NEWS23 August 2010

Heathrow operator blasts ‘misleading’ mystery shopping results

UK

UK— BAA, the owner and operator of Heathrow Airport, has disputed the findings of a mystery shopping survey that found the London airport offered the worst tax free-discounts in Europe, claiming that the study is “misleading and incorrect”.

The study was commissioned earlier this month by shopping comparison website Kelkoo and produced by the Centre for Retail Research. It focused on tax-free shopping for travellers journeying within the EU. The results claimed that shoppers at Heathrow were offered the lowest discounts compared to nine other airports.

However, BAA has rebuffed the results of the study. A spokesman told Research: “We are extremely disappointed by the findings from the latest Kelkoo report into airport prices – and perplexed as to how they reached these conclusions which are both misleading and incorrect.”

The airport operator said that the Kelkoo data was “based on inaccurate prices at Heathrow and European airport prices at a false exchange rate”. Furthermore, BAA said that the report “includes products Heathrow does not sell”.

During the mystery shopping exercise, shoppers bought a “representative basket” of 22 products from five categories in 10 European airports, including Heathrow, Lyon, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Barcelona.

Kelkoo’s results found that shoppers at Heathrow achieved a saving of 3.1% compared to regular high street prices, while other airports offered savings of as much as 11.9%. BAA says it rejects these figures.

@RESEARCH LIVE

3 Comments

10 years ago

Scam Alert! Be careful of the mystery shopping scams going on. NEVER, EVER cash a check you are sent to perform a mystery shop; this is a huge red flag. Legitimate Mystery Shopping Providers certainly pay you for your mystery shopping efforts, however this happens AFTER you have performed the shop. Read this article to find out how to find a legitimate mystery shopping company: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Legitimate-Mystery-Shopping-Company . Also, this Scam Alert is helpful in identifying what may be a scam and what to look for: http://www.bestmark.com/scam_alert.htm

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10 years ago

I never buy anything at Heathrow because i know it is overpriced and I will be able to buy cheaper either at my destination or mid journey if there is a change of plane. The products may be free of tax but instead at heathrow the profit margin is truely outrageous.

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10 years ago

Kelkoo have retracted their original press release. It really goes to show the importance of robust data. I reviewed the original Kelkoo report in full and even I found inaccuracies. The resulting press release was then based on highly flawed data, designed purely to make the UK look bad. Though I doubt the Kelkoo retraction will be quite as high profile in the media. http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1143981.php

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