Which? Travel magazine spotlights “rip-off charges'

According to Which? Travel magazine, tourists are facing “rip-off charges” which are being imposed by various travel organisations, including travel firms as well as airlines and hotel chains.

The report says that Britons booking travel are frequently having to pay hidden extras for bookings and that “free” offers are not as free as they appear.

Factors such as expensive phone contact numbers, compulsory charity donations and unavoidable booking fees for card payments are pushing up the real cost of booking a holiday, says Which? magazine.

Some tour operators add on a £2 charity donation to the price of a holiday without even giving consumers a say in the matter, and 28% of the organisations Which? looked at were using expensive 090 or 0871 calling codes. 43% were adding surcharges or compulsory booking fees to card payments, 20% were using automatic “opt-ins” where consumers would have to untick a box to avoid extra payments for items or services they didn’t even want, and some companies were offering “free” car hire that came with an insurance package that itself could rack up an extra cost of up to £126.

Which? Travel magazine looked at how 188 companies were handling holiday bookings and the sample included 51 travel firms, 32 airlines, hotel chains and car hire companies.

Which? Travel acting assistant editor Chris Gray said: "Consumers should always have a clear choice when it comes to adding an extra item to their purchase."

In a separate report the magazine also said that the London Olympics has sent "hotel prices soaring".

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