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Friday 29 August 2014

Customers losing out on deals as loyalty is 'punished'

Charlie Weston

Published 25/06/2014 | 02:30

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Dermott Jewell says there's no doubt loyalty is punished
Dermott Jewell says there's no doubt loyalty is punished

CONSUMERS are being punished for their loyalty, with broadband providers, energy companies and mobile phone providers reserving the best deals for new customers only.

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Free service for six months, huge discounts and cashback are some of the deals being offered by companies to attract new customers, research carried out by price comparison site Bonkers.ie shows.

Householders were advised to check out the details of the deal they are on and to switch to avoid paying high charges.

Director of Bonkers.ie Simon Moynihan said: "There are always discounts and cashback offers available to new customers."

He said some deals were available to existing customers, but most of the best deals were for new customers. He advised people to switch regularly.

However, recent research commissioned by the National Consumer Agency found that more than a third of consumers said they tend to stick with the same company.

Chief executive of the Consumers' Association, Dermott Jewell, said: "There is no question but companies are punishing loyalty."

Research by Bonkers.ie shows UPC is offering its Horizon Essential bundle of TV, broadband and phone free for six months for new customers in Cork and Limerick. The normal price is €73 a month. In other parts of the country, new customers can get the bundle for €29 for the first six months.

A spokeswoman for UPC denied it was being unfair.

She said the six-months-free deal was also being offered in other areas of the country including Balbriggan, Co Dublin, and in Charlesland, near Greystones, Co Wicklow.

Eircom is offering all new customers a €30-a-month deal for the first six months on its broadband and phone bundle. After half a year, the monthly cost goes to €45.

A spokeswoman for Eircom insisted it has a variety of special offers for existing customers.

Sky also has a €30-a-month deal for the first six months for new customers for broadband and landline, Bonkers.ie said.

New electricity customers can get a 17pc discount and €30 credit if they sign up for SSE Airtricity. Customers who have been with the company for a year can only get an 8pc discount, Mr Moynihan said.

SSE Airtricity defended its big discounts for new customers by pointing out that it offers existing customers a rewards programme.

Irish Independent

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