Trade body aims to tackle concerns raised by FSA and consumer groups
Price comparison sites are drawing up a code of practice in an effort to clean up their damaged reputations.
The Comparison Consortium, the trade body established last month to represent aggregators, believes the code will bring clarity to customers.
Richard Mason, the organisation’s acting head, said: “We are responding to comments from consumer bodies, negative press and comments from trade bodies and the FSA. There needs to be some sort of confidence that price comparison sites act in the customers’ interest.”
An FSA review published last November criticised the aggregators over the accuracy of excess charges listed on websites and over assumptions about customer information.
In a report last August, consumer group Which? accused aggregators of misleading customers.
Mason, chief executive of moneyextra.com, said the consortium would help aggregators act with one voice. “When consumers go to a price comparison website, they need to know whether every product is going to be listed, whether every provider is listed and whether products listed are exclusive to that website,” he said.
Eric Galbraith, chief executive of Biba, said he was not convinced customers were being treated fairly.
“Since early last year we have been calling for guaranteed premiums, the use of facts and not assumptions as the basis for quotations, explanations of what the policy does and does not cover and the differences between each insurance policy made clearly visible,” he said.
“I strongly believe these should be a minimum standard practice for all comparison websites and should form the basis for any code of conduct.”
The consortium will hold its first meeting on 12 March when the code of practice proposals, which the ABI has helped draw up, will be put forward. Aggregators who sign up to the code will receive an accreditation status.
The Comparison Consortium is currently funded and run by moneyextra.com. It hopes to recruit a panel of aggregators to help develop a representative trade body.