'Loyalty doesn't pay' - Survey shows Irish people fail to switch providers despite intentions

Almost eight in ten (78%) of Irish consumers want to switch provider for at least one household essential this year - but most fail to do so, according to a new survey.

The research from Switcher.ie showed that factors such as worries about getting tied into contracts, uncertainty about the savings to be made, fear of losing service, and concerns about the switching process could be putting lots of people off making a switch.

While four in 10 (40%) say they plan to switch electricity provider in the next 12 months, almost double the amount that intended to switch in 2015 (22%) - but official figures tell a different story.

The Commission for Energy Regulation’s 2016 figures revealed that 14% of Irish people actually switched electricity provider last year - and so far in 2017, average switches per month are broadly in line with the numbers from last year.

Almost three in five (59%) people said that they had previously thought about switching utility provider, but failed to follow though.

Eoin Clarke, Switcher.ie’s managing director, said that signing up with a new provider need not be daunting.

He said: “In general contracts range from just 12-24 months for the likes of energy, broadband and TV, with SIM-only mobile deals, and some broadband and TV plans, available on 30-day contracts.”

The survey also showed that 45% of us plan to switch motor insurance, while one in three are planning to change internet provider.

Almost a quarter (22%) of electricity, home and mobile phone customers claim to have been with the same supplier for over 10 years

According to the website, the average dual fuel customer could save up to €318 by switching from standard tariffs to the cheapest deals on the market.

“Households across Ireland are still feeling the pinch, but switching offers us the chance to take back control, get better value for money and potentially save hundreds of Euro – which could be crucial for anyone struggling with their bills,” said Mr Clarke.

“It only takes a few minutes to compare deals for broadband, energy, TV and phones and, with substantial savings to be made, it’s well worth taking the time.

“Our research shows that awareness of switching and households’ intentions to switch are high, but people are still being held back by fear factors.

“It is vital that consumers are educated and feel supported enough to be able to shop around and switch freely so that they can make better-informed choices about the suppliers and products that suit their needs and budgets.

“In this day and age, loyalty doesn’t pay - simply sticking with an existing supplier will frequently land you with a higher bill than if you shopped around.

“Although signing a contract with a new provider can seem daunting, it doesn’t need to be. In general they range from just 12-24 months for the likes of energy, broadband and TV, with SIM-only mobile deals, and some broadband and TV plans, available on 30-day contracts - and there’s a 14-day cooling-off period if you sign up and then change your mind. There’s no need to worry about your electricity or gas being cut off when you switch, either, as all suppliers use the same cables and pipes to supply energy to your home.”

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