Go to a comparison price website and pick the least expensive of the goods you’re after.
Chances are by the time you checkout, you will have paid more than the headline price you first saw.
This is called drip pricing.
And the Australian consumer watchdog is about to launch legal action against at least one practitioner.
Comparison websites are popular in the energy, travel and insurance. They are a good way for a business to build a following and a quick way for buyers to find the best deal.
“However, the information displayed on them can on occasion mislead consumers in significant ways,” says Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).
Drip pricing involves the incremental disclosure of fees and charges over an online booking process.
Consumers see a headline price advertised at the beginning of the booking process but when they progress to the payment phase, additional fees and charges have been added.
“Consumers purchasing air fares or sporting event tickets are all too familiar with this practice,” Sims says.
“Drip pricing involves a lack of transparency which may mislead consumers, and it can also make it difficult for businesses to compete on a level playing field.”
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