Airlines guilty of drip pricing

Have you ever seen a flight price that seems too good to be true? Well, by the time you get to the checkout with all the fees added, it probably is. Called drip pricing, it’s a dodgy scheme used by some airlines, two of which have just been called out by the Federal Court.

The ACCC launched its legal action against the two airlines concerned, Jetstar and Virgin, last year, claiming they failed to disclose booking and service fees that made flights more expensive than the headline price.

Mainly used on their mobile sites, drip pricing caused many customers to be unable to redeem advertised ticket prices due to the hidden fees associated with booking and service. CHOICE Head of Media, Tim Godfrey, agrees, saying, “Drip pricing makes it extremely difficult for people to compare the true cost of products. It’s unfair to consumers and it penalises companies who do the right thing.” Adding, “Companies are not allowed to advertise a headline price and then slowly reveal unavoidable extra fees and charges as you make your way through the checkout.”

Amen to that we say.

With the Federal Court finding Jetstar and Virgin had indeed breached sections of the Australian Consumer Law by not disclosing the booking and service fees on their mobile sites until the very end of the booking process, the decision should hopefully send a clear message.

Coming hot on the heels of the Federal Government’s decision last month to enforce a ban on excessive credit card surcharges, the future of booking flights is certainly heading in the right direction.

Have you fallen victim to drip pricing before and been drawn in by the headline price only to find out it’s much higher at the checkout? Tell us your story in the comments below.

You can read more about the Federal Government’s decision at CHOICE.

Written by SJ



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