Price comparison sites still running wild as watchdog plan flops

10 February 2010

angry-hobo

Dealing with price comparison websites is like crawling through a minefield covered with broken glass with a squirrel in your trousers and a Mynah bird squawking obscenities in your earhole. Or so they say.

It can be a living nightmare with no way of knowing how comparisons are made, who is paying for enhanced listings and the frustration of that finding the price you are quoted isn’t always the price you pay. Which is why it would be a good idea for an official watchdog to appear that would police the oeuvre and sort out the cowboys from the good guys (if indeed there are any).

The good news is that a proposed code of conduct for price comparison sites has been under discussion for the past few months. The bad news is that discussions have collapsed and what was going to be a voluntary watchdog will now not be created.

Sean Gardner, former managing director of the Moneyexpert website and head of the Comparison Consortium until its demise, says: 'Trying to bring many of these people together felt like herding a group of angry cats. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that many consumers will continue to be misled. It is immensely frustrating.'

If you do buy any financial product through a price comparison, sit down in a well-lit room, turn the TV off and unplug the phone and make sure you’re wide awake. Then read all of the small print. All of it – otherwise you could quite easily find yourself signing up for a product that could be useless in the future, eg; insurance that is null and void because you skimmed over some of the details at the application stage.

Would you even use a price comparison site given the shady reputation that they’ve picked up over the years? Or do you treat them as a guide to where the best bargains are before dealing directly with the company in question? Tell us. In the little box.

TOPICS:   Consumer Advice   Technology

9 comments

  • Nobby
    I usually check a few different comparison sites for stuff like insurance, then pick the best five deals and check them direct, then see if any can be had cheaper through topcashback, rpoints or quidco.
  • Yahoo S.
    Keith Allen looks awful these days.
  • Junkyard
    I love the adverts where a company tells you they don't put their deals on price comparison websites, so you'll have to deal with them direct. These ads are a great guide to which companies obviously despise their customers, and which it would therefore be unwise to ever have any dealings with.
  • The B.
    Yahoo, I was actually thinking he looked rather good, mind you, anyone standing next to his allegedly female offspring looks good.
  • TFEB
    I usally go to 3 of the main comparison sites out there and just tend to go with the best deal. Personally I havnt had any experiences where i have felt misled. But shouldn't we all read the small print anyway?
  • -]
    Junkyard, I disagree. Price comparison sites are a fucking nightmare - trying to search and all you get are results from these cunts. I'd rather go direct and save the hassle.
  • Brian
    Hi, my name is Brian. Does anyone on this blog know a good comparison site for the iPad 3G, when it is released in the UK? Thanks
  • pauski
    Waiting for the Brian insults to start........
  • agatha
    Is he single?

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