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The lazy tax: Brand loyalty costing Australians $4.5 billion

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Australians are losing billions of dollars by sticking with the same utility providers, according to new research by Finder.

Finder crunched the numbers on electricity, mobile and broadband costs and found that Australians paid a collective $4.5 billion in loyalty tax in 2023.

That's a whopping $331 per person.

Mariam Gabaji, tech and utilities expert at Finder, said it's shocking how many people are missing out on a better deal.

"The soaring cost of living is forcing Aussies to fork out more money on almost everything – including energy, mobile and broadband. These are all utilities you can't do without.

"But that doesn't mean you should be stuck paying more than you need to."

Finder's analysis shows on average, Aussies are paying over $1.2 billion in loyalty tax for NBN, $1.1 billion for electricity, and $2.2 billion for mobile data.

Gabaji said most Aussies could be getting much better bang for their buck by shopping around.

"Providers really want your business – for example some energy companies are offering $150 in credit or up to 15,000 Qantas points.

"If you haven't switched utility providers – be it electricity, internet, or phone – in the last 12 months, you're probably paying too much."

A separate Finder survey found 14% of Australians – equivalent to 2.8 million people – admit they have no clue when a bill is about to arrive.

The research found 7% are 'often surprised' when a bill is due, while a worrying 7% admit they don't want to know when bills are due.

Gabaji urged Australians to track their bills and regain control of their money.

"Call up lenders, utility companies and any other providers you are a customer with and request a due date change so your bills line up with your pay day.

"Then set up direct debits so the bills are paid on time and in full.

"The New Year is a great time to get in the driver's seat of your money matters and implement some better financial habits," Gabaji said.

Do you know when your bills are due?
Yes, I always know when they're coming55%
Yes, I have a vague idea31%
No, I'm often surprised7%
No, I don't want to know when they are due7%
Source: Finder survey of 1,056 Australians, November 2023

For more information on how your mobile, broadband and energy plans may be costing you more, visit Finder's utility bill statistics page.

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