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12-304MR ASIC warns comparison websites

Wednesday 5 December 2012

ASIC today warned operators of insurance and credit comparison websites of the need to ensure they comply with their obligations under consumer protection laws.

In light of the growth in comparison websites, ASIC is focused on ensuring they are providing accurate information and not misleading consumers. While comparison websites can play a valuable role and assist consumers in shopping around, one with misleading or inaccurate information can also cause detriment by steering consumers towards unsuitable or more expensive products.

ASIC has already identified a number of concerns with some comparison websites, including that some of the websites:

ASIC’s focus on insurance specific comparison websites found that on some websites:

ASIC also reminded operators that websites that allow consumers to obtain and/or compare insurance quotes will generally be providing financial services. If so, these operators need to be licensed or be an authorised representative of a licensee.

For credit comparison websites that advertise loan products, it is important that comparison rates are disclosed as required under the National Credit Code. Given the nature of comparison sites it is important that consumers are provided with accurate information so they can choose financial products that best suit their needs.

ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said, ‘ASIC recognises that consumers can benefit from the increasing opportunities to research and compare financial products online. For this to occur, operators of comparison websites must take care to ensure they accurately portray the features and limitations of the products compared. They also need to ensure that any information they provide, including quotes, is reliable, accurate and up-to-date.’

‘We will be targeting this area of the market and we will take regulatory action where necessary to ensure that operators of financial product comparison websites comply with the law’, Mr Kell said.


ASIC recently released Regulatory Guide 234 Advertising financial products and advice services: Good practice guidance (RG 234) which sets out some guidelines for operators of comparison websites such as:

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