China's travel site Qunar fined nearly ,000 for overcharging

Updated 2018-01-01 15:00:19 CGTN

China's leading travel information provider Qunar has been fined nearly 100,000 yuan (around 15,000 US dollars) for overcharging consumers who booked flights on their platform.

Beijing's pricing monitor, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, has been investigating the company's pricing for the last few months.

The inspection found that an online air ticket agency believed to be owned by Qunar, had sold a total of 307 tickets between Changsha and Urumqi in the past two years above standard prices.

According to the authorities, Qunar overcharged around 24,980 yuan (3,800 US dollars) and violated the country's pricing law, as well as a Civil Aviation Administration regulation, which forbids any ticketing agency from adding surcharges or bundling services together.

Qunar was asked to return the overcharges to customers, but only paid back 23,910 yuan (3,600 US dollars) to consumers. The commission has confiscated the rest of the overcharge amount, and wrote out "a fine ticket" to the company.

Adding surcharges to flights booked online has been a target of complaints on Chinese social media this year, but were often ignored by Qunar, as the company seemingly buried its head in the sand.

In October this year, Chinese celebrity Han Xue, slammed Ctrip, a Shanghai-based provider of travel services, for bundling services, or obscuring the cost of a ticket by adding services that a customer only sees in the cost breakdown. Han's complaint was echoed by others on Weibo, who also experienced being overcharged.

Some of China's travel sites automatically tick additional services, which can be easily bypassed by customers. Most of the extra services are related to travel insurance or car rentals.

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