i Editor's Letter: Switch if you're not getting a good deal


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The Independent Online


Have you ever changed your mortgage provider? What about your energy supplier? Phone company – landline or mobile? Always shopped at the same supermarket because it's your local? Thought as much. Me too. I am, like you, too inert, too busy and too afraid of yet more bureaucratic hassle to contemplate changing. It's exactly what "they" want. Life is surely too short?

Actually, it's not. Reality bites. As money gets tighter, we must cut our cloth accordingly. There is scarcely anything I dread more than having yet more admin to contemplate in my precious hours off, but suck it up, Stefano. Here's the thing, it really isn't as difficult as "they" make out. As I learned over Christmas lunch, if two technophobic pensioners can find the nous to join one of those banded-together consumer groups that battle for better tariff prices from the "big six" (like the Which? and 38 Degrees' campaign this year), then surely you and I can?

We can shop around for a better mortgage offer, especially when our current one expires and we are penalty free. We can look at combining landline and satellite or cable providers. We can get to grips with supermarkets online, rather than put up with the mediocre service and meagre choice at our local.

It's amazing how that threat to switch spurs the call centre operative into action. The shameful truth is that, outside of loyalty cards like Nectar, we are penalised for loyalty: the better deals always go to new customers. The power really does lie in our hands, and rewards a tiny bit of effort. I mean, look at all of you who switched from The Telegraph, The Guardian or The Times to the upstart i. There are only two things in life we can't switch: family and football club. So, come on Martin Jol, sort it out!