Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Consumer watch

Consumer watch

Photo: iStock

Member with benefits

Do you have a loyalty card?

That’s the topic tackled by The Irish Times‘ Fiona Reddan this week, as she queries whether having a loyalty card for a favourite retailer is worth your while. Profiling a number of major businesses and their loyalty schemes, she finds that some of the best value options include Boots, Butlers and IKEA. The latter offers member benefits rather than reward points, with monthly store offers, access to member prices from the IKEA family range, and a free tea or coffee Monday to Friday.

Check your bill

In other news, half of Irish consumers are confused by domestic utility bills, according to new research from Switcher.ie. Many consumers, they found, rely on their provider to get their bills right, with 29% complaining that bills are too complicated, while 24% said that it is difficult to find information on charges. The research revealed that 35% of Irish consumers are unable to discover a billing error, with half of the respondents indicating they don’t check their bill for mistakes at all.

“Our advice to consumers is to check all household bills thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask a supplier if you find something you don’t understand,” said Eoin Clarke, Managing Director, Switcher.ie. “By getting a handle on the information in your bills, you will be in a stronger position to take control of your usage and spend across all of the household essentials. This will help to ensure not only that your bills are correct, but that you are getting value for money too.”

Consumer trust

Finally, a new Irish ‘ecommerce trustmark’ has been launched by Retail Excellence Ireland in partnership with Ecommerce Europe. The aim of the mark is to provide consumers with more confidence when shopping online – awardees will be subject to audits throughout the year to ensure they are in compliance.

“Irish online retailers are beginning to focus more on the markets outside of Ireland and with 65% of European consumers saying that a trustmark is important, it is imperative that our retailers ensure they can address this need,” said Lynn Drumgoole, Communications Director with Retail Excellence Ireland. “The trustmark is designed to reassure consumers shopping online that the website they are purchasing from complies with all consumer law, data protection and privacy obligations.”

 

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When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.
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