Extracts of the press conference by Meglena Kuneva on EU crackdown on misleading airline ticket websites

Type: Summary of press conference   Reference: I-055646   Duration: 10:02:30  Lieu:
End production: 14/11/2007
At a press conference on 14 November 2007 in Brussels, Meglena Kuneva, Member of the EC in charge of Consumer Protection, announced the results of an EU wide investigation - involving 15 EU national authorities as well as Norway – against misleading advertising and unfair practices on airline ticket selling websites. The clampdown covers Europe's leading airlines, low cost carriers as well as other websites selling airline tickets. The results of the inquiry show that over 50% of all websites showed irregularities, in particular relating to price indications, contract terms and clarity of proposed conditions. In the week of 24-28 September, in the first ever EU joint enforcement action on consumer rights (co-ordinated by the European Commission), national enforcement authorities in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and also Norway scrutinised over 400 web sites to check their compliance with EU consumer law. This sweep check is followed by an enforcement phase when companies are contacted by authorities and asked to correct websites or clarify their position. Meglena Kuneva warned that she is giving companies four months to respond. As well as facing possible legal action, she will not hesitate to name and shame companies who fail to take action to bring sites in line with EU law once that deadline expires.

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10:00:00 Title 00:00:05
10:00:05 Exterior view of the European Commission Berlaymont building 00:00:06
10:00:11 General view of the press conference room 00:00:04
10:00:15 SOUNDBITE by Meglena Kuneva, Member of the EC in charge of Consumer Protection, (in ENGLISH): at the centre of that strategy is need to empower consumers to give people the clear information they need to make informed choices. 00:00:08
10:00:23 Cutaway journalists attending the press conference 00:00:06
10:00:30 SOUNDBITE by Meglena Kuneva (in ENGLISH): prices and special offers are often used to lure consumers into the process of booking a flight; in reality, there are only a very limited number of seats available under the advertised offer. 00:00:12
10:00:42 SOUNDBITE by Meglena Kuneva (in ENGLISH): the result is very striking; enforcement authorities checked more than 400 sites; actually the exact number is 447; and they detected problems in more than 50% of the sites; problems were detected on more than 200 of the sites. (3 shots) 00:00:21
10:01:03 Cutaway journalists 00:00:05
10:01:09 SOUNDBITE by Meglena Kuneva (in ENGLISH): flight tickets are advertised at 20 euro on the first page, but by the time all the mandatory taxes, fees, landing changes and others were added in, 5 web pages later, the total price was over 100 euro. 00:00:20
10:01:29 Cutaway journalists 00:00:06
10:01:35 SOUNDBITE by Meglena Kuneva (in ENGLISH): today, I'm sending a clear warning to all the companies concerned: take swift action now to bring your website in sites in line; because once that deadlines expires I will not hesitate to name and shame companies where further legal action is required because they still insist on breaking the law; and also I will not hesitate to praise the companies which are really consumers champions. 00:00:27
10:02:02 Cutaway journalists 00:00:04
10:02:07 SOUNDBITE by Meglena Kuneva (in ENGLISH): these websites will be closed; I have my own prerogatives to act on the basis of these two very important Directives: the one is Unfair Contract Terms and the other one is Misleading Advertise Practice. 00:00:22
10:02:30 Cutaways (3 shots) 00:00:29
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