Posted by: Lee Freeman
It is a fact of life that the surge in price comparison websites over the past few years has been helpful in making individuals aware of the fact that there are savings to be made by shopping around. And it is without doubt that people have managed to achieve very reasonable savings by using such sites. But are these the be all and end all that they claim to be? Does using a price comparison website guarantee you the best possible price?
The answer to that question is unfortunately NO. As mentioned above it is easy to generate savings but are you paying a lower price for the product merely because you have reduced the level of service you are getting. A great example here is the case of car insurance. I know for a fact that I can reduce the cost of my car insurance by not even shopping around, all I have to do is take an increase level of risk myself. This can be done very easily by simply increasing the level of excess that I am willing to pay should the insurance company have to pay out on a claim. By increasing my excess I am reducing the level of risk the insurance company is taking and hence I receive a lower premium. This is all well and good, but what happens when you do need to make a claim. Can you afford to pay the increased level of excess that you have agreed to. This is a subject very close to my heart as I recently had an accident (my first in over 20 years of driving) which involved my vehicle being written off. As the car was coming up to 10 years old, the value I received as not substantial but could have been easily lower or indeed even zero if I had increased my excess in exchange for lower premiums.
There are other extras you can add-on to most insurance policies as well, such as free courtesy cars etc. However please do not be under the complete mis-apprehension that these are free despite what the adverts say, the cost of providing this service is taken into consideration when pricing your insurance quote. I could have reduced my insurance premium but not taking this option, but the courtesy car was invaluable when I had my recent accident I can tell you. It may appear that we have digressed from the subject of price comparison sites, but not really, I am merely trying to point out that any service can be obtained at a cheaper price but be careful that this has not reduced the level of service.
A recent article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph provides some very useful tips on how to get the best out of price comparison websites and hopefully will help ensure that you do not put yourself in a worse position by saving a few pennies, http://bit.ly/dPjIVT
Obviously this is aimed at consumers but the same applies in the corporate world as well. The key question is to ask yourself what you are buying and why. Once you have answered those questions then you will be in a position to manage the costs associated with that overhead expense. To be honest though neither you nor your staff have the necessary time to so this so why not employ a cost management consultant to do this for you. You can think of Auditel if you like as your own price comparison website. We are free to use, and yes free in this instance really does mean free, and we will certainly not let you fall into the trap of saving money at the expense of a reduction in service. The best part about this service is that we are fully incentivised to save you money as our contingency fee model means that unless savings are achieved we receive no remuneration. To find out more please have a look at my website