Consumer Protection

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USA: DOT fines Orbitz for violating price advertising rules

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.

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UK: Office of Fair Trading received super-complaint about travel money

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:

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European Commission publishes results of the Online ticket Sales Sweep

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.

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USA: DOT fines Virgin Atlantic for deceptive online advertising

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.

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

USA: DOT fines JetBlue for deceptive pricing

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined JetBlue Airways USD 50,000 for violating federal aviation laws and the Department’s rules prohibiting deceptive price advertising in air travel.

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Austrian Constitutional Court: no state liability for alledgedly false application of the Package Travel Directive

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.

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USA: new airline passenger protection rules took effect Aug. 23

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said new consumer protections for airline passengers are now effect starting Aug. 23. The new rules include

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

German court regards 'automatic' inclusion of cancellation insurance to flight ticket price illegal

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.

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USA: class action suit against YTB reinstated

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Illinois reinstated a class action lawsuit against YTB International, which offers booking websites and travel agent training. The class action is seeking $5 million in damages for more than 100 plaintiffs nationwide against Illinois-based YTB, also known as YourTravelBiz.com.

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UK: OFT to take action over passenger travel sector payment surcharges

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has put passenger travel companies on notice to change misleading debit and credit card surcharging practices or face enforcement action under consumer protection laws.

Publishing its findings on these surcharges, following a super-complaint from U.K. Consumer Rights Association Which?, the OFT also calls for the law to be updated to stop consumers being surcharged when buying goods and services with any debit card.

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