Age UK and its commercial arm Age UK Enterprises have been exposed this week by the Super Shoppers on Channel 4 for its pricing strategy.
The Super Shoppers program follows hot on the heels of the criticism Age UK received earlier this year for its energy tariffs through E.ON, which were found to be 30% higher than signing up with the provider directly. Last year, Age UK’s commercial operation turned over £47 million with a profit of £8 million. Presenter Anna Richardson teamed up with “Bob” to review a range of products and services offered by Age UK Enterprises.
Doro Mobile Phone
First up was a comparison of the Doro PhoneEasy 508, an easy to use mobile phone designed for the elderly. Age UK offer this handset for £34.99 whereas its on offer at Argos for just £17.99, almost half price. Both Doro and Age UK defended this price stating that it was an unfair comparison.
Insurance products are one of Age UK’s most popular services, with over £22 million worth of premiums sold last year. Bob was set the task to find competitive car insurance using a comparison website. Anna found him a “competitive” quote from Age UK for £349, whereas Bob came up with Hastings Insurance with a premium of £213, saving him 40% over Age UK. Show Stoppers also compared 100 other products and discovered 50% were cheaper on other websites.*
Age UK Response
Age UK responded to the program by putting out a statement saying they believed the comparison to be unfair adding their “Insurance Products are great value….other products are priced at the equivalent of, if not better than other providers more than half of the time.” Is this true of their careline alarm service?
Back in September, Age UK sold its personal alarm service Aid-Call to AXA Insurance, however the service is still available via the Age UK website. A quick comparison shows that the Self Connect option for the Age UK alarm would work out at £249.44 for the first year. A careline alarm from Telecare24 would cost just £165, saving 40%. The lesson here would be to shop around when looking to purchase products and services and Age UK may not always be the best value for money you think it is. *prices correct at time of publishing.