The Federal cartel office is the Internet-in many cases, to abuses. “Consumers can’t always rely on it to actually find the best offer on a comparison site,” said cartel office President Andreas Mundt at the launch of a consultation paper to comparison portals (PDF).

For the paper, the cartel office examined the 36 most relevant comparison portals for the sectors of travel, energy, insurance, telecommunications and Finance. It was on collaborations between different portals, market coverage of each of the portals, the Rankings of the search results, and other factors to influence the choice of consumers, as well as dealing with user reviews respected.

“lack of transparency”

“Many of the comparison information is accurate and reliable,” said Mundt. In many cases, it is according to the report, but also behavior, in which consumers are misled and possible law could be violations. So as to affect the Portal default presentation of the search results had, for example, by the providers of paid fees or commissions. As an example, Mundt provider called inside of hotel rooms, “can be places on hotel platforms List buy”.

Often would not be informed, according to Mundt consumers about how the order of the search results and the recommendations of the comparison portals in the Individual. “There is a lack of transparency,” said Mundt.

in Addition, the comparison portals have, in some sectors, low coverage of the market and were part of only a selection of less than 50 percent of the market, existing offers. In the case of insurance, are not included part of the important provider with compare for example, “The consumer can not always be relied upon to actually find the best offer on a comparison site,” said Mundt.

Numerous portals would also create a standalone comparison, but only to the records or rate calculator other portals to access.

The affected portals can now take until the beginning of February to the results of the investigation. In the coming year, the Federal cartel office intends to publish the final report. Legal steps against the portals can’t companies the Bundeskartellamt, however.