It’s a bugbear of thousands of consumers; why do some people pay way more than others for exactly the same mobile phone package or energy deal?
How is it that you and your neighbour have the same TV and broadband package but they pay £80 a month less than you?
Help is now at hand through a new website called ismybillfair.com. It’s the first price disparity website in the UK that aims to expose these differences – and help consumers get a better deal from their provider without having to switch.
It will be people powered – real people sharing their real bills.
The site is the brainchild of Alex Perrin, a former Virgin Media commercial & pricing director, and three other senior figures from within the industry.
“We allow people to see the price they pay compared to other people with the same provider and the same package,” he said.
“We can expose the real price unfairness in the market whereby big providers charge different people different prices for the same thing.”
He added: “Our research tells us that when people see they are paying different prices they fundamentally do not want to switch, they want to pay a fair price.
“We will challenge your existing provider to give you a fairer price for staying with them, rather than you needing to switch.”
The ‘people powered’ site will allow consumers to input their bills, see what others on the same package are paying and then take action with their provider to get a better deal. It’s free and the process should take no more than 60 seconds.
Alastair Gough, a 31-year-old marketing executive from Wimbledon, used the site to challenge his Virgin Media package bill.
He was being charged £119.21 a month but through ismybillfair.com negotiated that down to £82.25 – a saving of almost £37 a month, or £443 a year.
The site concentrates for now on five categories: TV, broadband and home phone; SIM only; energy; car breakdown and boiler and plumbing cover.
“Across our five launch categories, the average churn or switch rate is less than 20% a year, people can’t be bothered, can be a hassled,” said Perrin.
“If you switch from BT to Virgin or other way round, it does mean taking a day off work waiting for someone to come round and sort it all out.”
He added: “If you knew that your mate down the road has the same Sky package as you, got the same sim from Vodafone as you, the same breakdown package, is with the same energy company, how would feel if you found out he or she was paying lot less than you?
“That provides the ammunition – the majority of people would prefer to stay with their current provider than switch, just get a fairer deal for their loyalty.”
Perrin, who has also worked for British Gas and the RAC, said very often there was no valid reason for the disparity.
“We’ve been waiting 30 years for this to be addressed – whenever there is a story about an energy supplier upping prices, the immediate reaction is ‘you should all switch’.
“But why should you? It’s not the only answer – if you’re dissatisfied with the the service, then of course switch.”