London Partner Matthew Hall Quoted in GCR Story on Antitrust Issues With Comparison Sites

November 9, 2018

Global Competition Review interviewed McGuireWoods London partner Matthew Hall for a Nov. 2 story about home insurance price comparison website ComparetheMarket contracts that, UK enforcers say, stifle home insurance market competition and deprive consumers of better deals.

The Competition Market Authority recently accused ComparetheMarket of inserting “most-favored nation” clauses into its contracts with participating home insurers that prevent them from offering lower prices elsewhere online. During the CMA investigation, ComparetheMarket notified home insurers that it would not enforce the MFN clauses but left them in their contracts. The CMA said it remains concerned that the clauses are still in force.

The use of MFN clauses in online sales and subsequent investigations into them have long been among the most robustly discussed topics in EU competition law, so online sellers who have used such clauses know the risk, Hall told GCR.

In noting that ComparetheMarket told participating insurers that it won’t enforce MFN clauses, Hall said that “competition law applies not only to the strict wording of contractual clauses but how relations operate in practice.”