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Travel agents complain tickets being sold below cost price

KUWAIT CITY, July 27: About 10 travel and tourism offices have approached the Competition Protection Agency, complaining that competitors were selling tickets less than the cost, reports Al-Rai daily quoting sources.

Sources disclosed the angry representatives of these offices explained to the agency that some of their competitors were taking advantage of customers’ desire to use reserve sites and gave them tickets below the cost. But these tickets are not documented to guarantee the rights of recovery or confirm their reservations later, they explained.

They pointed out that the complainants asked the agency to intervene and put an end to sales at less than cost, both through offices or through sites; noting that these processes affect competition in the local market and harm all offices especially since they do not guarantee the provision of usual quality obtainable for many years in the domestic travel market. Sources cited the recent airline tickets cancellation crisis, which included the cancellation of nearly 3,000 reservations at a total value of about KD1.8 million.

They said majority of these bookings were initially provided at prices lower than the cost, but in the end, this practice harmed clients financially and affected their travel plans.

These offices were called to commit themselves not to sell at a lower cost, leaving each office in an acceptable profit margin above the base price and in line with the instructions provided in this regard. Meanwhile, a reliable source stressed that the agency pays attention to restructuring the economy through a program.

It depends on complete transition from the economy oriented system to a free market economy to prevent monopoly in a competitive environment among traders including travel and tourism offices, he disclosed. He added the agency opened a legal debate on the complaint of travel agencies, inviting all parties involved to discuss the subject. He stressed at the same time that the idea that some competitors sell tickets at prices below the cost is rejected as this harms competition and does not serve the free market concept.

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