Although they’ve come in for criticism over the years, the ad-funded Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) nevertheless provide a useful service for households and individual looking to research what tariffs and deals are on the market.
Savvy customers just need to be alert that these sites are funded by the service providers, who earn a commission every time you purchase a product, which means their advice is unlikely to be impartial.
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Price Comparison Sites database
Price Comparison Websites (or PCWs) are paid an introduction commission by end providers such as energy, insurance or broadband companies when they successfully secure your business.
Typically a PCW will be paid anything from £15 to £50 (or even more) in commissions for each successful introduction. That means it’s strongly in their interests to sell you a new product or service – even if that isn’t necessarily in your best interest.
These commissions often come with strings attached, for instance preventing the PCW from marketing you other competing products within a certain period of time.
Because they are paid by providers, in most cases PCWs are not under any strict obligation to offer consumers the best possible deal. Rather, they have a commercial incentive to offer the deal that makes them the most money.
Many users have become wise to this over the years, and will typically use several PCWs when searching for a new or replacement provider. Using multiple PCWs, while time-consuming, can be a good way to make sure you get a good sense of the whole market.
Although not impartial, using PCWs can be helpful to get a quick sense of which providers are offering which products at any given time.
The best time to look at comparison sites is when you are nearing the end of your current contact end date, although the exact best timing will depend on which category and sometimes which contract you are on. You can use Nous.co to time it just right.