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Utility Warehouse reviewed

Neil Faulkner
by Lovemoney Staff Neil Faulkner on 05 March 2014  |  Comments 16 comments

We take a look at one of the UK's biggest savings clubs, the utility provider Utility Warehouse.

Utility Warehouse reviewed

Utility Warehouse offers gas, electricity, broadband, home phone, mobile phone and other services. You get better deals the more services you buy.

I last looked at Utility Warehouse back in 2011, and received lots of comments from its customers and former customers. Things have changed a bit since then, so I want to see how the services and prices compare now.

Utility Warehouse has an army of customers and distributors who recommend or even sell Utility Warehouse's services to friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and even strangers, in return for benefits.

Before I review the services again, you should know that Utility Warehouse customers and distributors have a bad reputation due to a minority who write aggressive comments under any articles that include a negative word about the business. The posters often don't admit that they have a financial incentive in defending the company.

Other people write unbelievably glowing reviews of the company, which many lovemoney.com readers consider to be dubious. Can anyone really get that excited and emotional about an energy company?

So bear that in mind when reading any comments later.

Gas and electricity

Because the company's interlinked products make analysis complicated, I only have space to review its main products.

Starting with home energy, the Utility Warehouse website states: “Guaranteed savings: When you switch your gas and electricity to us, we guarantee you will save money compared to the average of the cheapest variable tariffs available from the 'Big Six' suppliers.”

This is not much of a promise. The cheapest tariffs in the post code area I tested were around £130 cheaper than quote from Utility Warehouse on its website.

A dozen energy providers had cheaper prices than Utility Warehouse. They were not only cheaper, but fixed for between one and two and a half years.

If you buy Utility Warehouse home phone, broadband and mobile, you get discounts, but its energy tariff was still around £70 more expensive in the post code I tested.

The energy provider boasts about other features of its gas and electricity services, such as no minimum contract, but these are all nullified by its uncompetitive prices.

Compare gas and electricity tariffs in your area with lovemoney.com

Home phone and broadband

The company offers two home phone and broadband deals: a budget one and a premium one.

You could get the first six months free, which is a common gimmick with broadband and phone providers. After that, you might pay between £7 to £20.

Neither deal is especially expensive, but they are still more expensive than several other providers offering products with similar core features.

If you take out other Utility Warehouse products you can get a better phone and broadband deal, but it still doesn't look cheap enough.

Mobile phone

The company provides four mobile deals ranging from 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of data per month at the lower end and unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data at the higher.

The four deals are each available either with a phone or SIM only.

Looking at SIM only, the first three deals are very competitive and in some cases might even be the cheapest on the market. The premium deal is just beginning to get a bit pricey.

Looking at the tariffs that include older, cheaper phones, it looks like Utility Warehouse might offer competitive prices when looking at the overall price of the phones and tariffs, particularly when the phone is combined with its cheapest tariff.

Looking at the other end, with both premium tariffs and phones, it doesn't look so competitive from the tests I did.

People who don't need to use their mobiles much will often be far better off with pay as you go than a contract.

Referring friends

You can get shopping vouchers worth between £10 and £50 for referring friends, and you get some more if they stay. However, as I wrote back in 2011:

As a good friend, however, I don't see how you could do it unless you were 100% confident that they will definitely save money.”

From what I've seen, I think it would be hard to get that confidence. Some mobile deals look very good. Aside from that, the prices mostly look high, the deals are complicated and unclear, the company doesn't appear to be open with fees and, while the sales pitch is dazzling, it looks to me like there is little substance to back it up.

More on household bills:

Price cuts mean Ovo now boasts the cheapest energy tariff

Water bills to rise 2%

The UK's worst energy provider

The UK's worst home phone provider

The UK's best and worst broadband providers

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Comments (16)

  • Steviebaby1959
    Love rating 34
    Steviebaby1959 said

    ''Utility Warehouse offers gas, electricity, broadband, home phone, mobile phone and other services. You get better deals the more services you buy.''

    Well, of course it will, if everything is clumped together under one account they are bound to be cheaper, BUT, and it's a highly important BUT, one problem with one of your payments for any of the utilities and they place a STOP on the WHOLE account, so, everything goes up the wall, and you're left with nothing until you contact the company and argue your case, which could take any time from a few days to several weeks.

    To lose your mobile, landline and internet connections is of no concern to them, especially, if you have to contact the emergency services for any reason, don't fall for this corporate gimmick.....

    Report on 16 March 2014  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • butters85
    Love rating 0
    butters85 said

    I used to be a distributor for UW. I gave it up as I found I didn't have the time needed to make anywhere minimum wage for the hours I put in let alone hundreds/thousands a month.

    As a customer, I found everything to be fine, they saved me money and their customer service was very good.

    As a distributor, though, I found things to be very forced.

    Firstly you attend a meeting held by leaders from the local area who obviously big-up the company and the money you 'could' make. I was sold and signed-up there and then (paying £100 to do so - although this covers administration fees, training costs and folders, pens and badges - yes badges - that you're given to wear/use when talking to customers).

    During the meeting they advise that if you sign up a Gold Customer - someone who takes four services - you can expect to make up to £5 per month from them. I found this to be complete rubbish as one of the Gold Customers I signed up made me £0.68p per month.

    Yes you do get paid a fee for signing people up but I found it very difficult to get people to sign up. This was mainly down to the fact that no-one had heard of them,

    I found the meetings, of which there is at least one in most areas every month, to be almost sect like. Everyone was over the top happy about the business yet only the top people in the company made any decent money. I know that it is achievable to progress in the company but only if you really put the hours in. This I found to be disappointing as they sell the job as being 'Full-time, part-time, any time'.

    For anyone looking to start as a distributor with the Utility Warehouse and make serious money, I'd say go for it but only if you can put in near full-time hours.

    Report on 25 March 2014  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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