Consumers can save €2k on bills by shopping around

Consumers are missing out on an average of €2,000 in savings on household bills by failing to shop around for the likes of health insurance, broadband and banking provider.

Amárach Research examined the consumer switching behaviour of 1,001 people over 15 across a range of household bills.

It found that bank charges made up a significant proportion of the €2,000, with only one in 10 consumers switching their main bank account in the last year.

As part of the research on behalf of Permanent TSB, Amárach found that:

nOf those who did switch their bank account, almost half (43%) said they did so because their current bank’s fees were too expensive;

nIrish people are most likely to switch car insurance (36%), followed by electricity (26%) and broadband (23%);

nBroadband is the sector seen by consumers as having the least amount of competition, with nearly a quarter saying that they have little or no choice when it comes to picking a provider;

nConsumers are least likely to switch health insurance (16%) and bank account (9%).

Gerard O’Neill from Amárach Research said: “While consumer sentiment is finally starting to improve across the economy, Irish people should not fall back into old ‘Celtic Tiger’ habits of being complacent about shopping around for better value — and this includes household bills.

“Our research shows that there is huge potential for consumers to save hundreds of millions of euro by switching service providers, yet despite this potential, many Irish consumers remain reluctant to switch, particularly in sectors including banking and health insurance.”

Dermot Goode, a health insurance expert with totalhealthcover.ie, advised people to maintain some level of cover but to know exactly what they are paying for to get the best value and avoid the common pitfalls.

“Many people inadvertently accept year-on-year increases of up to 20% on their health insurances costs.

“There are a whole range of offers available right now from the various providers with more coming on stream, but many customers may only be able to avail of these if they ask for them specifically.

“Otherwise they risk being left on the higher rates on their existing plan.”

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