Cheap travel subscription offers are being warned as the number of complaints from bargain-hungry Britons rises.
COMPLAINTS about subscription traps set up by online travel subscription services with companies based in other countries have soared this summer, with clients unaware they were in a contract until they received the debit.
According to the UK International Consumer Centre, a 520 percent increase was observed between April and June 2021 compared to the same period last year, punishing bargain-hungry Brits. Consumers in the United Kingdom told the UKICC that they didn’t realize they’d signed a subscription agreement until they saw a card payment. In the second quarter of 2021, 186 UK consumers reported an issue with a travel subscription service to the UKICC, compared to 30 similar occurrences in the second quarter of 2020.
“UK consumers have been traveling a lot less since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are still willing to store up what they consider as a bargain for the future,” said Andy Allen, service director of the UK International Consumer Centre.
“Unfortunately, if they discover they’ve been ensnared in a subscription trap, their desire for a cheap offer can come back to hit them hard. We’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of UK customers contacting us with a problem.”
A subscription or membership is when a travel agent charges a customer an annual/monthly fee in exchange for access to lower travel rates, primarily for airplane tickets but also for hotel and/or vacation bookings.
The individual company determines the arrangement, which is usually described in their terms and conditions.
Subscription traps are one of the primary issues that the UK government intends to address in its recently released plans for Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy (20 July 2021).
The Government wants to crack down on subscription traps by requiring businesses to make it clear exactly what consumers are signing up for and allowing them to cancel easily, according to the plans, which are out for consultation with consumers, businesses, and consumer organizations until 11.45pm on October 1st.
“Consumers who come to us with complaints concerning travel subscription services claim they don’t always realize they’ve engaged into a subscription contract until their credit card is charged,” Allen continued. They may then have difficulties canceling the subscription.
“Consumers also claim that the package comes with a lower travel price.”Brinkwire Summary News”.