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The Netherlands Consumer Authority is to continue to keep a close watch on the travel industry

The Netherlands Consumer Authority (CA) is seeing a considerable amount of abuses in the travel industry. That is why it has named ‘untransparent pricing in the travel industry’ one of the three focus areas in its 2012-2013 Agenda. Everybody in the travel industry must comply with the law. Bernadette van Buchem, Director of the CA, explains: 'If these abuses are not stopped quickly, the CA as the competent authority is authorized to take actions. Despite all efforts in recent years, strict oversight continues to be necessary.

The CA in recent years kept a close watch on travel compensation arrangements in the Dutch travel industry, and will continue to do so in 2012.' Ms. Van Buchem adds: 'These last few years, we talked to more than 240 tour operators who had not made adequate travel compensation arrangements, and we took action where needed. More than 150 of the tour operators we talked to decided to cease offering package tours altogether, or decided to become members of Dutch travel compensation fund SGR after all. In addition, ten operators were summoned to appear in court, while dozens more are currently under investigation. I’m therefore disappointed by the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators' (ANVR) attempts today to portray us in the media as a paper tiger. Such a portrayal is not consistent with the facts.’

Furthermore, consumers are all too often enticed by advertised prices that do not match actual prices. This is illegal. Particularly when booking online, it often becomes clear during the booking process that all kinds of costs are added that cannot be avoided, yet still result in a higher price, for example, booking fees. Also, check boxes for all sorts of additional, yet non-required options, such as travel insurances, are often pre-checked. This is not allowed. Since June 1, 2011, the CA is charged with enforcement of compliance with Article 23 of the European aviation regulation. This article sets out requirements that must be met when publishing air fares for air services from an EU airport. Only if actual, final prices are published are consumers able to make meaningful comparisons, and can thus make the right choice. The CA will continue to take action against providers that consistently ignore the rules. The CA does however expect the ANVR to advise its members to comply with the law.