Switching sites shouldn't hide deals say MPs

sites shouldn't hide deals
21 July 2016

Remember the CMA saying that switching and comparison sites should be able to 'hide' deals? They argued that this would somehow promote competition, despite the fact everything points to the contrary.

Well, MPs have disagreed with the watchdog, saying that price comparison websites hiding energy deals that don't earn them commission should be rejected.

The CMA's inquiry into the energy markets said that comparison sites shouldn't be obligated to show customers all tariffs in the market, but the MPs sat on the energy and climate change committee say that these changes would "undermine consumer trust and disadvantage smaller suppliers, harming competition".

They've written to Greg Clark who is the new business and energy secretary, and committee chairman Angus MacNeil has told him to reject the “retrograde step" of allowing sites to “conceal deals that do not earn them commission".

MacNeil said: "Price comparison websites must do what they say on the tin. Consumers expect price comparison sites to shine a light on the whole market, not keep them in the dark and push them into commission earning deals."

This is good news for smaller energy companies, who don't have the same budget and advertising clout as the big guns, and of course, many of these smaller firms have better deals.

Some comparison websites have mislead consumers, by tinkering with options which only show deals that get them a commission.

The CMA think that this is a good thing, as it'll promote competition between the switching sites, allowing them to negotiate exclusive deals with suppliers. Of course, that's not very good for potential customers, especially if they think they're seeing the whole of the market.

In addition to that, to pay for the increased visibility on these sites, that's likely to be a cost that energy companies will pass on to consumers, thereby making everything more expensive.

Either way, it is up to Ofgem to make a final decision on all this, with the CMA's views only a recommendation.

TOPICS:   Utilities

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment