In the course we discussed a lot about comparison-sites, especially with the guest-lecture of Independer.nl and business-case examples. Today the Dutch Competition Authority came up with an interesting research about 40 comparison-sites, specialized in savings and travel insurances. They conclude that 60% of the sites are showing wrong numbers and do not show enough products to compare. The Competition Authority explains that the consumers, in this way, are not informed well and therefore they can make wrong decisions for this really important products.
Also they explain that in about 50% of the sites it is not clear which company owns the site and in which way the make it profitable. In that way the shown information is not transparent. Therefore they recommend a Code of Conduct and the try to inform consumers about this problem. They give an advise to use different sites to complete the comparison, before the consumer takes there decision. Also they recommend to compare your findings with the ‘old-fashion’ information given directly by banks and insurance companies.
Henk van Don, board member of the Dutch Competition Authority says “Comparison sites are useful for the consumer when they are show the entire information, are transparent and fair. Otherwise it is not clear wether you get the right offer or not”.
My opinion it that such a Code of Conduct can be very useful and can make the comparison-market more fair, especially it can give a positive boost to companies that are doing right at this moment. They do not need to change much and they possibly will loose some competitors that are unfair right now. Mieke van Os has explained to us in her guest lecture that Independer.nl increased their sales when they showed their telephone-number and information about the customers. Such a simple difference brings in more fairness to the consumers and also the transparency of the company seems an opportunity to me. On the other hand Mieke van Os said that they do not show all the products in the comparison, because the consumers do not want such a specific result. But she also mentioned that it is possible to compare all the companies or products on their site, for the ‘die-hard’ comparison-consumer.
Concluding, comparison-sites give opportunities to both consumers and companies, but it is important to keep up the fairness! In that way, a Code of Conduct, as mentioned today by the Dutch Competition Authority will be a fine idea!