Big Deal responds to new Ofgem investigation into price comparison websites.
Ofgem have today announced an "investigation to look at whether some price comparison websites have breached competition law in relation to paid online search advertising."
This follows an earlier Ofgem investigation into "whether two or more parties have shared information on the commission rates they charge to energy suppliers" i.e. price fixing.
Will Hodson of Big Deal, which first revealed that the Big 5
price comparison sites (uSwitch, MoneySupermarket, Compare the
Market, Go Compare, Confused) were hiding the cheapest deals from
consumers if suppliers didn't pay them a kickback, said:
"People are no longer surprised to see big comparison sites engulfed in scandal. A year ago they were caught hiding the best energy deals from the public, purely because those deals didn't earn them a kickback. Then the Government regulator announced they were investigating these self-appointed 'consumer champions' for price fixing. If they are found to have trampled competition law on online search - literally stopping people comparing the market! - comparison sites will have hit a new low. No wonder the public's trust in them has plummeted."
In June, Ofgem also announced into investigation into possible sharing of commission rates between price comparison websites: https://thebigdeal.com/blog/are-price-comparison-sites-price-fixing
YouGov polling from earlier this year that shows just a fifth of people trust price comparison websites down from two-fifths: https://thebigdeal.com/blog/New-poll-trust-PCWs
Last September, The Big Deal revealed how price comparison websites were deceiving consumers by hiding the cheapest deals on their websites: https://thebigdeal.com/blog/research-into-price-comparison-websites
And later exposed similar behaviour over the phone: https://thebigdeal.com/blog/PCW-Miselling-Over-The-Phone