Australia’s largest travel agency has been slapped with a $252,000 fine for misleading customers about a holiday promotional offer.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued Flight Centre with two infringement notices for its advertisements promoting holiday vouchers, which appeared in newspapers and online during the 2018 Christmas and 2019 Easter season.
The promotion offered $250 vouchers to consumers who spent $1500 on a holiday package with Flight Centre, which could be redeemed on their next holiday booked through the travel agency.
Ad costs Flight Centre $250,000 for misleading customers.Source:Supplied
However, Flight Centre failed to disclose that to redeem the $250 voucher, customers had to book another holiday through the travel agent worth more than $5000, the watchdog found.
The ACCC said these advertisements were liable to mislead and breached Australian consumer law. The watchdog said it 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 $5000, when this was not adequately disclosed,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.
Flight Centre has since waived the minimum spend fee.Source:Supplied
After the penalty, Flight Centre has waived the $5000 minimum spend condition and extended the redemption period for vouchers provided as part of the 2018 Christmas promotion from June 30 until December 31.
“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,” Ms Court said.
Trading in retail stores across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, North America, Hong Kong, China, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, the travel agency’s Christmas promotion was advertised between November and December last year. Its Easter promotion was advertised between March and April 2019.
News.com.au has contacted Flight Centre for comment.
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