Transfer Aggregators and Marketplaces
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Discover Transfer Aggregators and Marketplaces

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GetTransfer.com, founded in 2016, is transforming the travel industry with its unique marketplace model. Unlike traditional transfer aggregators, GetTransfer.com gives its clients to choose local suppliers who set their own prices and terms, offering more transparency and flexibility. In this interview with Alexander Sapov, Co-founder and CEO of GetTransfer.com, we explore the differences between transfer aggregators and marketplaces, and how GetTransfer.com stands out.

What makes GetTransfer.com so special for the travel industry?

GetTransfer.com  as received numerous awards for its truly innovative service. It is an Information Travel Society service provider. Technically GetTransfer is a marketplace that is created to connect, for remuneration, potential clients with local suppliers, thus the system (1) allows to take requests from a client, (2) then such request is shown and available to suppliers registered on the marketplace and who have permission to render such services by local law, and (3) after service facilitates the transfer and provision of offers from suppliers to the clients (4) final step is when a client makes a selection at his discretion. Clients have the power to choose their preferred offer, thus placing decision-making power in their hands. It might look like GetTransfer is a party that renders transportation services but it is not. All services are provided by local suppliers who (1) set the price, (2) specify the terms and conditions of the transportation offer (3) observe all local laws and regulations, which are required by GetTransfer terms and (4) clients making final decisions.

GetTransfer neither appoints the suppliers, nor sets prices, nor influences the terms and conditions of the transaction. The activity of GetTransfer is limited to the technical process of operating and giving access to a communication network over which information made available by third parties is transmitted or temporarily stored, for the sole purpose of making the transmission more efficient. This activity is of a mere technical, automatic and passive nature, which implies that GetTransfer has no control over the information which is transmitted or stored. It only takes a fee from the supplier for the access and information services. GetTransfer leaves all responsibility for setting offers to the suppliers alone.

What about other transportation websites? Do they do the same?

No, they are completely different. They isolate the client and supplier and lead two separate communications where they determine the transportation prices and terms. GetTransfer.com, as we are aware today is the only Information Travel Society service provider on the market or, let’s say, a marketplace for travel mobility for more common understanding. Potential users may consider GetTransfer as a WhatsApp group or like a Google Ads when it shows Google Ads in Search Engine, or even like an Airbnb. A simple way to identify if a website functions as a marketplace is to inquire who sets the prices on the platform. This information clarifies whether the website acts as an aggregator or truly operates as a marketplace. If the platform sets prices then it is an aggregator and considered to be a transportation agent.

What are the implications for partners? Can they work with aggregators in the same ways as with marketplaces?

The legal framework is totally different with marketplaces and aggregators. If you speak of marketplaces the liability is shifted to suppliers, so partners should not be involved in any type of responsibility. Marketplaces should not have licences as they are information providers. If you work with aggregators, no matter what they write in their terms and agreements — they are, as long as they set the price, considered to be either a transportation agent, or digital transportation agent, or transportation service provider depending on the country where they perform services and must have licences to comply with respective countries local laws.

So, if you’re working with a service that doesn’t have a license to operate in Greece, and an aggregator is breaking Greek law, your role as a reseller could be seen as providing transportation services if you’re setting prices in partnership with them on your website.

In the case of marketplaces, all liability rests with the suppliers. Resellers are not responsible for the products sold through partnerships with marketplaces. A marketplace itself falls within exemption of Clause 42 in Whereas of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 8th, 2000, which stipulates that: “…(42) The exemptions from liability established in this Directive cover only cases where the activity of the information society service provider is limited to the technical process of operating and giving access to a communication network over which information made available by third parties is transmitted or temporarily stored…”.

Therefore, needless to say that neither aggregators, nor aggregator’s resellers, do not have exemptions from liabilities.

Another important aspect of cooperation with aggregators is taxation. Taxes should be paid at the territories where services are performed according to local legislations. If aggregators do not pay the taxes, then the reseller should be responsible for paying them as long as the product is sold by a partner.

Which is better for resellers and clients, aggregators or marketplaces?

If we speak about travel mobility solutions, mostly everyone would prefer marketplaces. Low risk, attractive prices, vehicle ratings, hospitality ratings, photos and vehicle descriptions are available before you pay. On the contrary with aggregators you pay and wait for a “black box” to get you a “pig in a poke”. We spoke to many travel market specialists and all came to the opinion that aggregators for travel is just a temporary solution which does not deliver neither high earnings nor high conversions to the resellers but imposes infinite liabilities in case something goes wrong. Most aggregators do not instruct their agents and resellers about liabilities they face and if taxes are paid all. So many aggregators operate as tax holes using multi offshore accounts for partners hard to do due diligence. Aggregators miss lead their resellers by writing that they are informational service providers or intermediaries or else trying to “hide”. Attempts to “hide” will fail in court subject to established EU directives, common sense and cases. Clients as well prefer marketplaces for their attractive prices resulting from low commissions and all information available before they pay.

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