As you may have seen in the news, Citizens Advice is launching a super-complaint against the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in regards to the penalties faced by customers who remain loyal to their providers.

Research by the charity has identified five essential sectors in which consumers are routinely overcharged as a result of not regularly changing their provider: mobile, broadband, home insurance, mortgages and savings. Shockingly, 80% of the British public are being ripped off in at least one of these markets by remaining loyal to their supplier, resulting in a combined yearly loss of £4.1 billion to the loyalty penalty.

So what is the problem with placing the onus of responsibility on consumers rather than the industry? Our research has found that vulnerable groups, such as elderly and mentally ill people, are disproportionately more likely to have not reviewed their providers recently. This corroborates with Citizens Advice’s previous research we’ve discussed on this blog which indicated that people with mental health issues struggle to access essential services, including switching suppliers.

After being granted the authority to do so in 2002, Citizens Advice has launched three previous super-complaints. One of these complaints, regarding people being wrongly sold payment protection insurance (PPI), resulted in over £32 billion being repaid to consumers in refunds and compensation.

The CMA will publish a response within 90 days of the complaint being lodged. They will review whether there needs to be legislative changes, market investigations or action took by regulators. They are inviting interested parties to provide useful evidence or their views on their website.