Dark pattern sales deemed ‘cybercrime’

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Source: The post is based on the article “Dark pattern sales deemed ‘cybercrime’published in “The Hindu” on 28th October 2023

Why in the News?

The Consumer Affairs Secretary has said that the dark patterns practices carried out by airlines and travel portals can be called a “cybercrime.”

What are Dark Patterns?

Click Here to read

What are Dark Pattern practices used by Airlines?

Indigo website: It uses false urgency to make customers feel they must pay an extra fee for a seat as all free seats appear unavailable. 

– Even if there are four or five available free seats, they are displayed at the bottom of the page making them harder to find. 

– Passengers can click “skip” at the end of the seat selection but they aren’t clearly told that they’ll be automatically assigned a free seat if they don’t pay the extra fee.

SpiceJet’s booking website: It encourages passengers to buy travel insurance by using phrases like “I will risk my trip” if they decide not to make the purchase. 

– This creates a sense of fear suggesting that not getting the insurance could be risky or harmful for the trip.

What are the Parliamentary Committee recommendations on ticket prices of Airlines?

1.Airlines must display seat-wise airfares to ensure transparency.

2.Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) should ensure proper implementation of the Aircraft Rules, 1934 to ensure that airlines earn only a reasonable profit while pricing their tickets.

3.Effective mechanism should be there to address consumer grievances in a time-bound manner.

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