Two-thirds plan to switch at least one household service in the next year as Irish consumers feel the pinch
- Marching orders: two-thirds of Irish consumers (66%) say they are likely to switch away from a service or utility provider in the next 12 months
- Consumers are lured by the prospect of cost-savings and better value for money – but it could it be all talk and little action with many (68%) not going ahead with planned switches in the past
- Stumbling blocks: despite best switching intentions consumers cite switching being a hassle (42%) and not being sure if they will save money (28%) as the main reasons for not walking away
- A third of home phone (34%) and mobile phone (33%) customers have been with their providers over ten years – closely followed by electricity (25%) and digital TV (26%) customers
- Missing out: switching is quick, easy and free – and could save the average person over €1,150 on energy, broadband and mobile bills alone.
Two-thirds of Irish consumers (66%) say they plan to switch at least one of their current service or utility providers in the next 12 months according to new research from independent price comparison and switching service, Switcher.ie.
In terms of specific services, one third of consumers plan to switch motor insurance (33%) and electricity (32%), while a quarter (26%) plan to switch broadband, and one in five (21%) plan to switch home insurance. Smaller numbers are planning to switch mobile phone operator (17%), TV provider (14%) and gas supplier (14%).
Consumers tend to be attracted by the prospect of better value for money, but providers don’t need to worry just yet, as the chances are many of these won’t go ahead with their intention to switch – the research shows that almost seven in ten (68%) have been thinking about switching a utility or service provider in the past but decided not to do it in the end.
This is despite the potential savings that can be made by switching, which would make a huge difference to the average Irish consumer.
The main reason people gave for not going ahead with switching was that it seemed like too much hassle (42%). Significant numbers also said they didn’t switch because they couldn’t tell if a new supplier would save them money (28%), they didn’t want to get tied into a contract (26%), and they were unsure if the product offered by the new supplier was the same as the one offered by their previous supplier (25%). One in ten (8%) are also frightened of losing their service or getting cut off.
It seems there may be some confusion amongst consumers about when they’re actually free to switch, too, with one in five (17%) believing that – even if they’re outside of their contract’s minimum term – they aren’t free to switch because they still have a contract with their current provider.
In fact, consumers are free to switch once they’re outside of their contract’s minimum term (usually 12-24 months, depending on the service). However, in most cases – for example when switching broadband and/or TV, mobile phone – they will need to give their existing provider notice, a fact which only one in four (23%) is aware of.
The notice period is usually 30 days, to allow for a final bill to be issued and the account to be closed off.
When switching energy, however, your new supplier will handle the whole switch with your current supplier, which makes the whole process very straightforward. And four in ten (38%) aren’t aware that all energy suppliers use the same network to provide energy to people’s homes, which means there’s no interruption in supply – so this could give people some peace of mind.
Irish consumers tend to be very loyal to their providers – a massive two-thirds of current account customers (64%) have been with the same bank for over 10 years, with a third of home phone (34%), mobile phone (33%) and health insurance (31%) customers sticking with their providers that long. Meanwhile, a quarter of electricity (25%), digital TV (26%) and household waste (24%) customers have been with the same provider for a decade or more.
Customers who don’t switch regularly will be long gone off any discounted rates they may have availed of when they first signed up, and although some providers offer ongoing year-on-year discounts, these generally won’t be as high as the discounts offered to new customers. This means people who haven’t switched in a while could be missing out on potential savings on the likes of energy, insurance, broadband and TV, and phone services.
Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, said: “It’s great that such a high percentage of consumers are considering switching this year – but we’re concerned that this could be all talk and little action. Switching offers us the chance to take back control of our spending and get more bang for our buck, but unfounded fear factors are preventing many from going through with planned switches, which means missing out on savings of over €1,150.
“The perception is that switching is too much hassle, but it doesn’t have to be – particularly if you use a price comparison site like Switcher.ie. For example, an energy switch only takes a few minutes, and could save you up to €290. And although signing a new contract may seem daunting, energy, broadband and TV, and mobile phone contracts are generally 12-24 months long – and there’s a 14-day cooling-off period if you sign up and then change your mind. If that’s still too much for you, remember that some SIM-only mobile deals, broadband and TV plans and most streaming services have just 30-day contracts, which gives you loads of freedom.
“The most important thing to know is that simply sticking with an existing supplier – particularly if you’ve been with them for a long time already – will frequently land you with a higher bill than if you shopped around. We’d strongly advise customers to set aside some time to take a look at all of their household bills and shop around for new deals – an hour or two of work will pay huge dividends and could free up some much-needed cash.”
For further information please contact:
Jacinta Bonus, Switcher.ie on 01 517 5921 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images for use are available on Flickr here.
Switcher.ie launched in January 2013, with the aim of offering consumers free, independent and impartial price comparison and switching services for gas, electricity, home broadband and digital television. Switcher.ie aims to make it easier for Irish households to compare prices, save money on their regular bills, get the best deals on offer and make their hard-earned money go that bit further. For five years Switcher.ie has been accredited by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities as an impartial, accurate and independent supplier of domestic energy price comparisons and is a member of Guaranteed Irish.
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Switcher.ie is owned by Switcher Limited, a privately funded internet-based business focused on consumer engagement and innovation.