The consumer price comparison website said yesterday morning that nine out of 10 mortgages were available direct to consumer only – a claim disproved shortly after the company released its press statement.
Following backlash from the intermediary market and media, Moneysupermarket withdrew its claim and issued an apology, but the damage had been done, and Dev Malle, sales and marketing director at Personal Touch, has since pulled the plug on Paaleads, the broker lead generation firm owned by Moneysupermarket.
Malle said the retraction by Money Supermarket yesterday was “too little too late”, adding “it is not the first time they have misjudged the intermediary community and I am somewhat shocked.”
He also expressed disappointment with Moneysupermarket for not considering the impact on the broker community fully enough.
He said: “Clearly they have their own agenda and we need to trust and work in partnership with organisations to provide support and service to our community of advisers.
“We have therefore taken the difficult decision to serve notice on the corporate relationship we have with Paaleads and remove them from our lead generation panel.”
Dean Jones, head of Paaleads.com, said the firm was communicating with all of its clients to reiterate its commitment to the broker market.
He said: “While I can’t comment on individual client relationships, we are speaking to all of our broker partners to reassure them that we’re committed to the intermediary market and it remains an important part of our mortgage strategy.”
Mark Graves, development director at LSL Property Services and who is currently involved with network First Complete, said he “completely understand[s] why Dev Malle made the choice to cut Paaleads” from his panel.
Graves, who has rival generator Leadbay on his panel, believed the press statement from Moneysupermarket was ill-conceived.
He said: “Moneysupermarket was effectively having a pop at the hand that feeds its subsidiary, Paaleads. They’ve scored an own goal here.
“I think the time has also come when we all need to understand we’re on the same side. We can’t have one part of the industry having a go at another part because we all have a vested interest in making sure the industry survives. It was crazy making a statement like that without checking the facts.”
Upswing at Leadbay
Grant Stevens, managing director at Leadbay, said his firm had already seen an upswing of people inquiring for leads in the past 24 hours since the Moneysupermarket blunder was reported.
He added: “We think brokers always need to be the heart of the business in the mortgage industry – in all my time in the industry more than 60% of mortgage business has gone through intermediaries and often significantly more than that.
“A mortgage is also a product which needs advice. My problem with price comparison sites is that they’re commoditising things that can’t and shouldn’t be commoditised. While the ability to compare prices is good, I fundamentally believe everyone should have advice with something as big as a mortgage.”