Emma Lunn: "Don't buy a financial product because of the gimmick"

 

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The Independent Online

Another day, another press release arrives offering a freebie in order to lure consumers into buying a particular financial product.

This time it's Co-operative Insurance, which is offering all new customers who buy a combined buildings and contents home insurance policy a free window vacuum cleaner, which it claims is "worth £59.99".

While I've no doubt this is a fine household appliance, it's not a reason on its own to take out an insurance policy.

Just last week Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks started offering new mortgage customers cashback equal to a month's mortgage payment. The home loan market has also seen various offers of iPads and paying council tax bills in exchange for signing up for a particular deal. Cast your mind back 10 years and one lender was even offering a car (I have a particularly good memory for these things).

Speaking as someone who once stupidly bought private health cover because it came with a free bike, I don't think consumers should be lured in by these gimmicks. I've yet to see one that was actually a good deal for the customer.

Whether it's home or medical insurance, a mortgage or some other product, consumers are much better off shopping around for the cheapest deal and taking all the rates and fees into consideration.

In most cases, opting for the best-value product will leave them with enough cash to buy a vacuum cleaner, iPad, or whatever it is that's being given away

Oh, and the bike was a bit rubbish anyway.

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