The government plans to make switching key services easier, and they’re asking the whole country to get involved with the consultation by Sharing their own experiences of switching (which you can do here, by the way: http://bit.ly/SwitchingStories).
But why is the government doing this? Well, it seems that 11 million households in the UK could be saving up to £2.2billion if only they made canny switches to the right utility services. And yet in 2014 just 12% of customers switched their electricity or gas services, while a scant 3% of bank account holders changed over.
In fact, the same Government Research shows that currently more than three quarters of UK consumers have never switched their mobile phone provider and more than two thirds have never changed their broadband supplier.
So we thought we’d go into a bit more detail about the new guidelines…
Business Minister Nick Boles says: “By setting out clear principles for switching suppliers, this Government will make it simpler and easier for consumers to shop around for the best deals.
“All too often families miss out on hundreds of pounds of potential savings because they think it will be too complicated or take too long to switch.
So what are the switching principles?
The idea behind these is to set some standards that you can expect companies to stick to if you seek to switch. Essentially they are (or will be)…
Which is all well and good, but just how is the government going to implement all this? Well, that’s not especially clear at the moment. All we know (and I quote the press release from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills here) is that:
“Using the stories and experiences of consumers across the country, the Government will work with regulators and industry to agree specific actions which are needed to implement the principles fully and make the switching process as straightforward as possible for consumers.”
Sounds promising enough, but we can’t see any concrete plans in that sentence, so I’m reserving judgment on the ‘switching principles’ idea until we hear a little bit more in the way of firm action plans.
What that does mean is that the Government’s ‘call for evidence’ is key in helping shape the future of the switching landscape, and will combine your views with those of switching providers with the aim of creating an industry standard across the energy, telecoms and current account banking sectors. Which sounds good to us… so get your voice heard!