Consumer Tips
08 July 2024

Advice for learner drivers

Do you, or someone you know, currently have a provisional Jersey driving license? We’ve recently been contacted by a local consumer asking us to investigate why they are only valid for six months. They thought this seemed like too short window in which to take a test before you have renew it – particularly given that a large proportion of those taking tests are teenagers who are still in education and doing exams, so fitting driving lessons in and getting a test done within just six months could prove difficult. We carried out a comparison with other jurisdictions and found the following: Jurisdiction     Fee        Valid for IOM                    £14       1 year – can have 2 licenses then discretionary Guernsey           £45       10 years – two years to take your test Jersey                £30        6 months – renewal discretionary UK                     £34       10 years - two years to take your test As the provisional license system is a parish issue, we asked Mike Jackson, the Chairman of Comité des Connétables – who set the guidelines for provisional driving licenses – why Jersey has such a short window. Here’s what he said: “Thank you for your enquiry asking why the Jersey provisional licence is only valid for six months as other jurisdictions, for example Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom, granted a provisional licence for a longer period. We note the short length has been queried as your received comment that many learner drivers are teenagers still in education and fitting lessons and a test around examinations is “sometimes difficult”. Article 11 of the Road Traffic (Jersey) Law 1956 permits a provisional licence to be granted “to learn to drive a motor vehicle with a view to passing a test”. The tests assess a person’s competence to drive and are important for the road safety of all road users, both vehicular and pedestrian. A provisional licence may be renewed though Article 11 provides that it may be refused if it appears to the parochial authority that the applicant does not intend to submit to the test within a reasonable time. The tests comprised - Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for motorbikes and mopeds (valid indefinitely) Theory test including hazard perception – category specific (pass certificate valid indefinitely but invalid if the holder was disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence to drive) Practical driving test – category specific (pass certificate enabled the holder for a period of 5 years from the date of issue to obtain a licence) The Comité understands that there is adequate availability for booking and sitting a test and that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Department now has three dedicated officers to assess practical driving. The current timescales and fees for test bookings are: 3 to 4 weeks for CBT (fee of £153); 3 weeks for a theory test (fee £39.50) and 4 to 6 weeks for a practical test (fee £58.50). As there appears to be adequate availability to enable a provisional licence holder to take a relevant test (or, indeed, all tests for the category) within the validity period of the provisional licence, the Comité considers the six-month validity period is appropriate. A person should apply for a provisional licence at a time when they are able to learn to drive and study for the tests rather than as soon as they reach the age to drive.”   Our advice We advise learner drivers and parents of children coming up to 17 years of age, to think carefully before rushing to apply for a provisional license as soon as their 17th birthday arrives. If your child has a birthday early on in the school year, perhaps wait until nearer the school holidays to give them the best chance to fit in their driving lessons alongside school and studies, and not have to apply for a license renewal. Shop around for your driving lessons and insurance. With driving lessons averaging at around £42 to £45 per lesson, and insurance costs continuing to rise, it’s good to give this some thought before committing to it all too early.
Consumer Tips
08 July 2024

Changes to driving licence requirements in Jersey

Are you aware of the coming changes to driving licence requirements in Jersey? From 5 October, the requirements and standards for driving licences will change. The changes will be: two licence groups medical requirements and submition of medical certificates depending on the licence group and catagory the licence validity period depending on the licence group your parish will be be able to ask you to take a practical driving assessment and put conditions on your driving licence These changes will bring the Jersey standards and requirements for driving licences similar to the UK and the EU. Most standard drivers will fall into Group 1 and for this group there is little change; a medical certificate will only be required if a relevant condition is declared to your Parish. Vision standards have been enhanced for both Group 1 and 2 categories to include peripheral vision and an updated acuity test. Diabetes, epilepsy, and seizure standards have also been updated which will now allow more people to hold a Group 2 category licence. Those who passed their driving test in or before 1997 may have categories C1 or D1 on their licences which, following the change, will mean that they are holders of a Group 2 licence. If they do not need their Group 2 categories, they can relinquish them, and have five years in which to have them reinstated, if desired. Group 2 licences will be required to have two more medicals in their lifetime. Currently Group 2 licence holders have medicals at 45, 55 and 65 years of age, following the changes they will also need a medical at 50 and 60. If a driver has any concerns with health issues which may affect their driving, then they should consult their GP. To find out more about the changes and what they will mean for you, visit the DVS information page on Gov.je:  Medical standards for driving licences (gov.je)
Consumer Tips
17 June 2024

Jersey Consumer Council seeking new Council Members and other volunteers

Are you passionate about consumer affairs in Jersey? If so, the Jersey Consumer Council is expanding its membership and is looking for Islanders of all ages to join its successful, driven and friendly team, to help improve the lives of consumers in the Island. From price checking and researching products to feeding back on new Government policy and helping consumers with everyday issues, the roles is as varied as it is rewarding.  We’re hoping to attract applications to join our team of volunteer Council Members from Islanders with a variety of skills, including secretarial, digital, administrative, and social media, among others. Applications are being accepted from people of all ages who reside in Jersey, and we’re especially keen to welcome applications from any Islanders in their 20s and 30s, which is an area currently under-represented on the Council. In addition to searching for new Council Members, we’re also looking to recruit a team of separate volunteers who will help, when required, with research, data gathering and special projects – effectively acting as the eyes and ears of the Council. Ideally applicants should be living in Jersey, so that they have some knowledge about consumer issues on the island.  What you need to do To apply to either join our Council, or our new team of volunteers, please include a covering letter – indicating whether you wish to join the Council or our new team of separate volunteers, or whether you’d consider either role – explaining a little about yourself and why you wish to join the Jersey Consumer Council. Please also include a brief CV, and answers to the following questions: Why do you want to join/volunteer on behalf of the Jersey Consumer Council? What are the three biggest issues facing consumers today? Choose one of the above and briefly explain how you would help tackle this? Do you have an example of when you have challenged a retailer or service provider, either on your own or someone else’s behalf, and what was the outcome? Approximately how many hours a month do you think you may be able to commit to helping the Consumer Council? Are there any other skills you have which you think will be of benefit to the role, to the Council or to Consumers in Jersey? Please submit your application to contact@consumercouncil.je
Consumer Tips
Money
12 January 2024

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

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

Christmas shopping tips

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

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

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