Key principles for Comparison Tools
In 2012, the European Commission launched a Multi-stakeholder Group on Comparison Tools with representatives of consumer organisations, business associations, national consumer authorities and enforcers, sector-specific regulators as well as comparison tools operators, with the purpose to look into the issues pertaining to the functioning of comparison tools, how these issues were affecting consumers and how the situation could be improved.
A report of the multi-stakeholder group with its main findings and recommendations was presented at the 2013 European Consumer Summit and a dedicated Commission study commissioned by the group was published in 2015 on Comparison Tools and Third-Party Verification Schemes.
As a follow-up, the multi-stakeholder group concluded its work in 2016 with agreed Key Principles for Comparison Tools to guide operators of comparison tools towards better compliance, notably with the UCPD, and user-friendliness. The Principles cover for instance the transparency of the business models and of the methodology used by comparison tools, the identification of advertising, the accuracy of the information provided and the trustworthiness of user reviews featured. Organisations who have endorsed the principles have agreed to disseminate, implement them and/or support their implementation by comparison tools operators.
These Principles have fed into the UCPD Guidance, as revised and published on 25 May 2016, as advice to stakeholders. They have also been referenced in the Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market also published on 25 May 2016.