The coronavirus pandemic is seeing a rush to comparison websites as individuals and families aim to refine their household budgets, leading consumer advocacy group CHOICE says.
CHOICE consumer advocate Jonathan Brown said the organisation's regular community surveys showed people had really felt the financial crunch from COVID-19.
"It makes sense that people have been researching their options," Mr Brown said, although he urged some caution.
"Unfortunately, what you find on commercial comparison sites may involve inauthentic user reviews or subtle nudges towards products that earn commissions for the businesses," he said.
However, if used well, Mr Brown said comparison sites could help households make serious savings, which was important for the community's COVID recovery.
The founder and chief executive of Compare & Connect, Neil Saligrama, agreed that comparison sites must be clear about their policies.
A handful of companies had not been upfront about the inner workings of their businesses, he said.
"I think when any negativity comes out in the market, it's quite natural for a customer to feel a bit derailed and a level of trust goes out of the window.
"We are very transparent and we only advertise the plans for the retailers we work with. We ensure we have a wide variety of choice, and we do everything onshore," Mr Saligrama said.
Last year, comparison site iSelect was ordered to pay $8.5 million in penalties for making false and misleading representations about its electricity comparison service.
The court proceedings were instituted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after the site claimed it compared all energy plans and products available from its partner retailers.
Mr Saligrama said it was impossible to present consumers with every plan available, but it was vital the sites clearly displayed their disclaimers.
Comparison sites were now heavily regulated, he added, so customers were able to make more informed decisions and use government sites to thoroughly investigate deals.
Compare & Connect provides end-to-end solutions for comparing and connecting services including energy, internet, removalists, insurance and finance.
"Our business is built on simplifying things for the consumer," Mr Saligrama said.
"Gone are the days when customers would blindly choose a supplier. We are finding that today's consumers are becoming more and more savvy in how they choose and commit to a specific provider."
Compare & Connect has just launched a partnership with ACM, publisher of this website.
Mr Saligrama said the partnership would allow the company to communicate its breadth of services through the ACM family of publications across the country.