Travel Agents

STA Travel stung with $14m in penalties over misleading ads

The Federal Court has ordered STA Travel to pay $14 million in penalties for making false or misleading claims when advertising its MultiFLEX Pass product.

STA Travel admitted that, between March 2014 and August 2019, it made misleading representations in MultiFLEX Pass advertising that consumers who bought the airfare add-on could change their flights without paying fees or charges.

“Consumers were misled into purchasing the MultiFLEX Pass on the representation that they would not have to pay anything further for date changes to their flights, when, in fact, STA often charged consumers hundreds of dollars for changing their flights” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

In many cases, STA Travel’s charges were not reflective of additional fees imposed by the airline.

For example, in almost a quarter of cases where a customer was charged extra by STA Travel, the amount was more than double the additional airfare and tax imposed by the airline.

“In 12 per cent of cases, STA Travel charged MultiFLEX Pass customers to make a change to a flight although the airline itself had not charged STA Travel anything at all for the change,” Court said.

“These penalties serve as a timely reminder to all travel businesses that they must not misrepresent the costs applicable when travel services are changed.”

The MultiFLEX Pass cost up to $149 to purchase upfront. Between 2015 and 2019, STA Travel estimates it sold on average approximately 16,000 MultiFLEX Passes per year.

After the Federal Court initiated proceedings in March 2019, STA Travel has since admitted liability and made joint submissions with the ACCC to the court. The company will also contribute to the ACCC’s legal costs.

Featured image credit: iStock/Frogman1484


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

ScoMo says Australia-Singapore travel bubble to form “within the next week or so”

Our editor is loving this bubble talk so much that he’s decided to celebrate by having a bubble bath while enjoying a bubble tea.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas to launch Sydney-Dehli route, moves start date forward for select overseas flights

The national carrier also said it plans to bring back around 11,000 stood-down workers a whopping six months earlier than expected.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Golden Horizon, the world’s biggest sailing ship, cancels its Aussie debut

Tradewind Voyages is the latest cruise line to axe its Aussie sailings after growing tired of waiting for the federal government to get its sh*t together.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Flight Centre-owned DMC Discova recruits new global marketing manager

The destination management company has Discova-d its new global marketing manager. Get it? (Sorry, that was a pretty cringeworthy effort).

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Four must-dos in Flanders

With charming cities, a rich history and artistic masterpieces (not to mention an unparalleled beer culture), there’s a lot to love about the northern Belgium region.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WA lets slip plan to mandate COVID-19 jabs for all interstate travellers

Mark McGowan has been forced to do a bit of explaining after WA’s health department appeared to accidentally release details of its mandatory vaccine plan for all interstate visitors.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

W Brisbane appoints new hotel manager, marketing boss and chef de cuisine

As the saying goes, all good things come in threes. Unless, of course, we’re talking about baseball strikes.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel agents left out of NSW’s $530m plan to revive tourism and events

The plan includes vouchers to encourage domestic travel and a fund to lure international airlines back to Australia, but AFTA’s chief argues a crucial element of the industry has been left out.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

New marketing and PR agency launches with sustainable travel focus

Two senior names in the tourism marketing space have joined forces to launch a new purpose-led player, and you can probably guess its name from the accompanying pic.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Victoria reopens to fully-vaxxed travellers from Sydney, WA to allow quarantine-free travel for Queenslanders

Here are a couple more positive signs that domestic travel is getting back to the good old days.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Sunrise’s David “Kochie” Koch to host sustainable tourism webinar featuring industry heavyweights

Do you generally start your mornings with Kochie on TV? Well, you’ll be able to enjoy a double dose of him tomorrow.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas introduces automatic ticket revalidation enhancement for agents

Are you sick of flight schedule changes messing with your clients’ travel plans? Well, hopefully this new update by Qantas will help you contain your rage.

Share

CommentComments