HomeInsightsCompetition and Markets Authority publishes final report on digital comparison tools

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The CMA has published its final report following a market study into the use of price comparison sites and other apps.

The CMA says that the year-long examination found that these sites offer a range of benefits, including helping people shop around by making it easier to compare prices and forcing businesses to up their game. However, where sites are not working in people’s best interests, the CMA is taking action. As part of this, it is opening a competition law investigation into how one site has set up its contracts with insurers, because it suspects this may result in higher home insurance prices.

The CMA has also laid down clear ground rules for all sites on issues such as communicating how they plan to use people’s personal data and clearly displaying important information, such as price and product description.

The main recommendations from the CMA’s final report include:

  • all sites should follow the CMA’s ground rules: they should be Clear, Accurate, Responsible and Easy to use (CARE);
  • all sites should be clear about how they make money, how many deals they are displaying and how they are ordering the results;
  • sites should be clear on how they protect personal information and how people can control its use;
  • it should be made as easy as possible for people to make effective comparisons or use different sites, for example through better information about products; and
  • all regulators with a stake in this area should work together to ensure people are well protected.

The report also reveals that nearly two-thirds of people using a price comparison site visited more than one when shopping around. This is something the CMA is advising everyone to do, along with other top tips, if they want to get the best deal.

The CMA says that it will continue to work with the sector, regulators, and other bodies to ensure its recommendations are understood and taken on board. To read the CMA’s press release in full and for a link to the final report, click here.