Published on Friday, October 21, 2011

Watchdog slams online travel giants

Travel giants have bowed to pressure over hidden charges following a report by the BBC’s Watchdog programme.

In last night’s programme, online travel agents and airlines were criticised for slipping things into customers baskets without them noticing.

Lastminute, Expedia and Opodo all came under fire for automatically adding insurance into their packages, leaving the customer with the responsibility of ‘de-selecting’ it.

Meanwhile, Thomson and Flybe were criticised for doing the same with baggage.

In the report, Martin Lewis from told viewers how the European Union now has rules in place to prevent companies engaging in this practice.

He said UK companies were expected to be brought under these EU rules later this year, but were being urged by the CAA to adopt the same policies now.

Later in the programme, he said that since making his report, Expedia and Thomson had agreed to change their policies.

“But there are other companies still doing it,” he told BBC viewers.

“By opting you in, unless you check the terms, they'll be jacking up your price. If you don't make sure to de-select your extras at this stage, you could end up paying more. It can happen to anyone and it’s not acceptable. It’s against EU law.”

Lastminute and Opodo said they were concerned about the number of customers who travel uninsured and argued that they give customers plenty of opportunity to de-select it.

Flybe said it complies with all EU Regulations in relation to its online booking transparency.

by Bev Fearis

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  • Here we go again

    People have been asking why isn't this/that included in the price, I think it should be a full costing including what you should have based on what you are buying and if the consumer deems it that they don't want it to deselect. This would show the full cost of the flight/holiday as it is not taken down to the bone to show cheaper prices to get customers to book. I show my prices wioth everything imcluded, baggage & transfers I mean you arrive at an airport on holiday you've got to get to your hotel so why exclude it from the price?? What happens if cl;ient has packed too much luggage and nopt prebooked then they are penalised at the airport with hefty charges which make it more expensive. I challeneged Martin Lewis over a few issues when he used to diss travel agents to a Live Holiday Insurance Challenege as he said Travel Agents Insurance is a rip off, he declined even though we showed that the policies he was reffering to were very basic and actually for the same cost our insurance covered a lot more so was better value. People should read about Mr Lewis, what he actually does is what we all do is subscribe to promotion/web offer websites etc and then profess to what he has found. He just does what we all do search the internet and get emails the collate them and put them on his website/daybreak etc. He know nothing about travel.

    By Martin Owens, Sunday, October 23, 2011

  • They just keep on trying!

    Some travel firms will come up with all sorts of reasons to justify these practices but the fact that most of these practices are of the opt out variety makes you wonder who's interests they are really concerned with! Why do they think such short term with their reputations at stake? Such devious methods never pay off long term. We never operate this way and never have!

    By Keith Standen, Saturday, October 22, 2011

  • Best Choice Holidays Upsell page

    We at have all additional upsell items on offer but it is up to our customer to decide what he/she wants to add to the basket.

    By Vanyo Leonov, Friday, October 21, 2011

  • Watchdog Slams Online travel Giants

    Good old Watchdog what would we do without its investigations into these poor practices.

    By HARRY CICHY, Friday, October 21, 2011

  • Watchdog????

    I agree Mr Lewis advice is a bit suspect. He was strongly recommending Crown Currency Exchange up to it collapsing. Look what that turned out to be!!

    By paul howgate, Friday, October 21, 2011

  • Can you take this seriously?

    Martin Lewis was the money saving "expert" that recommended thousands of savers to invest in Icelandic banks, literally as they were collapsing!!

    By julia shapchanskaya, Friday, October 21, 2011

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