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CAA to crack down on unclear websites and brochures

May 9, 2013

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has warned it, along with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), are reviewing travel companies’ websites and promotional material to check they are providing “clear, transparent and timely information” on the holidays and flights they are selling. In a statement the CAA said this is aimed at making sure the industry is “fully aware of its responsibilities under existing consumer legislation”.

Charity Challenge has campaigned from day one (way back in 1999) to provide clear and transparent pricing for its participants and charity partners, specifically, including all known air taxes at the time of launching a challenge. Many challenge companies do not include known air taxes and simply pass them off as surcharges a few months before departure. This is misleading and whilst the challenge appears cheaper, it is only deceiving the clients (or the charity) who have to pay later!

The CAA said key points of the guidance include a reminder of:
•    All unavoidable and foreseeable charges for flights must be included in the headline price – this includes taxes, fees and any other mandatory charges such as a booking fee.
•    Information on the financial protection arrangements for the booking and other key information must be made clear to consumers.
•    Terms and conditions relating to a booking must be clearly available and easy to understand.

Cavendish Elithorn, senior director of the OFT’s Goods and Consumer group, added: “Booking a holiday should be simple. People should be able to make a clear choice and should not be surprised by hidden charges or conditions after they have booked. Our guidance makes life easier for consumers by leaving the travel industry in no doubt about its responsibilities.”

The full guidance is available online here and a shorter version for quick reference is here.

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