I recently read a column on Chris Elliott’s travel site warning of a truly dishonest and despicable practice that Yahoo Travel and Travelocity are engaging in to attempt to trick people into buying trip insurance.
When you go to these web sites and book a trip the screen shows you the price of the trip as shown below.
Note that the button in the lower right corner says “Continue with Flight only”. The total price for this sample itinerary is listed at $312. You would expect that when you click on “Continue with Flight only” then you will only be booking a flight that costs $312, but this is where Travelocity and Yahoo travel deliberately deceive you. They have automatically opted you in to buy insurance and the place where you have to opt out is at in the middle of the screen as shown below.
Not only is the actual price 312.80 for the ticket and taxes, but they have opted you into an insurance policy for an extra $19.95 and the price is now 332.75.
Neither Expedir nor Orbitz engage in this sleazy business practice. Travel insurance is offered at reputable sites, but you must opt into it. It is safest not to do business with companies like Travelocity and Yahoo travel that have such egregiously dishonest practices. Even if they do change this behavior you can’t trust how they will try to trick you next.
If you care to help put an end to this practice the Federal Trade Commission has a complaint form you can fill out at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en. You might also consider filing a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner if you live in the USA.
Travelocity and Yahoo travel can be useful sites to look up flights, but the odds are they aren’t going to beat other sites prices and usually you can get the same fare through the airline itself. If you decide to buy from these sites you better read everything very carefully. Presenting a button that says “Continue with Flight Only" and then adding extra cost options without consent is deceptive and these companies practice deception.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, ESET