Skyscanner responsible for travel firm Govolo’s false pricing

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A district court in Amsterdam concluded that travel price comparison website Skyscanner was rightfully found in violation of the Dutch Advertising Code Foundation (SRC) for publishing inaccurate prices from travel agent Govolo. The complaint was issued in September 2013 when the SRC determined that Govolo would later add “booking costs” on top of an airfare price shown to Skyscanner users.

The ruling could call into question business practices of price comparison websites available for Dutch consumers, as the court determined they share the blame when publishing inaccurate purchasing costs.

Skyscanner claimed it was wrong to blame them for the errors, as they have “no insight into the conditions under which [airfare] is offered,” according to the court ruling published on October 8. The court rejected that argument, noting that Skyscanner also benefits economically whenever a customer booked a ticket on Govolo after first using Skyscanner.

The court also decided that the SRC Executive Board has the mandate to issue the complaints even though it is not equivalent to a court, calling it an authority on the subject. About 96 percent of all SRC complaints are voluntarily adhered to by violators, the court heard in the case. It also ruled that freedom of expression in the Netherlands does not protect an advertiser from making a false claim.

Skyscanner was ordered to pay the SRC 1,512 euro, including 904 euro for attorney’s fees and 608 euro in court costs.

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