From now on, Dutch tour operators D-reizen and CheapTickets.nl will be clear about the prices for their tours. This means that the prices will include all unavoidable costs. Other unavoidable costs that are variable will be presented at a single glance with the advertised prices. The two tour operators made these adjustments immediately after the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) had launched an investigation into the way in which they displayed their tour prices on their websites. Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “These adjustments are beneficial to consumers, because it is now easier for consumers to compare prices. At the same time, it is also a signal to other businesses in the travel industry: clear prices are the norm. Price transparency also benefits fair competition.”
Commitments to ACM
After ACM had started an investigation, both businesses made immediate adjustments that took away ACM’s objections. Moreover, during the investigation, both businesses offered to make commitments that went further than the reasons why ACM had started the investigation. They are adjusting the prices displayed on all websites under their control, for example: VakantieXperts, BudgetAir.nl, and Vliegwinkel.nl. They will also display all non-mandatory additional costs directly together with the advertised prices, for instance baggage fees or the costs for credit-card payments. For this reason, ACM has accepted the commitments from D-reizen and CheapTickets.nl, and has cancelled the investigation.
Clear prices are beneficial to consumers
For some time now, ACM has been committed to ensuring that prices and conditions are clear in various sectors, which enables consumers to compare prices on the basis of correct information, and to make well-informed decisions. It will also create a level playing field for all businesses. The following criteria apply to the travel industry:
- The price in the advertisement is the price at which the booking can be made;
- All unavoidable costs are included in the advertised price;
- All variable, unavoidable costs are listed directly with the advertised price.
To address the issue of price transparency, ACM has approached numerous businesses in the travel industry, and, in some cases, has imposed fines on businesses. When choosing its approach in each case, ACM puts consumers first. In this particular situation, ACM opts for a swift and targeted approach, now that both businesses have made immediate adjustments to their websites in addition to making commitments that go further than the reasons why ACM had started the investigation. ACM will be checking whether the commitments are being fulfilled. If consumers are confronted with unclear prices, they can report this to ConsuWijzer.nl, ACM’s consumer information portal.