Pricing complaints upheld by ASA

Complaints against the adverts of three online travel firms have been upheld by the advertising watchdog.

Cheapflights, Skyscanner and Travel House UK were accused of misleading pricing of flights in complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The Cheapflights case centred on flights from London to Columbia on its website in September which were found not to be available at a range of different prices advertised.

Cheapflights admitted it had been unable to identify the travel company that advertised a price of £625 “however they contacted the other advertisers and forwarded any response they had received to the ASA”.

Cheapflights said after the ruling: “It was unfortunate that the consumer did not contact us directly for help, as by the time we heard of this through the ASA it was not possible to investigate properly or help the consumer.

“We welcome feedback on the accuracy of our deals and work swiftly to give feedback. We have a three strikes and off-the-site policy for any advertisers who display inaccurate fares.”

Upholding the complaint, the ASA said the ads must not appear again in their current form.

“We told Cheapflights and their partners to ensure they made clear if flights at advertised prices might be extremely limited or unavailable by the time an ad appeared,” the authority said.

Skyscanner admitted that it was unable to demonstrate that London to New York flights advertised on the site in September for £262 was available.

The ASA said it was “concerned the ads did not make clear that the ‘from’ prices on offer might be withdrawn without notice”.

In its ruling, the authority said: “We told Skyscanner to ensure that some flights were available at the ‘from’ prices advertised at the time the ad appeared, and to make clear in their ads that offers may be withdrawn without notice.”

The Travel House case involved a complaint challenging the availability of flights from Heathrow to Cebu in the Philippines advertised for £239.

The ASA ruled that the price claims must not appear again and said: “We told Travel House to ensure they hold documentary evidence to show that flights are available at the quoted fare in future.

“We also told them to make clear where advertised fares are extremely limited and update their website accordingly when fares are no longer available.”

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