Belvilla fined for misleading prices
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed a fine on @Leisure BR B.V., a holiday accommodation rental company in the Netherlands, for misleading pricing on its website www.belvilla.nl. The entry-level prices for booking holiday accommodations on the website were inaccurate. It turned out to be impossible to book a holiday accommodation for the listed entry-level price. Consumers were also misled about unavoidable costs. For this reason, ACM has imposed a fine of EUR 325,000 on @Leisure BR B.V.
Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: "Consumers are entitled to clear prices. With clear prices, they are able to compare different offers properly, and businesses are able to compete fairly with each other. That is why price transparency is one of ACM’s key priorities."
ACM has been committed to clear pricing in the travel sector for some time. A key principle for this is that the holiday accommodation in question must be bookable for the listed price. Additional costs must be listed correctly and with sufficient clarity during the search process. Unavoidable costs must be included in the price. The prices on websites and in advertisements must be realistic. Consumers should be able to book an accommodation for the entry-level price listed in the advertisement. If this is not the case, the price is misleading.
ACM had previously already pointed out to @Leisure BR B.V. that the prices on www.belvilla.nl were misleading and unclear. ACM has now imposed a fine for misleading pricing practices. This is the first time ACM has imposed a fine in accordance with the Fining Policy amended in 2016. ACM is now able to impose higher fines.