We’ve found online travel agents demanding more money after you’ve completed a flight booking – have you been overcharged and hit with other sneaky fees?
Our investigation this week revealed that it all starts with a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offer – designed to lure people in with a great deal on their ideal summer getaway before the prices get ramped up.
So why are some online travel agents able to get away with advertising ‘ultra-cheap’ tickets for flights?
One reason is the number of unnecessary add-ons that you don’t find out about until later on. In one instance we found a £39 charge for the US visa-waiver scheme – you can buy it directly from the US government for just £11.
Time to come clean
In addition to flight rip-offs, another problem facing consumers is the similar tricks used by hotel booking sites. Fortunately, action is now being taken in this area.
Today the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it’s launching enforcement action against a number of hotel booking sites regarding pressure selling and hidden charges.
Noticed those pop-ups that tell you how many other people are ‘looking at’ the same booking as you? The CMA has said that these could create a false impression of availability, which can rush consumers into making a decision.
These booking sites will now risk court action unless they review their practices to comply with consumer protection law.
We’re pleased that two years after Which? Travel first investigated online booking deals that don’t add up, change is on the way. Similar action should now be taken against websites ripping off customers with too-good-to-be-true flight offers.
These sites need to make sure that the deals they’re offering are genuine, and the dodgy pressure-selling tactics are ditched so that consumers can make an informed decision.
Too many people are ending up paying a different price to the one they were originally quoted. Have you had a dream holiday booking turn into a nightmare?
Let us know what happened, and what extra fees you ran into.