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EC threatens legal action against airline websites

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Some of Europe's leading airlines could be forced to shut down their websites next year if they fail to respond to damning criticism dished out in a report from the European Commission (EC).

Results of the EC's consumer watchdog investigation, which is due out tomorrow, found that about 200 European airline websites were misleading the consumer.

The study highlighted how many websites had failed to include taxes and charges when first indicating the cost of a ticket, while others were guilty of not providing proper cancellation information.

According to Reuters, the EC concluded in its report that "over 50 per cent of all websites showed irregularities, in particular relating to price indications, contract terms and clarity of proposed conditions".

"Companies will be contacted by authorities and asked to provide clarification or change their practices in four months. Those who fail to do so could face legal action leading to fines or closure of their websites."

The EC did not reveal which companies had performed badly during the investigation that took place in September and involved 15 airline authorities throughout the European Union.

However, it said it will be publishing a list of airline firms that it believed needed to clean up their online act in March next year.

More from Reuters here, and the Beeb here. ®

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