For a period of time fuel prices were escalating out of control.
Every day they seemed to find new heights until airlines, cruise ships, and any other means of transportation used by the public, felt compelled to put in a fuel surcharge.
We accepted that since. fairly speaking, it was hard to adjust systems, advertising, and a range of other communications vehicles.
As the price for barrel went down the fuel surcharges did not disappear.
Rather they became a marketing ploy for the carriers to advertise a price that wasn’t real.
Suddenly after getting excited about a price, the consumer was faced with a form of sticker shock when the real price was at times almost double the advertised price, and it wasn’t from taxes that were passed along to government.
It was part of the great consumer rip off being perpetuated by an entire industry. It became a part of their culture for doing business.
But it wasn’t just the consumer who was getting angry. It was also the travel agent who was working to get the best price and be the best consultant to the client.
They were making a commission only on the advertised price while the suppliers skirted around the issue when faced by agency anger. They would not accomodate the agency sector in any way.
But someone did and won.
Australian courts listened to the agency arguments and came to a major conclusion which has major implications.
“An Australian court has ruled that Qantas must repay years of disputed commission fees to agents, a decision expected to cost the airline tens of millions. The court ruled fuel surcharges imposed on passengers do not represent a tax but are simply an element of the fare and therefore part of the commissionable base.”
And now the fun begins.
Maybe travel agents, who have seen revenues fall over the past few years, can take up the cause in North America.
The better answer for agency and consumer is to stop the rip off.
Fuel prices are high but relatively stable. Put your end price in the ads and let us all adjust as we must.
There are no friends in liars…and that is essentially what those who charge surcharges today are doing…They are lying to all of us.
Let’s kill the fuel surcharge concept and get on with doing business like professionals.