Cheapflights said its three ‘strikes and out’ policy remains for advertisers who load inaccurate fares onto the system but it would continue to work with Holidaygenie, an Essex-based website which sometimes carries up to 17,000 prices on the site.
The firm was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority earlier this week after a user complained that an advertised flight offer to Montreal did not exist.
According to the ruling on the ASA website, Holidaygenie, the consumer-facing online arm of Flying Eagles, admitted that it was also unable to locate the fare on its website but “given the large number of fares and the constant change of availability, some flights would become full and offers would sell out”.
It is the second time in the past 12 months that an advertiser on Cheapflights has come before the ASA following a customer complaint.
Cheapflights said around 1.5 million fares are loaded onto the UK site every day and often some 250,000 are rejected in the space of a few hours if they do meet its strict criteria covering accuracy and availability.
Holidaygenie will be monitored and assisted with its fare loading to ensure there is not a similar incident, a spokesman told Travolution.
The new technology platform developed in the past 18 months also allows Cheapflights to remove any adverts within 15 minutes if its automatic and regular checks discover discrepancies with fares from any advertiser.
The spokesman stressed that the company “makes every effort to ensure the deals on Cheapflights are real,” although there is also an element of “self-policing” involved as an advertiser does not want to be displaying inaccurate information on the site.