Traveling for the Holidays? Don't get wrapped up in surprise fees

News Release

Mysterious fees on travel expenses: a present we’d rather do without

December 8, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

Tis the season again! The holiday peak travel season is taking off and if your celebrations involve anything like a family vacation, a romantic escape or a hometown round trip, you’re probably already browsing the web, seeking to take advantage of holiday specials.

But you must resist the urge to pack your suitcase just yet. Instead, we recommend that you find a cozy spot and a warm beverage and take the time to read the terms and conditions before booking tickets and accommodations. Unexpected fees or terms and conditions hidden in the fine print could hike prices and put the brakes on your festive mood.

Certain terms and conditions may translate into surprise fees that are only revealed and added later on in the online payment process. For example, resort fees, delivery fees or online booking fees may be added to your bill without being clearly explained. However, an informed consumer may be able to avoid some of these fees by understanding the terms and conditions and, for example, employing a different payment or delivery method.

To figure out how to make the best out of your travel money, read the terms and conditions and know what you are paying for. Be wary of prices advertised as they may not be what you’ll end up paying.

Avoid surprises this holiday season by following these easy tips:

  • Allow enough time for research and price comparison.
  • Beware that package deals may include many providers and they all have their own terms and conditions.
  • Read the terms and conditions, including the fine print. Watch out for restrictions or limitations.
  • Check the terms and conditions to see if there is a way to avoid the surprise fees.
  • Understand what you are paying for and what is or isn’t refundable.

Consumers who were surprised by additional fees or hidden terms and conditions should submit a complaint to the Competition Bureau.

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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

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