Comparison websites enable consumers to easily compare products and services of different companies. Hence they play an important role in improving transparency and enhancing access to information. However, comparison websites can be biased and mislead consumers. Reacting to these potential dangers, the European consumer umbrella organization BEUC has published recommendations for comparison websites.
The websites should, inter alia, comply with the following requirements:
- Transparency on business model: Who is the owner of the website, how is it financed and what is the methodology to collect, rank and display information?
- Coverage: What products and services are included on the website?
- Up-to-dateness: Are consumers informed about the up-to-dateness of the information?
- Verifiability: Can consumers verify the data, e.g. by following a link?
- Accuracy: Do the displayed prices include charges, fees, delivery costs and taxes?
- Independence: Is the website independent from the individual companies that are listed on the site?
- Clarity and user-friendliness: Is the information precise, relevant, understandable and readable?
- Accessible also to vulnerable consumers: Can visually impaired or other disadvantages consumers access the site?
Further information: Position paper