Commission and consumer protection authorities act on misleading travel comparison websites

4/10/2017

It is becoming increasingly common to book hotels and flights online. At the same time, problems with online travel services have become one of the most common types of consumer complaints, according to the European Consumer Centres.

In October 2016, the European Commission and EU consumer protection authorities launched a coordinated EU-wide screening of price comparison and travel booking websites.

The consumer protection authorities of 28 countries (26 EU countries, Norway and Iceland) checked a total of 352 websites comparing offers and prices, mainly in the travel sector. 235 of these websites were flagged for further investigation.

The consumer protection authorities have asked these websites to bring their practices in line with EU consumer legislation. This legislation requires them to be fully transparent about prices, and to present offers in a clear way, at an early stage in the booking process.

"The Internet provides consumers with plenty of information to prepare, compare and book their holidays. However, if the reviews on comparison websites are biased or prices are not transparent, these websites are misleading consumers. The companies concerned need to respect the European consumer rules, just like a travel agent would. Consumer authorities will now require the websites to solve these issues. Consumers deserve the same protection online and offline" said Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

Read the pressrelease on the European Commission website