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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Have Your Say: Best buy tables

A building society chief has launched an attack on the "best buy" tables published to help people choose the right place for their savings.

Mike Lazenby of Kent Reliance Building Society believes the tables are being manipulated by financial services companies and that there needs to be better protection for consumers.

We asked for your comments, a selection of which are below. This debate is now closed.

Unfortunately business is business. How can companies like Moneyfacts and Moneysupermarket survive if they don't charge banks and building societies to be included on their websites and in their charts? Banks make a killing out of us consumers, so why can't these websites ask for money? I'd like to see a company provide us with freely searchable and ranked financial products for free. Three cheers for financial comparison websites.
Ben, Clapham

Best buy tables are extremely influential and definitely should be regulated. A couple of questions though: a) How much newspaper advertising would 11k buy you? and b) If you wanted to advertise in a newspaper would they charge you less because you were a smaller company?
Roland, Peterhead

Everyone knows that there will be small print
I think best buy charts are a good thing. At the end of the day it's all about choice. Everyone knows that there will be small print, if you do your homework you won't have any nasty surprises. I think Moneyfacts change their charts every week, and provide a valuable and free service for consumers!

I think it is right that the tables should be regulated, but also think it sounds a bit like sour grapes from the man at Kent Reliance Building Society.
Stephanie, Milton Keynes

I don't think it's unfair in the slightest although the money payment of 11,000 seems a bit too much to ask for. Consumers will/should always seek the highest paying accounts. Too often they are left behind in interest terms, if they are loyal. If you pay the most interest you should expect to be the leader on the board.
Jonathan Harris, Southport

I wasn't aware that companies paid for this dubious privilege
Ross Jakes, Cambridge
I check the charts in the newspapers and the internet. What with the bank rate changing regularly and the "small print' conditions it's impossible to find the best deal. I wasn't aware that companies paid for this dubious privilege.
Ross Jakes, Cambridge

Three main information providers (Moneyfacts, Defaqto and Moneysupermarket) supply most of the media with an interpretation of what constitutes a best buy. The media also apply their own criteria for best buy tables. This means that there is not a level playing field and consumers are not getting a fully consistent or transparent view of best buys. The money paid to providers to appear in their best buy tables also affects impartiality. Work should be done to make clear rules for what constitutes a best buy and apply this consistently across all information providers and media.
Bank employee, Buckinghamshire

I'm marketing director at Defaqto, a financial research company that produces, among other services, data feeds for best buy tables republished by a number of websites and publishers. Our business model at Defaqto is different to Moneyfacts, and we do not charge providers for inclusion in our best buy data tables. We pride ourselves on our impartiality, covering the whole of the financial market, selecting products on their merits alone and never excluding any from providers who do not subscribe to our services.
Kate Marsden, Haddenham, Buckinghamshire

They should have a clear warning that they are not an accurate reflection of all the alternatives available
J Nelhams, London
It is unfair for these league tables to mislead people into thinking they are the best buys, when really they are the "best pays". They should have a clear warning that they are not an accurate reflection of all the alternatives available, anything else is tantamount to deception.
J Nelhams, London

I think that transparency is key. If tables purport to show the best products in a category, then they should do so based on clear criteria that the consumer can see. On many financial websites, the initial product list that shows "best buys" shows products that are not necessarily the best ones for the consumer but, I suspect, the best fee earners for the website. At we rank products by clear criteria, irrespective of whether we receive any fee for or not. In our opinion, it is misleading to do otherwise.
Alastair Loveday, co-owner of website

Best Buy tables should absolutely be regulated - it's unacceptable that they should be promoted as "best available" while not listing those that aren't willing to pay for the listing price. At the very least, "best buy" tables should be properly advertised as "best buy from the paying banks".
Thomas, London

Do your home work and that starts by talking to an independent
Selkirk, Southend
Yet another rip off exposed. I agree. Do your home work and that starts by talking to an independent who is guided by allegiance to the customer not the providers.
Selkirk, Southend

I lost faith in best buy tables some time ago. I'd see ads for high interest fixed rate bonds, for example, yet they would not appear in the best buy tables. Also, different newspapers would show different products in their tables, so how can they both "sell" themselves as best buys?
Catherine Otley, Dover

There appear to be two main problems: a) Introductory bonuses - these should be flattened out by working out interest over, say, a two year period, and using this to calculate an effective annual rate, and b) Many good rates appear not to be included. The tables need to be more comprehensive.
Howard Williams

Your guest gave some cogent warnings about best buy tables. Can I add a couple of my own? I've seen some internet sites with out-of-date information, even including discontinued credit cards. Always check the facts shown before signing up. And secondly, chasing the latest star performer can lead to continual switching which uses up a lot of time. There should also be tables showing the consistently good performers over the last (say) three or four years.
Chris Grey, Guildford

If building societies have to give 11,000 to be included this definitely disadvantages the smaller societies
Alan Kaye, Harpenden
Mr Lazenby of Kent Reliance is correct. The best buy tables are very misleading. And if building societies have to give 11,000 to be included this definitely disadvantages the smaller societies.
Alan Kaye, Harpenden

Best buy tables and introductory rates do influence many. However, it's about time the marketing people recognised the costs of increasing numbers of astute savers switching accounts to follow those rates.
Malcolm, Berkshire

What is the point of best-buy tables if they represent best-payers for the publisher rather than best-buys for the consumer? We need more sites like committed to publishing as comprehensive a listing of accounts as possible, without inducements for inclusion.
Gregory Bud, Brussels

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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