Competition regulator to look into market impact of aggregators
The Competition and Markets Authority has launched a market study into price comparison websites.
The inquiry will look at how digital comparison tools are working for consumers, business and the economy.
The CMA will look at digital comparison tools (DCTs) ranging from price comparison sites to smartphone apps.
The CMA said its earlier reviews of motor insurance, energy and banking “have highlighted how these tools can play a powerful role in increasing competition and helping consumers to find better deals and switch.
“This new study will consider how to maximise the potential benefits of DCTs for consumers, and reduce any barriers to how they work.”
The CMA will also look at whether consumers would benefit from more information about how comparison tools earn money, and the impact this might have on the services they offer.
It will also look at whether arrangements between DCTs and the suppliers that sell through them might restrict competition, and whether consumers can trust the information they are given.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive, said:
“Digital comparison tools have played a big part in changing markets for the better, bringing new ways of doing things and forcing businesses to up their game.
“Consumers have benefited as choice and access to goods and services have grown.”
Interested parties should submit their views to the CMA by 24 October.
The CMA must announce within 6 months whether it intends to refer the market for a more in-depth (phase 2) investigation and must publish its report within 12 months, setting out its findings and any actions it proposes to take.