OFT ruling forces airlines to scrap hidden debit card charges

Airlines: OFT rules to scrap hidden debit card charges
Airlines: OFT rules to scrap hidden debit card charges

Ryanair and easyJet are among the airlines that have agreed to display debit card surcharges in their headline ticket prices following an enforcement action from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The group of 12 airlines agreeing to the changes includes Aer Lingus, BMI Baby, easyJet, Flybe, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook and Thomson, after the OFT conducted a consumer law investigation into their practices.

The investigation into debit surcharges followed a super-complaint from consumer watchdog Which?, citing budget airlines as the worst offenders.

The OFT called payments by debit card the equivalent of online cash transactions, stating that "headline prices should be the prices that people can pay".

Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Wizz Air have already changed their marketing, websites and pricing structure in compliance with the OFT during the investigation.

The remaining airlines must make their changes by 1 August.

The ruling does not apply to credit card surcharges, which can still be made by carriers, as they are a more costly process, though the OFT said it is "critical" that these charges are transparent and not "sprung" on consumers at the end of the booking process.

Ryanair, who has agreed to the changes, has previously been vocal about not paying attention to the OFT’s investigation, with its chief executive Michael O’Leary saying that the action would not create "any change whatsoever" to its process of charging fees to consumers.

Instead, Ryanair launched its own "cash passport" for consumers in October last year, which claimed to allow consumers to avoid paying fees of up to £10 for using a credit or debit card to pay for a flight. However, the card carries a £2.50 "inactivity fee" if not used for six months.

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith on Twitter @loullamae_es

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad
Powerade launches global World Cup campaign