Comparison websites 'not turning hits into sales'

Three-quarters of people use price comparison websites when searching for financial deals but only half of these actually take out a product through them, a survey indicated today.

Around 77% of people said they had used one of the sites during the past six months, seven out of 10 of whom had compared different car insurance quotes through them, according to magazine Which? Money.

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But half of people who had used one of the sites said they had ended up buying the product they were looking for direct from the provider, rather than through the comparison website.

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Many people also said they were suspicious that price comparison websites only included products that would make them the most commission, rather than ones that offered the best deal for the customer.

Just 21% of the people questioned said they trusted the sites to always find the best price available.

Overall, customers gave the different sites satisfaction ratings ranging from 47% to just 38%, lower than the scores achieved by many banks.

Peter Vicary Smith, chief executive of Which?, said: "Comparison websites are part and parcel of renewing insurance or finding new financial products so they really need to do a better job at keeping their customers happy."

* Which? questioned 1,703 members during August.

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