The history of Which? Some of our achievements in our 55 year history

Which? Big Change logo

2012

  • Our Big Change campaign looks to fix banking culture by putting customers first, not sales
  • Milo the dog fronts our Watchdog not Lapdog campaign and calls on the government to create a financial regulator to keep an eye on the banks
  • We launch our Fixed Means Fixed 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

2011

Which Conversation logo

2010

  • 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

2009

  • 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

2008

  • 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

2007

  • 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

2006

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

2005

  • We launch our free energy comparison service Switch with Which?

2004

  • 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

2003

  • 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

2002

  • 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

2001

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

2000

  • Computing Which? 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