What’s changing in relation to price comparison websites?

What’s changing in relation to price comparison websites?

Financial Services analysis: George Mallet, barrister at Henderson Chambers, considers the changes introduced by a recent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) policy statement on price comparison websites.

Original news

Final FCA rules for price comparison websites,

LNB News 26/05/2016 108

Following a consultation, the FCA has issued the final text of its rules and guidance for price comparison websites (PCWs) comparing high-cost short-term credit (HCSTC) products. A policy statement from the FCA set out its response to the feedback received to its October 2015 consultation on consumer credit proposals in response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) recommendations on HCSTC. The rules come into force on 1 December 2016.

What changes are introduced by this policy statement?

The policy statement sets out the FCA’s response to feedback received with respect to the Consultation Paper CP 15/33 Consumer credit: proposals in response to the CMA’s recommendations on high-cost short-term credit (October 2015). For those that have been following the CMA and FCA’s tightening grip on PCWs that operate in the HCTSTC market, the notable feature of the policy statement is that much of the feedback received is supportive of existing proposals. Consequently existing sentiment is brought into legislation by the enacting of the Consumer Credit (High-Cost Short-Term Credit Price Comparison Website) Instrument 2016, which will amend the Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC) from 1 December 2016.

Product listings can no longer be based on a ‘firm’s commercial interests’.

How will this impact on a PCWs operating or business module?How will this impact on a PCWs operating or business module?

The 2016 Instrument restructured CONC 2.5A.6 to clarify that a firm must ensure that neither the ranking of search results, nor the prominence of the display of results, nor whether a loan from a lender or credit broker is displayed at all is based (wholly or partly) on the firm’s commercial interests or relationship with any person.

PCWs work as follows: consumers input preferred HCSTC characteristics into the PCW (the size of l

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