Energy sites ‘hoodwink’ customers

Energy sites hoodwink customersSome energy price comparison websites have been hoodwinking customers to switch to deals that are not the cheapest and should be forced to pay them compensation, according to a group of MPs.
The Energy & Climate Change Committee has called on energy watchdog Ofgem to make price comparison sites disclose the amount of commission received for each switch at the point of sale, amid claims some sites have used misleading language to dupe consumers.
Representatives of the “big five” comparison sites – including USwitch, Moneysupermarket (pictured) and GoCompare – told the committee they earn up to £30 in commission every time a customer switches to another provider, or up to £60 when a customer switches both their gas and electricity accounts.
Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: “Consumers trust price comparison services to help them switch to the best energy deals available on the market. But some energy price comparison sites have been behaving more like backstreet market traders than the trustworthy consumer champions they make themselves out to be in adverts on TV.
“Some comparison sites have used misleading language to dupe consumers into opting for default options that only display commission-earning deals. And others have previously gone so far as to conceal deals that do not earn them commission behind multiple drop-down web options.”
He added: “As an immediate and essential first step towards rebuilding confidence, the companies should compensate any consumers who have been encouraged to switch to tariffs that may not have been the cheapest or most appropriate for their needs.
“We have no objection to commission being paid by suppliers to price comparison websites as long as the arrangements are clearly disclosed.”

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