“Shopping around leaves me exhausted”

First Published April 20th, 2005.

So goes the new slogan from Advance Pitstop.  Actually, as we’ll show you here, shopping around actually saves you money.

The new Advance advertising campaign, launched this week featuring Orlaith Rafter from Fair City, goes on to tell us, “When it’s time for a new set of tyres, I couldn’t be bothered shopping around for a quote. I know that Advance Pitstop offers fantastic value”.

Should we follow their advice and make tracks straight to their door when we’re buying our new tyres?

ValueIreland.com doesn’t think so. In fact, this kind of advertising is very much out of favour with ValueIreland.com. If a company was so confident that it provided the best value for money, it should be daring it’s customers to shop around to find that no other company can actually beat them on price.

ValueIreland,com has tested the promises made by Advance Pitstop and will show you that you should still, always, shop around for every good or service that you purchase.

I’m in the market currently for 2 new tyres for my Ford Mondeo, 1.6. The requirements are very specific. Two Continental tyres, to match an existing two, size 195/60 R15, speed rated H.

We called 9 Advance Pitstop outlets in the Dublin area, and 2 outside Dublin, looking for a quote for the tyres above. We asked for quotes to include fitting and balancing.  Bear in mind that the original set of two tyres cost €125 each fitted with Advance Pitstop in Monkstown a couple of months ago.

We discovered a range of prices offered by Advance Pitstop in their outlets across the city. They varied from a low of €100 per tyre in Swords, to a high of €113 in Dundrum and their city centre outlets. Fitting a car with a full set of tyres in Advance Pitstop in Swords rather than Dundrum would have saved a consumer €52.
So, even by shopping around amongst the Advance Pitstop outlets, which they tell you you don’t even have to do, as a consumer you could save yourself over 10%.

The average price across the Advance Pitstop outlets was €110, with the most popular price being €113 in 5 of the 11 outlets. Only 2 of the 11 outlets actually charged less that the €110 – Swords at €100 as mentioned, and Dun Laoghaire at €105 each.

For balance, we called a number of other outlets to compare Advance Pitstop prices with other suppliers. We found the best of the rest to be Kwik-Fit in Santry who quoted €109 per tyre, followed by Fast-Fit also in Santry quoting €110. The worst we found was the Fast-Fit city centre outlet looking for €128 per tyre.

So, the conclusion? Advance Pitstop do provide the best value for the tyres being looked for – if we were lucky enough to hit upon either Swords or Dun Laoghaire. However, in the other 9 of 11 outlets checked, the best value available wouldn’t necessarily have been forthcoming – by shopping around, we’ve found better value elsewhere.

Lesson Learned? It’s still better to shop around, despite what companies are telling us to do in their advertising. We’ve even shown that it’s worth your while shopping around different outlets of the same businesses – not necessarily something that would be immediately obvious.

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