Our Service Promise

WhistleOut was started in 2008 with the single goal of providing easy-to-follow comparisons of complex telco service products, so people can get better mobile phone and internet plans.

Telecommunications is a complicated, confusing and constantly changing category. There are so many providers and plans, it’s easy to get lost, easy to make a mistake and difficult to know who to trust. Many people are on plans that aren’t best for them, some continue to use out-of-date plans, while others don’t even know what plan they are on.

The way we see it, you shouldn’t have to be a genius to make a great telco choice. That’s why we put the work in to provide the facts, figures and best tools so people choose the connection and carrier that’s right for them. Customers can choose to self serve using the website search tools and supporting content or speak to us over the phone, on email or chat if they need help in their research.

We aim to provide as accurate, independent and comprehensive a service as we can, so users have certainty and confidence in their choices. We’ve always run a broad panel of service providers in our comparison engine, including the most recognisable brands, and ensured they all show in the results tables regardless of any commercial relationships.

That said, it’s practically impossible to run every single product in a category as there can be many thousands of 'fringe' products that frequently come and go. We consistently maintain hundreds of active products in our databases so consumers see a strong cross section of the market in their search results. We also always endeavour to include the top 10 service providers in each product category and try to include more than that in most instances (the top ten service providers typically cover 80% or more of the products sold in each vertical - in Australia it’s estimated just three internet providers are selling over 80% of NBN connections).

Commercial Relationships

While our service is free to consumers, comparison sites aren’t financially viable without some commercial relationships in place. Telco service providers are interested in receiving referrals for their product listings in comparison search results because those consumers have used filters to find a telco product they like the look of and are probably quite serious about buying.

A commercial partner gets the following from WhistleOut (examples are listed below).

  • Referrals to purchase a product via a 'go to site', 'call me back' or phone number
  • Ability to list in the featured results area, which is a limited sponsored section at the top of the organic results tables
  • Via a phone number or a 'call me back' where a WhistleOut Customer Advisor can place an order or transfer a call to a Service Provider
  • Data about their market share in the comparison process

For service providers that we include on our site that are not a commercial partner, we will show their best product match for the user's search in the organic results with no referral link. These products are still audited and maintained by our team with the same regularity and attention to detail as every other service provider in our database.

The WhistleOut Customer Advisor team assist customers compare plans to meet their individual needs using the comparison search results, regardless of whether there is a commercial agreement in place with the Service Provider.

Are There Service Providers That We Don’t Compare?

We can't cover all products in the market as the product maintenance burden is too large, but we always endeavour to include at least the top ten service providers and usually many more. We maintain pricing combinations (deals, promotions, products, fees) for the thousands of products in our database.

Analysis Paralysis

We're also aware that showing too many products can be a little confronting for some users, and might make browsing the results seem like a daunting task for them. We endeavour to make the results as accurate and comprehensive as we can, while making them easy to follow. To aid this process we include filter options and navigation tabs with each set of query results so users can best hone in on the results most suitable to them.

Guidelines for Comparison Sites

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has set guidelines for Comparison Sites and WhistleOut strives to adhere to those guidelines. The ACCC has three key principles for comparison sites to adhere to:

  • Principle 1: Facilitate honest, like-for-like comparisons
  • Principle 2: Be transparent about commercial relationships
  • Principle 3: Clearly disclose who and what is being compared

The ACCC also says it is reasonable for consumers to expect that comparator websites provide access to information that is representative of the range of offers available in a certain sector. Consumers are also likely to seek comparator websites that cover a greater proportion of the market. As such, if operators do not appropriately inform consumers who or what is being compared, any purchasing decisions may be based on a distorted view of the market. Failure to make accurate or adequate disclosure about the nature or extent of the comparison service, including market coverage, may involve misleading or deceptive conduct, including by omission, and the making of false or misleading representations.

If you believe we are falling short in any of these areas, please contact us.

Issues with Comparison Sites

WhistleOut has always believed in delivering a broad set of results where users can compare the prices and features of both big and small service providers in one place, so their products can be put to the test. Consumers are entitled to a fair comparison and need a way to get past marketing claims to see the differences between products stacked side-by-side.

In the UK, comparison sites were accused of misleading conduct for only showing products they sold or had commercial deals with, misleading consumers and hurting the industry. UK comparison sites are now forced to show a far wider spread of commercial and non-commercial results.

In recent years a number of Australian sites have been issued infringements by the ACCC for over-stating the amount of service providers they compare and misleading consumers by only showing a narrow set of results. (Finder.com.au in 2017, Compare The Market in 2014, Energy Watch in 2012 and iSelect in 2007 ). WhistleOut will always run a balanced panel of service providers, with both commercial and non-commercial relationships.

Identifying our Commercial Results

Any product listed that includes a phone number, 'Go to Site' link or 'Call me Back' link is a commercial partner. Below are some examples to help identify commercial partners.

A standard organic result from our database result that is not a commercial partner.

An organic result where we have a commercial relationship to refer the customer to the Service Provider.

A Promoted Match appears at the top of results where we have a commercial relationship to refer the customer to the Service Provider. Users can choose to hide these at any time.

Any organic result that includes a phone

Ranking & Sorting

Users can sort their results in a range of ways to suit different priorities:

24 Month Comparison Costs

In our results we calculate the 24-month comparison cost of having a product for 2 years (so that high upfront costs are normalised and contract costs are exposed) and users can make an informed decision. This is similar to the process of calculating a comparison rate in the finance industry.

Content

If you are a service provider and there is product information in our database that you would like to make changes to, please contact us.

Popularity of Service Providers

In any section of the site where we show a list of providers by popularity (popularity tables, or tools to sort by popularity), this is user generated popularity based on page views and clicks (purchasing intent) of each service provider on our site in the last 7 days. The popularity on our comparison site does not reflect real world market share.

Problems with Service Providers

When we list products in our database, we collect information about plans as disclosed by the service providers, and maintain the prices and features. We don't test each service or service plan and we rely on the fact that if a service provider says that they are offering 2GB for $20, we can take that as factually correct for the purposes of comparison.

If you have encountered any issues with service providers listed on our site, please contact us.