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Which?: 'Vital' customers can trust their sunscreen

Sunscreen manufacturers need to do more to make sure their product provides the level of protection it claims, as skin cancer rates rise, a consumer watchdog has said.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd explained:

With thousands of cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year, it's vital you can trust a sun cream to provide the protection it claims.

We've found three products that failed the strict British Standard tests and we want to see manufacturers doing much more to make sure their sun creams live up to the claims on the packaging.

– Richard Lloyd


Government 'clear' on current account charges

In response to a Which? study that concluded it is "virtually impossible" for people to calculate and compare current account costs, the Government said it is "clear" that customers must have easy access to clear information on overdraft charges.

It confirmed that a "more robust regulatory system" will be in place soon.

Through the midata initiative the Government is encouraging banks to give consumers information about their spending patterns so they are able to find the best deal for them.

They already have access to free text alerts when a balance falls below a certain level, a free seven day current account switching service, while a more robust regulatory system that will help deliver for consumers will be in place soon.

– Government spokeswoman

Read: Watchdog calls for simpler current accounts

Overdraft charges 'virtually impossible' to calculate

Baffling terms used by current account providers to describe unauthorised overdraft charges include "informal","unplanned", "unarranged" and "unapproved", Which? found.

Consumers are faced with a myriad of complicated charges for using an unauthorised overdraft, and it's virtually impossible for people to calculate and compare the cost of running a current account.

It's no wonder so few people switch between banks when you can't easily compare prices.

– Which? executive director Richard Lloyd

Read: Watchdog calls for simpler current accounts

Watchdog calls for simpler current accounts

Current account providers are using vague language and baffling charges structures making it very difficult to calculate the cost of slipping into an unauthorised overdraft, research from consumer watchdog Which? has found.

Current account providers are using vague language and baffling charges structures, Which? says Credit: PA

The consumer group used 18 volunteers, including a principal inspector of taxes and a retired headteacher, to work out what the cost of an impromptu overdraft would be using a mock statement and charging structures on the bank's website.

The volunteers got just 10 out of 72 calculations correct between them, with the tax inspector getting just one of his four calculations right and the former headteacher getting them all wrong.


Govt must take 'radical measures' to lower energy bills

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer rights organisation Which?, said the reforms were a step in the right direction but did not go far enough:

This is why the Government should intervene with more radical measures including simpler pricing, greater transparency and scrutiny of the cost of energy policies, and the separation of domestic supply from generation businesses.

More must be done to keep prices in check and give consumers confidence that the price they pay for their energy is fair.

– Richard Lloyd, executive director, Which?

Read more: How Ofgem plans to create simpler energy tariffs

Charity credit cards among 'worst money-wasters'

Charity credit cards are among the worst money-wasters on the market, consumer group Which? has said.

Charity credit cards are among the worst money-wasters on the market, consumer group Which? has said. Credit: PA

The watchdog has released a list of 10 financial products that offer "poor value for money, cost more than they save, or turn out to be useless when you come to claim."

Extended warranties, fraud protection plans and over-50s insurance plans also featured in the 'money-wasters' list.

'No excuse' for financial firms to use high-rate numbers

Consumer watchdog Which? has called on leading financial providers to follow the example of a minority of firms that have dropped costly call numbers.

Barclays and Barclaycard said they will now offer a freephone or basic rate number for all customer help lines.

We applaud Barclays and Barclaycard for breaking from the pack on high rate numbers and want to see other financial firms follow their lead.

It's great news that NatWest and RBS are doing the right thing for their customers by dropping costly calls. The new leaders at RBS have promised to renew the banks' efforts to improve customer service and this is a very welcome start.

With two of the biggest banking groups now leading the way by offering freephone or geographic numbers, we hope this is a tipping point for the banking sector - there's really no excuse for other providers not to follow suit.

– Which? executive director Richard Lloyd

084 and 087 numbers the norm for financial call lines

Consumer watchdog Which? found 95% of credit card providers studied and 89% of current account providers use expensive 084 or 087 numbers for complaints or customer service help lines.

Existing customers are also being charged more than new ones, with free 0800 numbers used for 52% of sales or new customer lines compared with just 26% for existing customers and 21% for complaints.

The survey of 2,070 found 39% prefer to call financial firms with an inquiry and 31% would rather complain by phone.

A British Bankers' Association spokesman said:

All banks are actively looking at how they can reduce costs for customers. We expect to see many banks changing to use local numbers for complaints in the near future and it is good to see that some banks have already committed to doing so.

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