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Spanish consumer rights group criticises extra charge imposed by easyJet and Transavia on some passengers
Air travel

Spanish consumer rights group criticises extra charge imposed by easyJet and Transavia on some passengers

Facua argues the service they are now charging customers for is something airlines should be offering for free, according to European law

Raquel Merino

Malaga

Monday, 25 March 2024, 10:20

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The Spanish consumer rights group Facua has criticised the easyJet and Transavia airlines for asking passengers to pay a new fee if they book a flight ticket involving one or more connections.

The fee goes towards paying for a new service called Dohop, which is a kind of insurance and guarantees the connection between the different stopovers, so that if a flight is cancelled or delayed, the passenger is offered an alternate flight.

However, Facua said this is an allegedly undue charge as European legislation already obliges airlines to offer this cover to travellers for free. "Passenger rights legislation already provides for the airline's obligation to assist users in case their flight is delayed or cancelled," Facua pointed out.

It also said neither easyJet nor Transavia offer the user the possibility of choosing whether or not to contract this service and criticised how "this Dohop service is not even provided by the airlines themselves, but by another entity totally unrelated to them". Facua also pointed out the consumer is not provided with any information about the provider of this service or the general conditions of the service.

"This behaviour of easyJet and Transavia is totally and utterly lacking in transparency, as they do not clearly inform the user during the booking process of the inclusion of an ancillary service contracted from a third party," it added.

Abusive clause?

Facua said European law establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of cancellation or delays, and already stipulates passengers have the right to receive assistance from airlines such as offers for alternative flights.

Several articles of Royal Decree-Law 1/2007 contain the reasons why the Dohop service of Easyjet and Transavia can be considered abusive, according to the consumer rights organisation.

Article 82 identifies as unfair terms "all stipulations not individually negotiated and all practices not expressly consented to which, contrary to the requirements of good faith, cause, to the detriment of the consumer and user, a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties arising from the contract".

Meanwhile, article 89 also considers abusive "the imposition on the consumer and user of unsolicited complementary or ancillary goods and services" and "price increases for ancillary services, financing, deferrals, surcharges, compensation or penalties that do not correspond to additional services that can be accepted or rejected in each case expressed with due clarity or separation".

Article 47 of the royal decree establishes infringements in the area of consumer and user protection include "non-compliance with the rules governing prices, the unjustified imposition of conditions on unsolicited services or minimum quantities, or any other type of illegal intervention or action that leads to an increase in prices or commercial margins".

For these reasons, Facua asked the Directorate General for Consumer Affairs to urge easyJet and Transavia to immediately eliminate the automatic activation of the Dohop service and for the airlines to reimburse the money to users who have had to pay for this service.

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