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Expedia Singapore ceases misleading 'daily deals' promotions after competition watchdog warning

Expedia Singapore ceases misleading 'daily deals' promotions after competition watchdog warning

Screengrab of Expedia Singapore's website.

SINGAPORE: The operator of Expedia Singapore has ceased false claims on the validity period of "daily deals" promotions on its website, said the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS). 

BEX Travel Asia, the operator of the travel site, has also "undertaken to not engage in any further unfair practices" as of Thursday (Nov 12), said the competition watchdog. 

"Such false claims in relation to promotional prices mislead consumers into believing that there is a price benefit which is only available for a limited period, thus creating unwarranted pressure or a sense of urgency for consumers to make an immediate purchase," said CCCS. 

READ: ABC Bargain Centre, ABC Express and Valu$ outlets to cease 'closing down sale', 'fire sale' ads: Competition watchdog

In April 2019, CCCS began an investigation into the "daily deals" promotions on Expedia Singapore's website, as well as the emails sent out to consumers subscribed to BEX's mailing list. 

The operator advertised certain "daily hotel deals" and "daily package deals" which were represented as "Hot deals for 24hrs only!" that would expire at the end of the day. 

Investigations however revealed that there were at least 55 such offers where the promotional prices remained the same the next day.

This was contrary to its representation that “These scorchin’ deals change daily at 12am (Singapore time)”, said CCCS. 

It was also discovered that offers represented as "Hot deals for 24hrs only!" expired in less than 24 hours - a shorter time period than the website represented, said CCCS. 

The false claims on promotions by BEX took place since 2016 and had ceased as of October last year. 

READ: Price comparison app for consumers to be rolled out across Singapore

CCCS said it has administered a warning to BEX for its breaches and accepted BEX’s undertaking to comply with the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.  

BEX has also undertaken to take prompt steps to cease any unfair practices in breach of the Act as communicated to consumers on promotions that can be booked through the Expedia Singapore website. 

BEX said it would also ensure that promotions booked through the Expedia Singapore website are not advertised as being: 

- Available for a limited time period even though the promotion is
expected to remain available after this time period; and 

- Valid for a specific time period where the promotion may cease before the specific time period expires, unless the limited availability of the promotion is clearly indicated. 

Source: CNA/ad(cy)


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