Power companies

  tillybaby 07:41 30 Apr 2008

I'm in the process of changing suppliers and have received quite a few 'Sorry you're leaving us' letters which I've ignored. Yesterday they phoned me to ask why I was leaving them so I said the cost and customer service too, the lady then proceeded to offer me a much cheaper tariff if I would stay. That made me more angry because I knew my electicity was very overpriced but another thing, I was always under the impression that the cost was the same for everyone, it seems not.

  Horik 08:33 30 Apr 2008

Nearly all utility companies have several different tariffs, the eligibility for which can be dependent on a consumer's usage and income.

I have come across instances of a client finding their supplier has a lower tariff than the one they are currently on; when they approach the company to change to the cheaper tariff, they refuse - until the customer threatens to switch supplier.

It makes me angry too that they can do this legally. OfGem won't do anything about it because it feels that the ability to switch to another supplier in a competitive market allows customers to vote with their custom on such practices.

As far as electricity suppliers are concerned, Ebico is the only one to my knowledge that has only a single tariff for all customers.

  Terry Brown 09:40 30 Apr 2008

The 'Customer leaving department' on most companies should be named 'we can offer a better deal, but only if we are pushed hard enough'.
I was on Virgin paying £52 (TV, Phone and Broadband)and when I asked for a better deal or I was leaving, I was transferred to the revelant department where I was offered the 3 for £30 for 12 months, which I accepted, but if you don't ask, you don't get.

  tillybaby 09:46 30 Apr 2008

Wow, Although I knew Sky did this because they've done it to me, I never in my wildest dreams thought the utilities would do it, I honestly thought that we all paid the same for electicity off the same company and of course never even questioned it because of trust I suppose, I will certainly be more careful in future and check everything from now on.

  tullie 19:32 30 Apr 2008

Lets face it,its swings and roundabouts

  oresome 21:13 30 Apr 2008

In the main , we are talking about companies with products whose only differentiator is price.

This being the case, the companies make the tariffs as complicated as possible to prevent an easy comparison with their competitors. On top of that, the existing customer is seen as a soft target for price hikes and the best deals are often reserved for new customers.

The marketing cost of winning a new customer will be substantial, so if they know you are considering leaving there's usually something better they can offer............but it will no doubt creep up again over time in the hope that your resistance will fade.

  Stuartli 21:24 30 Apr 2008

The renewal price for my StayWarm dual fuel contract from this month was reduced from just over £90 to just under £74 a month...:-)

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