The Lastminute.com travel website has just been assigned to the Paris court by UFC-Que Choisir for "illegal, aggressive and deceptive business practices". It was a disgruntled traveler who alerted the consumer association to an expensive and unstoppable tip from Lastminute.com. And he is far from alone in having paid the price.
"Once the payment was validated, what was not my surprise to see that I had also paid insurance for my flight which I absolutely did not need", denounces Thierry on September 23, 2019 in the Trustpilot reviews of the site of travel. “The displayed ticket price does not correspond at all to the final price! Nataliya was similarly indignant at the start of October. Insurance was automatically added without asking for my agreement. "
A practice absolutely prohibited by law
UFC-Que Choisir itself did the video test with a direct flight from Paris to New York. Departure on February 1, 2020, return a week later. “Round trip tickets are displayed at € 372.03 in the order summary, observes Raphaël Bartlomé, legal manager at UFC-Que Choisir. Just after entering the bank card numbers to validate the payment, a small pop-up window showing the same pink color code is immediately displayed. At this moment, the consumer is certain to have finished his order, he thinks it's a confirmation and he clicks on I accept and I continue . However, the site has just added insurance. "
In reality, in the small window, in even smaller characters, it is notably written: "This is your last chance to add total protection for € 17.81 per person and per journey". Or almost € 70 more for a return trip for two. 140 € if there are four of you.
A practice absolutely prohibited by law, points out the lawyer. "The Civil Code, in its article 1127-2, says that the contract is only valid if the consumer has been able to validate the details of his order and its total price", popularizes Raphaël Bartlomé. Concretely, once the order summary displayed and the payment validated, it is no longer possible to invoice anything.
The UFC-que Choisir calls the site's customers to vigilance
“Legally, this window has no right to exist, notes UFC-Que Choisir. But the scam is so clever that it will instill doubt in the mind of the consumer, who will say afterwards, by discovering the new amount in an email or on his bank account statement, that he must have unchecked badly the insurance box… ”Anyway, it's too late. The 14-day right of withdrawal for online purchases does not apply in the case of travel insurance.
Pending the judgment of the Paris judicial court, which will take several months, the association UFC-Que Choisir calls internet users to "the greatest caution and vigilance if they were to use this site". It also invites injured travelers to make themselves known on its site.
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According to the British newspaper The Times, which noticed that Lastminute.com used the same strategy across the Channel, the insurance would have brought 6 million pounds sterling per year to the company only in the United Kingdom. Contacted, Lastminute "did not wish to comment yet".