Saturday 23 September 2017

Consumers losing out as fewer people switch service providers

Just 6pc of consumers switched health insurer, despite premiums surging in the past few years. The most popular service to be switched was motor insurance (Stock photo)
Just 6pc of consumers switched health insurer, despite premiums surging in the past few years. The most popular service to be switched was motor insurance (Stock photo)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

There has been a fall in the numbers of people switching providers of common household services, new research commissioned by the State's consumer watchdog has found.

Small numbers of respondents said they switched service provider in the past year, according to the research from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

This is despite the fact savings of up to €360 a year can be made by aggressively seeking out the best deals.

The 41pc of people who moved at least one service to a different provider in the last year represents a reduction of 7pc when compared with survey results from 2015.

Those who do actively switch can cut household bills by between €20 and €30 a month. This works out at between €240 and €360 a year. The survey found three out of 10 people continue to be loyal to their existing provider.

Those most likely to have a misplaced sense of loyalty are people over the age of 65 and farmers. Commission member Fergal O'Leary said the results were disappointing and meant householders were losing money.

"While the research is positive in that many consumers are still actively looking for better value, it is disappointing to see that the numbers switching are down compared to the numbers found by the Commission's research conducted in 2015.

"Our research shows that there are significant savings to be made, even if consumers switch only one or two providers."

Just 6pc of consumers switched health insurer, despite premiums surging in the past few years. The most popular service to be switched was motor insurance.

The commission has a price comparison tool at www.consumerhelp.ie.

Irish Independent

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