Comparison site penalised

CompareTheMarket fined for competition law breach

The website is famous for its meerkat advertising

CompareTheMarket, the price comparison website, has been fined £17.9 million for rigging the cost of home insurance.

Between 2015 and 2017 it prohibited insurers advertising lower prices on other sites to stop it being undercut by rivals, according to the Competition and Markets Authority.

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.”

CompareTheMarket challenged the CMA ruling and said it would look closely at the decision before deciding on its next move.

“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”, said a spokesman.

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