Hundreds of travel-booking websites have been told to clean up their act, after the European Commission and EU consumer protection bodies found many displaying misleading prices.
Of the 352 websites investigated, two thirds – 235 – displayed unreliable prices. For example:
- In one third of the cases, the price first shown was not the same as the final price.
- In one fifth of the cases promotional offers were not really available.
- In almost one third of the cases the total price or the way it was calculated was not clear.
- In one in four cases, websites did not specify that statements about scarcity eg, "only two left", "only available today" applied strictly to their own website.
These 235 firms have been told to update their practices to comply with EU consumer legislation, which requires websites to be fully transparent about prices, and present their offers in a clear way, at an early stage of the booking process.
Věra Jourová, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, says: "The companies concerned need to respect the European consumer rules, just like a travel agent would. Consumer authorities will now require the websites to solve these issues. Consumers deserve the same protection online as offline."