July 21, 2009

Veteran aggregator Richard Mason has unconventional ideas about raising children.

Mason is co-founder of would-be-industry-body the Comparison Consortium which this week launched a proposed code of practice for comparison sites. Commenting on the launch, he said the price comparison website industry is “emerging from infancy into adolescence” (apparently not bothering with childhood along the way), so “an authority figure to guide the sector has become central to its healthy development.”

Persisting in the same avuncular if not paternalistic vein, Mason continues: “As such, it only seemed proper that the industry’s veterans assume this guardianship role by defining the boundaries and instilling a common set of principles throughout. The introduction of this code will ensure that customers are treated fairly and respectfully, and help the industry move one step closer to adulthood.” Late adolescence, presumably.

The code is intended to “establish a set of practices and clear procedures that represent consumers’ best interests, uphold the integrity of the price comparison industry, and bring an unprecedented element of regulation and professionalism to the price comparison community.” Presumably, in this context, ‘an unprecedented element’ means a little more than none at all.

On 22 July, we learn, the Comparison Consortium will be treating the FSA to a working lunch, at which the main topic of conversation, aside from the excellent quality of the sandwiches, will no doubt be quite how unnecessary any additional regulation of the sector really is.

In case you have nothing planned that day, incidentally, “all interested parties are invited to attend with their feedback.”



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