News Editorial

Monday 22 September 2014

Editorial: 'People power' is lending to better deals for wily consumers

Published 25/03/2014 | 02:30

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According to the National Consumer Agency, seven out of 10 people who opened a bank account with their Communion money stayed indefinitely with the same financial institution. Other research indicates that 'switching', even though it can lower bills, is not favoured by consumers, possibly because of the bureaucratic hurdles involved.

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Now an "affinity scheme" called One Big Switch, which has so far signed up 45,000 members and will negotiate on their behalf, is using "people power" to get a better deal for consumers.

Yesterday, it was announced that Bord Gais Energy has been selected to provide "exclusive" value offers to new and existing customers who have registered with One Big Switch before it closes at midnight on April 17. Bord Gais is promising new customers a 10pc discount and €80 'cash back' at the end of the first year; existing customers will get half that offer if they are members of One Big Switch.

Those who have registered do not have to accept such offers and can go back to their providers and negotiate a new deal.

Whatever way it works out, it seems that 'people power' could lower gas and electricity charges in the short term.

Those who don't want to join such a scheme should realise that switching is not as big a deal as it once was. Wily consumers should always be on the lookout; there are better deals out there.

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