THE GREAT TRAVEL TRADE SCAM

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The Independent Online
AUTOMATIC ADDITIONS

Some tour operators will add an insurance premium to the bill unless you expressly decline it.

"We will add the cost of our recommended insurance to your final invoice unless you give us details of your insurer on the booking form," says Cosmos. First Choice imposes an identical condition.

TIME LIMITS

If you fail to give First Choice details of a "satisfactory" alternative policy by eight weeks before departure, the company may cancel the booking and levy cancellation charges.

Which? magazine revealed last week that British Airways Holidays is imposing a deadline of seven days for customers to provide details of their insurance, after which it will charge for its own cover.

EUROSTAR EXTRAS

The Channel Tunnel rail company has begun to quote fares inclusive of insurance, which adds pounds 2.60 to the cost of a pounds 39 day-trip to Lille. In calls to Eurostar by researchers from the Independent on Sunday, sales staff did not reveal that it was possible to reduce the cost until they were specifically asked.

BUS PREMIUMS

Even for a simple bus journey you could end up being sold insurance. I paid pounds 12 for a National Express ticket from Manchester to Carlisle and was urged to spend an extra 99p on "cancellation insurance" - despite the coach being parked outside, with just 10 minutes to go to departure.

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