The Observer, on Sunday 30 August, tells us that the OFT are to investigate the tactics of price comparison websites, amidst allegations of "dubious advertising and confusing prices" The article goes on to say that "If found guilty, the sites could be forced to change the way they operate and switch to a less profitable, more consumer-friendly system." Utility Warehouse do not pay commission to comparison websites.
It is clear from looking at some comparison website forums that there are staunch supporters of comparison websites, just as there are people who seem to have the time and the inclination to swap their insurances, their utility suppliers, their phone packages, and anything else that can be swapped with the aim of always having the cheapest deal. Utility Warehouse do not claim to always have the cheapest deal.
But is there really a 'one stop fits all' kind of shopping? If so, why do we need around 40 comparison sites to find the right product? Are we really so naive as a nation that we will only go for the cheapest headline rate, regardless of the product behind it? According to the article "The British Insurance Brokers' Association, which has campaigned on behalf of its high street members against what it called "the worst offenders", said the latest problem centred on car insurance quotes that appear cheaper as they include an excess that can be as high as £500. Customers usually opt for just a £100 or £200 excess, which pushes up the price of a policy"
So why choose Utility Warehouse if they're not going to promise you the cheapest deal or advertise their products on tv. It must be a scam, right?
Wrong. The OFT report on comparison websites won't be published until next year, but Utility Warehouse is a Top 250 company that has already won a raft of 'best buy' awards for its utility, broadband & phone products as well as it's UK based customer service. By not advertising, and not paying commission to comparison websites, Utility Warehouse can help to keep costs low by selling through a team of independent distributors.
But it doesn't stop there. Because Utility Warehouse can also produces everything on one bill, a 5% cashback card, internet telephone, business services, free calls, a community fundraiser option and a triple value guarantee.
Not the absolute cheapest deal for every minute of the year? No, and it doesn't pretend to be. Are you tied in to lengthy contracts to get the best deals? No. Everyone gets the same deal - it's not a 'new customers only' sort of company. A good all-round product base with award-winning customer service? Certainly. And if the growing band of consumers signing up to the Utility Warehouse brand is anything to go by, they're getting something right, even if they don't subscribe to comparison websites.