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GREEDY holiday companies could be breaking the law by pushing consumers into paying more for breaks advertised as time-limited deals, Which? Travel said yesterday.
Consumers are at risk of being “fooled” by enticing adverts that portray deals as bargains only available for short periods of time, according to the consumer watchdog.
Its researchers tracked time-limited deals over three weeks in July and August and found the same offer was available for the same price or cheaper in 16 out of 30 cases after the deals had ended.
The watchdog has shared the findings with trading standards officers and the Advertising Standards Authority.
In October, Sandals offered a seven-night all-inclusive break to Jamaica from £1,465 per person as part of its “summer 2018 mega sale.” But the price dropped by £50 per person the day after the sale ended, Which? found. The firm’s Halloween promotion followed immediately, with another seven days added to the same deal.
A Virgin “holiday sale” offered seven nights at a Florida hotel from £792 per person if booked by August 17. The same dates dropped to £677 per person the day after the sale.
Two nights at the Ares Eiffel hotel in Paris were available for £404 through Expedia’s “flash sale,” but a new “40 per cent off” promotion was running a fortnight later and the same stay was available for £382.
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “The tight deadlines, emotive language and countdown clocks are all designed to rush us into making a decision, but it might not be the right one.
“Don’t be fooled. Compare prices with other holiday companies and travel agents to check savings are genuine.”
Sandals Resorts and Virgin Holidays told Which? that they did not intentionally advertise anything misleading.
Expedia said it was going to investigate the issues raised.
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