The rollover lottery
“Rollover” contracts are hardly a mega-jackpot for businesses. A new service has been launched to help businesses avoid the 'rollover-trap' and other contractual lock-ins.
Many business suppliers, some of them household names, are masters at using contractual lock-ins, automatic roll-overs, unreasonable renewal windows, over-complex tariffs, contract cancellation fees and spurious ‘deals’ to perpetuate business contracts. These rolling or 'evergreen' contracts can be very difficult to exit and are often not at the most competitive terms available.
The problem is not just about supplier mis-selling. The fact of the matter is that the majority of 'contractual lock-ins' are the fault of the companies themselves – they often just do not have the resource and organisational efficiency to keep on track with multiple renewable contracts. At best this indifference wastes considerable money and at worst it can mean that a customer is not getting the service he requires. For example, the unheeded lapse of a critical insurance cover could prove a disastrous oversight.
Help for businesses
Now help is at hand. PartnerSave Limited, a company providing support services to trade associations, has launched its Eezi-Watch 'early warning system' for business contracts. By registering on-line for Eezi-Watch a company can ensure that, not only does it get timely alerted to its renewal dates for a wide range of services, it also gets competitive alternative options at the point of renewal.
Eezi-Watch is a free-of-charge service being offered through more than 60 affiliated UK trade associations (see attached list). For all other users there is a small fee dependent on the number of contracts being followed. Go to www.eezi-watch.eezibuy.co.uk.
“Auto-rollover contracts can offer some benefit in the form of convenience for the buyer but the main beneficiary of is invariably the supplying company.” says Alan Kennedy, CEO at PartnerSave. “The long-serving customers of these companies can lose out big time - for example existing customers are naturally excluded from all 'new customer' promotions and, especially in volatile market conditions, are often treated as mere 'cash cows'”.
And, according to Kennedy, it's not just utilities, phones and insurance where suppliers are 'trapping' business customers. "The auto-renewal phenomenon has spread into numerous business areas where it catches out tens of thousands of businesses every year which get stuck with sup-optimal supply contracts and pay over the odds."
“This means that long-serving customers are effectively being penalised for their loyalty.” says Alan Kennedy. “This is hardly good business practice by the supplier and extremely irritating and expensive to faithful customers.”