Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • MSE Sally
    • By MSE Sally 27th Nov 12, 3:33 PM
    • 56Posts
    • 21Thanks
    MSE Sally
    Real-life MMD: Should I share utility switching cashback?
    • #1
    • 27th Nov 12, 3:33 PM
    Real-life MMD: Should I share utility switching cashback? 27th Nov 12 at 3:33 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I share utility switching cashback?

    I share a house. While we split the bills equally, the gas and electricity bill is in my name. When the price hikes were announced recently, I listened to the boss and switched to a fixed deal saving us £150/yr, clicking through a comparison site offering the most cashback. I've done the legwork, made the calls and sourced the deal. Now the switch is nearly complete, do I split the £30 cashback with my housemates? (I'm staying anonymous, in case they're reading...)

    Click reply to have your say

    Note: Please remember that these are real-life Money Moral Dilemmas and while we want you to have your say, please remember to be nice when you respond.

    Previous MMDs:
    View All

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by MSE Sally; 27-11-2012 at 5:20 PM.
Page 3
    • purple.sarah
    • By purple.sarah 28th Nov 12, 12:43 PM
    • 2,390 Posts
    • 26,497 Thanks
    I would keep the cashback or spend it on something that benefits the whole household. Your housemates are already benefiting from saving on the bills.
    Make £15 a day in October: £28/£465

    October NSD Challenge: 1/10
  • milvusvestal
    Keep the money.

    As you say yourself, you've done all the hard work and achieved a saving for your flatmates already. Look upon it as your commission.
    • nczm
    • By nczm 28th Nov 12, 1:45 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 75 Thanks
    Discuss it
    I think you should keep it, but I do think you should agree it with your house mates first - I'd be amazed if they don't tell you to keep it for the leg work.

    If they insist in sharing the pot I'd just keep that in mind for anything future (whether you chose to disclose is up to you) after all you've saved £150 whats £30 one off when that £150 each year
  • crogers
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I share utility switching cashback?
    No way-you've done the legwork, trawled the net and saved them a few bob. Consider this your commission
    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 28th Nov 12, 2:06 PM
    • 352 Posts
    • 208 Thanks
    I agree with all the posts that say this cashback is your commission on the deal. Don't be a mug.
  • alfacat
    Do as you would be done by. This is usually a good guide to ethical dilemmas.
    Originally posted by koru

    this is the maxim I try to live by too and in this instance if I was a housemate and the op advised me what they'd done I would have no issue with them keeping the money as reward for their initiative and time, and for saving the remaining housemates £150 a year.

    "fair exchange is no robbery!"
    • NSG666
    • By NSG666 28th Nov 12, 2:34 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    You have not said how many you share with. If there's two then you've just saved someone £75 - if that someone were me I'd be happy for you to keep £15. If there are five of you then you have saved them £30 each - is it really worth faffing around offering them £6.
    BUT, the fact that the question has been asked suggests a feeling of guilt that I would not have had. In your case, use the £30 to buy some drinks for you and your housemates.
    NOTE your name is on the bills so you are responsible for paying them even when one or more of your housemates can't pay you 'cos they are a bit strapped this month or decide to do a bunk.
  • PollyOnAMission
    Every bill switch is another potential cashback earner, just like every trip to the supermarket is another potential reward points earner. If you earned Nectar points on, say, toilet roll for the whole house, would those points be shared? Probably not, but you would give each housemate their opportunity to earn reward points in turn if they want to.

    I would see household bills in a similar way. It would be fair to share out the bill switching between housemates, so each has the opportunity to earn their own share of cashback. If, for whatever reason, they decide they don't want to take on that responsibility then that's up to them. But they'll lose out on the potnetial cashback and should be made aware of this.

    If one person takes on all the bill switching without consulting the others, therefore not allowing them to get their share when actually they might prefer to take on a bill and have the option, then I'd say it would be fair for that cashback to be shared amongst the household.
  • rainsong
    I did the same thing, and used the cashback to pay off our bills for the first few months.

    After that, no one in the house paid me for the bills in the following months! I'm still chasing them up 6 months later!

    I say keep it. Good guys finish last, sadly.
  • Indi 2000
    It is only moral if you tell your flatmates what you have done and you intend to keep the money because you feel you have earned it fair and square. If you choose not to tell them then you have something to hide and are acting immorally. This is only a moral dilemma if your morals are questionable in the first place.
    • janiebquick
    • By janiebquick 28th Nov 12, 4:16 PM
    • 388 Posts
    • 482 Thanks
    Morally, you should share it. However, you could claim you only got £100 cashback and split this with them.......
    • his missus
    • By his missus 28th Nov 12, 4:28 PM
    • 3,187 Posts
    • 19,312 Thanks
    his missus
    If you were to find out one of your flatmates got £30 cashback for having bought/sorted something for the house or if one of them had switched the gas/electric via a cashback website and earned some £s, would you expect them to share? Your honest answer to this will determine what you should do.

  • ja9_c
    I say keep it! You have put all the leg-work in therefore should keep the cashback. Plus we are not talking hundreds of pounds (even though it unlikely I would change my decision!)
  • mrsgreenfingers
    I suggest you tell your flatmates of your dilemma and let them decide. I would hope they'd say "well done - keep the £30 and thanks for saving us on our bills". Everyone wins and is happy. If they want you to share the cash at least you know you've not deceived anyone and your conscience is clear.
    • gloucesteroldspot
    • By gloucesteroldspot 28th Nov 12, 5:46 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Speaking as someone who has never actually received a 'cashback' despite doing everything right to get them, I would say forget it. Cashbacks are mostly a con.
    • dave2
    • By dave2 28th Nov 12, 6:14 PM
    • 258 Posts
    • 133 Thanks
    Share it. The "cash back" is simply a discount.

    If you're having difficulty understanding this, consider what your position would be if the amount was being deducted from the first bill instead of paid to you directly. The only difference that way is that it is harder to hide it from your housemates; the principle is exactly the same.

    Or how about if you'd needed to pay a one-off £30 fee to be able to access this best deal. Would you get your housemates to chip in on that? Why would it be different when the cash is coming in the other direction?

    Or how about your flatmate has two deals for Sky package, one £40/m and another £45/m but with £100 cashback (per year or whatever). Would it be okay for them to get the £45 and pocket the £100? But would it not be stupid to get the more expensive £40 deal?

    Everybody is expected to hunt for deals and do the legwork and everyone shares the cashback.

    (BTW, while trivial perhaps, if you were to be conisdered to be acting as an agent it's technically illegal to keep the cash back as "commission" unless you obtain permission from your principals.)
    Last edited by dave2; 28-11-2012 at 6:24 PM.
    • ellesbellesxxx
    • By ellesbellesxxx 28th Nov 12, 6:38 PM
    • 968 Posts
    • 2,062 Thanks
    I would stock up with things for the house like loo roll, tea, or put it aside for the next bill to soften the softened blow!

    I once bought some books via cashback site for school, then bought books for school with the cashback so that they benefitted - and I felt like I had got them a bargain xx
    • Tiggy10
    • By Tiggy10 28th Nov 12, 6:39 PM
    • 443 Posts
    • 1,671 Thanks
    The same thing happened in my house last year. My house mate who got it just put it towards the total of our next bill instead of splitting it, which was very kind. I might not have done the same
    • Talent
    • By Talent 28th Nov 12, 6:46 PM
    • 236 Posts
    • 208 Thanks
    No. Keep it for yourself.
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 28th Nov 12, 7:06 PM
    • 1,096 Posts
    • 10,970 Thanks
    Keep the cashback - it's all yours. You did the legwork and earnt it.

    They are already set to share a saving of £150 p/year because of your action. That's extra money they will have in their pocket because of you -to do with as they please.

    Keep the cash-back for yourself as reward. If it should come to light then I hope your timely action (and the £30) will inspire them to look for ways to save money on the other household bills. Look at it this way, if your house-mates decide you're onto a good thing and do something similar with 2 other bills, you could all be a further £300 /year better off.

    Tis a good thing to have a MSE in the house.
    Last edited by tgroom57; 28-11-2012 at 7:12 PM.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim's to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

6,257Posts Today

8,765Users online

Martin's Twitter