MAX vakantieman again received dozens of complaints about booking platform eDreams. Complaints about incorrect debits, the lack of booking confirmations, holidaymakers who are at the airport but the airline knows nothing about it. And if something goes wrong with a booking with eDreams, it is virtually impossible to reach anyone from the company.
As early as 2021, MAX Ombudsman Jeanine Janssen warns not to work with the eDreams booking platform. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) already warned in 2014 to avoid the platform. In response to the many problems at eDreams that were discussed in MAX vakantieman, ACM submitted an enforcement request to the Spanish authorities at the end of last year.
CPC receives complaints from all kinds of European countries
In Spain, countless complaints were received from many countries about, among other platforms, eDreams. After this a major European investigation was launched by the CPC, the Consumer Protection Cooperation network. This is a partnership of European consumer authorities.
Hiding behind chatbots and a call center in India
It’s not just consumers who have been busy trying to solve their problems with eDreams. Credit card companies, legal aid insurers, airlines, consumer associations and claim agencies all tried to obtain justice for victims of eDreams. And that is only partially successful because eDreams is barely accessible and hides behind a chat robot. And if you ever get someone on the phone, it’s usually an employee of a call center in India. A solution is then promised within 72 hours, but it is usually not fulfilled.
European law and consumer law
If MAX vakantieman sends files with complaints to eDreams, and even drops them of in Barcelona, things start to move and in most cases a refund is made. But both consumer organizations and insurers think it’s time for a permanent solution. The European investigation must ensure that, among other things, booking platform eDreams complies with European rules. That means quick refunds in the event of a cancellation, properly informing the consumer and ensuring that a consumer can communicate with eDreams in case of questions or complaints. And then quickly come up with a solution.
‘Result this autumn’
In the broadcast of MAX Vakantieman, MEP Lara Wolters (PvdA) called it ‘a pity that action is only now being taken’, but promised that the European Commission and CPC will tackle eDreams. “eDreams should draw up a list of points on how they are going to improve their lives.” If the steps of improvement on this list are not carried out, then European consumer authorities have the opportunity to start enforcement and impose fines. In the Netherlands this is the ACM.” If that to-do list is not implemented in time, ACM does have the power to issue fines.”
Questions to the European Commission
As far as Wolters is concerned, that timeline should be met this fall. “To make sure that the European Commission and the network of consumer authorities will comply with this, I asked formal questions.” With the questions below, Wolters hopes to enforce that eDreams will be forced to work according to European rules.
- Is the Commission in contact with eDreams and if so, with which representative?
- What can we expect from the dialogue with the Swedish authority for consumer protection?
- If eDreams makes certain commitments to change its business practices, how are these commitments monitored?
- Can the Commission finally take eDreams to court in the event of an unlawful act, or does this responsibility lie with the Member States?
- What is the expected timeline for the current investigation?
The European Commission is obliged to answer Lara Wolters’ questions within 3 weeks so there should be answers August 2022. MAX vakantieman keeps an eye on it for you.