The new Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of Oct. 25, 2011, on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council has been published in today's edition of the Official Journal of the European Union.
On October 28th 2011, the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) launched the report “Air Passengers Rights Report 2011 – in the aftermath of the Volcanic Ash Crisis”. The report focuses on several aspects regarding air passengers’ rights in the EU today, in particular during 2010.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Oct. 17, 2011 fined the online ticket agent Orbitz USD 60,000 for violating federal aviation laws and the Department’s rules prohibiting deceptive price advertising in air travel. For a period of time in early 2011, Orbitz’s homepage displayed advertisements that did not provide any information on additional taxes and fees.
On Sep. 21, 2011, the Office of Fair Trade (OFT) has received a super-complaint from Consumer Focus about the cost of obtaining foreign currency and overseas use of credit and debit cards. Consumer Focus identified three features which it has called on the OFT to investigate:
Results of the 2010 sweep websites selling tickets to cultural and sporting events are positive, the Commission announced on 29 Sept. 2011: 88% of the websites checked for breach of EU consumer rules are now in line compared to only 40% in 2010.
This sector was chosen after European Consumer Centres received numerous complaints.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has fined Virgin Atlantic USD 50,000 for deceptive online advertising. The DOT said that Virgin Atlantic displayed air fares, but without government taxes and fees. To see taxes and fees, consumers had to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the fine print.
The plaintiff (a lawyer) initially had sued a tour operator for mal-performance of a package travel contract. The claim had been dismissed by all instances as courts had held that the plaintiff had booked accomodation in a Dubai city hotel with half board and a shuttle service to the beach - and had exactly got what he had booked. It had to be regarded obvious that a city hotel could not offer the same amenities with regard to duration and flexibility of staying at the beach like a hotel directly situated there.
German Oberlandesgericht Jena recently held that it was an illegal trade practice to autmaticly include a cancellation insurance to the ticket price during the online booking process. Such practice would deceive the average consumer even if he had the option to avoid the inclusion of the insurance by unclicking the related tickbox. The deceptive practice would also violate EU Regulation 1008/2008 on on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community.