Compare the Market fined £17.9million by watchdog for ‘pushing up’ home insurance prices

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COMPARISON site Compare the Market has been fined £17.9million for stopping insurers advertising cheaper deals elsewhere.

The competition watchdog found this was likely to have resulted in higher insurance premiums for customers.

Compare the Market has been fined £17.9m by the Competition and Markets Authority

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Compare the Market breached its rules for a period of two years.

It found that between December 2015 and December 2017, the comparison site imposed clauses that stopped home insurers from offering lower deals on other websites.

The CMA argued that these restrictions meant competition and deals on other websites were more limited for customers.

Without these clauses, the CMA said Compare the Market would have had to compete harder to get lower prices from home insurers, for example, by lowering the commission fees it charged.

However, Compare the Market has hit out at the CMA ruling and said it “fundamentally disagrees” with the outcome.

Compare the Market is famous for its meerkat puppets and its “simples” catchphrase.

Michael Grenfell, the CMA’s Executive Director for Enforcement, said: “Price comparison websites are excellent for consumers.

“They promote competition between providers, offer choice for customers, and make it easier for consumers to find the best bargains.

“It is therefore unacceptable that ComparetheMarket, which has been the largest price comparison site for home insurance for several years, used clauses in its contracts that restricted home insurers from offering bigger discounts on competing websites – so limiting the bargains potentially available to consumers.”

A Compare the Market spokesperson told HOAR: “Compare the Market is disappointed with the CMA’s decision and does not recognise its analysis of the home insurance market. 

“We fundamentally disagree with the conclusions the CMA has drawn and will be carefully examining the detailed rationale behind the decision and considering all of our options.

“In the past year alone, we have helped more than 6 million customers save money.”