Hospital parking charges, cinema food and phone contracts among life’s biggest ‘rip-offs’, survey claims

Eight in 10 respondents believe there are ‘too many rip-offs in modern life’

Sixty-one per cent of those polled said they would consider using a service which finds cheaper phone contracts
Sixty-one per cent of those polled said they would consider using a service which finds cheaper phone contracts

Hospital car parking, food at the cinema and two-year phone contracts are among life’s biggest rip-offs, according to research.

The study of 2,000 adults found eight in 10 believe there are “too many rip-offs in modern life” in every area from eating to communicating and travelling.

Further overpriced products were found to be TV licenses, “anything” at the airport and estate agent fees.

Buying food out was also found to be a big rip-off, as a glass of wine in a restaurant, food on a plane and having to pay more to “eat in” all made the list.

Almost one-quarter of those asked had even considered moving to another country to get away from “rip off Britain”.

One-sixth believed two-year phone contracts were a waste of money and 61 per cent would consider using a service which automatically finds them the cheapest mobile phone provider.

The research was commissioned by SMARTY, tying in with the introduction of Auto-Switch on 1 July.

Under new regulations, all mobile providers will introduce Auto-Switch as a simplified way for consumers to switch between providers.

This will ensure customers only have to contact their current provider once in order to move away from them.

SMARTY’s spokesperson Jasmine Birtles said: “The results prove just how common rip-offs and hidden charges are and how frustrated British people are at getting caught out by them.

“It’s shocking how much activities such as going to the cinema, to a theme park or even just a restaurant can set people back.

“Honesty will help customers trust companies more and with Auto-Switch it’s easier and more efficient to get out of a mobile contract instead of feeling stuck.”

The research also found people believe they are getting ripped off by something which is overpriced at least five times during the average week.

As a result, seven in 10 preferred to “shop around” for items rather than buy the first thing they see.

A further 82 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, agreed more should be done to prevent companies adding hidden charges.

It also emerged the average adult will spend around £20 in hidden charges during one month, with delivery charges, paying on a credit card and booking flights the most common situations for extra charges.

Due to rip-offs and charges, four in 10 have complained to a company because they found their prices too high and two-thirds of those ended up receiving a reduction.

However, a hidden cost would need to be an average of £7.58 before the average adult would consider raising a complaint.

SWNS

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