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Unbiased makes further change to adviser credits

Unbiased makes further change to adviser credits

Unbiased has halved the time advisers can use their enquiry credits on its online directory at the same time as raising their price.

So-called enquiry tokens now have an expiration date of six months, compared with a previous term of 12 months, with Unbiased confirming the change in light of changes to its pricing structure announced yesterday. 

Tokens allow advisers to purchase an enquiry on the site from a prospective client matched using the "find me an expert" function. 

A spokesperson for Unbiased said: "New tokens purchased since May are valid for six months, as we found the vast majority of customers were using their tokens well within this time frame.

"Any tokens purchased before that date will expire 12 months from their purchase date. Customers can see the expiry date of all tokens in their dashboard."

Yesterday Unbiased emailed advisers announcing the cost of enquires and tokens on its site will rise from £30 + VAT to £45 + VAT each from June 1, 2019, attributing the jump to "steadily increasing" cost of running the service. 

In the email Unbiased said tokens could be purchased at the existing price before June 1, claiming they could then be used as normal after that date to accept enquiries. 

There was no reference in the correspondence to the newly shortened expiration date of the tokens. 

Alan Chan, director at IFS Wealth & Pensions, said he felt Unbiased had "alienated" its adviser base with its recent strategy changes. 

Following the news of Unbiased's pricing changes yesterday Mr Chan logged onto his dashboard to purchase enquiry tokens at their current price, but found a warning message stating expiry tokens would now expire six months after their purchase date. 

Mr Chan said this was the first he had heard of the change. 

He said: "It goes without saying that we are far from impressed by this and expected better from Unbiased so it is a bitter pill to swallow. 

"Enquiry tokens used to have a one year expiry date, which was more acceptable for bulk purchases.

"These tokens are useful as they help you accept an enquiry quicker instead of fiddling about with selecting payment methods and so on. 

"But there’s little point in us bulk buying tokens if they expire in six months, especially as the tokens are branch specific - we have three branch listings - and we have been purchasing less and less enquiries over the past 6-12 months."

He added: "Despite the recent price hike, we will still continue to purchase enquiries in the short term because Unbiased has been good for us in the past. 

"We will begin to question its value for money in the medium to long term if we do not see a better service from Unbiased." 

rachel.addison@ft.com

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