The UIA Code of Practice for business internet comparison sites, E-bis Code of Practice sets out the minimum standards an internet business electricity and gas price comparison service (Comparison Provider) should meet. The Comparison Provider will be subject to the UIA Redress Scheme.
The Comparison Provider must have on the home page of the website, address details of the owner and if a registered company, the registration details
The Comparison Provider (CP) will be independent of any gas or electricity supplier. The CP will normally take payment from suppliers and will state clearly each supplier it receives payment from either directly or indirectly.
These notes and the UIA E-bis Code of Practice have the same authority.
Explanatory notes to Commitment One
- The CP must state on the home page of their web site if its comparisons are obtained from its web site calculator or via a bespoke interface with the suppliers.
- The CP will display prominently on its web site a list of each supplier it has a payment agreement with.
- The CP will provide impartial advice, not advice that is biased in favour of one or more gas or electricity suppliers that they have commercial arrangements with.
- On receipt of an electronic request (enquiry form) from a client, any payment received for their contract from a supplier, will be made known to the client.
- If a CP uses the word “free” on his web-site he must state clearly which particular part of the service is free and at which point of the process the client incurs a cost.
The CP will include price comparisons from as many suppliers as possible (it must be noted that not all suppliers who the CP has commercial arrangements with will necessarily quote for all sites) and at the head of the results page, will give a summary of those who have been approached for prices together with those who have provided prices. Price Comparisons will be on a like-for-like basis.
Explanatory notes to commitment two
- Where a consumer chooses to search by price, results will be presented strictly in terms of best price.
- A CP may provide filters so that consumers may search results based on supplier service rating etc. but these must be opt-in options only. The methodology for obtaining such ratings must be viewable on the web site
- A summary of how many suppliers have quoted will be readily visible on the results page, together with those approached.
- If other services are offered within the price, the gas and electricity base prices will be separate with details provided on all additional components or incentives in the quotations.
- Prices will be exclusive of VAT and CCL and will state clearly this is the case.
- A CP has sole responsibility for obtaining and updating all suppliers' prices and the prices quoted must have been provided by the energy supplier for the express purpose of use on the site.
- The CP will be a company that runs its own website and where the processes are electronic, normally uses its own tariff database and calculator. It is permissible for a CP to use another company's calculator as long as it is clearly stated on the Home Page and that both companies hold the UIA E-bis accreditation.
- The UIA E-bis accreditation will be held separately for each brand or website of a CP.
- A CP can make its calculator available to third parties. Third parties can only quote the UIA E-bis accreditation if it is a signatory to it in its own right.
- Where a price is sought from the market on a non-automatic basis, then all results should be presented to the client together with the number of companies approached for prices.
A CP will provide consumers with an explanation of key contract terms, the payment methods, the consumers’ responsibilities regarding changing suppliers at the end of the contract, with particular reference to a supplier’s right to prevent a transfer of supply in certain circumstances for the offer selected. A statement should be made that it is “the customers responsibility to consult the suppliers Terms and Conditions” and details provided of where to find these. Green Offerings must conform to the industry green labelling scheme.
A CP will normally provide prices from the suppliers they receive commissions from. If this is not possible, attention must be drawn to the low number of prices provided.
Prices and price comparisons will be accurate, on a like-for-like basis and state when they were last updated and for how long they will be applicable.
Explanatory notes to commitment five
- Where a CP operates other than electronic, an analysis sheet will be provided of all offers.
The CP will not seek to mislead the consumer. The CP will have a link to its Complaints Procedure and the
UIA Codes of Practice and Redress Scheme