Voluntary Code launched by the Comparison Consortium

The Comparison Consortium, a newly-formed body established to develop a standard of practice for the price comparison market, has launched its Code of Practice and is calling for all comparison websites to sign up via its accreditation scheme.

Founded earlier this year by leaders in the comparison market, the Comparison Consortium aims to represent and regulate the online price comparison community.

Its voluntary Code of Practice has been developed over the past four months by the Comparison Consortium committee, a group selected by aggregator veteran and Consortium co-founder Richard Mason.

The intention of the Code is to establish a set of practices and clear procedures that represent consumers’ best interests, and upholds the integrity of the price comparison industry. It aims to bring an unprecedented element of regulation and professionalism to the price comparison community.

The Comparison Consortium Committee collectively brings over 40 years industry experience to the table, gained from some of the UK’s biggest price comparison websites including Moneysupermarket, Confused.com, TescoCompare, Moneyextra.com, uSwitch, beatthatQuote.com and Moneyexpert. Committee members include Sean Gardner, Richard Mason, Debra Williams, Jennifer Rose, Thomas Adalbert and Graeme Kalbraier.

Founder of Moneyexpert.com, Sean Gardner has been appointed head of the Comparison Consortium. His primary responsibility is to chair regular meetings of the Committee members and oversee the ongoing development of its Code of Practice.

On the 22nd July, the Comparison Consortium is hosting a working lunch with the FSA to discuss the future development of its Code of Practice in an open forum. All interested parties are invited to attend with their feedback.

Richard Mason, co-founder of the Comparison Consortium said: “Price comparison websites have revolutionised the industry over the last fifteen years and transformed the way people shop for financial products and services online. As the number of players proliferates and the industry moves from infancy to adolescence, an authority figure to guide the sector has become central to its healthy development.

"As such, it only seemed proper that the industry’s veterans assume this ‘guardianship’ role by defining the boundaries and instilling a common set of principles throughout. The introduction of this Code will ensure that customers are treated fairly and respectfully, and help the industry move one step closer to adulthood.”

Sean Gardner added: “Since the establishment of the Comparison Consortium earlier this year, the Committee has worked hard behind the scenes to establish strong working relationships with other industry bodies to assist with the development of its Code. The introduction of this voluntary Code of Practice is a milestone in the development of a professional and credible comparison industry.

"We aim to make clear to consumers what they should expect from price comparison websites, and we will work tirelessly to improve standards in the sector by promoting best practice. The Comparison Consortium will continue to consult with the FSA and other leading trade bodies to ensure that the comparison industry’s interests are represented appropriately in regulatory and consumer interest developments.”