Price Drop Protection Gimmicks

Some of our suppliers and competitors offer limited price drop protection.  These plans are hokey gimmicks that most often leave people very disappointed and angry.  We value our reputation too much to have angry and disappointed customers writing nasty comments all over social media.  It’s simply not worth tarnishing our reputation over a highly deceptive marketing practice. If you are old enough to remember Mr. Haney from Green Acres, or Herb Tarluk from WKRP, you’ll know what we mean.  Or the screaming “lifetime guarantee” on the late night infomercial. Here is why we don’t offer price drop protection like some of our competitiors:

Last Minute Loophole:  The biggest deception of all!  Almost every price drop protection plan has a limitation on coverage within a period of departure.  The most common one is that no price drop is covered within 30 days of departure.  While flights, hotels, and cruises tend to go up in price at the last minute, over capacity in the Canadian vacation package market (especially during non-peak travel times) means the biggest chance of a price drop is in fact within the period of time that is not covered.  This means if you are truly concerned about the price and you’re flexible on where and when you can go, if you go at all (only if the price is right), and it’s a non-peak time – you’re probably better to wait until 30 days or closer in.  Most often people are caught by the big headline “Price Drop Protection” and furious to find out this massive loophole in the fine print.  Result: angry customer that thinks they’ve been deceived even though it is perfectly legal and disclosed in writing.  It’s a question of expectations.

Airline “Class of Service” Deception:  Some sites offer price protection on flight only.  This is a massive deception because the conditions require that the airline yield “class” (which is not just economy – but obscure letters like Q and V and L that mean nothing to customers).  These “yield buckets” are essentially ways that the airline can sell a certain number of seats at low and high fares to sell out the flight and maximize their revenue.  Most often, when a flight price drops, it is because space opens up in the lower price “classes” (more like arbitrary price buckets).  So, if you booked and you had a “Q fare” (who knew!) and the airline opens up seats in their cheaper “L fare”, it won’t be covered.  The only way they will cover it is if the Q fare actually drops – a customer will have no way to objectively even verify that.  Some vacation packages offered that use Air Canada or Westjet are based on flight prices with these crazy class letters that affect pricing.  If the price drops because of that, some package price drop policies are exempt.

Offer Period / Travel Period:  Some offer limited price drop protection when you book within a certain period, for travel within a certain period.  This is well calculated to coincide for things they know most often go up in price (peak times), or are mostly likely to already be distressed in price (travel in June and September to the Caribbean).  You may have been attracted by the big Price Drop Protection logo on the website, only to find out your product is not covered AT ALL.

“Taxes” Not Covered:  Most make the claim that the “taxes and service charges” are not included in the price drop protection.  This means if a “pay no tax” promo is launched after you book, it’s not covered under price drop protection.  This is a gimmick because at the end of the day, true taxes are never waived by the Government.  When was the last time you saw an income tax sale?  The fact is, the supplier lowers the price in an amount equivalent to the tax or surcharge, but claims the no tax sale doesn’t apply.  Another big deception.

Limits & Fees:  There is a maximum claim to these plans, and in order to make a claim, you have to pay a fee.  This effectively lowers the coverage.  Talk about hokey.

One Time Price Drop:  If you truly want to be spending your time monitoring prices for a price drop, and you find one that actually qualifies, you need to make a decision if you want to take it, or wait for a bigger drop.  If you claim it and the price drops further, you can’t claim again.  If you decide to wait and the price goes up, you can’t claim the earlier drop in price.

Exact Package Limitation:  In order for the price drop protection to apply, the exact package must meet all of the conditions of the price drop – this includes supplier, room category, flight times, etc.  You may have bought the package from one supplier, and another puts it on sale, or the same supplier offers it at a much lower price on a different flight – this is not covered.

Craziest Limitation We’ve Seen:  One of our competitors had buried in their fine print, that in order for their product to be covered by price drop, one of THEIR CUSTOMERS had to have purchased the same product at a lower price.  This is really crazy – the chance that another person will buy exactly the same product as you – same hotel, room, date, duration, room category, flights, supplier everything – and how would you even verify that?

Something is better than nothing right?  We don’t agree.  This is a usually a highly deceptive marketing practise borrowed from higher margin goods where the physical return of goods after purchase for a few bucks is a hassle few people will do.  It creates the perception of a coverage that in fact is highly unlikely to be paid out on, and highly likely to disappoint customers.  If they truly took the time to explain all of the terms and loopholes to their clients, we’re sure it wouldn’t be as effective.  The deception is in the fine print, and they know it – gotcha!.  Is that how you want to do business?

If our suppliers offer this gimmick, we will gladly help you make a claim if you are eligible, and we will disclaim it carefully on our site so you understand that we do not control the offer or the terms and conditions.

In order to pay out as little as possible on these schemes, they are constructed in such a way to be ineligible as often as possible.  No doubt they will pay out on a percentage of these claims.  In order to pay out, they need to get it somewhere else or cut service.

Our biggest contribution to your trip will be trying to uncover your needs, desires, and wishes – and match them to the best possible value for your money.  Once booked, you should enjoy being booked, not chasing and following prices every day.  If you are booking in advance for peak season (Christmas, New Years, University / School Breaks etc), the chances of the price going down are slim.  If you are travelling in an off-peak time and care more about the price game, you probably shouldn’t even look at the prices until closer to departure and these gimmicks don’t apply anyway.

For information about why travel prices fluctuate so much, click here.