All you need to know about comparison websites

What

These are a must for finding the cheapest deal. Try to use more than one comparison site as they do not all list every company. It may seem like tedious work but it can save you hundreds of pounds. You can use these for insurance, broadband, TV, energy and banking.

Check the terms and conditions of the site and tick the box that says you don’t want to be contacted by anyone! It could be considered an Unfair Contract if the site states that it is not responsible for the information it provides. Check how the results are presented from one site to another and that the actual service provided is the same.

Use cashback sites such as Topcashback*Quidco*, and Kidstart (Kidstart cashback goes to your nominated child’s bank account).  Sign up for free and use which ever one gives the biggest cashback! (Be aware that some may not work with additional discounts so don’t rely on this). And try direct and compare the lot!

Ofgem accreditation

Ofgem changed its voluntary code of practice for price comparison websites to prevent them from displaying products on which it earns commission more prominently than those on which it doesn’t. The new Code requirements came into effect from the 1st April 2015 with the exception of those relating to supplier ratings and the Warm Home Discount (1st May 2015) and Personal Projection requirements for energy companies (1st June 2015).

Comparison websites ‘accredited’ by Ofgem must prominently list the energy companies from which they receive commission on sales, as well as clearly stating that they earn commission on certain tariffs. The websites will no longer be allowed to limit by default the tariffs that a consumer sees when making a search. Websites need to display all tariffs available to a consumer regardless of supplier. Sites that comply with the code are listed as ‘accredited’ by Ofgem and can display related logos on their sites.

Ofcom accreditation

Ofcom also has an accreditation scheme and members of this are listed on their website. The key requirements of the Ofcom Price Accreditation Scheme are that information presented to consumers must be comprehensive, accurate and transparent. Accredited price comparison websites must show a good selection of providers (covering at least 90% of the market) and enable consumers to rank according to price. There isn’t a requirement to show absolutely all deals in the market. Given the large number of small providers in some markets, it may not be practical for a price comparison website to list all providers and options.

The guidance states that commercial arrangements must be transparent. Ofcom accredited price comparison websites must not discriminate against particular providers and, where a selection of packages is included, this should not result in an unfair or unbiased representation of an operator. Accredited price comparison websites are prevented from filtering results by commission payments.

Financial Conduct Authority

The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) authorises and regulates some price comparison websites but it does not make recommendations. It undertook a review of comparison websites a couple of years ago and followed them up to ensure that they had addressed the specific issues identified. It will use the full range of regulatory tools available as appropriate if any of them have not done so. The FCA uses a wide range of enforcement powers – criminal, civil and regulatory – to protect consumers and to take action against firms or individuals that do not meet its standards. You can search for companies regulated by the FCA on the register on its website.

 

Electricity pylon Everything you need to know to complain about energy problems

 

If you have problems with your energy see All you need to know to make a complaint about energy

 

 

 

*refer a friend link

How to complain about broadband speeds/service interruptions

I do believe that there are more people that have complaints about their broadband services than don’t!

Laptop, ipad, phone with how to complain effectively about broadband speed and interruptions

Speed

This can be quite a problem of which people are not really aware. Check your broadband speed by using site that will do this such as Broadbandchecker (it’s free). Look at the speed that you are paying for and complain if necessary! Usually this is via the company’s complaint form. Annoyingly though, most ISPs get round poor speeds by advertising speeds “up to” a certain level. I’d like to think that this was a breach of consumer law, not least The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, but advertising regulators have been involved and ISPs can advertise in this way if just 10% or more of customers can reach this speed.

The service must meet what was promised to you before you signed up though, otherwise the supplier could be in breach of contract – so you can complain if the service is frequently not meeting the speed. Check the terms and conditions of your contract. Maximum speeds may not be guaranteed and other factors such as where you live, how many people are on a website at one time etc. come into play.

Log your speeds over a few weeks and provide this information when informing your supplier that it is in breach of contract.

Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice which signed up telecoms providers should follow, states that they must give detailed quote for speeds on your line so ask for this. Also under these rules you can break the contract or take an alternative package without penalties if the speed is not per the original estimate.

Interruptions

You should log all interruptions to the service, with dates and of interruption along with the duration. How long you should do this for depends on how often you are getting interruptions. For example if it is happening several times a day for a week that is enough for you to complain. However, if it is only once or twice a week you might want to log for a couple of months to show that it is an ongoing problem.

All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers

 

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! for more information, tips, consumer rights, regulations, laws and template letters for most sectors.

 

 

 

 

For more information on how to complain to ‘phone providers and others see Tips and keep up to date with consumer news with the newsletter.

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!