Which? now defaults to all tariffs on its price comparison site. Martin Lewis says all should do the same. We write to the Big Five switching companies asking them to do the right thing by consumers. It comes as polling shows that 4 out of 5 people agree that price comparison sites should publish all tariffs all the time.
Open letter to Confused.com, uSwitch, Compare the Market, Go Compare and MoneySupermarket
Dear Sir / Madam
As you know from our letter to you on Monday 20th October and the campaign with The Sun, we believe it is vitally important that consumers are treated fairly by price comparison websites.
On Monday 20th October, Martin Lewis said how much Money Saving Expert and the Cheap Energy Club receive in commission on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"The commission is typically between £50 and £70 per switch. We give you £30 cash back and we pay our suppliers and there is nothing hidden."
The Cheap Energy Club always shows all tariffs whether there is a commission or not. Martin Lewis said on the same programme:
"My issue is that people are unaware they're excluding so many tariffs. It should be defaulted to all tariffs. If you want to say we can switch you to today to the ones we have a relationship with you then you should say that transparently. It should be an opt-in not an opt-out."
Martin Lewis is 100% correct and is setting a great example of transparency and openness that others in the industry need to follow.
Last week Which? removed the 'today' button from its price comparison service so it now defaults to showing all tariffs.
We now repeat our requests from 20th October and ask that you:
(a) remove the 'today' button from your website so that the cheapest energy tariffs are not hidden from the consumer and all tariffs are automatically shown
(b) publish the amount of commission you receive from each energy company for each tariff. This will enable users to see how much money is being put on to their bill by your activity and there can be healthy competition between price comparison sites. Transparency will ensure users can make informed choices about which site to use and therefore drive down commissions and energy bills.
Polling from Populus shows that the public strongly agrees with our suggestions:
- 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.
- 74% think switching sites should publish in full the commissions they receive. Just 5% think it is a bad idea.
- Half of people (47%) don't trust switching sites. Just 3% think they are very trustworthy.
We look forward to your response. If you decide not to do the above two actions please explain why.
Henry de Zoete
Co-founder of The Big Deal
Co-founder of The Big Deal