The 5 most overpriced goods and services in Switzerland revealed

The 5 most overpriced goods and services in Switzerland revealed

In a statement, the official Price Monitor for Switzerland has revealed the five products and services where people in the alpine nation are paying above and beyond what they should. He noted that the number of complaints he received increased dramatically in 2023, with the rising cost of living being by far the most pressing concern.

Several Swiss companies charge too much, argues monitor

Rather than focus on products and services where price rises are primarily caused by real shortages and high demand - housing, for instance - the monitor focused on areas where prices were high due to inefficiencies, a lack of competition and / or exploitative charges.

Writing in his latest report, the official price monitor, Stefan Meierhans, noted that the number of complaints his organisation received last year was double the number recorded in 2021, reflecting the “population’s growing concerns and discontent about the rising cost of living.”

He said that while he and his colleagues had some success in negotiating reduced price increases in 2023, especially at Swiss Post and for public transport tickets, residents could make collective savings “in the billions” if the government was more proactive in easing living costs.

Swiss price monitor calls for healthcare reform 

Speaking at a press conference, Meierhans identified five key areas where residents of Switzerland were being unnecessarily overcharged. Chief among them was the cost of health insurance, which he argued has increased dramatically due to inefficiency and bureaucracy-fuelled rises in the cost of healthcare.

Specifically, he highlighted that prices for medicines are still much higher than the European average, and hospitals and doctors in Switzerland continue to charge more for treatment. He recommended that 1 billion francs be spent on radically streamlining the healthcare system, bringing medicine prices down and increasing both transparency and competition among providers. He noted that along with saving money on insurance premiums, “the quality of care for patients would even be improved.”

Monitor: Swiss electricity prices are millions of francs too high

Next, Meierhans set his sights on the cost of utilities, which reached a record high following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 but has not subsided much since. For energy, he noted that despite the strength of the Swiss franc making imports more affordable, so-called “network fees” make up nearly half of the cost of electricity, which leads to homeowners being collectively overcharged by “a three-digit million amount” every year.

Meierhans noted that instead of being used to upgrade the network, most of the fee gets paid to savings funds controlled by local councils and cantons. He therefore called on the government to look into scrapping or reforming network fees to help lower power costs.

Swiss mobile phone providers benefit from an uncompetitive market

The price monitor also argued that internet and mobile phone providers in Switzerland are charging too much for their services, noting that the sector is suffering from “high prices and a lack of innovation due to market domination” by a select number of companies. He added that a lack of competition and high regulatory fees are also making notaries less affordable.

Finally, he concluded that there is “great savings potential” among state-run companies like Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Swiss Post, despite the two firms raising their prices last year. 

Swiss government continues to face financial pressure

However, even the price monitor noted that while the plans he proposed would reduce the cost of living, many of the measures have fallen on deaf ears. Meierhans noted that the state’s “hunger for dividends, taxes and fees” means the political enthusiasm for reform may fail to materialise as it would mean spending more and, in some cases, giving up bountiful streams of revenue. 

What’s more, many of the more expensive measures have been discounted due to the state of federal finances. An official press release from the Federal Council issued in January noted that the government is expected to run a 2,5 billion franc annual deficit in the coming years, meaning budget cuts and tax rises are inevitable.

Thumb image credit: 2p2play /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment