Wednesday, February 13 12:30:34
A large degree of consumer inertia in checking for best value in key sectors such as electricity, gas and mobile tariffs means they are losing out on potential savings, according to the National Consumer Agency (NCA) today.
The research shows that consumers are not checking to see if savings are available for regular household expenses including gas, electricity and mobile phone providers.
On the subject of making complaints, the research found that there was a substantial increase in those who had a reason to complain or return an item in the past 12 months, up 10pc points from June 2012 to 33pc.
Across 19 key expenditure categories, 37pc of consumers had switched at least one product or service provider in the past 12 months, the survey conducted by Amarach found.
It also discovered that 63pc and 61pc of consumers have not checked to see if better value is available, respectively, for gas and electricity provider in the last three years.
Consumers are most likely to have switched their main grocery shop (20pc) and car insurance (19pc) in the past year.
Across six key energy and telecommunications markets (Broadband, Fixed Line, Mobile, Electricity, Gas and TV Service Providers) the majority of consumers have not checked within the past three years to see if a better deal was available to them.
Overall only 23pc of consumers said that they "change companies often to avail of better deals whenever they can" while 44pc of consumers said that they "tend to stick to the same providers". For those that did switch, the main reason given was "discount offered by new provider" ranging from 52pc in relation to the mobile phone sector to 81pc for gas supply provider. The majority of switching is prompted by a new service provider in the sector.
Commenting on the findings, Fergal O'Leary, Director of Research and Policy at the NCA, said: "Our research shows clearly that many consumers are still not actively checking to see if there are better deals available to them and consequently they could be missing out on savings. About half of those who did check for a better deal did identify savings, and a quarter actually switched their provider, indicating that there are savings to be made."