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.
Ofgem is currently changing 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 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 earlier this year 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.