Travel Agents

Flight Centre cops $252,000 fine over misleading ads

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Flight Centre has paid a $252,000 in penalties over alleged misleading advertisements promoting holiday vouchers.

According to a release from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Flight Centre advertised promotions in-store and in print newspapers over Christmas 2018 and Easter 2019 offering $250 vouchers to consumers who spent $1500 on a holiday package with Flight Centre. The vouchers were redeemable on their next holiday booked through Flight Centre.

The ACCC said it had grounds to believe the advertisements were liable to mislead and breached the Australian Consumer Law because Flight Centre failed to disclose to consumers that redeeming the $250 voucher was subject to certain conditions. These conditions included requiring consumers to book another holiday with Flight Centre worth more than $5,000.

The ACCC was also concerned about the limited time frame offered for consumers to redeem the voucher, which also wasn’t properly disclosed to consumers.

“We are concerned that consumers were enticed to purchase their holiday through Flight Centre to obtain a voucher they were not able to use without spending another $5,000 when this was not adequately disclosed,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

Over 35,000 consumers received cash vouchers as part of these promotions.

Flight Centre told Travel Weekly in a statement that it has co-operated fully with the ACCC and that the issue “was not deliberate and arose predominantly as a result of inadvertent and unauthorised changes or abbreviations to a Flight Centre brand promotional campaign’s conditions”.

“The company waived the applicable conditions and directly contacted customers who may have been affected to ensure no one was disadvantaged as a result of any misunderstanding that may have arisen about the promotional campaign,” the statement read.

“The company has also taken steps to reduce the risk of similar issues occurring in the future, including by developing additional review processes for its marketing and promotion campaigns.”

This isn’t the first time Flight Centre has faced scrutiny from the ACCC, with the travel giant copping a whopping 12.5 million fine in April last year when it lost its long-running legal battle with the consumer watchdog over alleged price-fixing.

Flight Centre’s advertisements appeared in print newspapers and on digital screens across about 700 stores for the Christmas promotion and 800 stores for the Easter promotion.

“Businesses are warned that the terms and conditions of any deal or promotion must be prominent so that consumers understand what is involved in redeeming the offer,” Court said.

Flight Centre has now waived the $5,000 minimum spend condition and extended the redemption period for vouchers provided as part of the 2018 Christmas promotion from 30 June 2019 until 31 December 2019. Vouchers provided as part of the 2019 Easter promotion are also able to be used until 31 December 2019.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Technology

Another Luxury Escapes bidder enters the fray

by Huntley Mitchell

It appears Luxury Escapes has pretty hot property right now, with yet another potential suitor showing interest in the online travel player.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott to debut more than 30 luxe hotels in 2020

Much like the waistline of Travel Weekly’s editor (thanks to some early office Christmas gifts), Marriott’s presence is set to expand significantly.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

“No survivors”: Royal Caribbean passengers feared dead after New Zealand volcanic eruption

by Ali Coulton

Multiple Australian travellers are feared dead after one of the world’s most active volcanos erupted in New Zealand during a cruise ship shore excursion.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas inks new frequent flyer deal with Air France-KLM

Proving customer loyalty programs are big business comes this freshly-inked partnership between two aviation giants.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland to bid for 2032 Olympics and Paralympics

Queensland is hoping to score the Olympics and Paralympics. No word yet though on whether Toowoomba or Mount Isa have been mooted to host the opening ceremony.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

The safest and most dangerous destinations for LGBTQ+ travellers

As we approach 2020, it’s difficult to believe that for LGBTQ+ people, planning a trip can still be a minefield. Check out this helpful list to help keep your clients safe.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar ground crew to strike over unfair pay and safety concerns, says union boss

The Jetstar strikes saga continues, with ground crew and baggage handlers announcing they will walk off the job on Friday.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Reflections of a traveller: How to take in New York and Boston during the fall

by Katie Saffin

This article comes with a warning that readers could suffer from a severe case of FOMO and end up in a jealous rage.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Australia ups counter-terror at airports, Qantaslink’s new routes, BA to 3D print plane parts + MORE!

Soar above your competition and impress your friends with all the latest airline news. Or at least kill a good 20 minutes by reading the whole thing.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

OPINION: The 7 travel trends to keep an eye on in 2020

by Mike Flaskey

Want to impress your fellow colleagues during the next gathering around the office water cooler? Give this a read and then recite it word for word.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

A&K takes over Cox & Kings’ UK business – is Australia next?

by Huntley Mitchell

Abercrombie & Kent is expanding its luxury wholesale presence in the UK by acquiring a rival. Could we see something similar here in Australia?

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

“Fiasco da Gama”: engine alarm triggers cruise ship blackout

Passengers onboard the Vasco da Gama were left without power and water, with some saying they are thankful the ship didn’t sink.

Share

CommentComments