Definitions

consumers

Consumers' Association

The Consumers' Association, which trades as Which?, is a charity, registered in England and Wales No 296072. Which? Ltd is its wholly owned trading subsidiary. It is a consumer rights organisation in the UK, founded in 1957 by Michael Young.

It is independent and is funded by subscription. It does not take funding from government or companies and there is no advertising in its magazines or websites. 700,000 people subscribe to Which? publications and the web-site. It also sells about 175,000 books a year including the annual Good Food Guide, and several Essential Guides including Giving and Inheriting, Divorce and Splitting Up, Be your own Financial Advisor, The Pension Handbook, Working for yourself and an annual Tax Handbook.

It has statutory powers under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 to seek an injunction to restrain the use of an unfair contract term by a trader against consumers.

The magazine also raises awareness of trading it believes goes against the interests of consumers. It offers advice on consumers' legal rights and reports on legal cases where it has fought for members' rights. In the May, 2003 issue, for example, the back page featured a couple who won compensation from their credit card firm after purchasing a poor holiday. Another case featured was a life assurance company which had not maintained customer records properly and was forced to pay compensation. Which? also communicates regularly with the OFT and in 2001 brought a 'supercomplaint' against private dentists in the UK.

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