The history of Which?

Supermarket pricing


  • After repeatedly exposing misleading pricing practices in the grocery sector, we deployed one of our most powerful legal weapons - a super-complaint - to demand action from the Competition and Markets Authority.


  • We launched three new free websites - Which? Birth Choice and Which? Elderly Care, to support consumers making complex life decisions, and Which? Money Compare, a comparison site for credit cards, savings accounts and mortgages.
  • Our Member Services Centre was rated 'World Class' by the Institute of Customer Service with a customer service score of 84.2%
  • Following our Calling Time campaign, the government published a Nuisance Calls Action Plan enabling regulators to take enforcement action more easily
  • As a result of our Hands Off My Pension campaign, the government introduced a cap on charges for auto-enrolment workplace pensions
  • After four years of work by Which?, the European Commission announced that it was dropping its proposal for a Common European Sales Law


  • We launched our new trader endorsement scheme, Which? Trusted Traders
  • Following our Big Change campaign, a new independent body monitoring banking standards was established
  • Ofcom introduced new rules to stop mobile phone price hikes as a result of our Fixed Means Fixed campaign
  • In response to our Costly Calls campaign, the government banned travel firms from using expensive customer helplines
  • We launched a new tablet version of Which? magazine, as well as a new look Consumer Rights website
Which? Big Change logo


  • Our Big Change campaign looks to fix banking culture by putting customers first, not sales
  • Milo the dog fronts our campaign and calls on the government to create a financial regulator to keep an eye on the banks
  • We launch our campaign to put an end to price increases on ‘fixed’ mobile phone contracts
  • Which? University launches as a free website designed to help students make more informed decisions about their higher education choices
  • Our Big Switch campaign helped over 36,000 people switch energy supplier


  • The OFT uphold our super complaint on unfair credit and debit card surcharges
  • Which? Tech Daily, a technology blog written by our tech experts, launches
  • We open our first Twitter accounts - , @WhichConvo, @WhichTech, @WhichMoney, @WhichHome and @WhichCar
  • We launch our Affordable Energy campaign to make energy affordable for everyone and we call on Ofgem to simplify energy tariffs
Which Conversation logo


  • Which? Conversation launches as a space to discuss and comment on consumer issues
  • We launch the Great British Savings Scandal campaign and call on banks to give customers more and clearer information about the interest being paid on savings accounts
  • The Which? Mortgage Advice Service opens following FSA approval


  • PPI mis-selling victims get their money back after our successful PPI campaign
  • We meet with Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to talk about the impact the recession is having on the lives of ordinary people
  • We launch the Vote With Your Feet campaign to encourage consumers to ditch companies that offer bad customer service
  • The Which? Money Helpline opens to provide our members with one to one help and guidance on personal finance matters
  • Which? Wills launches as an easy, affordable and time efficient solution to writing an online will
  • The Customer Views section of our reviews goes live where our members can leave their own reviews of the products they buy


  • We launch our banking reform campaign by calling on the government to ensure that banks put consumers first
  • Which? Car goes on sale at supermarkets - the first time that one of our magazines is for sale on the newsstand
Money Which? cover Feb 07


  • Which? Money magazine launches
  • Which? Local launches to bring together trade and services recommendations from our members
  • Our Impatient for Change campaign launches and calls on politicians and the NHS to stop talking and start taking action
  • The first of our annual Which? Awards celebrates and rewards the very best businesses in the UK


  • launches
  • We publish the first titles in our new consumer-based range of books - Which? Essential Guides



  • We're granted official super-complaint powers by the Department of Trade and Industry, giving us the power to make super-complaints to a number of government agencies about markets that are failing consumers
  • After 40 years calling for stronger regulation of estate agents, our Move It campaign celebrates victory when the government announces that all estate agents will have to sign up to a government-approved independent redress scheme


  • Two more switching websites launch, encouraging consumers to search for the best mobile deal and switch from the 'big four' tour operators when choosing their holidays to ensure better service


  • Our first Switch with Which? campaign launches, informing consumers that changing utility suppliers could save them money and possibly provide better service
  • We lodge our first ever unofficial super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading on charges for private dentistry and poor access to NHS dentists
  • Which? Extra launches as an online archive of Which? magazine reports
  • Our 'Endowment action' campaign launches to help the millions of consumers who may have been mis-sold endowment mortgages
Computing Which? March 05


  • We set up an office in Edinburgh in order to influence the work of the Scottish Executive and Parliament


  • Which? Computing launches
  • Our Rip-Off Britain campaign launches after many years of campaigning for cheaper car prices
  • We launch Treatment Notes - patient leaflets based on original Drug and Therapeutics bulletin articles

The 90s

  • 1999 We win the right to challenge companies which put unfair terms in their contracts
  • 1998 We lead the way in exposing the over-priced UK car market
  • 1997 The Government agrees to our demand for an independent Food Standards Agency
  • 1996 We enter the world of cyberspace with the launch of Which? Online
  • 1995 We move our new testing and research laboratory to Milton Keynes
  • 1994 After our 10 year campaign for seat belts in vehicles, the Government announces that safety belts are compulsory for any vehicles carrying children
  • 1992 We continue to successfully campaign on product safety and price rip-offs, as well as developing relations with our European counterparts to work for consumers throughout Europe
  • 1991 Consumer Policy Review launches
Health Which? magazine 1989

The 80s

  • 1987 We receive charity status for the research part of our work - a long sought-after goal
  • 1987 Our headquarters move to 2 Marylebone Road, London
  • 1986 We acquire Self Health - later becoming Health Which?
  • 1984 Gardening Which? exhibits for the first time at the Royal Show and wins two medals at RHS summer and autumn shows
  • 1983 Handyman Which?, Money Which? and Motoring Which? are merged into a new-look, full-colour Which? magazine
  • 1982 Gardening Which? launches - coinciding with the organisation's Silver Jubilee
  • 1980 Our campaigning on competition policy leads to the introduction of the Competition Act

The 70s

  • 1979 Our campaigning is rewarded with the introduction of The Sale of Goods Act
  • 1978 Our persistent campaigning enables The Consumer Safety Act to become law
  • 1977 The Which? Way series launches and starts a major expansion in book publishing
  • 1977 Our lobbying helps push through the Unfair Contract Terms Act
  • 1974 Holiday Which? launches
  • 1972 Britain appoints Geoffrey Howe as its first Minister for Consumer Affairs, after extensive pressure from us
  • 1972 We play an instrumental part in the establishment of the Office of Consumer Unions, now BEUC, which lobbies the European Union on behalf of consumers
  • 1971 Handyman Which? launches
  • 1971 Successful campaigning leads to The Unsolicited Goods and Services Act
  • 1970 We open our own testing laboratory and market research survey unit in Harpenden
First ever edition of Which? magazine

The 60s

  • 1968 Money Which? launches
  • 1965 Our quarterly Car Supplement is transformed into Motoring Which?
  • 1964 We begin to adopt a more campaigning stance and successfully campaign to promote use of lead-free paint on toys and for safer electric blankets
  • 1964 We are sued for libel for the first time, but the action proves unsuccessful
  • 1962 We expand our publishing with the launch of the Car Supplement
  • 1962 The British Edition of the American Medical Letter, the forerunner to Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, launches
  • 1961 Our London headquarters are moved to 14 Buckingham Street
  • 1960 We help found the International Organisation of Consumer Unions, now Consumers International

The beginning

  • 1959 Which? magazine changes from a quarterly to a monthly magazine and membership reaches 150,000
  • 1957 The first edition of Which? magazine is published from a converted garage in Bethnal Green and 10,000 members enrol in the first month
  • 1957 Consumers' Association, now known as Which?, is formed by Michael Young and others

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