At Home
Living Costs
Money
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.
At Home
Money
21 May 2024

Funeral costs rise

Funeral costs are often the last thing we’d like to think about, but when the death of a loved one comes along having some idea about what’s on offer and the costs to be occurred makes it easier at such a sad time. According to SunLife's 2024 Cost of Dying report, seven in 10 people in the UK make provisions before they die, but only 54% have got the whole amount covered. SunLife say that on average a basic funeral in the UK cost around £4,141 in 2023 and £3,953 in 2022 (a 4.7% increase), but this can vary depending on where you live. So as much as this is not a conversation we want to have, it’s good to have these discussions with your loved ones. Here’s our breakdown of funeral costs in Jersey for 2024 compared with what they were in 2022. Service/Product De Gruchy’s                  (Co-op)2022 Maillards (Independent)2022 Pitcher & Le Quesne (Dignity)2022 Professional Fees £1,250 £1,335 £0 Funeral Director fee above professional fees £0 £0 £1,590 Care of deceased (bringing into care and treatment 24/7) £490 £380 £295 Provision of hearse, driver and bearers £750 £716 £600 Provision of one limousine £200 £194 £195 Attendance of Funeral Director at burial of ashes £75 £90 £0 Total cost of above £2,765 £2,715 £2,680 (£2,165 in 2017) (£2,256 in 2017) (£3,863 in 2017) Direct/’no frills’ cremation * £1,795.35 £2,040.35 £1,700 Embalming (if requested) £185 £200 £155 Coffin – cheapest wood effect £595 £650 £495 Coffin – cheapest eco-friendly coffin (rattan, sea-grass or wicker) £785 £750 £845 Ashes urn – cheapest hardwood £120 £120 £115   Service/Product De Gruchy’s                  (Co-op)2024 Maillards (Independent)2024 Pitcher & Le Quesne (Dignity)2024 Professional Fees £1,450 £1,565 £2,015 Funeral Director fee above professional fees £0 £0 £0 Care of deceased (bringing into care and treatment 24/7) £500 £380 £320 Provision of hearse, driver and bearers £790 £790 £650 Provision of one limousine £200 £194 £210 Attendance of Funeral Director at burial of ashes £95 £90 £135 Total cost of above £3,035 £3,019 £3,330 Direct/’no frills’ cremation * £2,750.52 £2,995.00 £1,875 Embalming (if requested) £210 £200 £175 Coffin – cheapest wood effect £675 £795 £495 Coffin – cheapest eco-friendly coffin (rattan, sea-grass or wicker) £810 £900 £1,005 Ashes urn – cheapest hardwood £120 £120 £120 Additional costs Minister /Priest/ Celebrant fee  £300 Minister/Priest/ Celebrant fee Attendance at burial of ashes   £75.00 Church verger   £65.00 Church fee (if not a parish church)   £220.00 Organist   £110.00 Soloist Varies - prices will vary Flowers - prices will vary Service sheets - prices will vary Paper notices - prices will vary Crematorium   £828.00 Cremation certificate (if required)  £10.51 Doctor's cremation forms   £200 Death certificate x 1   £32.31 Prices correct as at Apr/May 2024. Some prices may include different services and products To make the process easier for bereaved families, much of the organisation can be arranged and paid for by the Funeral Directors, who include them in the final invoice. The companies sometimes work with each other when the need arises, to ensure the experience is as painless as possible. They are willing to work with families to find the best option that will suit their needs and budget. They can advise on where you could cut costs and if requested will provide an estimate of costs before you agree to go ahead. Should you be eligible, they can advise on the Government’s Death Grant payment, which is currently £1,063.72.  Government can help those on low incomes with financial support to help with funeral costs. You can find out more about this on gov.je/ benefits/deathbereavement. 
Health
20 May 2024

GP fees go down by £10

Government have announced that from Monday 20 May they are giving another £10 towards every GP appointment.  This reduction applies to all face-to-face appointments, surgery consultations and home visits, meaning that Islanders are now receiving an overall subsidy of £50.28 towards their GP appointments.  Last year we did some research into the costs of GP's and it was really shocking to see the difference in prices from one surgery to the next.  Here's what we found last year: A review of GP fees (consumercouncil.je) We'll be keeping a regular eye on the cost of healthcare prices and letting you know of our findings.  
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%  
Scams
Travel
29 April 2024

Don’t get caught out by a holiday scam

Are you thinking about jetting off for some sunshine, soaking up some culture on a mini-break, or visiting some loved ones abroad? If you are, then there’s a number of potential scams that you should be aware of when booking your next trip. Which? magazine have highlighted a recently released report from Lloyds Banking Group warning their customers about holiday scams. Their findings show that between November 2021 and March 2024, the most common travel scams were: Fake flight tickets – most of these scams take place on social media where scammers create fake adverts or pretend to sell airline tickets they’re no longer using, for an upfront payment. They then disappear once they have been paid. Fake holiday home or cottage rentals – scammers use booking websites such as Airbnb, with a fake photo. They will take deposits or upfront payments through the legitimate site, then ask for further payments via bank transfer or PayPal. It’s not until the victims arrive at their holiday accommodation that they find out it’s not legitimate.   Caravan purchase scams – scammers lure their victims by using photos of the caravans that they’ve taken either from real adverts or from Googe. They then offer temping deals for payments up-front. Booking scams – after hacking into booking systems and posing as genuine hotels on real booking sites such as Booking.com, scammers then steal banking or card details. Camping trips – one of the most common holiday scams is when holidaymakers are duped into the purchase of camping items on social media. Which? magazine gives a guide on how to get your money back if you’ve been scammed in the ways above. Tips on how to prevent holiday scams Lloyds Bank offer the following advice on how to evade scammers when booking your next trip: Book directly with the airline or hotel. Use reliable retailers to book through.  Check the reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor to check what you’re booking before you do it. Always use a credit or debit card. You’ll have some protection if anything untoward happens.  When booking on Booking.com or Airbnb only ever pay through their system, never agree to pay directly with the vender. If you receive a message asking for more money, always query it. You can do this by contacting the hotel directly by telephone or contact Booking.com directly to confirm things.  Be very careful when buying items on social media. Always visit in person and view the merchandise before handing over any money. If it looks to good to be true, it usually is! Don’t be rushed into anything. Always take notice of warnings from your bank and follow any advice provided. If you’re not sure if these are genuine, call your branch or pop in and ask them. 
Money
Scams
09 April 2024

Shield your Wealth: Stay Alert, Scams Avert!

It’s really important that we all know how to protect ourselves and those around us from financial scams. The States of Jersey Police (SoJP) and Jersey Financial Crime Unit (JFCU) have issued a public warning following a series of sophisticated scams, where imposters posing as bank representatives have defrauded dozens of victims in the island, resulting in losses exceeding £10s of thousands of pounds, since January this year. They’re urging us to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity immediately by contacting the States of Jersey Police on 01534 612 612. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and loved ones: Never Share Sensitive Information: Do not disclose online banking passwords, one-time security codes, PINs, or tokens to anyone over the phone.  Verify Independently: If you're uncertain about the legitimacy of a call regarding your bank account, end the call immediately. Then, contact your bank or financial institution directly using the official number from your banking app or the back of your bank card.  Stay Alert: Your bank will never request personal security details, such as passwords and codes. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up at once. Do not respond to, or click on, links in text messages purporting to be from your bank.  Community Vigilance: Check on friends and family, especially those who are more susceptible to such scams, to ensure they are aware of these fraudulent schemes and know how to protect themselves. The SoJP and the JFCU are committed to combating financial crime and protecting all islanders from these predatory tactics. For more information on how to prevent financial fraud or to report a scam. States of Jersey Police - How to Spot a Scam or visit www.fraudprevention.je Report a scam by telephoning the States of Jersey Police on 01534 612 612.