News that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching enforcement action against a number of hotel booking sites has raised some interesting questions about the benefits of these sites and the prominence that some give to products which they are paid to promote.
Once again comparison sites are under the spotlight for trying to hoodwink consumers for commercial gain. Although businesses, like ours, fundamentally have to make money to survive, misleading consumers should not be the way to do it. And poor practice by some, means that consumers may worry about whether they can trust the results they are presented with.
At Savings Champion, while we do not consider ourselves a comparison site, we do monitor the whole of the UK savings market and provide best buy tables, among other tools, to give savers information about the very best rates on the market. Therefore, we are often lumped together with comparison sites.
But, importantly, our best buy tables have not and will not be influenced by any commercial relationships – so accounts are listed on our best buy tables by merit, not because we will be paid to display them. Although we are sometimes paid, this is clearly highlighted.
We always try to include at least one account that isn’t online only, for the numerous savers who would prefer to open and manage an account by more traditional methods.
We also take into consideration the customer experience in opening and managing accounts. And this means that we may not include a provider if the overwhelming feedback or our own experience is negative. In this situation we will try and work with the provider to suggest how they could improve their customer experience.
We know it can be done with the customer in mind first and foremost, so would hope that other businesses commit to treating their customers fairly. Otherwise they are simply giving the industry a bad reputation and may eventually leave consumers too cynical to use comparison services at all.
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