The Ultimate Consumer Power

Knowledge is Power

For as long as I can remember, businesses have deliberately attempted to confuse consumers by using over-complicated pricing plans that are hard to compare against the competition.

In today’s Ireland, this is especially true for mortgages, broadband and other telecoms services like mobile phone plans.

Have you ever tried to directly compare mortgage rates? It’s tough because many of them are measured in different ways (variable rate, fixed rate, tracker rate, LTV mortgages, etc.). Using different metrics makes it impossible to directly compare each product. The same goes for broadband. It’s hard to directly compare pricing plans.

But this isn’t going to last much longer.

The Game is Changing

There’s a shift in power that’s moving in favour of the consumer. It’s becoming easier for everyone to see through these deliberate attempts to confuse. Social tools have allowed us to become more organised, and more informed.

Comparison sites like Google’s Product Search, GoCompare (UK only) and PriceRunner (also UK only), are helping consumers make informed decisions that are no longer based on a glossy brochure or a smooth talking salesman. They’re based on the views of their piers and the community. They’re also based on cold hard facts.

It’s Already Happening

Recently, the major mobile service providers here in Ireland have had to launch simplified plans that are more flexible and are easier to compare to the competition. Pat Phelan has done a great job highlighting O2’s new Clear plans that have obviously been launched to counteract Threes new Relax plans.

The Best Value Will Win Out

The move to more transparent pricing models is great news for consumers. It will mean that we’ll always know who’s offering the best deal (on price or service) at any particular time.

This will force businesses to provide more competitive transparent prices instead of offering a set of confusing price plans designed to be hard to compare against the competition. In the end, the business providing the best value will win out.

And that’s great news for all of us.

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