Travel agent WTC gets whopping €350,000 fine for unclear pricing

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The Authority Consumer & Market (ACM) has fined travel agency World Ticket Center (WTC) 350,000 euros for violating the rules for price transparency in the Luchtvaartverordening (aviation regulation) and being in breach of the Unfair Commercial Practices Act. WTC has appealed the decision.

According to the ACM, WTC did not include all mandatory costs, such as the customer service charge, in the base price for airline tickets. Variable costs were not clearly stated in the basic price and were only added to the price at a later stage in the booking process. Certain optional elements, such as travel and cancellation insurance, were also pre-selected.

Besides the fine, the ACM also demanded that the company modify the information on its website to come in accordance with the applicable rules, which WTC has since done.

"Consumers have a right to transparent pricing. This means that you can compare prices and make an informed choice. Unclear prices also upsets the level playing field and thus the competition," said Anita Vegter, an ACM board member.