Journalist, Emma Gunn writes,
Six tools to help make sure you never get ripped off, from people-powered discounts to automatic bill switching
Imagine that smug feeling you get when you know you are paying less than anyone else; now imagine that feeling without having to do any of the hard work to get it.
Most of us don’t have the time to spend hours researching online, switching deals or haggling for a better price.
But a handful of companies now claim to skip all that hard work for you, landing you straight at the good part – the cheaper prices.
Here are six top tools that have caught our eye, promising everything from automatic energy switching when a better deal comes up to getting retailers to bid to offer you a cheaper price
Ismybillfair is a website that compares your bill to others getting the same service.
And the best bit, if you are paying more it will do something about it for you, either negotiating with your current provider if you don't want to switch, or finding you a new deal elsewhere.
It covers broadband, phone and TV, Sim-only mobile contracts, energy, car-breakdown cover and boiler and plumbing cover.
How does it work? By asking a few basic about your providers, what you pay, what your contract limits are or how much energy you use, it pulls together information using a special algorithm comparing your bills with those getting the same service as you, using its existing data from other users.
It then puts you on its Priceometer, showing where your monthly bill sits.
You are then offered a choice – stay with your existing provider but ask for a better deal, or switch to get a better deal. Remember if you switch before the end of your contract it usually means exit penalties, but even those in the middle of their current deal can try to negotiate a better deal with their provider.
There is no obligation to do either, and you don't need to sign up with an email address of phone number to use the tool.
If you do choose the first option, it contacts your existing provider to negotiate a cheaper price for you which it says usually takes about three days.
Alternatively if you want to switch, you are shown you the best options for you, or a list of all the available deals.
What does it cost? The tool is completely free to use. The company makes its money by referring you on to suppliers or supplying your provider with your details if you want to stick with it.
The rationale behind this is that it costs suppliers less to offer you a cheaper deal and pay the site a small fee than to lose you as a customer completely.