Plans announced by the OFT to investigate dubious pricing practices on the internet have been welcomed by Keen2 learn, the educational games website, which has attacked many pricing techniques as misleading and “a whisker away from illegal cons.”
The pricing practices exemplified by budget airlines leave many customers reeling at the additional charges hidden until the final pages of the checkout. Know as “drip pricing” they cover a host of extra charges for electable and non electable features. They include carriage, VAT, handling fees and minimum order value surcharge. The list is as long as the inventiveness of the perpetrator. The worst is the charge for using a credit card when there is no other way of funding the transaction. “It’s ludicrous for a website operator to charge additional fees as means of generating income by stealth. It has the same connotation as charging a premium for the phone call through 0870 numbers before they were exposed” said Alistair Owens MD of Keen2learn. “There are huge advantages to web site operators and customers from ecommerce. We should resist any sharp practice based on web anonymity that would meet with contempt in face to face contact in a high street shop”.
Keen2learn provides educational games and teaching resources to schools. The games, matched to the National Curriculum, have equal application with parents wanting to give their children extra personal support at home. The fun games develop positive interaction with parents rather than watching them slog through conventional homework at arms length. “We are at the start of the learning curve for children. An ethical base is at the heart of the operation. This includes “non-drip pricing” that has absolutely no hidden extras; the price you see alongside each product is the final price you pay” said Alistair Owens