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31 Jul 2020 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 38

HealthEngine to pay $2.9 million for misleading reviews and patient referrals

Product comparison website iSelect has been slapped with an $8.5 million fine by the Federal Court for making misleading representations about its electricity price comparison service.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commenced proceedings against iSelect in 2019 for telling consumers it would compare all electricity plans offered by its partners and recommend the most suitable or competitive plan.

The ACCC said that in reality, iSelect had limited the number of plans that could be uploaded to its website. It also failed to adequately disclose that cheaper plans from preferred retail partners were available only via its call centre.

The ACCC said thousands of consumers who visited iSelect's website between Nov 2016 and December 2018 were misled.

"iSelect was not upfront with consumers that it wasn't comparing all plans offered by its partner retailers," ACCC chairman Rodd Sims said. "About 38% of people who compared electricity plans with iSelect at that time may have found a cheaper plan if they had shopped around or used the government's comparison site Energy Made Easy."

iSelect also admitted that between March 2017 and November 2019, it misrepresented the price of some plans it recommended to almost 5000 consumers, resulting in some of them paying up to $500 more a year than quoted.

"iSelect's misleading conduct may have caused some consumers to switch electricity providers or plans on the basis of a price that was understated or without being aware that a cheaper plan was available."

The $8.5 million penalty was approved by the Federal Court after iSelect and the ACCC made joint submissions in which iSelect admitted liability.

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