User guide

Finding your way around the guide

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Menu/table of contents

Click or tap on the three horizontal lines in the top-right of your screen to open the main menu/table of contents. This icon is always visible whether you're using a computer, tablet or smartphone. The menu will open on top of the page you’re on. Click on any section title to visit that section. Click the cross at any time to close the table of contents.


Text size

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On a computer, you'll see a question mark icon in the top-right of your screen. On a smartphone or tablet this is visible when you open the menu (see above).

Clicking or tapping on the question mark will open this user guide. It opens on top of the page you're on and you can close it any time by clicking or tapping the cross in the top-right corner.

Our history

For 60 years, we’ve been asking probing questions about products and services and unearthing the answers that make consumers more powerful.

How it started

Which? was started in 1957 by a group of volunteers. Consumers were behaving differently after the war, and so were the companies they were buying from. In particular, there was a rise in what they called ‘sharp trading practices’ – a polite 1950s way of describing dishonest or unscrupulous corporate behaviour.

Our founders wanted to make things better for consumers, and to raise standards across the board. They started testing goods and services and publishing the results in a magazine. They campaigned, too, encouraging companies to change their practices and politicians to update their policies.

Within a month, 10,000 people had enrolled. Within a decade, Which? had 500,000 members. Today, we have 1.5 million members and supporters, making us the largest independent consumer body in the UK. From choosing TVs, tablets, cars and holidays, we constantly question every aspect of consumer life to see if things can be made better.

We reinvest any profit we make back into making consumers more powerful. With no advertisers, shareholders or political paymasters to please, there’s only one reason we do anything – because it’s right for consumers.


Our timeline: 

1957 – the first issue of Which? magazine is published on 7 October.

1958 – the ‘Best Buy’ is born, with Boots 365 talcum powder crowned the first winner.

1962 – 70,000 eager members sign up for the first Which? Car supplement.

1964 – we start campaigning for lead-free children’s toys. We’re also first sued for libel (unsuccessfully).

1973 – we trial a new consumer legal advice helpline, the forerunner of Which? Legal.

1983 – it becomes compulsory to wear seat belts in the front seats of cars, thanks in part to our campaigning.

1987 – we’re awarded charitable status for our research.

1996 – the first version of the Which? website launches, before even Google existed.

1999 – the government agrees to our demand for an independent Food Standards Agency in the wake of the BSE scandal.

2005 – we host the first Which? Awards, celebrating businesses that consistently do the right thing for their customers.

2007 – we’re awarded super-complaint powers, so we can report markets that are failing consumers to government agencies.

2010 – we say hello to Which? Mortgage Advisers as it starts helping home buyers find the right deal.

2013 – cue our campaign to end nuisance calls, which more than half a million people (and counting) have backed.

2017 – we start encouraging airlines to make compensation automatic when flights are delayed and/or cancelled.

2017 – made big changes in markets with introduction of a new Higher Education regulator, and a new Rail Ombudsman.

2018 – secured £2m compensation for care home residents and their families charged unfair upfront fees. 

2018 – after years of campaigning, got automatic compensation for broadband customers.

2019 – secured the first ever UK Govt-enforced recall on over a million faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers.

2020 – the Chancellor commits to protecting access to cash with new legislation.


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