Customers strike back as switching hits fever pitch

  • Up to 23 million ditch product providers in last six months
  • MoneyExpert.com launches switching index

British customer apathy is on the way out as over the past six months half the adult population has chosen to ditch a wide range of product providers in favour of a better deal, according to MoneyExpert.com.

From gas and electricity providers to mobile phones, credit cards, broadband and bank accounts customers are now willing to move if theyíre not happy.

The independent comparison website has launched a unique Switching Index which shows some 212,000 contracts changed hands every day in the last half of 2006. In total around 39.075 million products and services were ditched by consumers shopping around.

The MoneyExpert.com Switching Index will track the nationís switching habits on a quarterly basis. The company will monitor utilities, financial services, telecoms and mortgage products.

Gas and electricity was most prevalent area for swapping suppliers in the last six months, with around one in seven households changing one or both as utility bills continued to soar.

Car insurance and credit cards were the next most popular choice, with 14 per cent of people claiming to have swapped provider in each category. And telecoms companies were also hit hard as some 10.1 million broadband, landline and mobile phone accounts changed hands.

MoneyExpert.com Switching Index

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS 2007 Q1

Type of provider / supplier % of households that have switched in past six months No. of households who have switched in past 6 months (approx)
Electricity 16 3,849,000
Gas 15 3,609,000
Broadband 11 2,646,000
Landline 10 2,406,000
Home insurance 9 2,165,000

 

PERSONAL PRODUCTS 2007 Q1

Type of provider / supplier % of people that have switched in past six months No. of people who have switched in past 6 months (approx)
Credit card 14 6,444,000
Motor insurance 14 6,444,000
Mobile phone 11 5,063,000
Savings account 5 2,301,000
Mortgage 4 1,841,000
Current account 4 1,841,000
Personal loan 1 460,350

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: ì Consumers have been voting with their feet. No provider is safe from the axe if they donít have a competitive product or good customer service. Customers arenít shirking from moving on if theyíre not happy.

ìThat is no truer than with utilities, where customers have been switching in their droves to ensure they keep rising costs down as much as possible. This is sensible, but we believe the best approach is to monitor all your financial arrangements to make sure your hard work isnít undone by one expensive mistake.

ìAnd of course there are still millions of people out there who have not changed. They may be entirely happy with their current provider but if theyíre not they should consider looking around.”

MoneyExpert.com says that regularly reviewing providers for a range of services is good practice but warns consumers that it might not always make financial sense to switch.

Sean Gardner added: ìSome providers charge fees for leaving or will tie you in to your contract for a limited period, so donít change just for the sake of it. For example, if you switch your mortgage you could be hit with early redemption charges before you move, then with application fees and legal costs once youíve changed.”

Click through to MoneyExpert

Notes

Switching Index table – YouGov interviewed 2,442 GB adults (18+) between 4th ñ 8th January 2007

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