Monday, January 30, 2006
That headline is a bit extreme for this topic, but I have to say that
I'm more than a bit dubious about how effective the internet, and
especially specialist comparison sites on it, really are at finding
the best deals. I was prompted to write this by an ad in the Sunday
Times, purporting to compare all the major suppliers of energy
The reason for my doubts evolved from some frustrations I'd had the
day before. I was on the hunt for a device to enable me to digitise
my old 35mm slide collection (time to get the porty online and earn a
crust). After a fair bit of surfing I had zeroed in on what seemed
the most promising option, which via the usual Googled-up sites
(Kelkoo, Pricerunner) was swinging in at a sale price of £129.99
(usually £159.99). None could get it lower, and in some cases even
managed to add a few extra tens of £.
Fortunately, as I sat ready, credit card in hand, the online site I'd
opted for suddenly popped up a sign saying its security certificate
was not recognised, so I bottled. And as the family were halfway out
of the door for a day trip I had to leave it there.
So imagine my surprise, and a pleasant one at that, when I sauntered
past a branch of Jessops to see the self same thing at £69!
It's a free market, and people can charge whatever they think they
can get away with, so it's not really a con. But anyone who has
convinced themselves that online automatically means best value is
buying a a dubious line.. along with sinker and hook.