On Thursday, April 11, the Bundeskartellamt published the final report on its inquiry into comparison websites.
Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt stated: “Comparison websites help consumers find their way around the internet along with better and cheaper results. However, we also detected consumer-unfriendly tricks of some comparison websites. Consumers should look at how rankings are achieved and check whether they are based on a large number of offers. Consumers should not allow themselves to be put under pressure by alleged shortages or exclusive offers which might turn out not to be short or exclusive after all. We have compiled valuable advice for dealing with comparison websites in our final report and in a video.”
In October 2017 the Bundeskartellamt started the sector inquiry on comparison websites based on its new competencies in the area of consumer protection, which it has held since mid-2017. The Bundeskartellamt can carry out investigations in the area of consumer protection. However, it does not yet have the power to eliminate the violations of rights it detects by official decree.
Andreas Mundt continued: “Civil lawsuits and regulation alone are no effective remedy for such problems. Due to difficulties of proof and the lack of a broad impact, the opportunities to enforce consumer protection under civil law are limited. Regulation is static and often unsuitable to fully grasp all case constellations. Selectively enhancing the Bundeskartellamt’s competencies would enable the authority to enforce existing consumer protection legislation in a quick and targeted manner.”
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