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Surfers paying up to 3 times advertised fares

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Travel sites were today slammed for hitting surfers with hidden charges in advertised fares.

An investigation by the Express found travellers were paying up to three times more than the prices displayed for holidays.

Certain online travel sites flouted Trading Standards' rules by advertising cut-price fares without mentioning compulsory extra charges such as airport taxes.

Other hidden add-ons included a charge to pick up last minute tickets at the airport, while some prices displayed on sites only referred to single fares.

These could bump up prices, with the extra costs only revealed to customers when they phoned to reserve places.

In addition, sites such as Connexions and International Flyer were accused of advertising cheap flights where seats were not available until autumn.

Trading Standards said that if sites did not know exact figures for extra charges, they should at least offer an estimated figure.

An ABTA representative told the Express: "We tell our online members that the flight prices they advertise must include everything the customer will have to pay." ®

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