BLOG: The money lesson we should all take from the Super League farce
An attempt by some of the biggest football clubs in Europe ‒ and Tottenham ‒ to launch a breakaway competition has been years in the making, but took mere days to collapse with all six of the English member clubs now announcing they are pulling out.
The people in charge of those clubs had reckoned against how much opposition they would face, not just from the footballing authorities, but from their own supporters too.
And therein lies an important financial lesson that we can all take from this.
Are you a ‘legacy’ fan?
First off, I should lay my cards on the table. I don’t support one of the six English clubs who were due to take part in the breakaway league, though as a West Ham fan there is great enjoyment to be had in the fact that the one year when we’ve been pretty good has led to the supposed big boys losing their minds and trying to start their own competition.
But what has been clear from this episode is how football clubs ‒ and not just the big names ‒ take their fans for granted. Indeed, traditional fans were referred to by the Super League members as “legacy” fans, while they were more interested in bringing in new “fans of the future”.
That is incredibly disparaging. But it’s not all that different from how financial firms treat us, is it? Being a ‘legacy’ customer rarely brings any of the benefits that come from being a newbie.
Loyalty doesn’t pay
There’s no shortage of examples here. Take your energy bills. Sign up for a new fixed rate tariff from your supplier and you’ll get their best deal for a year or two. But as soon as that tariff comes to an end, you get shunted onto their standard tariff, the deals which are such a rip-off that the energy regulator Ofgem had to introduce a price cap to limit the way customers are milked for cash.
It’s a similar story with mortgages. Sure, you might have a killer fixed rate for a few years, but once that ends you move onto the standard variable rate (SVR), which can be increased at any time, no matter what’s happening with base rate. By failing to remortgage, you can end up spending hundreds more each year on your home loan.
Insurance deals are no different. Indeed, insurers actively rely on us mindlessly renewing our policies each year, rather than shopping around. The best deals are saved for the new customers, while us ‘loyal’ customers get treated to regular rounds of price hikes and naff deals.
Launching your own breakaway
There have been all sorts of different measures introduced to try to encourage us to be a bit more active in shopping around, to steer us away from being so loyal ‒ or, to be completely honest, apathetic.
Broadband providers are now required to send you notices as you near the end of your contract, to highlight their best deals that you can switch to, for example. Similarly insurers are forced to make it clear what you paid for your cover last year, so that it’s very apparent just how much your policy is being hiked by.
But ultimately it comes down to us as individuals. If you’re being treated poorly as a ‘legacy’ customer, then don’t just stand for it. Move elsewhere and enjoy being one of those heralded customers of the future who get all the good stuff.
Just don’t expect it to last ‒ it won’t take long for you to be moved into the legacy basket.