Phone contracts declared Swiss consumers' top annoyance of 2023
Be it a parcel not arriving on time or a cheeky price increase included in a contract, the modern world is full of little bureaucratic annoyances. Now, a new report by consumer associations from across the country has revealed what the most common annoyances have been for those living in Switzerland in 2023.
Swiss mobile phone providers the main source of annoyance
In their report, the French, German and Italian-speaking Consumer Federations of Switzerland found that telecom companies were the firms that drew the most ire from consumers in 2023. Taking the top spot among annoyances was the “inflation clause.”
The policy was drawn up by mobile phone and landline providers and allows them to raise subscription prices in line with inflation, even on fixed contracts. The idea was first implemented by Swisscom in June 2023 but has since been adopted by a number of other major companies.
Consumer groups argue inflation clauses are not legal
“Sunrise UPC, Swisscom and Salt. caused a lot of irritation by introducing [the inflation clause] to their general conditions while excluding any termination due to modification”, the federations wrote, arguing that the policy was contrary to Swiss law. They argued that the firms can only get away with it because of a lack of competition in the sector and that “by applying it, operators contribute to fuelling the spiral of inflation in Switzerland.”
As a result, of the 17.675 complaints submitted to the federations this year, Sunrise UPC was the company most reported. Swisscom also found itself among the higher echelons, being placed third behind rental security deposit firm Obligo.
Late post, greenwashing and trap contracts are all major problems
Second on the list of annoyances relates to the state of the Swiss postal service. While Swiss Post was recently rated the best in the world, around a quarter of the complaints sent to the federations in 2023 related to a parcel arriving broken, very late or never at all. “Consumers generally feel helpless in the face of such actions. When benefits are not fulfilled, asserting them legally is costly and involves great effort for individuals,” the federation wrote.
Finally, in tied third place was the concept of greenwashing - a firm that deceives consumers into believing that they or their products are more environmentally friendly than they actually are - and “trap subscriptions” - contracts that are free or low-cost to begin with, but lock consumers into higher and more permanent charges later.
For more information about the study, check out the official press release.