Consumer Tips
Money
Shopping
12 October 2020

Christmas preparations and budget

Yup, we said it and there’s no denying that Christmas is on it’s way, so out come the Christmas emojis   To misquote that old song ‘It’s the most expensive time of the year’ and with Christmas just over 10 weeks away and shops starting to display their Christmas wares, now is a good time to start preparing, with particular focus on your budget. The financial strains caused by the pandemic are going to make 2020 celebrations tough for many Islanders.    People celebrate Christmas in different ways. Some like the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings served on a beautifully decorated table, and others prefer a more casual day. But, the one thing we all have in common is the financial burden it puts on our income. A recent study suggests the average cost of Christmas is around £500.    Many of you may have started your shopping already which is a great way to spread the cost and avoid the financial hit of paying for everything in December. To help you with your preparations and money management, we’ve created a Christmas budget planner which includes a breakdown of many Christmas items that you may need to buy and some tips on how to keep the cost down.   Bargain spotting is always fun and this year Amazon Prime members can take advantage of the annual ‘Amazon Prime Day’ which, due to COVID, has been delayed from July. It’s actually spread over two days and officially starts tomorrow (13 & 14 October), although deals are already available. This is great timing for anyone looking to bag an early Christmas bargain, be it a present, an extra chair or sofa bed for guests, or that new TV to watch the Christmas movies and sport on.   Gift vouchers are a popular and easy choice as presents. However, many retailers, both large and small, have struggled in recent years with some on the brink of collapse and others already fallen into administration. With this in mind, it’s important to note that a gift voucher will often not be honoured, if a company collapses.   Some of our other tips are:   Don’t forget your everyday bills still need paying.   Don’t rely on an overdraft or borrow from unauthorised lenders.    Remember to clear your credit card balance straight away.    Always buy from a reputable company and do your research.    Postage costs can be high - why not consider delivering some of your cards by hand? Just make sure you don't end up spending more on petrol than you would have done on stamps! Check and track prices using sites such as camelcamelcamel.com who monitor Amazon prices throughout the year.    Sign up to store newsletters and follow your favourite brands on social media to see their offers.   If you’re not an Amazon Prime member (usually £7.99 per month) take advantage of the 30 day free trials. If you time it right you can be a member during either Prime Day or Black Friday. Remember to diarise the cancellation date, so that your membership is cancelled before they automatically take the next month’s payment.    Annual Black Friday sales start in stores and online in late November.    If you’ve got a store account or membership which offers loyalty points, now’s the time to cash them in.    Posting parcels will add to your costs. Consider buying from stores (usually online) that offer free delivery directly to the present recipient (with strict instructions ‘Do Not Open until 25 December’)!    Take advantage of retailers, both in-store and online, offering a free gift wrapping service.    To help the environment and your budget, buy brown paper rather than expensive Christmas paper. You can make it personal by decorating it by hand.    Get the family involved and have fun making your own decorations. For example, start drying out collect fallen pine cones and slices of orange to hang on the tree.    If you have some of your budget left over, why not buy next year’s gifts in the January sales.    As mad as it sounds, January is the time to start saving for next Christmas (without adding pressure to you regular expenditure). If you put away just £5 a week, by the start of December you’ll have £240. Double that to £10 a week and you will have £480 towards next year’s cost.   
At Home
Consumer Tips
05 October 2023

Which motor insurance providers currently provide cover in Jersey?

You may have heard that certain insurance providers are pulling out of the Channel Islands due to a change of the law in Gibraltar. This law change has indeed reduced the number of motor insurers who will provide cover in Jersey. We've done some research and have compiled a list of those insurers still offering business to the Channel Islands. This is the list of insurers (accurate as of September 2023):  Accredited Insurance (Europe) Limited Ageas Insurance Limited Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance UK Limited Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company of Europe Limited Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE Allianz Insurance Plc American International Group UK Limited (AIG UK Limited) Assurant General Insurance Limited Aviva Insurance Limited AXA Insurance UK Plc AXA XL Insurance Company UK Limited CHUBB European Group Limited Churchill Insurance Company Limited Covea Insurance Plc Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc Great Lakes Insurance SE Great Lakes Insurance UK Ltd Gresham Insurance Company Limited HCC International Insurance Company Plc Highway Insurance Company Limited Hiscox Insurance Company Limited Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands Limited Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited MS Amlin Insurance SE National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited QBE Europe SA/NV QBE UK Limited RAC Insurance Limited Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc The Prudential Assurance Company Limited Tradex Insurance Company Ltd Travelers Insurance Company Limited Travelers Insurance Designated Activity Company UK Insurance Limited White Horse Insurance Ireland Designated Activity Company XL Insurance Company SE Zurich Insurance Company Ltd When looking for insurance, always remember to compare prices to get the best deal for you. Your insurance broker – such as Rossborough, Islands Insurance, Jersey Mutual, or Channel Insurance Brokers – might be able to help you with this.
At Home
Money
Shopping
05 September 2022

Survey - Credit Card Availability

Would you mind taking 2 minutes to complete our credit card availability survey? Recent History Credit card availability to Islanders, or the increasing lack of it, has been on our radar for 2-3 years. We have held multiple meetings with local financial institutions, Jersey Finance, Jersey Banking Association, as well as representatives of the previous government representatives.   Recently, the Council contacted several other providers including AMEX, MBNA, M&S Bank, Virgin Money and Tesco, and received replies from all. We have since become aware that John Lewis is also following the same pattern.   Reasons Their reasons for either pulling out of the Channel Islands altogether; no longer accepting new applications; or only offering existing customers a replacement card; are two-fold:   1). Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom. 2). Providing the service is no longer commercially viable.   Locally, we are only aware that HSBC offers new applications to non-account holders if the applicant meets the appropriate requirements.   Having received more enquiries from islanders during the last year, and many in the last month, it appears the situation is worsening so we're trying to find out how many applications or renewal requests have been refused.   Survey Link The closing date is Wednesday 14 September. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/creditcardavailability Thank you    
Energy & Fuel
Living Costs
30 July 2021

Fuel And Oil Prices Rising Sharply

The Jersey Consumer Council has been monitoring fuel prices since 2007 (see below table). As the below graph highlights, fuel prices have increased steeply since the start of 2021. We approached each of the Islands’ fuel suppliers for comment and, similar to the investigation we did last year on Jersey versus UK prices, it appears that multiple global impacts are causing the increase. Nick Crolla – Head of Sales & Marketing, Rubis “We’ve seen the wholesale fuel market increase by around 6ppl in the last few months, this has been mainly due to the global rebound in demand for fuel, as COVID restrictions have been easing. These are all global influences which have an impact on our supply chain”. Nick Cunningham – General Manager, PDJ “Oil prices have been reeling ever since Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached a compromise that resolved a two-week-long standoff over production levels. Under the compromise, the UAE will see its baseline production level lifted to 3.65 million from the current baseline around 3.17 million bpd (barrels per day) when the current contract expires in April 2022. Crude oil’s year-long surge has been sputtering for most of the last two weeks with the prospect of new supply undermining the case for producers to increase prices. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, reached a compromise last Sunday to increase oil supply from August to will lower prices which, hit their highest level this month in more than two years”.   Jon Best – Chief Operating Officer, ATF “Oil prices have been on a yearlong surge, as demand has increased as a result of the relaxations in global lockdowns. What will happen in the short term is anybody’s guess, rising COVID-19 infections in many countries may threaten demand, although major banks have steadfastly argued that the market will continue to rally, with Goldman Sachs reiterating on Monday that it sees more upside in the market. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, reached a compromise on [18 July] to increase oil supply from August to cool prices, which had hit their highest level this month in more than two years”. To date, no comment has been received from Paul Wright – Customer Sales Development & Account Manager, Channel Island Fuels. We will continue to monitor fuel prices sold at all Island forecourts and the cost of heating oil. Prices are published on our pricecomparison.je website and free downloadable app.
At Home
Energy & Fuel
09 February 2024

Island Energy gas outage survey

Please make sure you give us your email and Island Energy customer number as they will be needed for those wanting to be involved in any claim that we might secure. COMPLETE THE GAS SURVEY   Any Island Energy customers who are unhappy or dissatisfied with the £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ offered to households following the outage in October last year are being asked to get in touch with the Jersey Consumer Council. The Council is looking at what options it has available to try to secure the compensation Island Energy customers deserve or at least a refund of the costs many consumers incurred during the gas outage in October last year. To start that process, those impacted are being asked to complete a short online survey on consumercouncil.je to enable the Council to assess to what extent individual households were impacted. Chairman Carl Walker said: ‘We already know of Islanders who went without hot water, could not cook hot meals at home and could turn on their heating during the outage, so taking three months to come up with an offer of £11.56 is nothing short of an insult to its customers by Island Energy. “We will now work on behalf of all those affected to try and secure a better deal for them – and everything and anything is on the table at this stage. Once we know how many Islanders we will be representing, we shall choose the best course of action and do our very best.” On 7 October a technical fault by Island Energy left around 4,000 Islanders without gas. This lasted for days - and in some cases up to 14 days - before the gas was returned to them. 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. Since then, Island Energy have increased the prices of gas by 12%, which is about £13.80 for an average family house. Whilst in Guernsey they raised the price by 8%. On 25 January, we were given word that Island Energy were giving customers a gesture of goodwill by refunding the standing charge for October, worth £11.56. Dissatisfied Island Energy customers are asked to click on the link below and complete the survey as honestly as possible. If they know of any neighbours or relatives who do not have access to the internet but who were also affected by the outage, please visit those individuals or call them and complete the survey with them or on their behalf, so that we can get a fair picture of the situation.
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 contact@consumercouncil.je 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.’