promise the earth,                                                                                                               of lost luggage and anger over         charged by no-frills airlines, kept
                                  receiving 12,000 emails asking           members.                                 see what a struggle    airline surcharges – there have        readers updated about airport
        Which? Computing is       for support, an increase of 2,000           In the next 12 months, we look      it can be sometimes.     been plenty of travel headlines        security checks and offered advice
     becoming many people’s       on the previous year.                    forward to a radical redesign of                                in the media over the past 12          on what to do if your flight is
                                     We’ve also produced new guides        the magazine, to make the content         In 2007/08, much
         first port of call for                                                                                                            months.                                delayed or cancelled.
                                  on a wide range of issues, including     even more appealing to readers.         of Which? Holiday’s        And with so many consumers             We are continually improving
        independent, down-        computer troubleshooting and                                                   focus was on helping      confused about flight rights,          the magazine, in content and design,
             to-earth advice.     broadband.                                                                                               baggage allowances and airline         with the aim of assisting readers as
                                                                                                                   passengers who got
                                                                                                                                           check-in charges, Which? Holiday       they plan and book every trip, saving
                                                                                                                             a raw deal.   has given readers all the facts and    time and money along the way.
                                                                                                                                           figures they need to make their

                                                How Which? Computing got Barbara’s
                                                broadband working again
                                                The Which? Computing helpdesk took to the road this            Which? Gardening
                                                year, visiting some of our members to help them with
                                                their IT problems.
                                                    Barbara Riley (pictured) was one reader who
                                                benefited. When her new broadband connection failed,
                                                we sent our technical expert Omar round to take a look.
                                                He inspected the PC and
                                                                                                               In the know
                                                its equipment and soon
                                                got to the bottom of the
                                                    Barbara was
                                                                                                               as you grow                                                        in every issue mean subscribers’
                                                delighted. She said: “I
                                                                                                                                                                                  experiences are more than ever
                                                had had no joy with my
                                                                                                                  In a tough market        Practical articles such as pot         at the heart of the magazine.
                                                internet service provider,
                                                                                                                       for gardening       recipes, easy-to-make themed              So too are consumer issues, with
                                                but once Which? got
                                                                                                                                           borders and ‘step-by-step’             revamped news pages and hard-
                                                on board, it changed                                            publications, Which?       projects have seen members busy        hitting research, such as the seed
                                                everything. Which?                                                Gardening held its       recreating them at home. And,          suppliers’ report in our October
                                                sorted it out for me and
                                                                                                                       own this year.      always conscious of the effect of      2007 issue. This exposed one
                                                the Chief Executive of
                                                                                                                                           the credit crunch on our readers,      company selling packets where 99
                                                my broadband provider
                                                                                                                                           we have been focusing more on          per cent of the seeds were dead.
                                                even got in touch to
                                                                                                                                           money-saving initiatives like          These reports have also generated
                                                                                                                                           growing your own vegetables.           coverage for Which? Gardening in
                                                                                                                                              A new readers’ letters page, more   the media – taking these issues to
                                                                                                                                           case studies and a reader’s garden     a wider audience.

12                                                                                                                                                                                                                        13
     Which? Books                                                                                                        Which? Legal Service

     Much more than                                                                                                    Legal advice
     a good read                                                                                                       you can trust
      The relaunch of The           The new look and feel of our                   Some 20,000 people voted for               Which? Legal Service     Our team of 14 lawyers advised         The service was expanded in
     Good Food Guide met            flagship book, The Good Food Guide,         their Good Food Guide Restaurant             helped more members       on over 45,000 calls and            February 2008 and now includes
                                    was an instant success when it came         of the Year, compared with 6,000                                       membership grew by 14 per cent.     advice on private residential
         with widespread            out in autumn 2007; sales increased         the year before.
                                                                                                                             than ever in 2007/08,     The most popular areas of advice    tenancy issues and neighbour
       approval this year.          by 20 per cent and for the first time          2007/08 also saw the launch                     on a wide range     were employment law, holiday        disputes. To enable people to call
                                    in recent history the book sold out.        of more Essential Guides, including                       of issues.   and travel complaints, and unfair   us at more convenient times for
                                    Members enjoyed a half-price                successful new editions of key                                         parking tickets and fines. We       them, we also extended our
                                    promotion to help celebrate                 consumer titles on tax, finance                                        helped secure one member            opening hours.
                                    Which?’s 50th birthday and major            and property. In total, we published            Visit our website at   an employment settlement of
                                    retailers such as Waterstones and           10 new titles in this range.      £158,000 with advice given
                                    Borders also ran promotions.                                                                                       over the course of the year –
                                                                                                                                                       excellent value for his £39
                                                                                                                                                       annual membership.

                                    What did people say about the new Good Food Guide?
                                  “ I look at many guides… and must confess I think this is the most
                                    user-friendly version out there. The writing itself has a real crisp,
                                    modern vibe about it that makes it stand out from the crowd.”
                                                                                                                         Switch with Which?
                                                                                                                                                                                           ‘The website was
                                                                                                                                                                                            really easy to
                                                                                                                       Where are the                                                        navigate and we
                                                                                                                                                                                            were surprised by
                    In praise of the Which?
                    Essential Guide: Buy,
                    Sell and Move House
                                                                                                                       best deals?                                                          how easy it was
                                                                                                                                                                                            to switch. We
                                                                                                                                                                                            particularly liked
                   “ It’s a marvellous book. We have
                    found our ideal house in Sussex                                                                                Price rises from
                    and are in the process of buying
                                                                                                                                                       This year, more than 16,000
                                                                                                                                                       people used our impartial,
                                                                                                                                                                                            the fact that you
                                                                                                                                  energy suppliers
                    and selling. I have the book at
                    hand and I read appropriate                                                                                  early in 2008 saw
                                                                                                                                                       energy-switching service to          could select a
                                                                                                                                                       change their gas and electricity
                    sections every day. Without it                                                                               use of Switch with    supplier, both online and by         supplier based
                    I feel I would be overwhelmed                                                                                                      telephone. We have also
                    by all the things one must do                                                                                    Which? grow
                                                                                                                                                       expanded the website to include
                                                                                                                                                                                            on criteria other
                    and the order in which to do
                    them. Compared to our last move,
                                                                                                                                      dramatically.    more information about energy
                                                                                                                                                       efficiency, and to provide more
                                                                                                                                                                                            than price      ’
                    this one is going to be more                                                                         Visit Switch with Which? at   regular news updates on price
                    straightforward and less stressful.                                                                                                changes.                             and campaigning activities in
                    This book is a MUST for people                                                           
                                                                                                                                                          Elsewhere in our work, we’ll      the coming year – looking more
                    looking to buy, sell or move house.”                                                                                               be turning the spotlight on          closely at just how well they
                                                                                                                                                       energy companies in our policy       are serving their customers.

14                                                                                                                                                                                                                              15
     Which? Local                                                                                                   Making change happen

     For the best                                                                                                 Consumers
     in your area                                                                                                 speak out
        Which? Local, a free    Some 72,000 members registered             In the coming year, we’re going to      The voice of the consumer               The Kids’ Food Campaign
     online service enabling    with the site, which now includes       redesign the site, add advice on the          is essential to Which?’s             mobilised people to take action
                                more than 12,000 recommendations        typical cost you can expect to pay for                                             by, for example, emailing their
        Which? members to                                                                                          campaigning work, and in                MP to support a Private Member’s
                                for local services, covering over       work and encourage users to post
        recommend reliable      250 trades and professions.             more content.                                  2007/08 we have been                Bill proposing restrictions to
          services and shops                                                                                         actively engaging people              the promotion of unhealthy
                                                                                                                                                           foods to children. Hundreds of
                in their own                                                                                               to ensure that their            consumers took advantage of this
       neighbourhoods, has                                                                                              views and experiences              opportunity to make their views
      gone from strength to         How Which? Local helped David save £720                                                                                heard. We have also distributed
                                                                                                                           reach policymakers
                                    David deals with the upkeep of an office building and has a central                                                    thousands of campaign packs
          strength this year.                                                                                           and industry directly.
                                    heating maintenance contract with a major gas supplier. It performed                                                   and bags so that people can
                                    its annual service and replaced the pump in the boiler but, shortly                                                    take action themselves.
     Which? Local is for the        after, air started getting into the radiators, making it necessary to                Find out more about                  We have worked directly with
 exclusive use of subscribers       bleed them daily. Following eight appointments – four                                   our campaigns at               several hundred people on our           As part of our campaign for
 to Which?.Visit the website        of which it missed – the supplier suggested that a Powerflush was the                                                  campaign to change the way           change, Norwich Union and
                                    solution and quoted £840.                                                                                              financial services companies         Prudential customers wrote to their
 at              Feeling the quote was a little high, David looked on Which? Local                                                   govern their with-profits funds.     MPs demanding action and also
                                    and found a local plumber, who said he could do the work for around                                                    We believe that people who have      attended a photocall to highlight the
                                    half the price. When he came to inspect the system, however, he                                                        policies in these funds, which       issue (read more about this overleaf).
                                    said that the boiler pump had been installed backwards and that                                                        include endowments, pensions         This followed the report by the
                                    a Powerflush was                                                                                                       and long-term investments, need      Treasury Select Committee calling
                                    not the answer.                                                                                                        better protection than the current   for many of the changes we have
                                       The plumber                                                                                                         regulations allow.                   been campaigning for.
                                    spent a couple of
                                    hours replumbing the
                                    pipework and charged
                                    David just £120
                                    for the job.

                                                                                                                     How Which? helped Sarah take a stand against junk food marketing to kids
                                                                                                                     Which? is campaigning for an end to the marketing of unhealthy food to children. Sarah Edwards
                                                                                                                     is a parent and registered childminder who has used our campaign materials to take local action
                                                                                                                     on this issue.
                                                                                                                        “I’ve been a keen supporter of the Kids’ Food Campaign since I saw it in
                                                                                                                     Which? magazine last year,” said Sarah. “It’s a subject very close to my
                                                                                                                     heart, as I know the effects of junk food marketing on children only too
                                                                                                                     well. I’ve written to all the MPs in my local area to lobby them on the issue,
                                                                                                                     to let them know this is something people care passionately about. I wear
                                                                                                                     my campaign bag with pride, and I’ve given out campaign toolkits at the
                                                                                                                     children’s centres I work in. I also use the materials over the holidays when
                                                                                                                     I’m asked to talk to parents about labelling and the way food is marketed.
                                                                                                                     Thanks for your help – the resources make my job so much easier!”

16                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   17
       Making change happen
                                                                                                                     ‘Be honest with us’
 ‘There ought to be a law...’                                                                                        This year saw Which? try                   also featured another ‘first’.
                                                                                                                     some new ways of working                       One of the main problems
     Sometimes the only way to             demand for an independent
                                                                                                                     with consumers.                            in this area is the lack of
     tackle consumer problems is           complaints scheme in the sector.
                                                                                                                        We took forward the first               independent information.
     by campaigning for new laws           The Legal Services Act 2007 also
                                                                                                                     representative action on behalf of         We launched an online
     or amendments to government           saw our proposals for greater
                                                                                                                     consumers against JJB Sports for the       interactive human body so that
     proposals.                            competition and better complaints
                                                                                                                     price fixing of certain football shirts.   consumers could see at a glance the
        2007/08 has seen the               handling across the legal services
                                                                                                                        We helped consumers get their           treatments available – as well as the
     culmination of some of our            profession finally make it onto
                                                                                                                     money back and are also pushing            risks associated with them. We also
     long-term campaigning for             the statute book. We have also
                                                                                                                     government for changes to how              brought together people from across
     improvements to estate agency         campaigned successfully for
                                                                                                                     these actions can be pursued in            the country who had tried one
     and legal services. The Consumers,    improvements to the Health and
                                                                                                                     the future.                                particular treatment that not only      own action group to press for
     Estate Agents and Redress Act         Social Care Bill, which is now law.   regulator to actively consult and
                                                                                                                        Our new cosmetic treatments             failed to live up to its promises       compensation from the company
     2007 introduced our long-term           This requires the new health        engage with consumers.
                                                                                                                     campaign, which is pressing for a          but, in some cases, also made people    concerned.
                                                                                                                     safer, more responsible industry,          ill. We helped them set up their

 ‘I want my money back!’
     Our campaigning not only                                                                                                                                       How Which? helped Norwich Union policyholders
     changes government policies                                                                                                                                    Philip Meadowcroft is one of the Norwich Union policyholders
     and industry practices, it also                                                                                                                                who jumped at the chance to support our campaign for a fair
     helps consumers directly with                                                                                                                                  deal for with-profits policyholders.
     their problems.                                                                                                                                                   To publicise the issue, he joined other people affected at
        Our website has helped                                                                                                                                      an event near the Houses of Parliament – where ‘Dick Turpin’
     hundreds of thousands of people                                                                                                                                (pictured) highlighted our view that the Financial Services
     with their claims for the repayment                                                                                                                            Authority should ‘stand and deliver’ improvements for
     of bank charges levied on                                                                                                                                      consumers in this area.
     unauthorised overdrafts, and we                                                                                                                                   Afterwards, he said: “It was marvellous to meet other
     were delighted when the Office of                                                                                                                              policyholders and witness the support we have on our side from
     Fair Trading won the case in the                                                                                                                               politicians. As one of the founding members of an action group
     High Court to allow it to decide                                                                                                                               for Norwich Union policyholders, I was incredibly impressed by
     whether these charges are fair or                                                                                                                              Which?’s tenacity and dedication to our cause. The advice and
     not. We have since put pressure                                                                                                                                encouragement you’ve provided has been outstanding.”
     on the banks to withdraw their
     appeal on the ruling, which is
     due to be heard in autumn 2008.
        We also launched a new
     initiative to ensure that people
     who have been mis-sold payment
     protection insurance (PPI) could
     complain and reclaim their money.
     Our latest research suggests that
     up to two million PPI policies
     attached to personal loans may
     not pay out and could have been

18                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      19
     Financial summary

     Independent                                                                                                      How we spent our money

     and growing                                                                                                      At £66.3m, expenditure during
                                                                                                                      the year was up 10 per cent on
                                                                                                                      the previous year. This was due
                                                                                                                      in part to an increase in the cost
                                                                                                                                                            and website, where we are striving
                                                                                                                                                            to be number one in our field.
                                                                                                                                                            The remaining expenditure was
                                                                                                                                                            on promoting consumer interests
                                                                                                                                                                                                 performance and economic
                                                                                                                                                                                                 benefits, the asset has not been
                                                                                                                                                                                                 recognised in the balance sheet.

                                                                                                                      of sales following membership         through our campaigning and
          In a challenging              Consumers’ Association, which           In 2007/08, our income increased      increases and the change in           media activities and our support
                                        trades as Which?, is registered      by 11 per cent, to £69.4m, driven in     magazine dispatch dates. There        for other consumer organisations.      This financial summary contains
     economic climate, we                                                                                                                                                                          information from our financial
                                        in England and Wales and is a        part by a 5.8 per cent subscriber rise   was also significant investment       In addition, all our publications
       have increased our                                                                                                                                                                          statements for the 2007/08 financial
                                        charity (no. 296072). Which?         that took our membership to nearly       in the online side of the business,   play a vital role in promoting         year but is not the full statutory report
         income this year.              Ltd is its wholly-owned trading      1.1 million. Also, following the         with the aim of providing a much      our campaigns to consumers.            and accounts. The full financial
                                        arm (company no. 677665).            bringing forward of several magazine     improved customer experience                                                 statements were approved by the
        Here’s a snapshot                                                                                                                                                                          Council of Management on
                                           Which? is completely              dispatch dates into the previous         and allowing new functionality        Balance sheet & reserves
        of our finances in              independent, receives no
                                                                                                                                                                                                   24 September 2008 and will be
                                                                             month, which is normal practice in       to drive new revenue opportunities.   Our reserves at 30 June 2008           submitted to the Charity Commission
                 2007/08.               government funding and does          publishing, there was a one-off uplift   Promotion costs were also up,         were up £0.6m, with the unrealised     and Companies House. They received
                                        not accept advertising. The vast     in income of £3.9m.                      reflecting our spend on attracting    losses on investments reducing the     an unqualified audit report. Ordinary
                                        majority of income comes from           We spent £66.3m during the year       and retaining customers, plus         impact of the underlying surplus.      Members of Which? receive the full
                                                                                                                                                                                                   statements automatically. If you are
                                        subscriptions to our products and    and ended the year with net incoming     expenditure on the 2007 Which?        The FRS 17 pension scheme
                                                                                                                                                                                                   not an Ordinary Member and would
                                        services, with profits funding       resources of £3.1m. After other          TV campaign.                          surplus at 30 June 2008 was            like a copy, go to to
                                        our campaigning activity and         recognised gains and losses were             Of our charitable expenditure,    £3.6m. Given considerable              read them online or write to us at the
                                        informing the public on              taken into account, there was a net      76 per cent was on the research       uncertainty and volatility around      address on the back of this review.
                                        consumer issues.                     increase in funds of £0.6m.              we carried out for our magazines      scheme assumptions, investment

                                                                            24%               How the charity
                                                                            Promoting         spends its money


        Subscriber numbers                                                                                                Spending on campaigning
        2008                1,098,000      The growth in membership (up 60,000                                          Food                                34%
        2007                1,038,000      to 1,098,000) was primarily due to                                           Health                              27%
                                           increases in Which? Online, Which?                                           Personal finance                    12%
        2006                  882,000
                                           Computing and Which? Money. Which?
        2005                  842,000                                                                                   Conferences, events & launches       9%
                                           magazine membership remained virtually
        2004                  831,000      level, while Which? Gardening and                                            Retailing & consumer transactions    9%
                                           Which? Holiday recorded small                                                Others (including online)            6%
      The 2004 figure excludes Health
      Which?, closed in June 2004          declines in subscriptions.                                                   Scottish Office                      3%

20                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             21
     Executive management team
                                                                                                         2007/8 committee members

                                                                                                         Council members                                  Joint Audit Committee
                                                                                                         Robert Pickard (Chairman)                        Neville Duncan (Chairman)
                                                                                                         Patrick Barwise                                  Margaret Ginman
                                                                                                         Anthony Burton (Deputy Chairman)                 Gary Waller
                                                                                                         Niall Dickson
                                                                                                         Neville Duncan                                   Investment Committee
                                                                                                         Margaret Ginman                                  Brian Yates (Chairman)
                                                                                                         Tanya Heasman (Deputy Chairman)                  Patrick Barwise (from January 2008)
                                                                                                         Sue Leggate                                      Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith (until January 2008)
                                                                                                         Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith (until January 2008)   Michael Moore (until June 2008)
                                                                                                         Natalie Macdonald (from January 2008)            Roger Pittock (from January 2008)
                                                                                                         Gabs Makhlouf (from September 2007)              Mark Tapley (from April 2008)
     Peter Vicary-Smith                Helen Parker                          Chris Gardner               Roger Pittock                                    Gary Waller (from March 2008)
     Chief Executive                   Editorial Director                    Commercial Director         John Rimington (until January 2008)
                                                                                                         Richard Thomas (from February 2008)              Terms of Service Committee
                                                                                                         Gary Waller                                      Robert Pickard (Chairman)
                                                                                                         James Woodward-Nutt                              Mike Clasper (from July 2008)
                                                                                                         Steve Woolgar                                    Niall Dickson
                                                                                                         Brian Yates                                      Tanya Heasman
                                                                                                         Christopher Zealley (until January 2008)         Natalie Macdonald (from January 2008)
                                                                                                         John Zealley                                     Michael Moore (until June 2008)
                                                                                                                                                          John Rimington (until January 2008)
                                                                                                         Which? Limited Board
                                                                                                         Mike Clasper (Chairman from July 2008)
                                                                                                         Daniel Bogler (from October 2007)
                                                                                                         Neil Cameron (from September 2007)
                                                                                                         Terence Connor (until July 2007)
                                                                                                         Chris Gardner
                      Helen McCallum                        Martin Webster                               Natalie Macdonald
                      Policy and Communications             Finance and Operations                       Michael Moore (Chairman until June 2008)
                      Director                              Director                                     Robert Pickard                                      To request a large-type, text-only copy of
                                                                                                         Jonathan Thompson                                   this review, please call 01992 822800
                                                                                                         Peter Vicary-Smith                                  and speak to one of our customer
                                                                                                         Gary Waller                                         services representatives.
                                                                                                         Martin Webster

     Which? Council
     Standing (from left)                Natalie Macdonald                           Gabs Makhlouf
     John Zealley                        Richard Thomas                              Margaret Ginman
     Gary Waller                         Roger Pittock                               Niall Dickson
     Neville Duncan                                                                  Patrick Barwise
     James Woodward-Nutt                 Seated (from left)                          Anthony Burton
     Brian Yates                         Steve Woolgar                               (Deputy Chairman)
     Sue Leggate                         Tanya Heasman                                                                                                    This review is printed on paper accredited by the Programme
     Robert Pickard (Chairman)           (Deputy Chairman)                                                                                                for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC).
                                                                                                                                                          This guarantees that it comes from sustainable forests.

                                    London Office
                     Which?, 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF
                Phone: +44 (0)20 7770 7000 Fax: +44 (0)20 7770 7600
                              Monday-Friday 09.00-18.00

                                    Customer Services
                      For all general and customer-related enquiries,
                       including all Which? magazine subscriptions.
                  Which?, Castlemead, Gascoyne Way, Hertford SG14 1LH
                Phone: +44 (0)1992 822800 Fax: +44 (0)20 7770 7485
                  Monday-Friday 08.30-18.00 Saturday 09.00-13.00

Which? is the operational name of Consumers’ Association - a registered charity (no. 296072).
        Please visit for information on our products and services

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