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Comparison Sites a bit misleading??

in Energy
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saver861saver861 Forumite
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Got the usual call from BG to switch back to them. Had a look into it and realised how comparison sites can be misleading.

Situation is - I'm with SP fixed until March 2015. My actual usage cost is £1290 for the year. Looking at comparisons and some other tariffs, some show savings of around £100 per year with a fix to October 2015.

The comparison though is taking my remaining 6 months with SP and then using the roll over standard tariff prices for the next 6 months, thus coming up with the 12 month savings. As it happens I have a £50 exit fee (£25 per fuel).

So a comparison that tells me I'm saving £100 is not the case at all. By the time I pay the £50 exit and take into account the additional 'ghost' cost of the standard tariff after March then its about the same.

Obviously when the fix comes to an end in March I will be looking to move at the time and would never let it roll onto a standard tariff. In effect, the closer you get to the end of a fix the more misleading it can be, even ignoring any exit fees.

I'm guessing this has been discussed on other threads no doubt, but I just happened to notice it today. Food for thought therefore .... unless of course I am missing something .....
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Replies

  • What you need to base your comparison on is past/current consumption over a 12 month period or the best estimate your current provider can give. Not your Personal Projection for the following 12 months. Hope this helps.
  • sheffield_ladsheffield_lad Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
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    £30million+ paid in commission by the big 6.


    No wonder the websites are never off the TV adverts.


    What Martin L and which should have told consumers was to ask your own provider for the best tariff.
  • CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
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    Most comparison sites have a setting that allows you to switch between results which show just a tariff comparison, and one that takes into account when your tariff ends. They are usually set to the latter by default.

    If you look carefully at the options, you can change it so that it gives you the next 12 months based on your current tarrif only.

    For example; energyhelpline.....the comparison site I usually use has a clickable paragraph at the top which says:

    "We've noticed you're on a capped tariff that's due to expire in the next 12 months.
    We've taken account of this on your result table."

    You then click the link below and then have the following options:

    Weighted results (assuming you will switch to a standard tarrif when you fixed period ends) and gives you a 12 month comparison based on this.

    Or standard results (which just gives you a 12 month comparison using your current tariff only, even if that tariff ends in 6 months).
  • saver861saver861 Forumite
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    What you need to base your comparison on is past/current consumption over a 12 month period or the best estimate your current provider can give. Not your Personal Projection for the following 12 months. Hope this helps.

    Yes - I always do quotes on actual KWh usage for 12 months rather than anything else. I use the same numbers for all comparisons. I noticed the Personal Projection which does explain how it got the figures but unless you look into it you can be under the impression the saving outlined is an 'actual' saving.
  • saver861saver861 Forumite
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    Most comparison sites have a setting that allows you to switch between results which show just a tariff comparison, and one that takes into account when your tariff ends. They are usually set to the latter by default.

    If you look carefully at the options, you can change it so that it gives you the next 12 months based on your current tarrif only.

    For example; energyhelpline.....the comparison site I usually use has a clickable paragraph at the top which says:

    I had a look at this and when I tried to do a comparison the only options it gave me for current payment method was Quarterly Direct Debit or Pay on receipt of bill. :huh: I pay by Monthly Direct Debit and I don't know why energyhelpline does not give this option.

    I selected Quarterly Direct Debit to proceed with the quote - however, its calculations for my current supplier costs were way out but nearly £200. Not sure whats going on with that site but aint working as it should at the moment.
  • edited 22 September 2014 at 10:08PM
    cklasscklass Forumite
    216 Posts
    edited 22 September 2014 at 10:08PM
    saver861 wrote: »
    I'm guessing this has been discussed on other threads no doubt, but I just happened to notice it today. Food for thought therefore .... unless of course I am missing something .....
    It has been discussed before and it apparently has to do with new market regulations set by Ofgem. They have to ensure that any calculated savings take into consideration tariff changes. Comparison site can't predict which tariffs will be available for you to choose from in X months time, so they always use the current standard tariff. Cheap Energy Club and some other comparison sites do explain how it is calculating the savings in these cases, so I wouldn't say they were misleading people, but it's certainly not very helpful. Someone from MSE said they're discussing it with Ofgem: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5053026
  • CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
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    saver861 wrote: »
    I selected Quarterly Direct Debit to proceed with the quote - however, its calculations for my current supplier costs were way out but nearly £200. Not sure whats going on with that site but aint working as it should at the moment.

    It is on the actual results page near the top. You need to have a tarrif that ends within the next 12 months for it to show up I think
  • saver861saver861 Forumite
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    It is on the actual results page near the top. You need to have a tarrif that ends within the next 12 months for it to show up I think

    Got it.

    It does demonstrate the problem for sure.

    Three tariffs I looked at initially 1) Sainsburys, 2) EDF and 3) BG.

    These showed, 1) £174 savings, 2) £101 Savings and 3) £94 savings.

    However, when the standard option is chosen i.e. the existing tariff for a full 12 months comparison the figures change significantly. It then reads 1) £91 savings, 2) £17 savings and 3) £10 savings.

    So with a £50 exit fee I'd obviously be losing money with options 2 and 3 and just slightly better with option 1, Sainsburys. However, not worth the hassle of switching for £41 a year. I would rather wait until March and see whats on offer then.

    It is certainly something peeps need to watch out for otherwise they be duped!
  • Mr_KMr_K Forumite
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    Another thing to watch out for is to ensure they are showing you all providers, not just the ones they can make commission from. The Regulator has forced them to do this but they don't do it by default, you have to tick another option (it's usually something like ' show me all providers' or 'show me providers you can switch me to today' - the latter being the default option. This usually excludes the smaller providers which are often offering the best deals at the moment.

    The comparison sites aren't in it for your benefit.
  • CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
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    That is why I always usually used energyhelpline. As far as I am aware it shows all providers. The option to switch between 12 months projections is also clearer than most other sites.

    Personally I do not mind the 12 month projection which calculates the inclusion of defaulting to a standard tariff.

    For example, if your tariff ends in 3 months time, you are looking for a projection of current prices for the next 12 months. I therefore prefer a calculation which does not compare the current available tariffs to one I am just finishing. The standard tariff is an obvious one to compare against as you will have to switch to something once your tariff ends. All it is saying is, "if you do nothing this is how much it could cost you".

    This works less well if you are comparing tariffs only a few months in to a 12 month fix.

    In either case, I have no problem with the way they compare. It just needs to be made clear how the comparison is made and the ability to switch between them needs to be much clearer to see and easier to apply.
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