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uSwitch

uSwitch.com is a UK-based price comparison service and switching website founded in 2000. The site allows consumers to compare prices for a range of energy, personal finance, insurance and communications services. uSwitchforBusiness.com is uSwitch's energy price comparison and brokerage service for businesses.

uSwitch
Limited company
IndustryPrice comparison service
Founded2000
FounderGeorge Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven
HeadquartersThe Cooperage,
5 Copper Row,
London, SE1,2LH,
United Kingdom
Tel: / 0800 688 8557
Key people
Steve Weller, CEO
ParentZPG plc
Websitehttps://www.uswitch.com

Contents

HistoryEdit

uSwitch.com was founded by Lord Milford Haven in September 2000 with an initial £4 million investment to take advantage of the UK’s deregulated gas and electricity markets.[citation needed] He partnered with Andrew Salmon,[1][2] George Milford Haven[3] and Vipul Amin.[4] The company subsequently expanded into the telephony and communications markets in 2001. In the same year it also bought competitor buy.co.uk followed by local community information website UpMyStreet.com in 2003.[citation needed]

uSwitch.com was itself acquired by US media conglomerate, E.W. Scripps Company in March 2006 for £210 million ($366 million). The purchase added a second freestanding interactive media business to its portfolio alongside leading US product price comparison site, Shopzilla.[5]

In February 2008, E.W. Scripps Company recorded a $411 million pre-tax charge related to the uSwitch acquisition, contributing to an overall $256 million loss for Scripps in the last quarter of 2007. The scale of the writedown reflects more realistic revenue expectations due to lower than expected levels of switching.[6]

In December 2009, uSwitch was acquired by Forward Internet Group for $10.3 million in cash.[7] Forward is a privately funded collection of internet-based businesses focused on consumer engagement and innovation. Forward3D is the group's 3D search agency (formerly known as TrafficBroker) and Forward Innovations is the consumer division which focuses on price comparison and switching, including brands such as InvisibleHand and Omio.

In June 2011, uSwitch acquired Top10.com. 2011 also saw uSwitch enter the Irish market with uSwitch.ie, which operates in the same way as the UK but currently offers switching services for broadband, TV, phone and energy services and not insurance or financial services.

In August 2013, LDC backed an MBO of uSwitch, the private equity firm acquired a significant stake in the business with Forward Internet Group retaining a substantial minority holding. Both investors aligned with the existing management team who have a minority holding in the business.

On 30 April 2015, the property website firm Zoopla agreed to purchase uSwitch from LDC for £160 million.[8]

Business modelEdit

uSwitch.com is a free, online and telephone-based comparison and switching service, helping consumers compare prices on energy, finance, insurance and other services. There are no direct costs to consumers for the service, the company instead receiving commission from some suppliers when a customer chooses to switch to them. uSwitch provide several mechanisms designed to increase suppliers' visibility for a fee.

uSwitch.com was the first comparison website to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark [9] It also hosts guides advising the public on how to save money and releases research covering technology, the energy market and financial developments.

uSwitch.com also has a London-based call centre and a Freepost ‘Send us your bill’ service, where customers can post their latest energy bills to receive comparison advice.

In November 2014, uSwitch.com called for change in the credit reports industry to give everyone to free access to their full credit report every year [10]

In January 2018, the company launched a campaign featuring Channel 4 presenter Rachel Riley in Winkleigh, Devon.[11]

AccreditationEdit

uSwitch is accredited under the Ofgem Confidence Code,[12] a voluntary code of practice for online domestic price comparison services. uSwitch was involved in the formation of the Confidence Code in 2002 with Consumer Focus, which managed the code until Ofgem took over in 2013. uSwitch.com was previously accredited by Consumer Focus, and played a role in the industry consultation which led to the establishment of a voluntary code of practice — the Energywatch Confidence Code (now known as the Consumer Focus Confidence Code) — in 2002.

The September 2007 minutes of the Consumer Focus Management Board Meeting, and press reports, show that the company was asked by Consumer Focus to change how it displays comparison results and information so that consumers receive unbiased results.[13][14] The company complied with these requests and has remained accredited.

In Ofgem’s September 2013 audit of the uSwitch.com website, it scored 100% for each of the nine code of practice requirements of the Confidence Code.[citation needed]

Partners and affiliatesEdit

Major partners include Yahoo, AOL, Orange, Virgin Media, People’s Champion and Johnston Press.[5]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "pro director | Andrew Salmon takes uSwitch model to Turkey". www.prodirector.net. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  2. ^ "Andrew Salmon and uSwitch, who is the man behind Encazip?". Piweek - Tecnología y empresas. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  3. ^ "El Marqués de Milford Haven exporta la fórmula de uSwitch". Tus noticias de la semana (in Spanish). 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  4. ^ "Selling uSwitch: The Story of Vip Amin – VWB Blog". www.vwbblog.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  5. ^ a b "Scripps acquires uSwitch". E. W. Scripps Company press release. March 16, 2006. Archived from the original on April 8, 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  6. ^ Scripps Files 10-K, Reports Final Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results[permanent dead link], MSN Money, February 29, 2008
  7. ^ Scripps Networks 10K March 1, 2010
  8. ^ "Zoopla to buy uSwitch price comparison site". BBC News. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  9. ^ User, Super. "Switched on to plain English". www.plainenglish.co.uk.
  10. ^ "Give free access to credit reports once a year so people check it".
  11. ^ Andy Keeble (22 January 2018). "Why will Countdown's Rachel Riley be heading to North Devon this weekend?". North Devon Gazette.
  12. ^ "Compare gas and electricity tariffs: Ofgem-accredited price comparison sites". www.ofgem.gov.uk.
  13. ^ Brignall, Miles (December 11, 2006). "uSwitch accused of misleading customers". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  14. ^ "uSwitch forced into website change". thisismoney.co.uk. September 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-29.

External linksEdit