Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW:US)’s German ebookers unit and other online travel agents can’t automatically include travel cancellation insurance in the price of airline tickets bought on the Internet, the European Union’s highest court said.
“It is precisely because a customer is in a position to make a choice that EU law requires such price supplements to be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of each booking process and that their acceptance must be on an opt-in basis,” the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a statement today.
A German consumer-protection group sued ebookers.de for the practice of presetting its website in such a way that travel cancellation insurance is automatically added to clients’ flight booking unless they opt out.
A German court last year asked the EU court whether such an additional service should be offered on an opt-in rather than an opt-out basis.
“There can now be consistency in the German market among online travel agents, airlines and other providers on opt-in versus opt-out for ancillary products,” Ebookers said in an e- mailed statement. “Ebookers complies with all government rules and regulations and will be reviewing this decision and updating its website as appropriate.”
The case is: C-112/11, ebookers.com Deutschland GmbH v. Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbaende - Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V.
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