Back in February, consumer regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was preparing to take action on businesses that used "drip pricing" — advertising a headline price but then aggressively pursuing add-on pricing. That strategy is now bearing fruit: the ACCC is taking Jetstar and Virgin to court over alleged drip pricing violations.
Water picture from Shutterstock
The ACCC says that both airlines have "each made representations on their websites and mobile sites that certain domestic airfares were available for purchase at specific prices, when in fact those prices were only available if payment was made using particular methods". The big issue here is the additional fees you pay if you book with anything other than the specified method.
Jetstar charges $8.50 for bookings if you don't use a Jetstar-partnered credit card, and Virgin charges $7.70 for any credit card, debit card or PayPal booking. "The ACCC alleges that these fees applied to the substantial majority of online bookings and should have been disclosed upfront and prominently with or within headline prices," its announcement notes.
The case hits the courts on 5 August. As ever, when booking flights always consider the total cost — as well as credit card fees, factor in baggage charges.