Friday, 18 February 2011

How British Gas nudges you into paying more

Are we too trusting, too gullible or too stupid?

Like many businesses, British Gas doesn't much care which word describes us best. It's just keen to take advantage.

Hence the message the company is sending out to customers who were on its Websaver tariff, which is guaranteed to be 6% lower than its Standard tariff:

"We would just like to remind you that your WebSaver 5 energy tariff is coming to an end on 28 February 2011. As a result, you will be automatically transferred on to our standard gas and electricity tariff so you don’t need to do anything."

Granted, they include a link which explains how much the average Standard bill will be, though not comparing it to yours. And, later in the note, there is a link which guides you to a comparison of all their tariffs.

But why not provide the comparison up front and show that your charges will rise to fill that 6% gap?

The point is that customers really do need to do something, and fast. The obvious move would be to renew the Websaver tariff or they could shop around.

Plenty of them will put in some research to discover the best deal but, inevitably, a number of customers will not. They will end up paying more for their gas and electricity for months or even years.

And British Gas's profit margin will get a little bit fatter.

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