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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has identified 15 online trading sites for “follow-up action” after conducting a sweep of Web sites and mobile apps for conduct known as “drip pricing”.

Drip pricing is a practice in which a headline price is advertised at the beginning of an online purchasing process and additional fees and charges are then incrementally disclosed (or “dripped”). “This can result in consumers paying a higher price than the advertised price, spending more than they realise and making it more difficult to compare offers,” ACCC says.

While it has not publicly identified the latest offenders, ACCC notes that previously offenders have included Jetstar, Virgin Australia, AirBnB Ireland, Ticketek and Ticketmaster.

In the latest round-up, the ACCC swept Web sites and mobile apps of more than 130 traders offering online bookings for services such as flights, accommodation, cruises, trains, vehicle hire, car parking and entertainment ticketing.

“Results from the ACCC’s sweep last month indicate an improvement in the online booking processes among the travel, tourism and leisure sectors,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“The sweep identified 15 traders for follow-up action.”

The ACCC notes that since it began work on drip pricing, “a number of businesses in the travel, accommodation and ticketing industries have adjusted their online pricing practices.”
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