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Hagglers get the best deals – Which?

Cherry Reynard
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Cherry Reynard

Loyalty can cost you dearly, up to £725, according to the latest Which? research.

Customers who stay loyal to the same insurance, energy and telecoms providers risk missing out on savings. While some UK consumers are reluctant to push for a better deal, the research shows there are huge savings to be made for those who do.

Four in ten (42%) have not negotiated with any service provider to secure a better deal. In particular, people are least likely to request a discount on their mobile phone contract, broadband or car breakdown cover.

Yet haggling is definitely worthwhile: nine in 10 (86%) broadband and pay TV customers who asked for a better deal were offered a discount or incentive. Those on a standalone broadband package saved an average of £120 a year, while those with combined broadband and pay TV services saved £216 annually.

Three-quarters (77%) of mobile phone users secured a better deal – and an average saving of £72 a year. People who pushed for a better deal on home, car and car breakdown insurance policies made a total average saving of £125 in a year.

Almost a third (31%) of people have stuck with the same energy supplier for more than 10 years. The Which? research shows that by switching gas and electricity provider, consumers on a standard variable tariff could save up to £312 a year.

Research from Energyhelpline analysis, featured in the Financial Times, found there is currently a £330 gap between the cheapest tariff on the market and the average “standard” tariff. This is the second widest gap in seven years.

Alex Neill, managing director of Which? home and product services, said: “People who stay with the same energy, telecoms or insurance company year after year rarely get the best deal.

“Customers paying the price for loyalty should ask their providers to reward them, or be prepared to lose them .”

Which?’s top tips for haggling

• Compile your case: have your case backed up with details of issues you’ve had with the provider, how long you’ve been a customer, whether your usage matches up with the price charged and what deals are available on comparison sites.
• Explain if you simply can’t afford the price and have a good reason for haggling – eg. your main income is low.
• Have a clear idea of what you’re aiming for and do the back and forth: haggle with your provider for a lower price, take that price to another provider to match or beat. Take your new competitive quote to your original provider to see whether they’ll match it.
• Use the three Ps: be polite and pleasant, but persistent.
• They’re expecting you: if an awkward conversation is holding you back, remember that this is a conversation companies are expecting to have. Their pricing is set up so they’re able to offer discounts to hagglers.