Everyone loves finding a great bargain when shopping, whether online or offline. Navigating the e-commerce landscape, however, can be daunting for most shoppers who have spent hours searching for something all over the Web. This is where price comparison websites come in. These websites trawl the entire market (or as much as they can) and bring you the best offers and bargains available for whatever products you may be looking for. In doing so, price comparison websites save you plenty of time, effort and help to avoid the regret you may feel otherwise over not finding the best deal.
Whether you’re looking for the best deal on gas, electricity, car insurance, mortgage or broadband services, price comparison websites can be your best weapon against high prices. However, it’s important to keep the following 7 points in mind in order to get the best out of price comparison websites.
- Branch Out: The saying ‘don’t keep all your eggs in one basket’ is apt for price comparison websites. Every savvy shopper knows never to stick to a single price comparison website because each website gives you slightly varied results. Browse a few different websites for the same product or service to figure out which one offers the best deals. It is not possible for a single price comparison website to cover the entire market and this is why you must make use of several websites.
It is also worth noting that certain brands stay away from being featured on price comparison websites, but can possibly be the right one for you. For these brands, get individual quotes and then compare with the others. All you have to do is call these brands directly, which takes no more than a few minutes and can potentially save you a lot.
- Lowest Price Isn’t the Best Price: The cheapest price might not always the best option for your needs. For example, when buying a car or home insurance, a price comparison website will try to sell you the cheapest one available, but this one will probably not offer the level of coverage you are looking for.
When using these websites, keep in mind that low cost must be combined with high quality for the best deal. Value for money is the key point to focus on and remember that low-cost insurance policies will most probably not include benefits such as a car replacement in case of damage due to an accident, something which a better-quality policy is more likely to offer.
- Pay Attention to the Boxes: Most price comparison websites will make assumptions on your behalf and pre-select a few boxes for you when you search for deals. For example, most websites will assume you don’t have a criminal record and will also assume you have no convictions either. If this happens when you are searching for an insurance policy and the incorrect boxes have been automatically ticked by the website, you will be stuck when you need the policy to pay out. Always double check before a final purchase is made.
- Standard Insurance Policies: Price comparison websites are best to use if you need standard insurance and not complex insurance policies such as private medical insurance or income protection. These websites don’t consider your personal circumstances, so if you have any questions pertaining to your unique situation, you won’t be able to do it on a price comparison website.
When searching for a mortgage, keep in mind that the cheapest option may not suit your needs, especially if you need to choose between a fixed or variable mortgage rate. You may even need to choose between a short-term or long-term energy insurance policy and the correct guidance needed to make this decision will not be found on any price comparison website. Try to be as informed as possible before going online to make your decision.
If you are buying insurance and everything looks great, then once you click on the purchase button, you will be transferred to the insurer’s site. It is important to make sure you have submitted the correct information because if not, due to the insurer being given incorrect information, you may have to pay for invalid insurance.
- Buying Credit Cards: When you are on the lookout for a better credit card deal, you can make use of price comparison websites to tell you how likely you are to get accepted for the credit card you wish to get. All you need to do is enter some personal information and you will be presented with a list of credit cards which you are most likely to be accepted for. This method helps you avoid rejection during a credit card application, and therefore, helps you to avoid damaging your credit rating.
- Limit Communication: Leaving your contact details is a great way to stay informed regarding the newest deals, but if you don’t wish to receive email marketing and possibly even phone calls for marketing purposes, make sure you un-check the correct boxes when leaving your information at any price comparison website. You might even be charged for some calls so make sure to read the fine print carefully before giving out your contact details.
- Hidden Agenda: Price comparison websites are paid by other companies to sell their products. This is how comparison websites make their money. However, some companies do not pay a commission and so, in order to continue making money, comparison websites will push the paying company’s products onto the customer over other options.
Although the comparison website will make a commission if you click on any of these results, you may not necessarily be getting the best deal. So, when you search, don’t simply choose the first option, but go through them all. You might just find a hidden gem.
The next time you decide to use a price comparison website, make sure you remember these tips to help enhance your experience. Finding a great deal is not only about finding the cheapest possible product or service but about finding the best quality product, which is most suited to your needs. Happy hunting!
Ann Neal is a writer with a keen in finance, tech and lifestyle topics and she is also associated with Idealo. She is passionate about music and loves to play guitar in her free time.