Airlines will either stop charging customers to use their debit cards during the booking process, or will include the fee in the headline price
Airlines including Ryanair, which are notorious for adding hidden booking charges, have agreed to either drop debit card surcharges or include them in the headline price.
The move follows an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which threatened enforcement action against airlines that do not comply. The OFT said the Government has acted on its recommendations to introduce measures that will ban excessive debit and credit card surcharges, which cost the UK consumer £300m a year.
The OFT said it believed the way the surcharges were presented meant the airlines "were engaging in prohibited unfair commercial practices within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Regulations, including misleading actions and misleading omissions".
Clive Maxwell, chief executive of the OFT, said the organisation had made it clear to airlines "from the start that we would use all our enforcement powers, including court action, if necessary".
In all, 14 airlines were investigated by the OFT: Eastern Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizz Air have already made changes to their pricing structures, websites and marketing materials.
The others will change their advertising practices by 1 August and enforce further changes over the coming months.The airlines must also make credit card surcharges easier to find during the booking process.
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