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Ryanair has called on Google on ban ‘misleading’ and ‘deceptive’ ads for online travel firm eDreams.
The no-frills airline wants the search giant to stop displaying the ads as it believes they mislead consumers by passing itself off as Ryanair.
Edreams disputes the claims and says there is no intention to imitate the Ryanair site and no truth that they apply hidden fees or inflated fares.
It follows the announcement made by Google this week that it’s banning ads by payday loan companies.
“It’s incredible that Google have announced that from July, they will ban misleading adverts for payday loans, yet repeatedly ignore calls to ban adverts by eDreams/Opodo, which the UK Advertising Standards Authority have already ruled are misleading,” said Ryanair marketing director Kenny Jacobs.
Ryanair said Screenscraper website eDreams/Opodo has been allowed by Google to use the misleading subdomains “www.Ryanair.eDreams.com” and “www.Ryanair.Opodo.com”, and copycat websites with identical Ryanair branding, in order to deceive consumers into visiting the eDreams and Opodo websites, and booking at inflated fares with hidden fees, or fares which don’t exist.
Jacobs added: “We again call on Google to delist eDreams until all references to Ryanair have been removed from the eDreams advertising. It’s high time Google stopped talking from both sides of their mouths and put an end to this misleading advertising, which both eDreams and Google are profiting from.”
In a statement eDreams said: ""Ryanair is misleading the public when it claims that we apply "hidden fees" and that we sell "inflated fares", which is not possible on any carrier. The eDreams service charge is not hidden or added at the final booking stage as is suggested - customers have the ability to choose their payment card at the very first stage of the search process. The full price “Breakdown” including service charges is available in the top right hand corner of the screen, once customers have chosen their preferred flight.
“There is no intention to imitate the appearance of specific airlines as eDreams clearly displays all available flight options, with all airlines, to its customers making a search on one of its websites, no matter how they arrived at our site. The ASA recently acknowledged that eDreams can use relevant search terms and that it can promote its services through the use of search engine optimisation. This is a common business practice across many sectors.
“The whole point of the service we provide is to search millions of possible combinations in a matter of seconds to give consumers the ability to book flights there and back with different airlines, to get the best value and most convenient combinations. Close to half of our customers book a combination of flights which cannot be booked on any single airline website. A small minority of airlines aren’t happy with this."
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