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Utility Warehouse review: A con or is it really cheaper?

Looking to save money on your utility bills? Some companies claim that you can find a better deal if you have all your bills from one provider. Take a look at this Utility Warehouse review to see if it really is cheaper than the rest.

Is Utility Warehouse Really Cheaper?
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I’m fairly active on Facebook. By that, I mean I read what others have to say, chuckle and then go on about my day. However, I also belong to several groups for my local town. As I scroll past the usual posts about crap parking/driving, complaints about fireworks or pictures of missing cats (along with the obligatory joke about the Chinese takeaway), I often see posts about who is the best energy provider.

I usually take my time to answer these, often pointing people in the direction of price comparison websites or dropping by Octopus referral link into the conversation. But I have noticed a lot of people recommending a company called Utility Warehouse. Apparently, they offer some great deals, so I thought I would check them out.

Who is Utility Warehouse?

Utility Warehouse is a discount club that offers energy bundled with other utilities. According to Which? they became an energy supplier back in 2013 after buying 770,000 customers from Npower. Currently, they are the biggest energy provider outside of the “Big 6”. They also scored top for customer satisfaction out of all the energy providers – although that bar is set quite low…

utility warehouse review

Who owns Utility Warehouse?

The brand is owned by Telecoms Plus PLC. The company is licensed by energy regulator Ofgem and regulated by Ofcom.

How does Utility Warehouse work?

Utility Warehouse doesn’t advertise as much as other companies. They have a far cleverer way of operating. Instead of bombarding you with TV and radio adverts, Utility Warehouse recruits agents (also known as partners). And who is more likely to convince you to switch providers – a random stranger or a family member?

So, is it a pyramid scheme?

No. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the UK and Utility Warehouse would not be allowed to operate one.

This type of sales technique is known as Multi-Level Marketing, something I am not a big fan of. You can see how few people actually do well from MLMs, with a 99% chance of failure.

What does a partner do?

In my relationship, not much. Boom! (Don’t worry, my wife never reads my blog anyway). It’s the job of a partner (or agent) to recruit new customers to Utility Warehouse. Doing so will earn them a commission. Occasionally, you may see a car driving around town with Utility Warehouse splashed all over it which will often belong to one of these partners. But the most common place partners operate from is social media. That is why I would see so many people recommending Utility Warehouse – it was a potential money-spinner for them.

A stairway to success

As a partner refers more people, they move up the ‘stairway’.

  • Step 1 – Distributor
  • Step 2 – Qualified Distributor – gather 3 personal members
  • Step 3 – Team Leader – 10 personal members and 50 customers
  • Step 4 – Senior Team Leader – 15 personal members and 250 customers
  • Step 5 – Group Leader – 20 personal members and 750 customers
  • Step 6 – Senior Group Leader – 25 personal members and 2,000 customers
  • Step 7 – National Group Leader – 50 personal members and 7,000 customers
  • Step 8 – National Network Leader – 100 personal members and 25,000 customers

As you can see, there is a potential to earn a lot of money as you move up the ladder. But it also takes a lot of work.

Ask yourself this though, are partners looking at saving you money or moving up the ladder?

Is Utility Warehouse really cheaper?

Right, so we all know I’m a blogger. And I know for a fact that some bloggers would promote poking yourself in the eye with a pencil if it meant they could earn some money from it. I try to give a balanced opinion of everything I review but if you believe that, it’s up to you. I can never trust anybody that promotes something in which they receive a commission, so felt the need to see if Utility Warehouse really did provide good value.

Now, bear in mind that I always keep a close eye on my bills (aka tight), so Utility Warehouse would be hard pushed to find me a better price.

Within a couple of minutes, I was on the Utility Warehouse site and saving £644 per year on their Double Gold package. Which was impressive as they didn’t know how much I spent in the first place!

Filling out my details was easy enough and I soon had my quote.

The only issue came when getting a quote for energy. Utility Warehouse provides you with free LED bulbs for joining them, which can help reduce your electricity usage. However, when you get your quote, they automatically reduce your electricity consumption by 15%. This is a complete stab in the dark (pardon the pun). How much you save will depend on how many bulbs you have, how many of you there are in the house and how often you’re home. For example, a single person working nights will save next to nothing. And my house won’t save anything as I’ve installed LED’s in every room.

Yet, my electricity quote was still reduced by 15%! You can book for somebody to come round to change your bulbs, but you will be charged £25 if you miss the appointment.

I wasn’t happy with the quote so I adjusted my electricity figures back up to how much I would really use.

So, will Utility Warehouse save me money?

Below is a comparison of how much I currently pay and how much Utility Warehouse would cost.

Current Monthly costCost with Utility Warehouse
Energy
(Octopus Energy)
£68.53£72
Broadband
(First Utility)
£24.99£28.34
Mobile
(Vodafone)
£9.06£15
Total cost£102.58£115.34

In total, my Utility Warehouse monthly bill would come to £116. Currently, I am paying £102.58. So signing up to Utility Warehouse would leave me slightly worse off. And that doesn’t take into consideration the £50 credit I received for joining Octopus Energy or the £75 from TopCashback and £50 from Santander (yes, double whammy) for joining First Utility.

utility warehouse review

Is it poor value then?

No, the tariffs from Utility Warehouse are still better than many of the large companies. If you’re looking for a simple solution, then they’re worth looking at. However, you can still find better value if you shop around. And use cashback sites to find even better deals.

Plus, I haven’t told you about the cashback card. This is a kind of prepaid debit card that you load funds onto. Every time you make a purchase, you receive cashback. There are 50 retailers that offer between 3-7% cashback (including, Sainsbury’s, Argos and B&Q) whilst everywhere else gives you 1% back. There are some credit cards that offer a similar cashback scheme, although most are not as generous as 1%.

You can also earn cashback by shopping online through Utility Warehouse, but this looks similar to TopCashback and Quidco.

*Thanks to Tony via email for pointing out that the 1% cashback offer is capped at £1,000 worth of spending per month, which is £10 cashback. He had hoped to his card some months far more than that, so was left a little disappointed.

But be careful…

The majority of people switching to Utility Warehouse are those that are unable switch their utility bills themselves (for one reason or another).

Be warned that when you join a new provider, they often give you a discounted price for a set period, usually for 12 months. Once this period is over, you will be moved onto a standard price plan, which is generally far more costly.

If you’re somebody that doesn’t shop around or haggle with your current provider, you will see your bills rise sharply.

Should I become a partner?

It’s not something I would consider. First of all, you have to pay between £10-£50 to get started and a £3 ‘monthly license fee’. Then you have to start chasing sales. Do you really want to be “that friend” who is constantly badgering others to change their provider? And once you’ve got through your friends and family, where next? According to the Guardian, the average partner earns £505 per year. And that’s before tax and any other costs you may have.

What other people say

When writing my reviews, I always like to look elsewhere to see what other people think. Over at Trustpilot, Utility Warehouse scores a fairly decent 3.9 out of 5. A lot of reviewers claim that they have saved money and received great customer service. But bear in mind, it’s in the interest of Utility Warehouse partners to write positive reviews about the company so they can attract new customers and earn more money. Whether all of these reviews are from genuine users who don’t have an interest in attracting new customers… I’m not sure. Some of the reviewers claim to have been with the company for over 7 years, which begs the question – why write it now?

On the negative side, reviewers complain about bills increasing sharply and issues when trying to switch away.

Should I switch to Utility Warehouse?

Utility Warehouse does offer competitive pricing and it’s probably easier for many people to have just one bill. But, I’m still better off with my current providers, so I won’t be switching anytime soon. Plus, a lot of companies will also offer you their own incentives or money through cashback sites if you join, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Take a look at the Utility Warehouse site if you want to find out more.

FAQs

Is Utility Warehouse a MLM company?

Yes, Utility Warehouse is what is known as a multi-level marketing company. Most new customers are encouraged to join by UW partners who will earn a commission. These partners will also recruit members to their team, and will also earn commission when their team members make money.

Is Utility Warehouse a pyramid scheme?

No. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the UK and indicate that a company is fraudulent. Although the business model relies on representatives selling services to (mainly) friends and family, it is a legitimate company.

Who do Utility Warehouse use for broadband?

Their broadband operates on the Openreach network – the same network as nearly all the other providers, excluding Virgin Media.

Who is the energy supplier for Utility Warehouse?

Utility Warehouse is operated by Telecom Plus plc. and supplies its own electricity and gas directly to customers.

What mobile network does Utility Warehouse use?

The company uses the EE network.

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Ruth

Thursday 22nd of December 2022

I am a customer. So far I have saved thousands with UW! I took the boiler cover - my boiler ended up with an uneconomical repair but as it was less than 7yrs old they provided a new one at no cost to me! I have gas,elec, iPhone 13, 3 unlimited SIMS, fibre broadband, bills insurance and boiler insurance and pay just under £400 so not quite sure where these figures came from in this article! I have a 3 bed property, 2 adults, one child. One adult home all day running at least 4 laptops all day as well as other devices!

Money Saver Pete

Thursday 22nd of December 2022

Thanks for your input. I'm never quite 100% when people comment on this post whether they're a UW partner or not. I'm not sure why an existing customer happy with the service would start searching for reviews. Anyhow, boiler insurance isn't unique to UW and you could have saved that money with any insurance provider. The figures in the article come from a comparison I made.

Kyle Webber

Wednesday 14th of December 2022

AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS

Hours and hours and hours in a queue waiting to be answered, this is no exaggeration, you have been warned, and then to be deliberately disconnected,

This company left me and my 4 kids to freeze on the coldest night of the year 12/12/22, with no heating, no hot water, and no gas to cook.

Still no gas at the time of writing this 14/12/22

What do I have to look forward to, more hours in a queue to get an explanation?

Patrick.N

Wednesday 31st of August 2022

Utility warehouse won over 70 awards in the last decade alone. This year, they won the Uswitch Energy awards (Best customer service, Most likely to recommend, Best rewards) and the which ''Best buy WIFI-Routers''. Do you Live in the UK ? Get the best fix energy deal (Gas & Electricity) before October, January and March price cap increase. I am a Utility Warehouse partner. Contact me on my email: pat***.***@uw.partners

Money Saver Pete

Thursday 1st of September 2022

This is one of the problems I have with UW. Some partners seem to just want to spam potential customers in inappropriate places, which makes me worry that they do not fully understand the products that they're selling.

Like to be in Control

Monday 4th of April 2022

UW gives discount if you are using bundle. If you go with a bundle, then the discount would be about the same amount, that you pay for everything seperately, so it depends if it is a bundle or not. I certainly would not switch to UW, just to switch energy provider.

You can go with Lebara for 5 pounds/month for mobile, if not using mobile that much(under 1000 minutes) and need it only for contacting.

Broadband on UW is quite low quality IMO and usually for the same money you can get better deals.

For people with low income cashback is very limited and maxes at 4(?) pounds, where 2 pounds of those earned 4 pounds are paid for monthly fee of said cashback card. If you have cashback with the bank already, it is not really adding anything. I rarely buy anything where I would be able to claim cashback and if I do, then it happens couple of times per year and limit of cashback card essentially makes it not worth to have it.

PS MLM approach was news to me, but it makes sense that they do not spend on advertising and agents, if they go this route, as I know how MLM is working.

Kazia

Sunday 27th of February 2022

I’m so glad to finally see a completely honest write-up about UW. I was with them a few years back, and had my prices tripled after I joined. I had a friend who was a partner for a while, and she told me it was a tactic to bring in customers - give a lower quote initially, then claim the customer is using more energy and hike up the prices after a month or 2. In my eyes, it’s a scam, and I personally don’t trust any company that uses an MLM scheme.

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