Comparison site agrees to publish clarification for a month

The FCA has cracked down on Moneysupermarket for misleadingly implying it was cheaper than rival comparison sites 50% of the time.

The regulator said a combination of images, voiceover and text meant viewers might not be able to absorb all the relevant information in adverts which ran between 11 August and 28 October.

As a whole, the advertisements created the impression than Moneysupermarket was cheaper than other comparison sites more than 50% of the time.

If fact, based on its own survey data, it was cheaper 34% of the time, with the next competitor cheapest around 21% of the time.

Adverts that can be interpreted in more than one way breach Principle 7 of the code of conduct of regulated firms. The code states that firms must communicate in a way which is “clear, fair and not misleading”.

Moneysupermarket has agreed to run a clarification on the car and home insurance pages of its website for the next four weeks, stating: “The FCA is concerned that the adverts created an incorrect overall impression that Moneysupermarket is cheaper than other leading comparison sites more than 50% of the time.”

It will also not broadcast or publish the offending adverts in the future.

The FCA will not fine Moneysupermarket, a company spokesman confirmed.

Chief executive Peter Plumb said: “Our job at Moneysupermarket is to get motorists the same cover for less. We’re doing that; 34% got better prices through us, that’s ahead of our nearest competitor at 21% according to our independent research.

“In 2014 we want to do even better. The Competition Commission is now removing a major barrier used by some of our competitors to prevent insurers giving cheaper prices to Moneysupermarket customers.

“It’s all about lower prices and I am pleased that having worked with the FCA we are clear how to communicate this important message to motorists in 2014.”