"Should Which? launch its own product range?" blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.

Please click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks :)


  • nim_2
    nim_2 Posts: 33 Forumite
    I always found the "readers digest" and free gift (of very dubious quality) approach to selling their magazines to be make the Consumer Association appear far less trustworthy than they should (although I believe this approach to magazine sales stopped a few years back).

    They have also had other services - for example an ISP (not sure if that is still going), which never gave the appearence of being technically competent (then again no consumer ISP is ever competent - at least not for more than 3 months). I presume that was another ISP white-labelling services.

    On issues that I have a solid background in, I generally find their advice to be of dubious quality. This therefore makes me question their overall compentence.

    As such I would tend to not consider Which? branding on any product of any kind to be either a positive recommendation for the product or positive in any way for the organisation (apart from possibly financially by separating the gullible from their money, but that reduces the overall trust in the brand).
  • rooo
    rooo Posts: 134 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So if say, Sony, started reviewing Blu-ray players, would anyone trust them when they said there was the best? I doubt it. The same would go for Which?, and this will seriously jeopardise any brand independence they may have had - and makes me very wary.
  • hollydays
    hollydays Posts: 19,812 Forumite
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    No-they need to remain as impartial as possible.
  • *MF*
    *MF* Posts: 3,113 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    The immediate reaction, mine included, is to say no, Which should remain independent. But perhaps, given thought, there may be services where it could have a part to play.

    I haven't thought in any depth, but one thought ...

    We know, whichever Government we have after the next election, we face cut backs in services or tax increases, or most likely both - so are there Government Departments or Local Authority Departments where "Which" could more effectively and economically play a part?

    - how about "Trading Standards" as just one example? With "Which" taking on the role of enforcing standards?
    If many little people, in many little places, do many little things,
    they can change the face of the world.

    - African proverb -
  • wizk1
    wizk1 Posts: 911 Forumite
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    Agreed. Which? should stick to what they've done for years. A conflict of interest would kill their reputation.
  • I'm sure I did a survey last year about Which? maybe doing adverts on their site. I thought this showed a lack of impartiality and unfair to consumers, making them appear to endorse a product which may fail every which? test going, but can afford to pay the advert costs.
    This is a similar line of thinking - they should remain independent, impartial and if they don't, how will anyone trust what they have to say?

    It's only a game
    ~*~*~ We're only here to dream ~*~*~
  • jpjp_2
    jpjp_2 Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    If Which? launch their own product range they are undermining the very core of their organisation. They are effectively committing suicide with their organisation. Mad!

    The heading of their website says "No advertising, no bias, no hidden agenda" so who are they trying to kid? If they put their own name to a product, they must have some extra commercial knowledge of that market, thus creating bias and hidden agenda.

    I wonder what's behind this idea? Loss of members leading to a funding crisis perhaps?
  • prowla
    prowla Posts: 13,144 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    (We used to get Which, but I got a bit bored with it and didn't particularly agree with their reviews of items I knew about.)

    But they are supposed to be independent and impartial, so I don't see how having their own branded products can be consistent with that.
  • Why now? It may be commercial pressure but there are also fundamental changes coming in consumer advice whatever government we have. The conclusion from the last decade has to be that consumers are not where they need to be, they have over spent. No government can tackle debt without also addressing why consumers have taken on far too much debt personally, and doing something about it. If Which? comes into the market with completely transparent products, simple pricing, that will be a good thing in my book.

    Having said that I was really unimpressed with Which?'s evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on the banking crisis. Its rep asked by an MP about store cards and if retailers pay their staff incentives to sell them said he did not know. I realise store cards are a product niether this site or Which? would recommend but I did think Which? should know inside out how they work.
  • Ken68
    Ken68 Posts: 6,825 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Energy Saving Champion Home Insurance Hacker!
    As far as I am concerned, Martin/MSE has already replaced WHICH. Especially the input from the Forum.
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