Consumers’ lack of trust in some price comparison websites means that they miss out on potential savings- a watchdog was warned.A previous study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said that consumers could collectively save up to £240 million a year by using these websites effectively.
The use of price comparison websites has grown significantly as more and more consumers gain internet access.
For example, the majority of motor insurance policies are now bought by drivers who search through price comparison sites.
In its latest report, the OFT said these websites had brought a “major step forward” for consumers in getting better value for money.
Yet it said that a review of 55 different sites had shown that many could improve on their privacy settings, their complaints process, the way results were displayed, and clear identification of who was operating the site.
The Data Protection Act requires that all businesses collecting personal data explain to consumers who is collecting their information, what they intend to do with it and who it will be shared with.
The report also urged consumers to:
- Look for opt-out options if they do not want their information to be shared
- Be aware of how results are displayed – by relevance, price or popularity
- Use different websites, rather than relying on a claim that the website has “found the best deal”
- Check who runs the site, not just the name, and use accredited websites if possible
“Price comparison websites help busy shoppers find a good deal, but people might not realise that by being a bit savvier they can get even more out of these websites,” said Clive Maxwell, chief executive of the OFT.
“Not all price comparison websites have the same standards.”
One of the more reputable review organisations is the SafeBuy organisation- which has successfully completed the first stage of the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.
If you too want your business to increase it’s trustworthiness with potential customers- we can help you- just look at one of customers wise money– who have been accredited for a number of years.