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Retailers lead the field when it comes to treating customers fairly

17 February 2015

Study finds large online retailers are most trusted by consumers whilst banks, Insurers energy companies languish outside of the top 10

When it comes to looking after their customers it seems that the large retailers and supermarket chains could teach most financial services and utility providers a thing or two about treating customers fairly.

Independent research commissioned by Gocompare.com has found that twice as many UK consumers would trust the likes of Amazon and Sainsbury to treat their customers fairly than they would an insurer or energy provider. The results of the study have been compiled into a table ranking 18 common service and product providers on how fairly consumers believe they treat their customers.

Large online retailers and large clothes retailers are most trusted to treat their customers fairly
Financial price comparison websites and building societies are the most trusted financial services providers
Consumers judge estate agents and payday lenders least likely to treat their customers fairly
Researchers surveyed just under 2000 UK adults to find out what they really felt about the service they would expect to receive from a range of different product and service providers. Financial price comparison websites narrowly beat building societies to be the highest ranked amongst financial services providers whilst banks ranked 13th out of the 18 services, insurers ranked 14th and energy companies 16th.

Bringing up the rear it’s perhaps no surprise to also find estate agents and double glazing firms and at the very bottom of the table, payday lenders.

Respondents were asked to rate how much they trust a list of retail/financial/utilities related industries to treat their customers fairly on a scale of one to five. This was then used to create a mean score ranked in order of fairness.

Service/product provider

Likely to treat customers fairly or very fairly

Likely to treat customers unfairly or very unfairly

Fairness ranking

Large online retailers

34%

15%

1

Large clothes retailers

29%

15%

2

Large supermarket chains

31%

20%

=3

Financial price comparison websites

29%

18%

=3

Building Societies

30%

20%

5

Broadband providers

26%

23%

6

Large travel companies

18%

22%

7

Land line providers

22%

25%

8

Mobile phone service providers

22%

27%

9

TV package providers

21%

28%

10

Water companies

20%

32%

11

Renewable/solar panel companies

14%

28%

12

Banks

19%

39%

13

Insurers

14%

38%

14

Home improvement/double glazing

12%

37%

15

Energy providers

14%

46%

16

Estate Agents

10%

45%

17

Payday lenders

8%

69%

18

 

Tom Lewis, head of insight at Gocompare.com, said: “This research shows that when it comes to treating customers fairly, retailers are leaving financial services and utilities providers in their wake. Customer friendly policies such as no quibble refunds and satisfaction guarantees have helped them to assure consumers that they want to offer great products and deliver a great service and if you’re not happy with what you get, most of them will do their best to put it right.

“Compare that to banks embroiled in mis-selling scandals for products like PPI and energy companies being slow to pass on wholesale gas price drops and you can see why many customers aren’t convinced that financial and utility companies have got their best interests at heart.

“What also stands out is that it appears consumers have more faith in companies from one of the youngest financial industries treating them fairly than those from some of the well-established old guard. Financial price comparison websites have been around for less than 20 years and millions of consumers now use them on a regular basis to ensure they’re getting the best deals for products and services including car insurance, energy, mortgages and credit cards. As they also don’t employ pushy salespeople or charge customers for the service, perhaps it’s no surprise that consumers rate them above banks, insurers and energy companies.

“Although being second from last in this list is nothing to be proud of, estate agents will take some comfort that there’s now an industry less trusted by the general public than theirs. Payday loan companies were judged as far and away the least likely to treat their customers fairly and although tighter regulation means they’ve had to smarten up their act there’s clearly still a long way to go for them to earn consumer trust.”

-ends-

Notes to editors:

*On 17-18 December 2014, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,011 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.