Watchdog warns consumers about misleading deals on holidays and flights

Holiday companies advertising time-limited deals on holidays and flights could be misleading consumers, according to consumer watchdog Which?.

The consumer group looked at time-limited offers that tour operators made over a three week period in July and August. In 16 out of 30 cases the deals advertised were available for the same price, or even cheaper, after the offer expired.

In October the Caribbean luxury resort chain Sandals advertised an all-inclusive seven-night holiday to Jamaica for £1,465 per person in its Summer Mega Sale. The strapline read, ‘Save up to 60%… Hurry! Only one day left,’ However, a day after the “mega sale” the price dropped by £50 a person.

Virgin Holidays was promoting seven nights in a Florida hotel for £792 per person if booked by 17 August. Only a week later the package cost £682 per person.

A Virgin Holidays’ spokesperson told Which? that it would never intentionally advertise anything misleading.

It added: “We are always looking to secure the best possible value for our customers – and should we be able to obtain better offers from our suppliers, these savings will be passed on to benefit the customer.”

“Our investigation shows that most of the time-limited deals we looked at are nothing of the sort,” said Rory Boland, Which? travel editor.

“The tight deadlines, emotive language and countdown clocks are all designed to rush us into making a decision, but it might not be the right one.”

“Don’t be fooled – compare prices with other holiday companies and travel agents to check savings are genuine.”