Travel companies Opodo and eDreams have made “significant changes” to their websites and pricing practices to ensure consumers aren’t mislead.
The firms, which are both part of the eDreams ODIGEO group, have signed legal undertakings to display headline prices that are inclusive of any debit card charge. Previously headline prices could only be achieved when paying via one specific card.
They have also improved their websites to ensure it’s clear that consumers are booking on the eDreams and Opodo websites rather than on the website of a specific airline.
In addition, eDreams has made changes to its Google AdWords search results to ensure it is clear to consumers that the search result relates to eDreams rather than to a specific airline.
The move comes after an investigation opened in December 2015 by the UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The CAA’s director of consumers and markets group, Richard Moriarty, says: “Consumers spend a lot of time and money choosing and booking their holiday and have the right to clear and accurate information about how much they will have to pay and which company they are booking with. There are clear regulations in place for that very reason.
“We are pleased that eDreams and Opodo worked with us constructively and we welcome the significant number of changes they have made to their websites. These changes make it much simpler for consumers to be able to see the actual price of flights and holidays displayed on the sites – enabling them to compare options more easily.”
eDreams and Opodo have breached advertising rules in the past
However, the CAA isn’t the first to look into eDreams and Opodo’s practices. Advertising watchdog, the Advertising and Standards Authority (ASA), banned an Opodo advert in December 2015, and told the firm not to claim that a particular payment method – in this case an Entropay prepaid card - was the cheapest if that was not the case, and to ensure that Opodo did not omit information relating to fees associated with the Entropay payment method from its ads.
Meanwhile in March this year, the ASA ruled that eDreams must ensure its ads don’t imply it’s promoting the official websites for airlines. This came following a complaint that four adverts implied to consumers that they were accessing the official easyJet and Ryanair websites rather than the eDreams website.
Ryanair also launched Irish High Court proceedings against eDreams and Google in December 2015. The budget airline claimed eDreams had been allowed by Google to use the “misleading” subdomains ‘Ryanair Cheap Flights’ and ‘www.Ryanair.eDreams.com’, and a copycat website with identical Ryanair branding, in order to “deceive consumers into visiting the eDreams website, and booking with eDreams at inflated fares”. A judgement has yet to be reached.
In response to today’s news, Ryanair welcomed the changes but states that eDreams continues to advertise and sell “non-existent” Ryanair fares on its website.
What do eDreams and Opodo say?
In a statement the travel firms said: “We have been working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and we’re pleased that it recognises the work we have done to make our customer experience smoother and clearer.
“We are now offering a new price display so that our customers can more easily compare the prices of their travel options, to continue getting the best and most convenient deals.”