The most problematic tactic is so-called drip pricing. This is the practice of splitting the price of a ticket or product into the headline price, delivery charges, credit card fees, taxes and other extras.

Travel companies, theatres and concert promoters are particularly guilty of levelling so-called optional credit card fees or booking fees when in reality they are compulsory.

James MacBeth, at the OFT, who led the study, said: \”The first piece of information you get presented with is the bit you really focus and remember.\” Most consumers find it hard to remember the total price, making it nearly impossible to conduct a fair comparison.

Airlines were investigated two years ago for splitting out compulsory taxes from their prices so that they could claim they were selling £1 tickets, when in reality the total cost could be in excess of £100.

The OFT said it was also particularly concerned about…….

Bureaucrats don\’t like us being reminded how much bureaucracy costs us……

Shocking stuff, eh?

5 thoughts on “Surprise!”

  1. In the case of taxes, I definitely side with the airline on this: they don’t get to see the taxes.

    Everything else (booking fees, check in fees yada yada, RyanAir’s fee for using the loos et al) should be in the headline price – they’re not competing on the rest.

    In fact, this really ought to extended to other stuff. Imagine what would happen at petrol stations, if they advertised the headline price then gave you a bill that said:

    Petrol: 45p
    Taxes: 73p (VAT on petrol: 7p, duty 56p, VAT on Duty, 10p)
    Total: 118p

    And precisely WTF “value” is added by “duty”?

  2. Really, who cares?

    There used to be a time when government would just do its job with regards to consumers: products are dangerous, products aren’t fit for purpose, companies add charges that no-one expected.

    With all of these, you get the final price. Don’t like it? Don’t click OK. If you can’t handle that then you probably shouldn’t be allowed near sharp objects.

  3. I do think there’s a point here.
    One that always pisses me is restaurants.
    Cover charge, service charge then VAT added after anything else they can dream up. Then they want to leave the bottom line of the CC slip empty so you add a tip.
    Where I live now it just says meal, this much. Bread & often wine & coffee included.
    Went after a representative of the restaurant industry on a radio phone in once. Why the separate VAT?
    Trite answer, “It’s because some diners claim against tax.”
    WTF? So a few people employ accountants get to save 3 seconds of calculator time?

  4. Yes, if you don’t like the price, don’t travel. But where did all these taxes come from all of a sudden? Last time I flew to the UK the headline price via Madrid was $1200, but with taxes it was $1700. It used to cost me about $750 all-in to go from Central America to London. Someone’s coining it.

  5. The problem is not the price – the problem is that if it says £x it should be £x. Very few websites have this joke – at Amazon etc the price is what you see advertised no x charge or y charge.

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