As a voice for consumers, the Jersey Consumer Council works on behalf of the island’s consumers as a research and policy-based champion for good consumer market conduct. We investigate and publicise anomalies in consumer affairs and provide Islanders with accurate and timely information to help them make informed decisions.


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Living Costs
14 February 2023

Sky TV subscriptions to increase

There’s bad news for Sky TV customers – the satellite television company have announced that they’ll be increasing their prices again in April, by a massive 8.1 per cent. The increase works out as £5.60 per month, or £67.20 per year, on the average bill. Almost all Sky TV customers will experience a price increase on 1 April, however, it will affect people on different packages differently, with the £5.60 per month figure only being an average. Some customers might see bigger rises higher than that. The eight per cent increase comes at the same time as consumers are seeing many other bills rising. A Sky spokesperson said in a statement: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly. “We have tried to minimise the impact to customers with an average price increase across all our TV customers of 8.1%, which is below levels of inflation again this year. “Competitors’ average increase over the last two years have been nearly double Sky’s average increase over the same period." Sky Glass and Sky Stream customers who signed up on or after 18 October 2022 are exempt from the rise. This includes customers that took out an 18-month contract or a monthly rolling plan on or after this date. If you took out a rolling monthly plan before 18 October 2022, you’ll still see prices rise (it wasn't possible to take out a longer contract on Glass or Stream before this date).   Thinking about leaving Sky? Know your rights: If you’re outside your minimum contract term with Sky TV, you can leave penalty-free. To do this, contact Sky by phone on 0333 759 1230 or online. You'll need to give 31 days' notice for TV packages. If you’re still in your minimum term on a Sky TV contract then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to leave without paying an exit fee. You don't have the right to exit your contract penalty-free simply because of these price rises – Sky says that this is because you’ll have already been warned in the terms and conditions that prices could rise.   Haggling for a better deal If you don't want to give up your Sky subscription, you could instead attempt to haggle with Sky. Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert team found that an enormous 84 per cent of people managed to find success by haggling for a better deal. They offer the following tips when haggling for a better deal: Benchmark the best deal elsewhere, so you ask for a realistic discount. Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department. They have the most power to slash costs, as it's their job to keep you. Use charm and be friendly. Aggression or anger will just put their back up. Don't panic if they call your bluff and say they'll disconnect you. If they won't slash the price, see if they can include any extras, such as a boosted TV package. And remember, if you’re a Channel Island customer, you’re entitled to a 20 per cent ‘goodwill’ discount on your Sky subscription, to make up for the fact that you shouldn’t be paying 20 per cent VAT. The Jersey Evening Post fought to have the discount removed from Channel Islands customers’ bills. Customers in Jersey can call 0344 2411965 to speak to a customer service adviser and their 20% goodwill discount on Sky TV products will be applied to their account, if it hasn’t already been. The line is open from 8.30am until 9pm.
14 February 2023

Love is in the air – just make sure it's genuine

It's Valentine's Day, and love is all around. But if you're currently single and looking to meet 'the one', be aware that, when it comes to online dating, not everyone is as nice as they may appear.  If you've watched The Tinder Swindler on Netflix, then you'll know that online scammers sometimes take advantage of people looking for love online. Catfishing – the act of setting up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes – is a common ploy they use. They then pretend to be romantically attracted to a victim by building up trust and then use manipulative and gaslighting tactics to demand money.   Many of us might be convinced that we could never fall for this type of scam but, sadly, it happens all too often, and victims are often scammed out of thousands of pounds.   Have you received an unexpected Facebook friend request?  In this digital age, scammers frequently use social media to target individuals, often using bogus photos and stories to lure them in. Examples include Facebook friend requests or messages from someone claiming to be a highly qualified professional, such as a lawyer, doctor, neurosurgeon, soldier, or even charity worker. The fraudulent Facebook profile will show photos of the scammer in exotic locations, or helping others, but these photos have usually been copied from the internet and are not the person they claim to be. A reverse image search will often find where the image has been taken from. From examples seen by the Jersey Consumer Council, profile names can often be a double Christian name such as David James, Paul Henry, or Mark Frances, although we’ve also seen examples that aren’t, such as one from a James Henderson.   False promises  These scams are often conducted over a long period of time, building up the victim's trust.   The scammer will often ‘live’ in a different country, explaining this is the reason they’re unable to visit, but promising to do so as soon as they can. They may promise lavish gifts and even offer to marry the victim, sending photos of the engagement ring they’ve apparently purchased.     Don’t be guilt-tripped into sending money Though many people won’t even meet their scammer, they will frequently be willing to transfer them vast amounts of money in the hope of a relationship. In fact, Islanders have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in the last few years. Once the trust is built, the scammer will ask for cash, often making the victim feel guilty if they don’t send the money. It may start with relatively small requests, such as to: help pay for a hospital bill  pay for a child’s education  donate to a church fund  buy an iPhone or iPad to help keep in touch  pay for phone calls to keep in contact with you  pay for a ticket to visit you. Then the bigger payment requests start, and this is where many victims lose thousands of pounds. The scammer may request:  money to put down a deposit on a house for you both  money to help them pay a large building or legal invoice that, if unpaid, could mean they’ll be jailed.   How to protect yourself from falling victim to a romance scam Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person.   Remain sceptical and, if any warning signs appear, try to remove emotion from your decision, even if your ‘partner’ appears sincere.  Don’t feel guilty for refusing to make a payment and if they insist, stop all contact – they’re scamming you.  Don’t give out personal information, especially account details.  Do a reverse image search of your admirer’s photos. Often these romance scammers will steal other people’s photos, so these may be featured on a legitimate person’s social media. Go to Google and search ‘How to reverse image search’.  Watch out for inconsistencies in their story and grammar.  Be cautious about what photos or information you share with the person. They may use compromising photos or information as blackmailing material.  If you arrange to meet them in person, inform friends and family of where you are going.     Remember, anyone of any age, gender or sexuality is a target for these scams: If you’ve fallen victim to romance fraud or catfishing, report it to the States of Jersey Police straight away on 612612.  For more information, go to the Jersey Fraud Prevention website.
13 January 2023

Call for a centralised electoral register

The Jersey Consumer Council is calling for a centralised electoral register as part of a response needed to prevent further credit card companies from pulling out of Jersey and other Crown dependencies. For more than two years, we've been meeting with credit card company representatives, credit reference agencies, the Jersey Bankers’ Association, finance leaders and the Jersey Financial Services Commission to try and understand, on behalf of consumers, why credit card companies are refusing new applications to Island residents, refusing to provide Islanders with a new card once their existing one expires, or, in some instances, closing existing accounts, despite excellent credit history. And during the summer of 2022, we received more than 600 responses to a survey we conducted to try and get a better understanding of how consumers were being impacted by the move. The Council has found that, while a number of factors seem to be influencing the credit card companies’ decisions – particularly the move by UK-based banks and lending corporations to ringfence or limit their business to the UK only, following the 2008 banking crash – the lack of a centralised electoral register in Jersey is a huge stumbling block for credit reference agencies to validate applications from Island residents. Complications in pursuing individuals in debt through Jersey’s court system have also been cited. Jersey Consumer Council Chairman, Carl Walker said: “We have worked very hard to try and get clear answers as to why this is happening to not only Jersey residents, but also those in Guernsey and the Isle of Man, but it is a very complicated problem we are facing. “It would seem, in Jersey‘s case, that the inability of credit reference agencies to easily prove or check who people are, particularly those who have no credit history from living in the UK, is a huge, stumbling block. Experian, one of the UK’s leading credit reference agencies, told us that many applications would be successful if they had better access to Islanders’ data.” Mr Walker added: “We are mindful of Jersey’s unique electoral system, and the identity and authority each parish does, and should hold, in this Island. However, if some kind of resolution can be found, which does not remove any authority from the parishes, then it should be explored as a matter of urgency. “We are very concerned that this trend from UK banks could spread towards mortgage applications, loans, credit and other finance-related services. We would be happy to work with whatever agency or government department can take this forward, on behalf of Islanders, to get a quick result, before the problem gets any worse.”
Living Costs
10 January 2023

Wholesale price of Jersey Dairy milk rises by 15 pence rise per litre

The wholesale price of Jersey Dairy milk has increased by 15 pence per litre. It’s not yet known which local supermarkets and stores will pass on the increase to their customers at the tills, or which, if any, will absorb the increase themselves. However, the increase came into effect on Monday, 9 January, and, by the following morning, one consumer told us that they’d already seen an increase of 17 pence per litre in one supermarket overnight. Jersey Dairy blames ‘significant increases in farm costs over the last year’ and says: ‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine, global trade barriers (including Brexit) and Chinese COVID-19 lockdowns have all caused supply chain issues, market volatility and sharply moving currency exchange rates, creating uncertainties, and impacting costs at Jersey Dairy and on Jersey dairy farms.’ In a statement on their website, they added: “The level of cost increases on local dairy farms, particularly fuel, imported feed, fertiliser, and wages are continuing to hit farms hard. “Jersey Dairy has also been subjected to significant inflationary cost increases on raw materials, packaging, fuel, energy, etc. During 2022, Jersey Dairy has implemented significant price rises to export markets to finance these escalating costs, with more increases planned for 2023.” It’s the second time in less than a year that the price of wholesale milk has increased, after it rose by eight pence per litre in February last year, which at the time was blamed on farming costs rising at a ‘magnitude not seen for many years’. Eamon Fenlon, Managing Director of Jersey Dairy, commented: “All of the income raised from this price increase will be passed back to our dairy farmers, however, this will be insufficient to address in full the farm profitability issue that has been identified, and hence price increases will also be implemented in our export markets. The Government are also exploring how they can play their part in addressing the situation.” Read Jersey Dairy’s full statement here. You can keep an eye on the price of milk, and other groceries, on our Price Comparison website, or download our Jersey Price Comparison app.
Living Costs
15 December 2022

Cost of stamps to go up – just nine months after last increase

The cost of posting a letter will be going up from the start of next year – just nine months after Jersey Post last increased its postal tariffs. The increases mean that the cost of sending a ‘Rest of World’ letter at the start of next year will be almost double the price it was at the same time this year. ‘Rest of World’ letters, which apply to anywhere further than Europe, cost £1.30 for the first quarter of 2022, before rising to £1.75 in April. From January, they’ll be rising by another 80 pence to £2.55 Jersey Post’s latest stamp price increases are effective from Sunday, 1 January 2023. They follow a previous rise in postal tariffs on 1 April 2022. From January, Islanders who send letters to Europe will have to pay £1.85 for a stamp – a rise of 65 pence, from £1.20. Meanwhile, the New Year increases will also see the cost of posting local letters rise by four pence, from 56p to 60p, while letters to the UK, Isle of Man and other Channel Islands will rise by 16 pence, from 82p to 98p. Jersey Post blames the rises on increased operating costs and a decline in outbound mail. In a statement on Jersey Post’s website, Niall McClure, Managing Director, Postal and Logistics, said: “Due to the current economic climate, the postal sector as a whole is experiencing a number of challenges. “One significant challenge for us in Jersey is the high cost of the mail plane. Using the plane allows for next-day delivery for certain postal products to and from the UK. However, to operate the mail plane costs approximately £1.23 per item in conveyance charges. “Historically, we have subsidised the cost of sending mail by air. Where we can, we have tried to minimise the costs next year to the end customer. For one of our most popular routes, the 100g letter to the UK, we are absorbing some of the cost by only charging 98p. In addition, we have held the local 2023 price changes in line with June’s RPI which was 7.9%. The latest RPI figure as of September is 10.4%.” In a statement on its website, Jersey Post says it has seen a 13% decline in outbound mail volume so far this year, which is steeper than predicted, and this downward trend is forecast to increase in 2023. It adds that while outbound mail declines, Jersey Post’s operating costs remain high and that, from 1 January, the postal charges levied on Jersey Post by Royal Mail and other postal authorities will increase substantially. Last month, Jersey Post defended its decision not to make this year’s reduced-price Christmas stamps available to use during the month of December for the first time, after a number of Islanders contacted us to complain. Islanders have also contacted us this month about the increased costs of sending Christmas parcels to the UK and further afield.
Consumer Tips
Living Costs
24 November 2022

Did you know you can apply for help to cover the cost of GST on food?

Jersey's government has received almost 4,000 submissions for the Community Cost Bonus this year. The annual payment is available to help Islanders who are struggling with increasing food costs. It used to be called the Food Cost Bonus and supports families who are just above the Income Support level, by covering the cost of GST on food. To date, 3,850 applications have been made for the 2022 payment, which has doubled this year from £258.25 to £516.50. The payment is available to households in which at least one person has lived in Jersey for the past five years, where no one is receiving income support, and if the household has a combined tax liability of less than £2,735.00 for 2021. On Thursday (24 November) a proposal to remove GST on food altogether was rejected by the States Assembly, by 27 votes to 17. You can apply for the bonus by visiting the website or by calling Customer and Local Services on 444444.