Holidaymakers are being duped into paying hundreds of pounds over the odds by misleading “hurry deals”, an investigation by Which? reveals.
The consumer group tracked time-limited deals over three weeks in July and August 2017 and found the same offer was available for the same price or cheaper in 16 out of 30 cases after the deal had ended.
In one case, Which? found a Virgin ‘Holiday Sale’ offering seven nights at Florida’s Coco Key Hotel from £792 per person, if booked by 17 August 2017. The day after the sale, the price for the same dates dropped to £677 per person – a £230 saving for two people sharing.
Another example Which? highlights is a Lastminute.com ‘flash sale’, which advertised a night’s stay at the Hotel R Kipling in Paris, with flights from London, discounted to £139 if you booked by 23 August 2017. There was no mention of the original rate in the advert and the following day, the same night’s stay at the same hotel fell to £126. This lower price was still available a week later.
Other firms called out by Which? include Expedia, Kuoni, Inghams, and Unique Caribbean Holidays (the UK tour operator for Sandals) – although Which? says Kuoni and Inghams have told it they’ve since reviewed how they promote offers.
Expedia told Which? it will investigate its findings, while Lastminute.com, Unique Caribbean Holidays, and Virgin Holidays all said they do not intentionally mislead customers.
‘Compare prices to check savings are genuine’
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, warns consumers not to be fooled by so-called “deals”. He says: “Our investigation shows that most of the time-limited deals we looked at are nothing of the sort. The tight deadlines, emotive language and countdown clocks are all designed to rush us into making a decision, but it might not be the right one.
“Compare prices with other holiday companies and travel agents to check savings are genuine.”
See our holidays section for more top tips, including the travel booking services that won our Home Finances Awards 2017.