Price comparison websites for telecom plans can file applications for certificates with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Such certificates tell visitors that certified price comparison websites meet a set of eight quality criteria. This certification process was created following the recent amendment to the Dutch Telecommunications Act under the European Electronic Communications Code. The aim of these certificates is to assure visitors that a certified price comparison website provides independent, up-to-date, and clear information about telecom plans.
“If you visit a price comparison website that has an ACM certificate, you can be sure that the information is reliable”, says Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department. “This will help consumers make well-informed choices.”
All websites on which consumers are able to compare prices for products and services must comply with the rules on fair trading. This means, for example, that websites must present clearly the price and the right information, use clear language that is easy-to-understand, and indicate who the owner of the website is.
To qualify for an ACM certificate, price comparison websites for telecom plans must also comply with the following criteria:
- The website is independent, and it treats providers in the search results equally.
- The owner and the administrator of the website are mentioned on the website.
- It is clear how the comparison on the website is made.
- The language used on the website is clear.
- The information on the website is accurate and up-to-date.
- The website compares offers that are publicly available.
- Visitors can report inaccurate information easily.
- The website compares, in any case, the prices, tariffs, and quality.
If price comparison websites are awarded an ACM certificate, they may mention this on their websites. ACM will also state this on its own website. Certificates have no expiration dates, but when price comparison websites no longer comply with the criteria, ACM (which enforces this) can revoke their certificates. Price comparison websites can file an application for certification with ACM on its website (in Dutch). It should be noted that they are not required to apply for certification.
Price comparison websites for energy contracts
As soon as the new Dutch Energy Act comes into effect, price comparison websites for energy contracts can also file applications for certificates with ACM. The new energy law will have additional requirements for price comparison websites for energy contracts. It is not yet clear when the new Dutch Energy Act will come into effect.