Trade Practices

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German Supreme Court: mandatory tips on cruise ships have to be included in final the price of the arrangement

The defendants , a cruise operator and its German representative, had advertised cruises in a German railway journal. The indicated price "from EUR 799 per person" had a footnote which said that in addition, cruise passengers at the end of the cruise are committed to pay a tip of EUR 7 per person for each night spent onboard the cruise ship without complaint.

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UK: Competion and Markets Authority action on seconary ticketing website shows results

A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) action has resulted in 4 of the largest UK secondary ticket platforms for music, sports and theare tickets – GET ME IN!, Seatwave, StubHub and viagogo – giving undertakings to build upon their existing practices and give improved information to buyers about the tickets listed on their sites.

These include:

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German Supreme Court (BGH) asks CJEU for preliminary ruling in air ticket pricing case

According to Article 23(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, air fares and air rates available to the general public shall include the applicable conditions when offered or published in any form, including on the Internet, for air services from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies.

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CJEU Advocate General: EU law allows air carriers pricing freedom - including services such as checking in baggage

In August 2010, the air carrier Vueling added a surcharge of €40 to the base price of airline tickets (€241.48) purchased by Ms Arias Villegas when she checked in two pieces of baggage online. Ms Villegas therefore lodged a complaint against Vueling, claiming that the contract of carriage by air concluded with that undertaking contained an unfair term.

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France: Court of Appeal affirms fine for price fixing in the leisure and tourism sector

In a decision of June 6, 2013, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld a decision of the French Competition Authority fining the Géfil trade association and ten consulting firms in the leisure, culture and tourism engineering sector a total amount of EUR 660.700 for having issued instructions to use “fair prices” and to avoid “dumping” and “price wars”. These instructions were found to have been used as a benchmark for price quotations filed by consulting firms in response to calls for tenders.

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USA: DOT releases guidance for Internet flight-search tools

According to an article published in "Travel Pulse", the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a guidance document for travel agencies that operate Internet flight-search tools on how these agencies should disclose the carriers they do not market in their search results. In particular, DOT will consider it an unfair practice to simply report that “no flight exists that matches” the consumer’s criteria, when in reality the flight does exist, but the agency does not offer it. DOT has provided a 90-day window, starting Aug.

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UK: OFT consults on proposed hotel booking commitments

The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) opened a consultation on commitments proposed by Booking.com B.V. (Booking.com), Expedia Inc (Expedia) and InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG), designed to address its competition concerns in relation to the online offering of room only hotel accommodation bookings by Online Travel Agents (OTAs).

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Italy: OTAs succeed against Ryanair over website access

With decision No. 7825/2013 of June 4, 2013, the Court of Milan has held that Ryanair’s refusal to grant access to its database and booking procedures to an online travel agency was an abuse of its dominant market position. Ryanair's General Conditions for the use of its website interdicted any access for commercial purposes an thus excluded OTAs from intermediation business. The court ruled that Ryanair has to allow OTAs access to its database and booking procedures.

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Austrian Supreme Court: ticket office must disclose commission

The defendant runs a ticket office which sells theater and concert tickets through the internet. In the course of the online booking process, the website showed the total price of the respective ticket and the information "ticket price includes booking fee and VAT". Only the General Conditions of Contract contained the information that the booking fee/commission ammounted to 25 percent of the net ticket price.

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UK: Civil Aviation Authority and Office of Fair Trading warn travel industry not to mislead consumers

A new guidance launched by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), is aimed at airlines, price comparison websites, travel agents and tour operators, and is designed to make sure the travel industry is fully aware of its responsibilities under existing consumer legislation. The document makes clear that the travel industry must provide consumers with the information they need, when they need it and in a transparent way they can clearly understand.

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