|Advertisements for flight tickets of low-cost carriers do not clearly indicate the total cost of the flight ticket.|
Advertisements for flight tickets of low-cost carriers do not clearly indicate the total cost of the flight ticket.
With an increase in demand for domestic low-cost carriers (LCC)* and a variety of special price offers, consumer damage caused by a lack of information continues to occur, prompting consumers to pay extra attention.
* Domestic line (percentage): (2016) 17.565 million people (56.8%) → (2017) 18.427 million people (56.9%) → (2018) 18.514 million people (58.6%)
International line (percentage): (2016) 14.304 million people (19.6%) → (2017) 20.302 million people (26.4%) → (2018) 25.068 million people (29.2%)
(Source: Korea Airports Corporation, Incheon International Airport Corporation)
[ The Number of Applications for damage redress regarding domestic LCCs for the past 3 years ]
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has imposed ‘the requirement for an indication of the total cost, including airfare, etc.’ (hereinafter referred to as the ‘total cost indication requirement’) since July 15, 2014, so that consumers can easily check the total cost, and make reasonable choices through product comparison.
However, according to the results of the investigation conducted by the Korea Consumer Agency (President Lee Hee-sook) on whether the advertisements for flight tickets of domestic low-cost carriers sold on 4 online open market sites* have complied with the ‘total cost indication requirement,’ and provided information about checked baggage fees, some of the advertisements investigated did not provide information on 5 items** that are included in the ‘total cost indication requirement, or did not inform consumers of the checked baggage fees.
* Gmarket, Auction, 11Street, Interpark
** ① total cost, including airfare, etc., ② whether the ticket is one-way ticket or round-trip ticket, ③ (where a detailed schedule is indicated) fuel surcharge amount, ④ information on variable expenses, including fuel surcharges, etc., ⑤ differentiating the total cost of a ticket, including airfare, etc. from its detailed breakdowns, and highlighting the price in a different color or size
□ 43.3% of the advertisements investigated did not fulfill the ‘total cost indication requirement.’
26 (43.3%) out of the 60 advertisements investigated did not comply with the ‘total cost indication requirement,’ and in more details, many of those advertisements informed consumers of the ‘total cost of a ticket, including airfare, etc.’ at a lower cost than the price actually paid, or did not present the exact price of a ticket, indicating only that a fuel surcharge is included.
[ Results of the monitoring for compliance and non-compliance with the ‘total cost indication requirement’ ]
(unit: the number of ads )
* The ‘total cost indication requirement’ is considered to be fulfilled only when all of the 5 items above are indicated, advertised and informed, and therefore, the number of the advertisements which have complied with each individual item may be larger than the number (34) of the advertisements which have complied with the ‘total price indication requirement.’
□ 31.7% of the investigated advertisements did not provide information about checked baggage fees or unclearly presented the information.
Although checked baggage fees are not the item which must be indicated according to the ‘total cost indication requirement,’ improvements related to the indication of checked baggage fees need to be made because there are cases where low-cost carriers do not clearly indicate whether they offer free checked baggage allowance, even though many of them do not actually offer the free baggage allowance.
In fact, it was found that 19 (31.7%) out of the 60 advertisement investigated did not provide information about checked baggage fees or provided the information in an unclear way.
15 out of those 19 advertisements did not provide any information about checked baggage fees. The other 4 advertisements provided information about general regulations on checked baggage, but did not inform consumers of the checked baggage fees that are actually applied to the flight tickets sold on online open markets.
[ Results of the monitoring of whether information about checked baggage fees was provided ]
* Ads that did not provide information about checked baggage fees, or only advised consumers to ask airlines for the baggage-related information.
Based on the results of the investigation, the KCA advised the domestic low-cost carriers in question ▲to comply with the ‘total cost indication requirement’ when selling flight tickets, and ▲strengthen the provision of information related to checked baggage fees, and also recommended the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport ▲to strengthen the education and promotion of the ‘total cost indication requirement’ for business operators.
Going forward, the KCA will make continued efforts to improve the terms and conditions deemed unfavorable to people’s consumption life, and contribute to the realization of social values as an agency to help consumers become better able to conduct a sound and reasonable consumption.
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