Make Sure Comparison Sites Include Every Supplier

Make Sure Comparison Sites Include Every Supplier

Comparison shopping sites offer the promise of finding you the cheapest mobile phone/bank account/energy supplier/gadget. However, a recent court case reminds us that comparison sites won’t necessarily compare everything that’s on offer.

The Federal Court yesterday found that comparison Energy Watch had misled consumers in more than 80 advertisements broadcast last year. While some of the issues raised in court related to specific savings figures claimed, the bigger issue was the way the data was presented. As the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) explained:

Energy Watch had represented in its advertising that it compared the rates of all or many of the energy retailers in a person’s area when in fact the service it provided was to compare the rates of a person’s current energy retailer with those of the energy retailers with which Energy Watch has commercial agreements in place (referred to as its preferred suppliers).

That kind of issue doesn’t mean that comparison web sites aren’t a useful tool. But they are just one tool in your arsenal when researching a new purchase. Shopping around often means checking more than one resource, and double-checking the fine print carefully.



  • Case in point – iSelect doesn’t include BUPA or Medibank Australia in their listings – two enormous companies that make up roughly 80-85% of the entire private health market, thus providing some of the most competitive pricing. Obviously they don’t pay good enough to be part of the comparison.

  • This is true James, however iSelect make it Crystal clear that they compare policies from their participating funds they have agreements with. In saying that, they are happy to identify the obvious differences between other funds including BUPA and Medibank (who are very expensive anyway). And there are approximately 37 health insurance funds in Australia, and yes, most people only do know of BUPA or Medibank and tend to stick to what they know (which isnt always the best option).

  • iSelect do state clearly that they compare amongst their participating funds and not the entire industry. There are 37 health funds, which most people only know of 2 or 3 such as Medibank or BUPA. They do tend to be far more expensive than most of the other health funds out there. It could also be that Medibank or BUPA have no need to be recommended or want representation as they are large enough as it is.

  • If you’re looking to compare health insurance it might be worth checking.out SplitIt…they just launched yesterday and will share their commission with you if you buy through their site

  • Case in point, just ordered a PC today from CPL. Pretty much every component was $5-10 cheaper than the best on StaticIce (they don’t list on there). Got a bit screwed on a gtx680, but I guess that balanced everything out in the end.

  • I did look at iSelect a month ago and searched around. Found Australian Unity was the best price for what I wanted, which wasn’t on iSelect.

  • Those are some weirdly similar posts from James O and John G, you really both independently chose to mention “participating funds”, “37 health funds”, “Medibank or BUPA” (and that they are expensive)?

    • Hi David, you were correct!! It is the same person. Lifehacker took a while to post my first one and i actually thought it wasn’t going to go through, so i re-wrote it to the best of my memory. Nothing to hide. =)

  • I think it is worth pointing out in the iSelect/Bupa/ Medibamk issue that what iselect are doing is selling health insurance etc. What is not pointed out is the extra benefits that are attached to policies with Bupa and probably Meicbank such as health coaching, cardiac rehab coaching, corporate wellness programs that are part of the policies at no extra cost. A case in point is the amazing wealth of reliable health information that is on the Bupa web site that memebers and non memebers can access

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!