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Case detail



Directive article Article 7 2.
National ID A556 - 1370/2012
Country Lithuania Decision date 10/04/2013
Common name Decision type Administrative decision in appeal
Court Lietuvos vyriausiasis administracinis teismas Plaintiff(s) UAB „Interneto partneris“
Court translation Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania Defendant(s) State Consumer Rights Protection Authority
Subject information obligation
Keywords Air Services Regulationintermediaryinternetmaterial informationomissionprice informationtradertravel

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Headnote

Not providing consumers with information on a change in applicable fees, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.

Facts

The defendant, which manages a flight reservation website, sells airline tickets online. Consumers who had booked their tickets on the Internet webpage of the defendant, were faced with an additional fee (not mentioned during the reservation online) that was demanded at the airport and which was charged for the registration of their luggage.

On the electronic ticket distributed to the consumer, and also on the confirmation form, the consumers could establish that a particular amount of luggage was allowed for free, hence without paying a surcharge. Despite this fact, upon the arrival at the airport and presenting the luggage for check-in, the airline concerned demanded the customers to pay a luggage registration fee.

The plaintiff, who's main task was considered to distribute airline tickets to the consumers, was punished for its failure to appropriately inform consumers that some airlines apply a luggage registration fee.

The plaintiff on its part, claimed that the fault lie with the airlines, who had not effectively informed the plaintiff of the fact that the airlines in question had changed their luggage registration fee policy, by submitting this information in the general international electronic flight search system on which the plaintiff based its information towards consumers.  
 

Legal issue

Does not providing consumers with information on a change in applicable fees, constitute an unfair commercial practice?

Decision

The court stated that the information about the luggage fee is essential and that, consequently, the luggage fee must be indicated clearly, transparently and unambiguously at the beginning of any reservation procedure. The court next held that any omission to provide such information, should be considered a misleading omission, which is contrary to law.

Further, in answer to the arguments of the plaintiff, the court reminded that this information obligation applies both to the airlines themselves, as to the intermediary operating the ticket reservation website (i.e. the plaintiff).

According to the court, even though the plaintiff stated that it could not be held liable for the omission of the airlines to provide the information, the plaintiff was aware of the problem and violation of the consumers’ rights and, acting as a fair and responsible intermediary, the plaintiff should have ensured that the information given by it to the consumers would not violate the Law on Prohibition of Unfair Business-To-Consumer Commercial Practices.
 

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Result

The plaintiff’s request was denied.

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