Tuesday 27 September 2016

Consumers bamboozled by 'complicated' domestic bills

Published 24/05/2016 | 02:30

Eoin Clarke: Complicated bills act as a barrier to people
Eoin Clarke: Complicated bills act as a barrier to people

Householders are bamboozled by bills, new research has found, as half of consumers find it difficult to check their electricity and broadband bills for accuracy, while larger numbers struggle to understand gas bills.

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The research from price comparison site Switcher.ie shows most people feel they have no choice but to trust their supplier to get the bill right. However, one in four people claims to have been overcharged on at least one bill in the last year.

For those who claimed to have been overcharged last year, the average amount was €54 for electricity, €36 for broadband and €30 for mobile phone services.

Consumers feel the way bills are put together is too complicated, with many people of the view that too much jargon is used. Large numbers of householders say they cannot find the information they need.

The study, carried out among 1,000 people by Coyne Research for Switcher.ie, found that half of people found they were unable to check their electricity bill for accuracy.

A similar percentage had issues with broadband bills, while 56pc had difficulty with gas bills.

Managing director of Switcher.ie Eoin Clarke said over-complicated bills were a barrier to people engaging in the utility market. "A large percentage of people say their bills are difficult to check for accuracy, and this puts them in the vulnerable position of having to trust their suppliers to get it right.

"As our research shows, this doesn't always happen, and people can end up out of pocket as a result," he said.

Irish Independent

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