The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has written to 100 leading price comparison websites asking them to ensure they are providing clear information to consumers.
The move comes after a websweep by the watchdog of 55 price comparison sites, which found that a number of sites could improve their privacy policies and their complaints and redress processes.
The review also identified scope for some sites to provide greater clarity about the way search results are presented, and clearer identification of the business operating the website.
New OFT advice to consumers using comparison sites is as follows:
If you do not want your personal information to be passed to other companies, check to see if there is the ability to “opt out” on the website, for example by ticking a box to say that you do not give your consent for your information to be shared.
Make the comparison which is most helpful to you – check if your results are presented by relevance, price, or popularity and what the website says about how often it updates its information on prices and availability of goods.
Use a number of different sites – expressions like “we’ve found the best deal” or “we’ve searched the market” don’t guarantee you are seeing every available offer in the market, so always check out what is on offer on a number of different sites.
Know who you are doing business with – check whether the site tells you the identity of the business (not just the name of the website) and their business address. By law they have to do so.
Do your homework – if you can, use an accredited site as they have met certain standards for accreditation. Some financial services websites are compared by the Government backed Money Advice Service.
Problem or complaint? – some sites may tell you that they are not liable if they make mistakes or mislead you; this may not in fact be the case.
If you want to complain but aren’t sure how, Citizens Advice can help you to direct your complaint to the relevant person.
Category: Insurance News