Moving house

Free utility connection services

A growing number of services are offering to take the hassle out of moving, and all for free. However, before you sign up, it pays to know the potential fish-hooks.

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They won’t pack boxes, but moving services promise to take care of pretty much everything else. Movinghub, Fast Connect, MoovMe and iMoved will switch your power, phone and internet over, set up Sky, sort the insurance and even notify businesses about your new address.

What’s the catch?

These services are free to use, but that doesn’t mean there’s no cash changing hands. They make their money through agreements they’ve struck with companies, such as energy retailers and telcos.

So when you agree to have the power at your new place supplied by a particular energy retailer, the moving service arranging the switch will likely land a commission. Depending on the deal, sometimes the moving service is paid only for new customers, sometimes for retaining them too.

Three of the four moving services we looked at have arrangements with real estate companies and property managers as well. If a service has been recommended to you by a property manager or real estate agent, it’s likely they’ll get a cut if you sign up.

Getting the “best deal”

Moving services tout their ability to save you money.

MoovMe promises you’ll “save money on your bills” and to “connect your new home at the best rates”. Movinghub says you can “get the best deals on everything you need to move home”. Fast Connect claims to “save you time and money with your utility connections due to our exclusive promotions”.

To assess these claims, we contacted 36 utility companies. Just over half had paid agreements in place with these services. However, only one company said it offered “below the line” deals (a special offer only available to customers who used the service).

It’s tough bickies if you sign up and then find out your great deal is a dud.

The rest said rates offered by moving services were available to all customers. One even said a customer was more likely to get a better deal by calling direct.

It’s also tough bickies if you sign up and then find out your great deal is a dud or your connection isn’t coming together. The moving services’ terms and conditions state the companies take no responsibility for financial loss as a result of hooking you up. Or for the connection being made at all.

Your choice of utility company may also be restricted. Movinghub said consumers wanting to go with a company they didn’t partner with would probably have to sort it themselves. Fast Connect, MoovMe and iMoved, said they would help facilitate the connection.

Movinghub also licenses its technology to other companies, which then rebrand it as their own. For example, Tall Poppy uses Movinghub’s technology and services under its own One Smooth Move brand. This means even if you sign up with One Smooth Move, you’re still dealing with Movinghub.

The bottom line

While using a moving service could save you some time, there’s no guarantee you’re getting the whole picture, the best deal, or even connected. To reduce your risk, you’ll need to do your homework to figure out if using one of these services will work out in your favour, which could quickly gobble up any time savings.

The services won’t take responsibility for unsuccessful connections or more expensive bills, so if you’re switching providers via a moving service, ask to see the offer in writing, including the terms and conditions that come with the contract. You could also ask the service if it gets paid a commission for both new customers and reconnecting existing customers.

Switched on

So how can you find which provider will give you the best internet or power deal? Broadband Compare and Powerswitch, both run by Consumer NZ, are comparison websites that show prices from all power and internet retailers available in the market. Retailers’ plans are listed by price. Powerswitch is owned by Consumer NZ and is funded by us, the Electricity Authority, Gas Industry Company and retailers that opt to pay a fee for switches. Retailers may also opt to pay a fee for switches made through Broadband Compare. Any revenue is shared with NZ Compare, which owns the site.


By Tessa Johnstone
Investigative Writer