MSE News: Energy comparison sites hide cheap tariffs, but we don't

in Energy
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  • Butterfly_BrainButterfly_Brain Forumite
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    Martin should never have sold out to Money Supermarket
    Blessed are the cracked for they are the ones that let in the light
    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. Member #35 Butterfly Brain + OH - Foraging Fixers
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  • FromplyFromply Forumite
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    Fromply wrote: »
    I'm seeing the same as Snowman.


    I've tried a different postcode, and I've tried "InPrivate" browsing...


    All 3 attempts show me the same as Snowman


    Just had a theory that it could be English/Welsh/Scottish differences - so tried Welsh and Scottish postcodes, but that made no difference.
  • KTFKTF Forumite
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    Martin should never have sold out to Money Supermarket
    And you say this for what reason?
  • MillicentBystanderMillicentBystander Forumite
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    I'm also getting (and always have) the same question as Snowman on Energyhelpline, i.e. it defaults to just the tariffs they can switch you to (and presumably earn wonga on). Cardew and myself rarely agree on here but I totally agree with his suggestion that there should be one, Govt-backed, not for profit comparison site which shows ALL the tariffs available to the consumer. Comparison sites are actually not the answer to the awful mess that is the domestic fuel market these days, they are actually a contributing factor in that they are only really in it for the cash and hence add yet more costs which are ultimately paid by already stretched households.
  • AquamaniaAquamania Forumite
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    Fromply wrote: »
    I'm seeing the same as Snowman.


    I've tried a different postcode, and I've tried "InPrivate" browsing...


    All 3 attempts show me the same as Snowman

    Interestingly, the Guardian reports today the same when looking at their comparison service (which is an energyhelpline affiliate service)
    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/20/energy-comparison-sites-consumers-complaint

    But when I use their affiliated service, I still don't see the question.

    So I guess it's probably something to do with an individuals computer set up.
  • AquamaniaAquamania Forumite
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    ...Cardew and myself rarely agree on here but I totally agree with his suggestion that there should be one, Govt-backed, not for profit comparison site which shows ALL the tariffs available to the consumer...

    Something else our taxes can be put towards providing?

    A nice little new quango is what is needed.

    Shotgun the head position. I won't charge too much per year; less than 7 figures honestly :)

    And I guarantee, no profits will be made for the taxpayers that fund us.
  • AquamaniaAquamania Forumite
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    Fromply wrote: »
    If comparison websites were honestly, openly and genuinely comparing best deals for consumers, then what incentive could there be for energy companies to pay commissions? The only, business reason, for a company to pay commission is so that they can alter the recommendation?...

    So you don't think it's a very lucrative way for a supplier to advertise their products?

    If they are cheapest, or offer better service than their cheaper competitors, I'm sure they will attract more custom.

    And for what? Nothing, zilch, nada, unless they do and then probably about £50 for each succesful new applicant. (less than about 5% of a typical average annual energy bill)

    Compare that to other forms of advertsining, where there is usually a huge fee even if it attracts no customers.

    Have you any evidence of an energy company changing the recommendation of a comparison site? If so, I'm sure Ofgem would be most interested to hear it.

    This is about some of the comparison sites offering by default only suppliers that will pay them if you switch via the comparison site ... although all suppliers & tariffs are there if you change the filters (where necessary)

    And/or to get the name of that rival out there who has just started out and presumably wants to cash in on the £millions they claim the comparison sites are raking in)
    Interestingly, there is no mention at all of the prices they claim they can get customers, let alone the commission they would earn on each succesful switch :cool:
  • edited 20 October 2014 at 2:40PM
    MillicentBystanderMillicentBystander Forumite
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    edited 20 October 2014 at 2:40PM
    Aquamania wrote: »
    Something else our taxes can be put towards providing?

    A nice little new quango is what is needed.

    Shotgun the head position. I won't charge too much per year; less than 7 figures honestly :)

    And I guarantee, no profits will be made for the taxpayers that fund us.


    Yes, because selling off the gas and electricity industry off to the highest bidders so Thatcher could pay for the unemployment queue her policies required has been such an unqualified success hasn't it? :p Think before posting and all that...
  • Deeply confused by this blog, which seems to imply that Cheap Energy Club has nothing at all to do with MoneySupermarket (sorry if I'm missing something).

    I used Cheap Energy Club less than three weeks ago to switch - after putting in all my details and agreeing to switch to a new supplier, I was redirected to MoneySupermarket to complete the switch. So it's not like there's no link at all, is it? Is MSE using a totally different comparison method?

    As I said, deeply confused...

    Btw, I get that as a (relatively) new user I can't post external links. It seems a bit much to ban us newbies from linking to other bits of MSE, though :)
  • FromplyFromply Forumite
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    Eighth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Aquamania wrote: »
    So you don't think it's a very lucrative way for a supplier to advertise their products?

    If they are cheapest, or offer better service than their cheaper competitors, I'm sure they will attract more custom.

    And for what? Nothing, zilch, nada, unless they do and then probably about £50 for each succesful new applicant. (less than about 5% of a typical average annual energy bill)

    Compare that to other forms of advertsining, where there is usually a huge fee even if it attracts no customers.

    Have you any evidence of an energy company changing the recommendation of a comparison site? If so, I'm sure Ofgem would be most interested to hear it.

    This is about some of the comparison sites offering by default only suppliers that will pay them if you switch via the comparison site ... although all suppliers & tariffs are there if you change the filters (where necessary)

    And/or to get the name of that rival out there who has just started out and presumably wants to cash in on the £millions they claim the comparison sites are raking in)
    Interestingly, there is no mention at all of the prices they claim they can get customers, let alone the commission they would earn on each succesful switch :cool:


    But they're not paying for advertising, they're paying to manipulate the, apparently impartial, information, being provided to the consumer.


    If they were paying for advertising, then they would, for example, have a banner at the top of the page saying how great they are.


    What they are doing is paying a bribe to the comparison website for a favourable listing over those companies that don't pay the bribe!


    The evidence I have that comparison websites are changing their listing based on the bribe, is the question "Do you only want to see deals you can switch to today" which doesn't really mean that but really means "do you only want to see the deals that pay us a bribe". Of course if they were to say that, then people would get upset, so they instead have to invent an innocuous way of asking the same question which will slip under most peoples radar.



    I accept that the comparison sites will also show the deals that don't pay the bribes, but the reality is that most people will not see or understand this option, and so will only see the sites where bribes are paid. That is why the bribes are paid (If enough people understood what was really happening, then there would be no reason for the bribes to be paid because the companies would not receive the advantageous listing from them!)


    I'm with the people who have expressed a wish for regulator controlled comparison sites - you cannot expect impartial advice from companies who exist only to make money out of the "impartial" advice they can sell you!
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