Budget travel companies and airlines are continuing to mislead customers with cheap internet prices, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has warned.
The TSI has been a long-time critic of companies who advertise cheap holidays at prices that don’t include must-pay extras, such as high fuel supplements or taxes.
During a random check of online booking last week the TSI found a seven night holiday in Benidorm for £59 per person.
But the holiday actually ended up costing £266 for two adults once all the extra charges – including a fuel supplement of £25 per person – had been added.
At the same time a seven night self catering holiday from Birmingham to Lanzarote advertised at £84 per person ended up costing £392 for two people including fuel supplements of £40 per person.
Online budget airlines also continue to advertise incredible fares which end up rising dramatically once compulsory payments of airport taxes and fees are added.
For example, an advertised £95 per person return flight from Heathrow to Brussels ended up costing £298 for two including compulsory extras of £108.
The TSI’s Lead Officer on travel, Bruce Treloar, said: ‘This misleading and illegal cocktail of confusion is being allowed to flourish and consumers are clearly being enticed to check out particular holidays and flights with unrealistic prices.
‘Travel firms are adding the word ‘from’ – as in ‘Lanzarote, from £75’ – and then think it is acceptable to fail to offer any holidays which even come close to that magical figure, once must-pay supplements are added in.
‘Consumers have more choice than ever before, but are being let down.’
The TSI wants the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to crack down on the practice
Bruce Treloar added: ‘We are requesting that immediate co-ordinated action is taken against travel companies, particularly in respect of the compulsory fuel levy and their failure to include this in their lead-in price.
‘Shops that advertised goods for sale at a particular price and then tried to charge a higher price at the till by telling customers they had to pay towards the shop’s lighting and heating costs would be rightly criticised.
‘Yet parts of the travel industry are allowed to advertise holidays abroad to consumers at one price – and then add on compulsory extra charges to cover the cost of the fuel to fly you there, for the use of the airport and even for printing out the tickets.’