Drip pricing is where a headline price is advertised at the beginning of an online purchasing process and additional fees and charges which may be unavoidable are then incrementally disclosed (or ‘dripped’). This can result in paying a higher price than the advertised price or spending more than you realise.
Businesses can apply various fees and charges for goods and services. For example, some businesses charge booking and service fees that arise when purchasing goods online through a particular payment method.
However, businesses can’t mislead you into paying these fees without clearly telling you up front how much it will cost. In other words, any additional fees and charges must clearly be disclosed to you at the beginning of the online purchasing process.
When shopping online it can be easy to become invested in long and complex booking processes. By following the tips below, you can reduce situations where you end up paying more than initially expected.
- Be aware of misleading drip pricing practices when shopping online for services in the airline, ticketing, accommodation and vehicle rental sectors.
- Shop around and be aware that you may need to pay more than what was advertised. Add all the charges together. Don’t just focus on the advertised price – the cheapest advertised price may not be the cheapest final price.
- Be prepared to back out of the transaction, especially when you start to encounter additional charges.
- Look out for pre-selections and make sure you deselect anything you do not want to purchase. Thoroughly check your booking before you make any final payments.
If during an online purchasing process you experience additional charges that were not adequately disclosed at the beginning of the process, you can lodge a complaint with the ACCC.