Sunday, 13 January 2008

Caveat Emptor

I booked a flight with Easyjet the other day. I fly in early March. I'm still amazed at how they can sell you a return ticket for £32 even though there'll be people paying five times as much. Amazing.

There was no problem booking my flight, although I encountered a series of options along the way. For instance, a few items seem to be included in bookings now by default: hold baggage is included, at a cost, unless you delete this. Travel insurance is included, at a cost, unless this is deleted too.

Consequently, you really do need to be aware of this or your plastic card will be debited for items you either don't require nor wish for. I noticed the hold baggage and insurance fees, and deleted the hold luggage as I only take hand baggage. I thought the insurance was not included and was an option instead, so I did nothing. I finished the transaction and paid £42, which I was pleased with.

The next morning I got an email from Mondial Insurance, thanking me for taking out insurance with them. Eh? I realized immediately that I'd been charged for something I did not need, since I already have annual trip insurance.

I visited the airline's website again and navigated around it till I discovered that I could go to Change My Booking and amend or cancel items. I was able to cancel the insurance, thank goodness. I'd only done the original transaction twelve hours previously.

My flight is now costing £32. My question is: is this a touch of sharp practice? As an experienced web user who has booked many flights and holidays via the web, this is the first time something like this has occurred; it wasn't like this last year certainly.

Caveat Emptor: buyer beware.

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