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We are wasting our hard-earned money


Most of us are failing to save money by not switching service providers

Most of us are failing to save money by not switching service providers

Most of us are failing to save money by not switching service providers

Many of us could save as much as €40 per week by doing a little shopping around for basic services like insurance, phones, gas and electricity. And with current tax rates, one has to earn €80 to net €40.

The 'incredible but true' news we bring you today is that too few Irish people check the market for better value, and still fewer switch to a lower-priced service provider.

Unsurprisingly, the older the person is, the less likely they are to switch. All this information comes to us from a reputable study commissioned by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which is the state-funded shoppers' watchdog.

The study tells us we need to wake up to the potential savings on services which can be substantial. Moving from one mobile phone operator to another can save €24 per month. More than €34 a month can be saved by swapping one health insurer for another, and savings of €21 a month can be had by moving around among the four main electricity suppliers.

Services where potential savings can be had also include car insurance, broadband, home insurance, gas supplies, fixed-line telephone services, waste provision and television services. Many Irish people believe in a modicum of loyalty when it comes to shopping for many things, including services.

The brutal reality is that such feelings of loyalty are not reciprocated by the service provider. Offers and incentives are generally targeted at generating new business. Shoppers have to be able to show their ingratitude and move on to save money.

Older citizens, who have been many years with one insurance company, for example, are under the complete misapprehension that they will be "looked after" in case of calamity due to their long years with the firm. In reality any claim will be assessed only by the current year's level of cover and the case circumstances.

The idea of losing hours comparing opaque pricing systems which do not make for easy comparison is daunting. But, when considered in terms of the work hours required to pay these bills, some effort will be seen to pay handsomely.

Irish Independent