6.1  Digital comparison tools: CMA final report on market study

On 26 September 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published the final report (plus summary) on its market study into digital comparison tools (DCTs). DCTs aim to help consumers by bringing together a number of products or services, offering a variety of ways to help them choose between options, and sometimes to make purchases or change providers. The Financial Conduct Authority has welcomed the report.

The CMA found a mostly positive picture of people’s use of and attitudes to DCTs, and the ways DCTs treat people. However, the CMA had concerns, especially on DCTs’ transparency, accessibility and clarity about their use of personal information. As a result of these concerns, the CMA has made a number of recommendations which include:

  • all sites should follow the CMA's ground rules. They should be Clear, Accurate, Responsible and Easy to use (CARE);
  • all sites should be clear about how they make money; how many deals they are displaying and how they are ordering the results;
  • sites should be clear on how they protect personal information and how people can control its use;
  • it should be made as easy as possible for people to make effective comparisons or use different sites, for example, through better information about products;
  • all regulators with a stake in this area should work together to ensure people are well protected.

The CMA has also decided to open a competition law investigation into how one site has set up its contracts with insurers, because it suspects this may result in higher home insurance prices.

The CMA has also published supporting papers and research that is has commissioned. Links to these publications are given on the DCT market study webpage.