‘If you snooze, you lose’
Today, consumer information desk ConsuWijzer, which is operated by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), launched the awareness campaign ‘If you snooze, you lose’ (Dutch name: ‘Niets doen kost je poen’). This campaign aims to stimulate consumers to take a moment and review their contracts, plans, and subscriptions. If so needed, they could consider switching. Every household has various contracts for different products such as energy, insurances, broadband, television, and telephony. If consumers do not take any action, they are often unnecessarily stuck with contracts that might be too expensive or with contracts that no longer meet their current needs. As a result, consumers lose out on hundreds of euros per year. With energy contracts, households could save up to EUR 450 per year on average, and with financial products more than EUR 900 per year. Studies have shown that consumers often underestimate the amount they could save by switching, and that they do not like the idea of switching because of the perceived hassle that is allegedly involved. ConsuWijzer offers consumers various useful tools to make comparing contracts and offers simple and easy. The only thing that consumers need to do: taking action.
If you snooze, you lose
Consumers that switch because they can get a better deal elsewhere or are better off with another provider stimulate companies to do their best. And that, in turn, helps consumers. That is why ConsuWijzer launched this campaign, so that consumers take action, because if they snooze, they lose. Consumers that compare their contracts with other offers and who switch if they can get a better deal elsewhere can save a lot of money.
This campaign is primarily a media campaign, including social media. As such, ConsuWijzer also created an online video to inspire consumers to look into their existing contracts. In addition, consumers are also offered practical tips.
Various tools and step-by-step guides can be found on www.ConsuWijzer.nl to help consumers compare and switch. For example, ConsuWijzer offers:
- A step-by-step guide ‘If you snooze, you lose,’ which includes a comparison chart for contracts;
- A comparison chart for cell phone plans;
- A switching tool for energy contracts;
- An overview of potential savings and a step-by-step guide for financial products
How much savings can switching produce?
In the energy market, price is the most important incentive for consumers to switch. This is also revealed in ACM’s Trend Report on Competition and Consumer Confidence in the Energy Market (October 2013). Since the liberalization of the energy market, almost one in two consumers has switched at least once (45%). Consumers that switch for the first time can save up to EUR 450 per year. Consumers greatly underestimate the amount they could save by switching. On average, they expect to save only EUR 84 per year. Based on reports received by ConsuWijzer, it appears that switching energy suppliers is virtually hassle-free.
With regard to cell phones, between 50 and 60% of all consumers choose a plan that comes with a ‘free’ phone. This means that the costs for the phone itself have been included in the monthly rate. That is one of the reasons why the rates in the Netherlands are high compared to other European countries. Consumers that leave such plans untouched after the contract term has expired continue to pay that extra fee for the ‘free’ mobile device. In that situation, consumers could opt for a sim-only plan. Furthermore, consumers pass up on potential savings by selecting plans that do not fit their calling needs or data usage. ConsuWijzer therefore offers a tool to check your plan.
A recent update of another ACM study, the Financial Sector Monitor, revealed that consumers could realize substantial savings with financial products such as mortgages, insurances and loans if they looked carefully into their existing contracts, and switched, if so needed. Average savings per household could be as high as EUR 900 based on a selection of fifteen financial products that are often taken out. A young couple with eleven products could save more than EUR 800, while an older couple with a similar selection of financial products could save more than EUR 900.