Which? is a subscription-only magazine and website run by Which? Ltd (formerly known as the Consumers' Association, which is still the official name of the charity). Based in the United Kingdom, it engages in advocacy campaigns on various consumer protection issues and aims to promote informed consumer choice in the purchase of goods and services, by testing products, highlighting inferior products or services, and raising awareness of consumer rights. It maintains its independence by not accepting advertising or freebies; everything bought for testing is paid for at full price. Which? is funded entirely by its subscribers and has no shareholders.
Which? carries out systematic testing of consumer products and financial services, the results of which are published in reports in the magazine. The Which? 'Best Buy' label is well-known and respected by industry and consumers. Tests are carried out on consumer items like electrical goods, cars, and computers, as well as health and financial services, and supermarkets. Testing highlights issues such as reliability and value-for-money.
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 recently brought a 'supercomplaint' against private dentists in the UK. However, Which? has been criticised for its use of junk mail prize draws, similar to Reader's Digest, to gain additional subscribers. It is moving away from this area.
Which? Ltd produces several other specialist publications apart from the main Which? magazine. These include Holiday Which?, Computing Which? and Gardening Which. It also publishes several books including the annual Good Food Guide and Giving and Inheriting.
- Which.co.uk - Which? Homepage