Wednesday, May 2, 2007

another bait-and-switch practice

In the words of one [in] famous England football manager - did I not like this one.

One of the great benefits the web has brought to the consumer is the ability to search for the best price for a product. This is particularly true if the there are 'shopping-comparison' sites for that product - where you enter your requirements and the site then searches the web and gives you results from multiple vendors. One industry well covered by this practice is that of car insurance. And my wife's car needed insuring. One of the sites I used was gocompare.com. After putting in the details of the car, my wife and me this is the 'quote' that was listed:


Onequotedirect was the best price I came across, so I followed the 'buy online' link. I then had to either confirm or re-enter details I had put into gocompare.com. I changed nothing, the details were the same, and at the end got this:


Yep - the quote had suddenly gone from £238.35 to £428.21. A hardly noticable 80% increase.

My first reaction was to phone them up demand an explanation. But I had a meeting to go to. And I calmed down a little. So I did what all consumers should do when faced with an issue like this. I took my business elsewhere - it was only slightly more than the original £238.35 anyway.

Sadly, for most businesses this could be [is?] happening every day. I have to suspect they don't care, because they do little about it. The web logs at onequotedirect.co.uk should raise the issue because I abandoned the 'purchase' right at the end of the process - I wonder if they will follow it up? Similarly, gocompare.com should care - they are losing both income [from click-through commission] and brand value.

If either are switched on companies they will be running some kind of reputation management software that picks up their name in blogs - in which case I'll let you know if they get in touch with me after reading this.

Error - human or technical - or deliberate bait and switch strategy? I do not know. Was the error with gocompare.com or onequotedirect.co.uk? I do not know. As a consumer, I do not care about either. I am now the satisfied customer at another insurer, accessed through a different comparison site. Ho hum.

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