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European Commission seeks to foster greater transparency in online comparison websites and apps


Do you use comparison websites or apps to check for the best prices for example for a hotel, flight or car insurance? According to a study pdf (7 MB) published on March 25 2015 by the European Commission, nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers have experienced difficulties when using a comparison tool, mostly due to incomplete information. Just 28% of the sites analysed were providing explanations on how the initial rankings were made, and only 40% of these sites were giving information on how they were making money. Comparison tools have a significant role to play in helping consumers identify better deals across the EU single market. That's why transparency in online comparison tools is important.

Furthermore, just over one in ten comparison tools gave an indication of their market coverage, and less than one in five sites were showing the frequency at which they were updating the data.

To foster consumer trust in these tools, the Commission is developing, together with stakeholders, a series of principles to be respected by these websites and apps. This action will contribute to the proper enforcement of relevant legislation, such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive, and improving transparency. In concrete terms, the aim is to make comparison operators more clear and transparent and ensure the information they provide is impartial, exact and up-to-date.

Do you use comparison websites or apps? What has your experience been? Let us know your opinions on Twitter at @EU_Consumer or on the EU Justice Facebook account. 

More information

  • Factsheet on the study pdf (560 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 
  • Full study pdf (7 MB)
  • More information on the study
  • Unfair Commercial Practices Directive
  • Consumer Rights Directive