Saturday, 16 January 2016

Rant warning!

I know that suppliers of goods and services sometimes find it necessary to offer incentives to attract new customers.  "Take out a new annual subscription to our magazine and we'll send you a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher."  That sort of thing.  You see it frequently enough and it doesn't usually bother me.  I understand why it's done.  Heck, I used to do it myself when I was running a newspaper company!

As I say, it doesn't usually bother me - provided it's all up front and obvious to all.  But what does get my goat is the sort of thing that happened to me today.

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before but it doesn't matter either way, I received the renewal notice for my car breakdown cover.  I've been with this company for several years now and have had occasion to call them out twice; once when I couldn't start the Old Bat's car in the garage at home, and once when my car broke down on a French motorway.  The service they provided on both occasions was good, and they still allowed me a no call out discount on renewal.

But I noticed that the renewal premium had gone up from £122 this time last year to £132 this year, a fairly substantial increase in percentage terms.  So I went onto one of those price comparison web sites.  There were companies offering me the same cover for lower premiums, but I had never heard of any of them.  But my current insurer was still the cheapest of the better-known providers.  But they were quoting a premium of only £115 for the same cover!

I rang the company and pointed out to the young lady I spoke to that the renewal premium sent to me by post included 4 years' no call out discount but was still considerably higher than the internet quote.  She agreed to match the internet price, provided her team leader agreed.  After a minute or so of me holding on, she came back to offer an even lower premium, albeit only a pound lower, so I renewed at £114.

As I wrote earlier, I understand the need to offer incentives to attract new customers - but I do think the price of the product should be the same for everybody, new or continuing customers.

End of rant.

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