The Most Discriminatory Place on Earth?
Is Disneyland Paris overcharging customers from different European countries?
From how to handle the continent’s ongoing migration crisis to deciding whether to kick Greece out of the eurozone, the European Union has never looked less united. The newest flashpoint: who should have to pay more for roller coaster rides.
The EU said this week that it had asked France to investigate whether Disneyland Paris has been overcharging customers from certain European countries — namely England and Germany — in what could qualify as a breach of EU laws against geoblocking. This is the second time in a week that the wonderful world of Disney has found itself in the middle of a European Commission investigation, with the company — along with a number of other Hollywood studios — standing accused by the commission of breaching antitrust laws by blocking access to some of their TV content in certain European countries.
According to the Financial Times, one premium package to visit Disneyland Paris was available to French customers at 1,346 euros — which is significantly less than the 1,870 euros Brits were charged, or the 2,447 euros Germans reportedly paid for the same deal.
The Disney package deals are reportedly advertised differently to residents of different countries through a variety of special offers or by redirecting customers to different websites based on their location. A preliminary assessment completed by the EU found that for one-day passes, Brits pay around 15 percent more than their French or Belgian counterparts. Last year, facing similar scrutiny, car rental companies changed their policies on redirecting customers from different countries to different sites after they faced objections from the EU.
But Disneyland Paris is standing by its payment options. In a statement sent to Foreign Policy, a spokesperson said, “The cost of a basic resort package — without promotional offers — is identical across all markets, give or take exchange rates.”
They also claim the promotions take into account school holiday calendars in different local markets, as well as booking patterns. According to Disney, if anyone becomes aware of a promotion running in a different market than their own, they can call the reservations office to request that booking themselves.
But it sounds like the problem arises when EU residents rightly assume they wouldn’t be left out of a deal just because of where they live. After all, why should a German pay a thousand euros more than a Frenchman just to spin in the Mad Hatter’s tea cups or drop down 13 stories in the infamously haunted Tower of Terror?
Photo credit: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images
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