Last week shares in price comparison websites in the UK took a hit following reports that Amazon could be a rival in the not-so-distant future. Now new research shines a spotlight on allegedly “unreliable information” provided by aggregators to car insurance customers.
Examining policy details from GoCompare, Confused.com, MoneySuperMarket, and ComparetheMarket and cross-checking them against the information directly available from motor insurers, Which? said it found inaccuracies. Releasing its findings today, Which? noted: “Of the 79 policy descriptions we analysed, 48 (61%) contained at least one discrepancy when compared with the wording in the insurer’s policy booklet.”
Cited errors include promises of a supposedly guaranteed courtesy car when no such assurance is offered by the insurer, as well as appearing to overstate a provider’s disability cover. The mystery shopping exercise involved quotations from 21 car insurance brands.
“Comparison sites told us that they take measures to audit and verify policy information shown, but none denied that errors creep through,” stated Which?, the largest independent consumer body in the UK.
“Different comparison sites offer varying degrees of detail about the policies available through them, which makes direct comparisons in the numbers of errors unfair,” it explained. “Proportionally, of the points we were able to directly compare between comparison sites and policy documents, ComparetheMarket and GoCompare published more details that didn’t match policy documents (13% each) than Confused.com (6%) and MoneySuperMarket (5%).
“However, ComparetheMarket and GoCompare publish significantly more policy information than the other two websites.”
Reacting to the study, Confused.com told Which? that it constantly reviews how policy information is displayed and that it values the feedback provided by the consumer body. ComparetheMarket, for its part, said it works with providers for accurate information and that discrepancies are promptly addressed.
GoCompare, meanwhile, cited “a series of checks,” including verification by insurers. “We rely on partners to keep us updated with any changes,” said the aggregator which used to be part of the esure group. “We’ll be reviewing our processes to ensure the highest levels of accuracy.”
As for MoneySuperMarket, it said every car insurance brand that quotes on its site is audited on a regular basis, and that insurers are required to provide information on any changes to their level of cover. “If we pick up any inaccuracies, we then liaise with the insurance provider to clarify and resolve the issue to ensure there is no customer detriment,” it noted.
With Amazon possibly entering the picture, the room for error might have to become smaller – and fast. Let us know what you think of the comparison website experience by leaving a comment below.