September 26, 2017 / 6:43 AM / 3 months ago

UK competition watchdog sets rules for comparison sites after review

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s competition regulator on Tuesday set new ground-rules for price-comparison websites following a sector review, and said it was opening a formal investigation into one site offering home insurance.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the year-long examination had found the sites offered a range of benefits for customers but that more improvements were needed to help them get better deals.

Leading price comparison websites in Britain include Moneysupermarket.com and Gocompare.

Moneysupermarket said in a statement that it backed the report’s findings.

Among the recommendations were that all sites should be clear about how they make their money, how many deals they are displaying and how they are ordering the results. It should also be made as easy as possible to make comparisons.

“We have set out ground rules for how sites should behave, as well as being clear on how regulators can ensure people have a better experience online,” Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive, said in a statement.

“We are also taking enforcement action where we suspect the law may have been broken.”

As part of this, the CMA said it was opening a competition law investigation into one unnamed site set up its contracts with insurers, as it suspected it could result in customers being charged higher home insurance prices.

The CMA said it would work with the sector, regulators, and other bodies to ensure its recommendations are taken on board, and would soon be announcing its next steps on consumer protection work in hotels and car hire. (Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

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