Industry News

Canada’s consumer watchdog issues warning over drip pricing

Operators in Canada have been told to review their marketing practices and display the real price of tickets upfront.

The Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency tasked with ensuring the Canadian public benefits from a competitive and innovative marketplace, said it was concerned that some companies are attempting to lure customers with low prices before surreptitiously adding fees, taxes and charges.

The Bureau has urged primary and resale ticket vendors to refrain from drip pricing and display the real price of tickets upfront whenever the additional fees are mandatory for consumers.

The Bureau said it would contact operators to encourage voluntary compliance, but added that “if an out-of-court resolution is not reached, the Bureau will not hesitate to take the necessary action to ensure compliance with the law”.

“Canadians spend billions of dollars online each year buying tickets to their favourite sporting and entertainment events,” said John Pecman, commissioner of competition at the Competition Bureau.

“To promote continued innovation and growth in the digital economy, it’s critical that consumers have confidence that the prices they see online are the ones they will pay.”

Fees adding up in Canada 

The announcement comes in the same week that the Netherlands’ state-sanctioned consumer watchdog revealed plans to fine those operators found to be drip pricing from October of this year.

In previous drip-pricing cases, the Bureau found that additional mandatory fees could increase a consumers’ final price from 10 per cent up to 57 per cent. It said the unexpected fees are often added in the last steps of the purchase transaction, when buyers have their seats already picked out and are ready to pay.

The Bureau has recently taken action in the area of drip-pricing in the car rental industry, reaching two agreements with car rental companies to address the advertisement of unattainable prices.

IMAGE: Etereuti