The Travel Department offered flight only offers to Ibiza, Majorca and Madeira and referred to the following:
“For a limited time we are offering fantastic value on flights to Ibiza, Majorca and Madeira. These return flights will give you time to enjoy these great destinations at your own pace and at a fantastic low price
Call us on 01 637… to book
…Majorca 7 nights June 25th €199…”
The complainant said that after viewing the flights on the website, he rang the Travel Department on 15th June to check on availability of flights from Dublin to Majorca on 25th June for €199; returning on 2nd July. He was informed that there were seats available. When he tried to book two seats, however, he was informed that the seats were €299 and not €199 as still indicated on their website.
The complainant said that he considered the advertising to be misleading and even more so when on the 18th June, three days later, he discovered that the flights were still being advertised for €199 on the advertisers’ website.
The advertisers said that after investigating the matter they discovered that the flights departing to Majorca on 25th June were increased when the last few seats were remaining. It had been an oversight on their part not to amend their website accordingly.
They said the names of those travelling to Majorca were passed to the airline handling the flight on 11th June. On the 12th June they incurred an extra fee of €100 for any more names which they needed to add to the flight for each remaining seat sold. They reiterated that it was an oversight on their part not to amend their website to reflect this fact.
The advertisers said they consider that the situation as outlined by the complainant had arisen because they very rarely sell seat-only fares and the procedures which they had in place were not specific enough to ensure that their website was updated to reflect the change in price. They said that while their website was enabled to update their tour prices on their main booking system automatically when changes occurred, for seat only offers the prices had to be entered manually.
The advertisers said that they had now implemented a new double checking procedure for seat only prices to ensure that their advertising reflected the correct price available to consumers.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the price advertised had been quoted as a “from” price, nevertheless they reminded the advertisers that when a price is indicated in a marketing communication that it should relate to the product being offered, this had not been the case in this instance. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertisement had breached the requirements of Section 2.22, 2.24 and 2.41 of the Code.
The Committee noted that the advertisers had implemented procedures to ensure that similar circumstances did not arise again and no further action was required in this case.