Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 14/08/00
Author: Page Number: 10
Copyright: Other

ABTA will suffer if this fluid pricing carries on

IN REFERENCE to your article “Has the time come to ditch price panels?”(Travel Weekly August 7), Richard Carrick of Airtours is quoted as saying “with fluid pricing… prices can change hourly”.

Denis Wormwell states “price panels are no more than a guide. I would challenge anyone to book a holiday and pay the brochure price”.

Steve Jones, your chief reporter, writes “in an age of fluid pricing – where rates can rise or fall every hour – prices in brochures have almost become redundant”.

To avoid continually breaking the law and contravening ABTA’s code of conduct further, could I suggest that all tour operators’ brochures containing price panels which are subject to fluid pricing are removed from all agents’ shelves immediately.

For your information Ihave detailed the relevant legislation: “If a brochure is produced, it must indicate in a legible, comprehensive and accurate way, the price of the package.” This is taken from The Package Travel Regulations Law relating to package travel.

The Department of Trade and Industry, on consumer affairs, says: “Part IIIof the Consumer Protection Act 1987 makes it an offence for a person to give false or misleading price indications to consumers by any means.”

Members are reminded that it is now a criminal offence to give a misleading price indication (ABTACode of Conduct – Section 9 Miscellaneous).

“The total price or the means of arriving at the total price must be shown in the brochure. The tour operator must make clear in the brochure what the basic price is and what it covers (ABTACode of Conduct – Section 13 Price Policy).”

Fluid pricing, operated by a variety of tour operators, is simply marketing speak for discounting and profiteering. Although the tour operators like its flexibility, the trading standards office do not, principally because it is illegal and a criminal offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

ABTAreally needs to take urgent action in order to stop fluid pricing immediately to uphold its code of conduct. If it doesn’t, it could face a high profile investigation and possible multiple prosecution of members by the Trading Standards office – with all the negative publicity that would generate from the national media.


Lytham St Annes