The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday said its survey of low-cost airlines’ Web sites found that 10 of them offered incomplete information and several of them also have no-refund policies.
Since 2004, when the first low-cost airline started operating in Taiwan, the number of these airlines flying to and from the nation has increased to 10, the foundation said.
It added that the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s (CAA) statistics show that more than 840,000 visitors have flown to Taiwan using low-cost airlines as of the end of August last year.
In October last year, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee announced in an analysis that most of the low-cost airlines’ Web sites provided incomplete information and it urged consumers to pay attention to service descriptions before booking cheap flights online.
Yesterday, the foundation said its survey also showed that information offered on several of the airlines’ Web sites was unclear or incomplete. Two of the airlines’ Web sites used only simplified Chinese characters and two others automatically linked to travel agencies in Taiwan.
The foundation added that two airlines have a no-refund policy for all tickets, two have no-refund policies for partial flights and one has a no-refund policy for non-members of the airline’s loyalty program.
Some of the airlines charge transaction fees for a variety of services, such as a NT$3,000 fee for changing flights, and several airlines charged additional fees for checked luggage, on-flight meals and blankets, the foundation said.
Consumers’ Foundation chairman Mark Chang (張智剛) said the foundation recently received a complaint from a customer who had booked a NT$24,000 ticket last month, but later tried to change the flight through an English-only customer service number. The customer this month found a charge of NT$50,000 on his credit card because the airline did not give him a refund on his first booking.
As many of the low-cost airlines’ policies are unfair to consumers, the foundation said, it urged the CAA to examine the situation, while reminding consumers to pay more attention to service descriptions on Web sites before booking tickets.