R CHAMPION’S 60TH BIRTHDAY
iur or d e ty ts a Which? car supplement in 1962, for which 70,000 people signed up. Which? helped ban lead paint in children’s toys and won compensation for millions of victims of Payment Protection Insurance policies.
Richard added: “It wouldn’t be possible without our subscribers.
“We have never taken advertising, so it means we can be completely impartial.”
From television sets to talcum powder, Which? has tested thousands of products, coining the phrase “best buy” – now a coveted award for retailers and manufacturers.
But it stretched the tolerance of its more conservative members in 1963 by publishing a comparative test of 35 brands of condoms and other contraceptives – a report many newspapers refused to publish.
Nearly one-third (32 out of 100 tested) failed the pin-hole test, springing leaks after being filled with a third of a litre of water – leading the Aegis Anti-VD condom to be withdrawn from the market.
Alastair MacGeorge, the association’s assistant director at the time, defended the condoms report.
He said: “Embarrassment has never put us off. Nor has offending a tiny group of people who could not face the facts of life – not when there is an enormous demand and need for factual information.”
It is a legacy Toby Young, son of Michael who died in 2002 aged 86, thinks his dad would be most proud of.
He said: “Looking back over 60 years of Which? I think my dad would be most proud about the discomfort it still causes to manufacturers getting a poor review.”