P&O could face fine of $150m in Florida
Cruise division dismisses accusations of overcharging passengers for four years
Friday 28 March 1997
Nigel Utley of Greig Middleton calculated that, assuming P&O had carried 2.5 million passengers in the Caribbean over each of the past four years, the company could face a fine of up to $150m.
Florida's attorney general said this week that Princess had deceived customers by adding an unnecessary "port charge" to fares. The accusation was made in a civil complaint that seeks penalties of as much as $15,000 for each violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The state of Florida said it had not decided whether to levy the fine based on the number of advertisements it determined were deceptive or on how many consumers it thinks were deceived. The complaint came after six other cruise lines, including Carnival, the market leader, agreed last month to pay $295,500 and change their advertising to settle the allegations.
Peter Smith, a P&O spokesman, said the company had been targeted because it did not agree to be part of the industry-wide suit. It maintained that its advertising met state standards and said it had remitted to the state any money it collected as part of specified additional charges.
The attorney general questioned a P&O practice of advertising a cruise at $499, for example, and writing in smaller print that it would also charge port taxes, harbour dues and government fees of $100.
News of the alleged overcharging comes only days after P&O announced full-year figures for 1996, in which the cruise division was the star performer. Profits from the operation rose 47 per cent to pounds 157.5m.
The strong performance of cruises more than offset plunging profits from P&O's ferries and container shipping operations and Lord Sterling, its chairman, used the results announcement to detail a 50 per cent expansion of the cruise division's capacity.
Analysts were divided on the likely impact of the charges. Both ABN Amro and SBC Warburg, however, moved the shares on to sell recommendations.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial first week: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Malaysia Airlines plane: Oil slick is first sign that missing flight crashed into sea killing up to 239 on board
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
iJobs Money & Business
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Mixed Ta...