Back in November 2018, the nation’s favourite price comparison website – Compare the Market.com – were provisionally found by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to be including clauses in their contracts with home insurers that break competition law. These clauses prevent home insurers from quoting lower prices on rival websites and on other channels than those quoted via Compare the Market.com.
The CMA found that these clauses, known as ‘most favoured nation’ clauses, could be causing customers to miss out on better home insurance deals and also found that they mean that insurers were more likely to pay higher amounts of commission to Compare the Market.com, with these costs potentially being passed on to customers.
Not exactly in the best interests of consumers!
This week Compare the Market.com have been found by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to be running misleading advertising.
In a TV advertisement for their 2 for 1 meals promotion the aggregator failed to clearly and prominently alert consumers as to the conditions of the promotion. Whilst small text in the advert did identify the need to use a specific smartphone app to take advantage of the promotion, the prominent on-screen graphics and script of the advert merely stated that you could “get 2 for 1 on food when you buy through Compare the Market,” and get “2 for 1 on starters, mains and deserts,” with no prominent identification of the need to use an app to take advantage of the deal.
The price comparison site has been ordered by the ASA to no longer publish this advert in its current form.
Whilst Compare the Market.com claimed to have met with all relevant advertising regulations, our view is that once again the cute and cuddly meerkats’ brand have operated in such a way that is squarely in their own commercial interests, with scant regard for the consumers who they claim to be helping.
It is time for the UK public to wake up to the murky world of giant price comparison websites, and to see beyond their glossy advertising and dubious practices. Whilst there are doubtless good, honest operators within the aggregator market, we are concerned that the general public do not understand how the biggest such sites operate and – ultimately – how this could negatively impact upon them in terms of reduced choice and worse prices.
honcho, launching soon, will bring a completely new way to buy insurance that is firmly and clearly in the interests of consumers. There are no commissions to be paid by insurers to honcho – simply a £1 fee for the insurer to bid to win a consumer’s business – making sure that the UK public get access to great prices via a competitive reverse auction marketplace.
It is time for a change in how we all buy our insurance. Find out more about honcho at https://gethoncho.com/ and register now to be among the first to benefit from the insurance revolution.