Do existing customers get a raw deal?

Businessman not listening

The majority of Brits believe banks, building societies and other financial services companies favour new customers over existing ones, according to Moneywise's latest Consumer Opinion Survey.

The poll, which forms the basis of our 2012 Customer Service Awards, asked more than 14,000 readers (thank you!) to nominate their most trusted financial service companies across a range of products - from current accounts to car insurance.

The results revealed a whopping 77% of respondents believe new customers are treated best.

Companies are "not interested in what old customers want, just new ones", said one respondent, "they are only interested in attracting new business. Shame on them!" said another. One dismayed respondent went as far as to say "they're fleecing existing customers".


While the sentiment is hardly surprising, what's interesting is that while customers seem to have cottoned onto this for some financial products, they don't with others.

Take car insurance. Some 86% of respondents to the Moneywise survey said they would shop around for a new policy each year, knowing full well the renewal quote from their current provider will likely be a lot more expensive.

But 65% said they'd had the same main savings account for more than three years. And more than one quarter (28%) had held the same savings account for more than 10 years. This is despite the fact that many deposit accounts include short-term bonuses, which typically expire after just 12 months, leaving savers with miserly rates thereafter.

For example, ING's top-paying instant access deposit account pays 3.1% but comes with a 2.56% bonus - so after a year, the interest rate drops to a measly 0.54%.


So why don't we shop around for all our financial products? Customer inertia certainly plays a part but financial services companies do everything they can to exploit this.

They advertise their great headline rates everywhere to lure in new business, while existing customers are left out in the cold. And should they decide to vote with their feet and leave, the switching process is often made to appear so onerous that they're beaten into submission. In short, existing customers are being shafted.

There are a couple of exceptions, of course. But these are few and far between.

Providers should focus on consistency and a fair deal for all their customers. But until this happens, save your loyalty for your nearest and dearest. It's a sad truth but when it comes to your finances, standing by your provider will cost you.

For more information about the best and worst trusted financial services providers, visit

Your Comments

 NatWest has just reduced the rate on it's E-ISA which was only available to Current a/c customers This was tiered so the more you had in there the higher the rate. They have started a new one for everyone also tiered but paying a higher rate. Guess what,existing customers are not allowed to transfer into this new one. So much for loyalty. The E Isa  was a good one as it was instant access but I am now having to move a greater part of my savings to a fixed rate account  paying a higher rate.It is disgraceful the way existing customers are treated. This bank is funded by our money and this is their way of rewarding us. Disgusting

Renewing customers get a raw deal everywhere.  Loyalty does not pay!  I regularly cancel AA memberwhip, National Trust, car and house insurance as they always have new customer deals whcih are much cheaper than for existing customers.  Kick-up and they will often meet new customer deals!