Clauses in the price comparison site’s contracts were found by the CMA to prevent insurers offering better prices to customers on rival sites
The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has accused ComparetheMarket of breaking competition law.
After investigating clauses in many of the price comparison site’s contracts with home insurers, it says they can stop those insurers from quoting better deals on rival sites and through other channels.
The “most favoured nation” clauses subsequently denied customers potentially better prices elsewhere, and denied rivals the opportunity to compete for customers through cheaper deals.
And the authority said it also meant home insurance companies were more likely to pay higher commission rates to price comparison sites. These extra costs could potentially be passed on to customers.
The CMA today issued Comparethemarket a “statement of objections” setting out its provisional view that the contracts break competition law.
CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, said: “Over 20 million UK households have home insurance and more than 60% of new policies are found on price comparison sites.
“Therefore it’s crucial that these companies are able to offer customers their best possible deals.
“Our investigation has provisionally found that ComparetheMarket has broken the law by preventing home insurers from offering lower prices elsewhere.
“This could result in people paying higher premiums than they need to.”
ComparetheMarket will have an opportunity to respond in detail and the CMA will consider the response and any further evidence before reaching a final decision.
A spokesperson for ComparetheMarket owner BGL Group said: “We are disappointed by the CMA’s provisional findings.
“We will carefully review the evidence once we have access to it, and look forward to working with the CMA over the coming months to ensure a satisfactory outcome.”
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