Comparison site comparison ‘inconclusive’

A recent price comparison website comparison carried out by consumer magazine Which? has been found to be “inconclusive” by its authors.

The report – which scored all four major comparison sites on categories such as navigability, redirectionability, savings, time taken and advert irony level – found that there was “little difference in overall quality” between each company, and that the websites were all “much of a muchness”.

“We were surprised by the poor savings on all the comparison sites,” says Peter Ian, who was involved in the study. “The better value insurers tend not to feature on these websites at all, so these sites are a kind of ‘best of the rest’, if you like. But even when you accept that fact, the overall savings are negligible, and no more than customers could save by going direct to the insurers themselves. One of our colleagues made quite a clever comparison based on our comparison of comparison sites – they said that comparison sites were superfluous to the direction of traffic in a similar way to those people you get at car boot sales who tell you where to park on the grass verge. Although I would say, in fairness, that car boot parking marshals score a lot higher in redirectionability compared to all the price comparison websites we compared.”

Advert irony was also disappointing across the board, with none of the sites scoring higher than a Freddie Starr level of irony. Peter Ian explains further: “A basic grasp of irony is an essential tool in modern advertising and it was disappointing to see that none of the comparison site adverts displayed any sort of irony beyond Freddie Starr level. were the worst, displaying irony levels below those of Paul Daniels, and were barely any better, peaking just above Jim Bowen level. The major problem with all the adverts was that they relied on old-fashioned jingles and cheesy slogans which work their way easily into the public psyche. This would have been OK if this was 1986, but unfortunately times have moved on since then and these adverts just look outdated and silly.”

The comparison effectively ended up a dead heat between all four services, with no clear front runner in any category. “We were frustrated at the end of the study as it proved inconclusive and we were unable to recommend any particular price comparison website over the other,” added Mr. Ian. “All we ended up finding was that a comparison of comparison sites is of no use to a consumer looking to take out life cover or renew their home insurance. We would ultimately recommend that customers cut out this unnecessary middleman and go straight to the price comparison sites themselves in order to find the best deals.”


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