Charlie Weston: It's time watchdogs clamped down on 'confusopoly'

Discussion in 'The Fair Mortgage Rates Campaign' started by Brendan Burgess, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    Excellent article here by Charlie Weston.

    Charlie Weston: It's time watchdogs clamped down on 'confusopoly' as firms baffle us to extract more money

    Are you confused about offers, tariffs and discounts being offered by product and service providers in the market? Then you are not alone, and you should not feel bad about it.

    That is because companies deliberately set out to wreck our heads, in the hope that we will not move our business away from them. It means we end up being overcharged.

    Economists call this confusopoly. This is when sellers of products or services set out to confuse the buyer in order to make more money for themselves by making it extremely difficult to work out what is the best product in the market. Often the products or services are similar. In this country, health insurance, mobile phone tariffs and mortgage rates are text-book examples of confusopoly at work.

    I had not heard the word before, but it describes the cash-back offers with mortgages and the health insurance pricing very well.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    stefg, Annie51, Dauhee and 3 others like this.
  2. Indigo7

    Indigo7 New Member

    I think you need to be mid to highly literate to understand certain products and services in the marketplace. Their terms are not user friendly.
  3. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

    Well I consider myself highly literate, and numerate. I certainly do not understand my mobile phone plan. As for health insurance that is even worse.

    It is good to see someone highlighting this deliberate confusion.
    breakonthru123 likes this.
  4. qwerty5

    qwerty5 Frequent Poster

    I'm reasonably literate and can operate a spreadsheet but energy prices are another one.

    I know you can use sites like Bonkers but I'm a bit wary of them. They seem like an affiliate site. When I fill in the details it tells me my plan is a different price than what is on my bill and seems to recommend a plan that is more expensive than what my real bill shows.

    And health insurance. Try comparing your plan to see if you should be paying more or less. That's a nightmare.
  5. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    The HIA site makes that a lot easier.
  6. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

    I'm not sure if it a regulatory thing, or health insurance companies themselves, but for example:
    • If I want to vary the excess on my motor insurance policy, it is an 'extra' on my policy. It is not a different plan \ policy.
    • With health insurance, you will see three plans the only difference between them is the excess amount.
    I think this accounts for a lot of the multitude of plans out there (though not all of it).

    Also, it shouldn't be the case that the HIA website (which is great) has more information about the plan than the company's own website. That suggests deliberate obfuscation.
  7. qwerty5

    qwerty5 Frequent Poster

    Yep. A lot easier but still not perfect. The data isn't always in the same format.

    For example comparing two plans now

    One is "Covered" for the Blackrock Clinick. The other is "Covered - no excess". So does that mean the first has an excess?

    For Cancer support one is covered for "€100 per night - unlimited nights" the other is "€100 per night". It doesn't mention for how many nights or if it's unlimited.

    For Maternity, one is "Covered" and the other has "Full Cover". What's the difference there.

    These are comparing plans in the same company (Laya) so terminology should be consistent. And I know you can read through brochures and figure out it out. Each provider seems to have 100 odd plans so that's a lot of looking up even if you weed out the ones you definitely don't want.

    I'm sure that's not the HIAs fault but you'd imagine a regulator should be able to ensure that the plans details were consistent for comparison.
    odyssey06 likes this.
  8. Indigo7

    Indigo7 New Member

    [QUOTE I'm sure that's not the HIAs fault but you'd imagine a regulator should be able to ensure that the plans details were consistent for comparison.[/QUOTE]
    Our regulator needs to regulate advertising. In the meantime, stay as fit as possible, this is the best health insurance. In relation to mobile phones, I use
    'Whatsapp' as much as possible. I don't have much control over my mortgage rates however, which are firmly in the hands of the Kings of Confuseopoly, i.e. The Banks.