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Living Costs
10 June 2024

Investigation into higher mortgage rates in Jersey: report published

We've published the Findings Report of our three-month investigation into higher mortgage rates in Jersey. Jersey's mortgage rates have been consistently higher than those in the UK, sparking concern among consumers and prompting our investigation. At the time of launching our investigation in March 2024, a number of banks were offering local rates at more than 1% higher than the UK equivalent. The gap has closed at the time of writing this report, although can change with very little notice. That said, even the smallest increase in mortgage rates have a significant impact on the total amount repaid, due to the size of the loan and the length of time it takes to be paid off. Following correspondence from a number of Islanders, and a call for more transparency over mortgage rates from the property conveyancing sector, the Jersey Consumer Council sent an open letter on behalf of consumers in Jersey to the six main mortgage lenders in Jersey during March 2024. They were: Royal Bank of Scotland International Barclays Skipton Santander HSBC Lloyds We then conducted a broad investigation into the reasons behind mortgage rates in Jersey being higher than those offered by the same branded banks in the UK. We found this leads to confusion for consumers, who, along with already paying significantly higher prices for property compared to many parts of the UK, struggle to understand why they are being asked to pay up to £20,000 more per £100,000 of loan over the lifetime of a mortgage when borrowing over 25 years. The banks attribute this difference to their status as ring-fenced and separate entities from their UK counterparts. Despite this separation, many of these banks still align with their UK outfit in terms of branding, marketing material, contact details and, most significantly, the offer of Jersey-based mortgage products which track the Bank of England’s base rate, and rates generally which fluctuate with the Bank of England interest rates. The Consumer Council, however, has concluded that the elevated mortgage rates are further influenced by the higher savings rates offered in Jersey, which are designed to attract both local and inward investment. The Council's findings highlight the need for greater transparency from the banking industry to help consumers better understand the differences, and a reassessment by the Government of Jersey on the balance between attracting inward investment and ensuring affordable home ownership for Islanders. Click here to read our report.
Living Costs
30 April 2024

Car park charges to rise by 7%

The cost of parking in public car parks will be increasing by around seven percent this week. From Wednesday, 1 May the cost of a single unit paycard will increase from its current price of 97p to a new price of £1.04, while a two unit will rise from £1.94 to £2.08, and a four unit from £3.88 to £4.16 from 1 May. Monthly season tickets will rise from £156.66 to £167.96, and a monthly half permit from £78.33 to £83.98. New prices for an eco one unit paycard will cost 52p, a two unit £1.04, and a four unit £2.08. A monthly eco season ticket will cost £83.98 and a half permit £41.99. The Minister for Infrastructure, Constable Andy Jehan, has also confirmed that charges will apply at the new Charles Street Car Park each day (i​ncluding Sundays) between 8am and 10pm. He said that this was a trial to help ensure the car park has capacity for the general public, for Islanders needing spaces and supporting businesses in town, and that these charging hours will be reviewed later this year. The income the Government receives from car parks is used to fund their repair and maintenance and will support road safety initiatives. ​  Current (including GST) From 1 May 2024 (including GST) % Increase 1 Unit Paycard £0.97 £1.04 7.22% 2 Unit Paycard £1.94 £2.08 7.22% 4 Unit Paycard £3.88 £4.16 7.22% Monthly Season Ticket £156.66 £167.96 7.21% Monthly Half Permit £78.33 £83.98 7.21% Eco 1 Unit Paycard £0.49 £0.52 6.12% Eco 2 Unit Paycard £0.98 £1.04 6.12% Eco 4 Unit Paycard £1.96 £2.08 6.12% Eco Monthly Season Ticket £78.33 £83.98 7.21% Eco Monthly Half Permit £39.17 £41.99 7.21%  
Energy & Fuel
Living Costs
11 March 2024

400 households register their disappointment – it’s your last chance to complete our gas form

Islanders wanting to register their disappointment in the £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ offered following last year’s gas outage have until next Friday to complete our online survey. To date, around 400 households have registered with us to express their dissatisfaction in the offer made by Island Energy following the outage in October 2023 – which in some cases left consumers without energy for up to two weeks. Households have now been offered a £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ to make up for the disruption – however, numerous customers have told us that this goes nowhere near covering the true expense they experienced. We’re now working with a local lawyer to try and help consumers recover some of the losses they incurred. We’ve been running an online survey, which has now been completed by around 400 households affected by the outage, which occurred on 7 October when a technical fault by Island Energy left around 4,000 Islanders without gas. Had the energy provider been regulated – like in the UK – it would have had to pay £60 for every day a customer went without gas beyond the first 24 hours. Comments from those who’ve completed our online form so far include: “The way they’ve treated us is totally disgusting – we’ve been a lloyal customer for over 30 years and the £11.36 is insulting.” “That offer is insulting. Thankfully the outage was not during a cold period. The fact that the company has no legal obligation to reimburse customers for the outage should not absolve them from a moral responsibility.” “The Consumers are NOT idiots and shouldn't be treated as such! The offer is a total insult.” Before announcing the ‘goodwill gesture’, Island Energy increased the price of gas by 12%, which is about £13.80 for an average family house (in Guernsey it was increased by 8%). Advocate Philip Sinel, Senior Partner at Sinels and Co, has now agreed to work with us and act for Island Energy customers. He said: “Sinels is happy to act on behalf of those consumers affected by last year’s gas outage as, in our view, there has been a clear breach of contract. Losses have occurred, and as a result, the supplier should be liable for those in our view, and we will do our best to recover those losses for consumers.” If you’d like to be included in the action being taken by the Jersey Consumer Council and Sinels, please register below by completing our short online form by Friday, 22 March. You can also email to request a paper form. Please ensure that when you fill in the form you include an email address and your Island Energy customer number: REGISTER HERE Our Chairman Carl Walker said: “It’s clear that many Islanders were both inconvenienced, as well as financially affected by the gas outage. Consumers couldn’t heat their homes, cook meals, or even wash in hot water. An offer of £11.56 is nothing short of an insult to its customers by Island Energy.’
At Home
Living Costs
26 February 2024

Increasing insurance premiums – what are the causes?

We’ve been contacted by lots of you recently about spiralling insurance premiums – both for motor and household – and how they’re affecting you. We’re aware of this issue and how it’s affecting Islanders, as it is yet another cost-of-living increase for consumers to contend with. This isn't just a Jersey situation though, it's UK-wide, with premiums increasing across the board since 2022. In January 2022, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced some new rules to stop insurers offering better deals to new customers. While this is good for those customers sticking with their ongoing policy, the rules don’t stop or cap the rise in policy costs, so in that respect it’s not good at all.  As a result, many Islanders have seen big increases in their premiums this year. Unfortunately, without a cap on the level of premium paid, the price of cover will fluctuate to reflect a range of factors, such as inflation, building costs, and setting claims due to storms, floods, and the like. The average premium for comprehensive cover on a motor vehicle in the UK has gone up by 58% from this time in 2022, according to Which? Magazine's March 2024 edition. In Jersey, your driver profile will include factors such as your age and your driving record, which influences what you pay for car insurance. Younger drivers have been hit more than most, with those aged under 24 being forced to pay out for premiums into the thousands in some cases. These premium increases will be affected by rising car repair costs. And disaster-related claims are also a significant reason why car insurance rates are surging for many drivers. We're not sure what the answer is. All we can advise is to keep shopping around, try to haggle where you can, and look out for tips using national consumer news organisations such as Which? magazine and Money Saving Expert. Their pages relate to the UK, but you can often pick up tips that are relevant to use in Jersey. You can also check out some of our recent stories on insurance: Which motor insurance providers currently provide cover in Jersey? ( Home Insurance ( Car Insurance (
Living Costs
07 February 2024

Co-op may cut or cancel Islanders' dividend payments

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

Another price increase is on the way...

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