SURVEY OF ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCIES FOUND DISCREPANCIES

Daniel A. Tanner - Aug 30, 2010
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French online travel agencies were surveyed by the association Familles de France. The study revealed discrepancies in prices.

Faced with an increase in purchasing holidays via the internet, the association Familles de France (Families of France) has carried out a study of French online travel agencies. Ten sites have been surveyed. The results of the report are satisfactory with respect to the availability of trips offered by online agencies. Also, the actual days of departure and arrival correspond to those found online. However, the survey revealed discrepancies regarding the prices. 

Familles de France found significant differences between the prices proposed by the agencies for given trips and the prices actually paid by the consumer. These price differences have been detected at three sites and range from 200 to 1000 Euros. 

Furthermore, the association found out that only 7 out of 10 sites allow easy access to the general conditions of sales. The remaining 3 sites create an imbalance between the rights and obligations of professionals to consumers. 

Two sites ignore the obligation to inform consumers about prices set in the French Consumer Law arguing that prices are "indicative". Three sites are defined as mere intermediaries while they are actually real travel agencies.

Familles de France therefore recommends consumers to read the terms and conditions of the online travel agencies to find out the terms of sale, their rights, duties and to be aware of certain clauses that could be unfavorable to them. The association also advises to be particularly attentive to extra expenses that can be imputed into the price of the trip and which could make the final sum higher.

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