EDreams rapped by ASA as Ryanair calls for Google ad ban

EDreams rapped by ASA as Ryanair calls for Google ad ban

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The advertising watchdog has rapped OTA eDreams for suggesting it was the official site for booking easyJet and Ryanair flights.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against the European online travel agency.

The ads, which appeared last summer, included logos of the airlines.

But the ASA received a complaint that the ads misleadingly implied that by clicking the links, consumers would be accessing official easyJet and Ryanair content from the airlines’ sites.

The authority banned the ads and told eDreams to ensure that its advertising did not imply that it was promoting the official sites of airlines.

The ASA rejected eDreams defence that the ads did not claim to be for the official sites for easyJet or Ryanair.

The company said it believed it was clear to consumers who searched the eDreams website for flight availability that it compared multiple airlines and not just flights available from easyJet or Ryanair.

Ryanair called on Google to ban eDreams advertising on the back of the ASA ruling.

The low-fares carrier says it has “repeatedly written” to Google chiefs enclosing complaints from customers misled by the eDreams advertising.

Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “Today’s ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority, conclusively proves that the eDreams advertising through deceptive Google adverts is misleading consumers into booking higher priced tickets through the eDreams website.

“eDreams continues to advertise Ryanair fares that do not exist, and continues to hit unsuspecting consumers with hidden fees, and in many cases is not booking additional services such as checked in bags.

“These deceptive practices mean that customers who think they have paid for a checked in bag arrive at the airport and end up having to pay on the double.

“Google is clearly aware of this misleading advertising, because Ryanair has brought it to its attention at every level within the organisation.

“We believe that Google has thus far failed to block this misleading advertising, precisely because it boosts Google’s advertising revenues by actively misleading consumers into believing they are booking tickets on Ryanair and/or other websites when in fact they are booking on a third party website.

“We again call on Google to delist eDreams until all references to Ryanair have been removed from the eDreams advertising.

“Ryanair has no difficulty with eDreams promoting itself as eDreams, but when it uses Google’s paid for search to pass itself off as ‘Ryanair’, then consumers are, and will continue to be misled.

“Ryanair will be using this latest ASA ruling as part of our continuing legal action against eDreams and Google to put an end to this misleading advertising, which both eDreams and Google are profiting from.”

In a statement, eDreams said: “We are encouraged by the ASA’s acknowledgement that eDreams can use relevant search terms and that it can promote its services as an Online Travel Agency (OTA) through the use of search engine optimisation.

“We are keen to work with the ASA to ensure that there is never any potential confusion for customers when they search for flight availability on the eDreams website.

“There is no intention to imitate the appearance of specific airlines, as eDreams clearly indicates to its customers that they are on one of its own websites, rather than that of any airline, allowing them to view thousands of flight combinations in a matter of seconds to find the best value flights.

“As Europe’s largest Online Travel Agency, we continuously aim to ensure compliance with regulators and to operate in the best interest of consumers.

“eDreams has been instrumental in ushering in a new era of travel booking with an online platform that provides our customers access to over 155,000 different flight routes at the best prices available.”

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