Back to all articles

The Big Deal responds to the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s letter

TheBigDeal.com: "Letting comparison sites hide the cheapest deals will hit families in the pocket, further undermine the little trust people have in the energy market and harm competition by disadvantaging smaller suppliers who can't pay the exorbitant fees these sites charge."

The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee of MPs has today written to the new Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark MP urging the Government not to implement the CMA's recommendation to allow price comparison sites to hide the cheapest energy deals from consumers. They state this will undermine consumer trust and disadvantage smaller suppliers harming competition.

Responding, co-founder of consumer collective TheBigDeal.com Henry de Zoete, said:

"The Select Committee is absolutely right. Letting comparison sites hide the cheapest deals will hit families in the pocket, further undermine the little trust people have in the energy market and harm competition by disadvantaging smaller suppliers who can't pay the exorbitant fees these sites charge.

"It's bonkers the CMA has even considered this let alone recommended it. Just a year ago these sites were busted hiding the cheapest deals online and over the phone. There was public outrage and Ofgem did the right thing and cracked down on this behaviour.

"The Government should make sure the CMA's recommendation never sees the light of day. Otherwise price comparison sites will have a licence to rip off their users to boost their profits."

Polling from Populus shows that the public do not trust price comparison websites and want these sites to show every deal available on the market:

79% think energy switching sites should automatically ensure every user sees the lowest priced tariff whether the site receives a commission or not. Just 7% disagree.

Half of people (47%) don't trust switching sites. Just 3% think they are very trustworthy.


Notes to editors:

Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP 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."

TheBigDeal.com research exposes price comparison sites' dodgy behaviour online and over the phone

On 20th October 2014, TheBigDeal.com published research that showed that the Big Five switching websites (Go Compare, Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, uSwitch and Confused) all hide the cheapest deals from users because they don't get paid by energy companies for them. The full research including over 200 screenshots taken over 13 weeks can be found at: https://thebigdeal.com/blog/research-into-price-comparison-websites

On 2nd February 2015, TheBigDeal.com published similar research except into activity over the phone that found that all the Big Five switching websites (Go Compare, Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, uSwitch and Confused) hid the cheapest deal when talking to customers. The full research including recordings of the phonecalls made can be found here: https://thebigdeal.com/blog/PCW-Miselling-Over-The-Phone

This research led to an official investigation into the behaviour of the Big Five price comparison websites by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/energy-price-comparison-websites/

The energy regulator Ofgem also tightened up the rules around comparison sites following our investigation: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30912626

Polling shows that the public don't want a return to deal hiding:

Polling from Populus shows that the public do not trust price comparison websites and want such sites to show every deal available on the market:

79% think energy switching sites should automatically ensure every user sees the lowest priced tariff whether the site receives a commission or not. Just 7% disagree.

Half of people (47%) don't trust switching sites. Just 3% think they are very trustworthy.


About TheBigDeal.com

TheBigDeal.com is a consumer collective focused on reducing people's energy bills. We bring together tens of thousands of consumers and use our collective buying power to create exclusive deals.

Launched in March 2014, we now have over 200,000 members and continue to grow. 62% of our members have never or hardly ever switched before - these are the very people who have been let down by the energy market for too long. Moreover, 60% of our members are over the age of 55 and 30% over the age of 65. We have saved the British public over £10 million since we launched.

TheBigDeal.com is a start up business and charges a commission to energy companies. We are 100% transparent and publish the exact amount of our commission. For our latest switch that was £40 for a dual fuel (both gas and electricity) switch. This compares to as much as £80 to £100 for the Big Five price comparison websites who refuse to publish their exact commission.


Previous article

FAQ for June 2016 tariff, from GB Energy Supply

Next article

The Big Deal responds to British Gas profit announcement