Author Archives: Richard Neudegg

About Richard Neudegg

Richard is passionate about ensuring the communications, energy and personal finance markets are competitive and that consumers are empowered to get the best possible deal. He brings expertise in consumer and market regulation to uSwitch, having previously worked in the communications industry, including at the sector’s regulator.

uSwitch comments on Ofcom’s review of landline-only services to protect the elderly and vulnerable

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Commenting on Ofcom’s review of the retail market for standalone landline telephone services, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, says: Landlines are a lifeline, but for those who don’t want broadband – often the most vulnerable – the prospect of ever-increasing line rental charges still looms.

“The ASA’s reforms to require all-in costs for landline and broadband services should help matters by putting more competitive pressure on the providers. They now have greater incentive to compete on line rental as well as broadband pricing to make their combined costs appear more attractive.

“Reviewing landline-only pricing with its competition hat on will be seen as a bold move by Ofcom, but it’s a necessary one to ensure the most vulnerable are getting a fair deal.

“In addition to Ofcom’s review of line rental pricing, we would like to see the regulator take a close look at whether BT Basic is fit for purpose for vulnerable, elderly and low-income households.

“Ofcom currently requires BT to provide BT Basic – the telecoms equivalent of the Warm Home Discount for energy – as a condition of its historic monopoly. However, customers would only have to use their landlines for 148 minutes a month for a standard landline tariff to be more affordable than BT Basic.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on FCA review of high-cost credit

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Commenting on the Financial Conduct Authority’s announcement that it is looking for further evidence to continue its review of high-cost credit, including the impact of the payday loan price cap, Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com says: “The introduction of the payday loan price cap in January 2015 was a significant step forward in helping to protect thousands of vulnerable consumers from falling into a debt spiral and it is encouraging that the FCA is to investigate its impact.

“However, more work is required to ensure people drawn to short term credit are better informed of all the options available to them, as well as improving their understanding of the repayments they will incur and the risks to their credit file should they fail to meet them.

“Fees for arranged overdrafts remain a law unto themselves – and can be more expensive than spending on a credit card or taking out a loan. It is made all the harder for consumers as it’s notoriously difficult to understand what overdrafts actually cost. This is partly because the charges used by different banks vary but also because people don’t know how long or how much of their overdraft they’ll need each month.

“Given that millions of people rely on their overdraft every month just to make ends meet, we urge the FCA to look closely at the stealthy fees being imposed by the banks.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on Ofcom’s plans to reform Openreach through legal separation from BT

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Commenting on Ofcom’s announcement that it is proceeding with a formal notification to require the legal separation of BT from Openreach, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, comments: “This is a last-minute warning shot to BT to improve its offer on how legal separation would work. It would appear Ofcom is still open to BT proposing a better voluntary deal.

“Ofcom isn’t changing its position at all. The regulator is still gunning for legal separation rather than full structural separation and is using a potential notification to Brussels in an attempt to ensure it can get this over the line.

“Those calling for structural separation – including Sky and TalkTalk – will be disappointed this option still isn’t being considered more closely.

“But this is one step closer towards finding a version of Openreach that maximises investment in new digital infrastructure while still allowing effective competition. Many agree that is what’s needed, but disagree on how to do it. Ofcom is clearly seeking to strike a balance.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Energy switching rates reach four and a half year high

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Commenting on today’s announcement from Ofgem that switching rates are at a four and a half year high, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “It’s encouraging to see that more people are taking control of their energy use, especially at a time when bills are rising. Five out of the big six energy suppliers have increased the price of their most competitive fixed rate tariffs by an average of £129, so it’s more important than ever for consumers to shop around and make sure they’re on a competitive deal.

“Today’s figures are a step in the right direction and illustrate that competition is working for many consumers, but too many still languish on expensive standard variable rate plans. Switching levels are still well below those in 2008 when 20% of consumers were moving to better deals each year. To really kick-start competition between suppliers and bring bills down, we believe Ofgem should look to set a 25% switching target by 2020.

“In addition, the Competition and Markets Authority has spent two years closely examining the energy market. The industry, Ofgem and Government must urgently implement the CMA’s final package of remedies and give them a proper chance to work for consumers.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on Ofcom fining Vodafone £4.6m for failing customers

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Commenting on the announcement that Vodafone has been fined £4.6m by Ofcom for failing customers, Richard Neudegg, regulation expert at uSwitch.com says: “A fine of this size shows just how seriously Ofcom is taking failure to deliver correct service and follow the rules on complaints. In the case of Vodafone more than 10,000 customers failed to have their PAYG accounts credited despite having ‘topped up’ – and Ofcom clearly feels their subsequent handling of complaints was sub-standard.

“If telecoms companies don’t resolve consumers’ issues internally, customers have a right to contact one of two free-to-use resolution schemes to get things sorted.

“Access to an Ombudsman is of huge importance. It gives people who feel they’ve been let down by a service provider another route to resolution.

“However, the telecoms market’s complaints procedure is more confusing than other regulated sectors. There isn’t one single Ombudsman – there are two that companies may direct customers to. So it’s extremely important that information on how to access these is completely clear.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on CMA proposals for an interim prepayment meter price cap

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Commenting on the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority’s proposals for an interim price cap for approximately four million households on prepayment meters, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “The introduction of an interim price cap for those on prepayment meters is a welcome measure, bringing down bills for some four million customers who currently have restricted access to better deals.

“But many of the most vulnerable consumers don’t pay for their energy using prepayment and need extra help, which is why the Government should increase funding for its successful Warm Home Discount and extend the scheme to include all energy suppliers.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on CMA study into digital comparison tools

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Responding to today’s announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it is to undertake a digital comparison tools market study, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “We welcome this announcement by the CMA. Comparison websites play an essential role in arming consumers with the information and tools they need to engage with markets – whether that’s helping them cut hundreds of pounds from their energy bill, access a faster broadband package or switch to a more competitive car insurance deal.

“Millions of consumers are already using digital comparison tools regularly to get better deals, but there are huge opportunities for the CMA to help comparison services continue to innovate and work even harder for more consumers. For example, by unlocking information to help customers access comparisons that are more relevant to their needs.

“With the ability to make complex markets simple for consumers to navigate, comparison websites have already injected competition into a number of markets, forcing providers to improve service, increase choice and lower prices.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on CMA retail banking investigation final report

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Commenting on the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority’s final report following its investigation into the retail banking market, Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “Despite the development of a straightforward to use switching service, switching in the current account market has remained stubbornly low, with more than half of current account customers staying with the same bank for more than ten years.

“It is encouraging to see the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) pushing the banks to modernise systems and harness new technology to inject some much needed innovation into the market. This should lead to the development of services which truly help consumers better manage their finances and, critically for competition in market, understand what their bank is actually costing them.

“The CMA has had to grapple with the fact that consumers are more reluctant to switch current accounts than any other essential service. Many of the banks have offered serious incentives to encourage people to change account, yet switching numbers remain small. This makes it even more important to give consumers confidence in the process, keeping the barriers to switching at a minimum while highlighting the benefits of voting with your feet.

“The CMA’s package of remedies, including the implementation of Open Banking, will go some way to removing the barriers that still exist. It is important that banks get on board quickly and deliver the required improvements. We would like to see the banks go further in some areas – such as changing the Current Account Switch Service to allow customers to keep their old account open and giving information about the likely size of any overdraft applied for prior to the switch being made. Our recent research found that two thirds of current account holders don’t know whether they can switch when they are overdrawn – this needs to be properly addressed.

“The good news is that the remedies outlined in today’s report should better equip consumers when making important decisions about their finances.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on Ofgem’s approach to CMA energy market remedies

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Ofgem has today outlined its approach to the remedies the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has recommended in its energy market investigation. Commenting on Ofgem’s announcement, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “The CMA spent two years thoroughly reviewing the market and we believe its final recommendations will boost competition and reduce energy bills. It’s now vital that Ofgem wastes no time in putting the CMA’s package of remedies into action, so consumers can benefit from improved choice, better service and cheaper energy deals.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Comment from uSwitch on Ofcom’s proposals to make switching easier and more reliable for consumers

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Commenting on Ofcom’s proposals to making switching easier and more reliable for consumers, published today, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com says: “Switching in the communications sector lags majorly behind other consumer services.

“Getting switching right is not only important in helping us access better deals with minimal hassle, but it can also help boost market competition.

“To date, communications customers have been plagued with artificial barriers to getting better deals. There’s a multitude of communications services with different switching arrangements and cancellation rules, adding unnecessary complications.

 “For any cross-platform switches, the operator losing the business still handles the cancellation – which means they have little incentive to make it quick or easy.

 “Ofcom’s proposals today are a welcome step towards sorting out this problem.

“We call on the communications industry to now get behind Ofcom’s proposal for a system where the new provider manages the switch across the board – removing the complexity and hassle currently faced by consumers.

“Ofcom’s strategic review of consumer switching was nearly six years ago, and today’s document marks the eighth Ofcom consultation on switching. Consumers have been waiting long enough.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.