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Sunday 21 September 2014

How families lose €2,000 
a year by not switching to 
get better deal on their bills

Published 14/08/2014 | 00:00

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HOUSEHOLDERS are losing out on savings of up to €2,000 a year by failing to switch to better-value providers.

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Just a quarter of householders moved to a different company to get an improved deal, new research shows.

But thousands of families are not even checking to see if they could save money by moving, the research by the National Consumer Agency (NCA) shows.

Across 10 different services used by the typical household, savings of €180 a month can be made by switching, amounting to €2,160 a year.

Older people are least likely to switch provider.

Research from the NCA shows that the vast majority of consumers who opted for a different provider saved money, and found the switching process easy.

One of the biggest savings is from moving mobile phone operator, with typical monthly savings of €24.

The under-35s are more likely to change provider often and avail of the best deals.

But just a quarter of consumers told researchers that they are switchers, even less than the numbers recorded last year.

The NCA said it was highly likely that consumers were overpaying for services.

Director of consumer contacts at the NCA Fergal O'Leary said: "It is very likely that consumers are paying more than they need to by not checking regularly to see if there are better deals available to them."

He said new customers are often offered better rates than those available to existing customers. This meant loyalty was not always rewarded.

"If it isn't, we would strongly urge consumers to switch but the first step in this process has to be checking to see if a better deal is available," Mr O'Leary said.

Savings of more than €34 a month can be made by swapping one health insurer for another, with savings of €21 a month typical for moving around among the four main electricity suppliers.

Other areas where switching can help when money is tight include car insurance, broadband, home insurance, gas supplies, fixed-line telephone services, waste provision and TV services.

Just seeking out the best value on three services - mobile phones, electricity and car insurance - can save a typical family €60 a month. Over a year, this works out at more than €700.

Huge numbers of householders have never bothered to check if they could get better value by taking their business elsewhere, according to the survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes.

Almost half of consumers have never checked to see if they could get better value by moving to a different health insurer, electricity or gas supplier.

Overall, around four out of 10 have switched at least one provider, with most moving to get better-value car insurance.

Irish Independent

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