The winners of the 2016 Consumer Moneyfacts Awards were announced last night at an exclusive ceremony held at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in London. Hosted by former rugby player Kyran Bracken, the awards showcase the best of the consumer finance industry, highlighting the providers who excel in customer service and offer products that can't be beaten.
Professionals from across the personal finance industry gathered at the event, all eager to hear the results and find out who would be crowned best in class in their respective sectors. We believe that the best product isn't always the cheapest and that benefits can sometimes be overlooked, which is why the results are based on a combination of honest customer feedback from our annual survey together with in-depth analysis by our dedicated research team.
Crucially, this means that the winners can boast that their products meet consumers' approval, making this the highlight of the personal finance calendar.
Marcus Rudd, managing director of Moneyfacts, commented: "We are delighted with the response from the survey which saw over 80,000 individuals wanting to have their say, making this the largest survey of its kind in the UK. Combining honest customer feedback with products we deem to be the best, the Consumer Moneyfacts Awards recognise the providers that are truly the best in class."
Our judging process ensures that the awards highlight products that are able to combine technical appeal with customer feedback, a rare feat in today's market, so the winners can be justly proud of their achievement. The question is, just who emerged victorious?
As ever there were delighted winners, disappointed losers and a few unexpected results along the way, and while there were plenty of well-known names doing the rounds, there were also several lesser-known providers that were able to beat their high street rivals and come out on top. Halifax was one of the biggest winners of the night, taking home three awards and coming commended in one other category, while Nationwide Building Society won two categories and came highly commended in two others.
Meanwhile, Charter Savings Bank, a name without such a pedigree, was crowned Online Savings Provider of the Year, while Kent Reliance was named ISA Provider of the Year and Green Star Energy took home the Energy Provider of the Year award, which just shows that it isn't always the big names you need to pay attention to.
The full list of winners, which cover categories as diverse as Car Insurance Provider of the Year to Best Customer Service, can be seen below, but it isn't only the providers we want to talk about…
Given that these awards are all about the consumer, Moneyfacts likes to give a little something back, which is why everyone who takes part in the annual survey is entered into a prize draw to win £1,000 – and every year, three lucky individuals are drawn from the hat to win that fantastic prize!
We've already contacted this year's winners and the cheques have been put in the post, so we thought we'd have a chat with them to gauge their reaction and see what they're going to spend the money on.
Understandably, it came as a bit of a shock, and some winners didn't even believe it was true! Lisa Smith, from Romford, said that when she received the call from our events organiser Anne, her initial reaction was one of disbelief: "I thought it was one of those cold callers so I tried to fob them off with a 'No thank you, not interested' response, until Anne stopped me and said: 'You might want to hear what I have to say'...!
"She then told me I had won the £1,000, and I couldn't believe it! I've never won anything like that in my life. This will really help out with our house as we are having some work done, so I think it will go towards a new bathroom. A great start to 2016!"
London-based John Parks was just as delighted, particularly as he'd entered several similar competitions over the years but had never been successful. Until now! It couldn't have come at a better time, either: as well as settling a pricey dental bill, John says that he'll be sending cheques to 10 charities he supports, and he's also heading to Cape Town soon to visit family and friends, so "the balance will be used to pay for gifts for the people I will be visiting". Plenty of excellent causes!
For Rowena Harrison, of Bedfordshire, it came as a very pleasant surprise, as she'd forgotten all about completing the survey! "I received the call as I was lighting the coal fire to brighten up a cold, dark day. I have to say that I was astonished and delighted to hear that I had won a prize. I couldn't quite believe it!
"I have decided that I will use the money to take a holiday to one of a number of destinations that I have dreamt of for a long time. It will make a holiday to Russia or South America a possibility."
It sounds like they've got some fantastic plans for the money, and here at Moneyfacts we hope they enjoy their winnings. All that's left to say is congratulations to all our winners, providers and consumers alike, and we'll see you next year!
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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