The lowdown on comparison sites
by Lea Emery on 10th October 2018
It’d be nice to think that loyalty pays off, but when it comes to your home expenses that's rarely the case. In fact, a recent report from Citizens Advice found that customers actually pay big by being loyal — to the tune of £987 a year. The same report found that many people didn’t even realise that they could be paying less for services like gas and broadband — and 35 percent said that it was too hard to shop around. But if you know where to look, there are some amazing comparison sites out there that can not only help you find the best details, but they can help smooth the transition. Many companies offer bonuses for new customers, so switching companies now and then can really help you save.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your broadband or find a reliable handyman, here are the sites you should know about.
Getting The Best Energy Prices
When it comes to gas and electric, it’s really easy to get so used to the same carrier that you just never take the time to find anywhere new — but there are huge gains to be made, whether you want to combine your gas and electric bills or just find a new supplier.
Citizens Advice Bureau: Citizen Advice offers impartial, objective advice and energy comparison services. If you want a basic model of comparison from somewhere with no agenda, it’s a great place to start.
Which? Switch: You’ve probably heard of the UK consumers association Which?, but what you might not know if they actually have an area of their website completely dedicated to helping you switch energy companies. It's worth checking out.
Bonus Tip: Don’t ignore the new, energy-conscious players in the energy game. Companies like Bulb are offering great rates on green energy — so you can feel better about the choices you’re making.
Finding The Right Tradesperson
Hiring someone to do work on your home can be an intimidating process. Not only are you inviting them into your space, you also have to commit to a timely and expensive upgrades with little more than a quote and maybe a couple of internet reviews. Luckily, there are comparison and background sites that can help you choose someone reliable and trustworthy.
Checkatrade: Checkatrade does a lot of the hard work for you. They have a list of 29,000 vetted traders, who not only have to pass a face-to-face interview, but also provide a minimum of five references. Checkatrade publishes negative reviews as well as positive ones, so you can be sure you're getting the full picture.
Trustmark: Trustmark is a non-profit scheme that has been backed by the government with around 12,500 businesses featured on their site. Businesses have to be a member of a recognised trade body, sign up to a code of conduct, and undergo background check — and, of course, have the quality of their work assessed.
Switching Broadband Providers
Broadband is a huge and competitive market, but switching providers is easier than you think. Here are some sites to help get you started.
Which? Switch: Again, Which? Is a great option, not just for comparing providers but also because they provide a step-by-step guide to the switching process — and you know that they have the customer’s best interest at heart.
Compare The Market: You’ve probably seen the ads — Compare The Market is a good place to get a general feel for all of the different deals out there (MoneySuperMarket can also do the trick). You type in what you’re looking for and end up with a whole list of choices so you can find the best fit. Easy.
Ethical Consumer: If you want to make a more informed decision, Ethical Consumer looks for innovative business models, focusing on companies who pay their tax and choose people over profit. You can browse their rankings to find an ethical company that meets your needs.
If you've gotten into a bit of rut when it comes to your suppliers, it may be time to shake things up and save yourself a few pounds in the process. Don’t be afraid to look around — because even a small monthly saving can add up over time.
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