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WANTED: Actual HELPFUL info on price-comparison websites

Watchdog growls at dearth of details, trust

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The Office of Fair Trading has had a word with price-comparison websites, suggesting they up their game to improve consumer trust.

The watchdog said it has written to 100 leading price aggregators urging them provide clearer information to would-be punters.

The OFT found that, following a sweep of 55 such sites that operate in Blighty, some price-comparison firms were a bit lax on privacy policies, their handling of complaints and processes for redress.

There was also a lack of trust among consumers due to the lack of upfront information about the way search results were compiled as well as clear identification about the businesses behind such websites.

The regulator also offered up six tips to help customers recognise the good, the bad and the ugly price-comparison outfits trading in the UK.

Among other things, it advised users to know who they're doing business with, to protect their data and studiously read a site's privacy policy and Ts&Cs - something arguably few punters do.

"Not all price comparison websites have the same standards," said the OFT's boss Clive Maxwell. "We are working closely with the government and regulators to ensure that consumers are empowered to make informed choices. We hope this will improve trust and confidence among consumers who do not currently use price comparison websites, and who may be missing out on significant savings as a result." ®

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