Four out of five Irish holiday websites fail in consumer probe
SOME Irish websites offering holiday packages should be more up front as to the real cost to the consumer, according to an EU probe.
Out of a total of 26 travel websites investigated as part of a new EU survey, only five were found to be in line with international guidelines.
A number of sites offering deals on air travel and accommodation have "irregularities", the survey found.
It also shows only 46pc of Irish sites are compliant with consumer rights guidelines, compared to an EU average of 62pc.
A basic requirement is that the terms and conditions underpinning any sale should be clearly displayed.
And this information should be written in plain and easy to understand language.
Extra charges affecting the overall cost of a holiday – such as baggage and insurance costs, plus payments for priority boarding – should also be clearly stated.
The total price should be easily understood on the part of the site which displays the main parts of the package on offer.
In addition there should be an email address, complete with a list of clear instructions as to where queries and complaints can be submitted.
The Consumer Association of Ireland (CAI) described the findings as "hugely concerning" and has called for immediate action to be taken.
"There's a lot of work that needs to be done and it needs to be done right away.
"These findings offer an opportunity for a number of us to get together – from the association as well as some of the package holiday operators.
"We should try to put together advisory guidelines which can be adopted by all," CAI chief executive Dermott Jewell, pictured, told the Irish Independent.
One in three internet users in the EU now books travel and accommodation online, and European citizens in 2011 made more than one billion holiday journeys.