The Meeting Place

Travel group fined for misleading promotions

Flight Centre has paid $252,000 in penalties after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued two infringement notices for alleged misleading advertisements promoting holiday vouchers during the 2018 Christmas and 2019 Easter periods.

Flight Centre advertised promotions in store and in print newspapers 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 had grounds to believe that these 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 $5000.

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 $5000, 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’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,” Ms Court said.

Flight Centre has now waived the $5000 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.

Did you purchase travel through Flight Centre to take advantage of its Christmas and Easter promotions? Did you feel like the conditions of the voucher were adequately explained?

6 comments

I have never used flight centre..however.. that’s not their only misdemeanour.

Federal Court action has been launched against them for underpayment of employees.

Oh Dear, I travel a lot, often to Europe, with my partner, and always in Business Class, so I have put at least a hundred thousand through the office of my local flight centre over recent years. Now I find myself wondering.... was I ripped off. Can anybody recommend a decent, reliable honest travel agent?????

Can't you just do a Google search to compare the prices you have been quoted to those listed from other sources, for example, enter:

return flight fares [insert origin] [insert destination] [insert date]

Which should give a link to www.google.com/flights for a comparison.

I think that Agnes is being sarcastic, RnR. 

 

Another of Flight Centre's advertised promises is "we beat any quoted price". Well they will but first you have to prove that there is another lower quote out there and having downloads or screenshots of someone else's website may or may not be enough. But assuming you can prove it, Flight Centre will 'honour' their pledge.................by$1! So make sure the savings are worth the effort or go with the competitor in the first place.

They may be, strictly speaking, living up to the promise but it is certainly couched in terms such that the customer would reasonably expect greater savings.

@ Agnes

"Ripped off" might be too strong a word. Flight Centre uses mainly low budget airlines I believe, so if you use Business Class on Jetstar or similar for example,  you might want to compare that with BC on the other airllines lke Qantas and Qatar.

No they don't Sophie. They use all airlines and all classes of travel according to your budget. 

Thank you for that information KSS.

No I am not being sarcastic at all, I am genuinely interested to know what other travel agents have proved to be worthwhile to others in this forum. I have indeed spent the amount of money mentioned at a local Flight Centre , who in my estimation have always given good service. I only travel Premium ( Etihad, Emirates, Qantas, Swiss, Singapore etc etc) airlines, and would not travel Jetstar.But after reading this and other news about flight centre I wonder if I might have done better elsewhere. So thank you very much for your advice RnR and I will do as you sugest.

Sorry Agnes - it was the comment about travelling often to Europe and always business class. I thought you were having a laugh, as if any of us could afford that!

There is really no need to use an agent at all these days Agnes because you can do it yourself on the internet. I have not used an agent for years, but I suppose it depends how complex your trip may be. 

Agnes, to admit to travelling business class puts you into a category that is way out of reach of the average old pensioner, including me.   Have a feeling this is a joke. lol

Have a feeling Agnes is the woman on the flight centre ad who says 

" Best in the air, and everywhere" LOL

Sorry toot2000 and ABE if I have offended. My enquiry is genuine. Yes I realise I am luckier than many, and yes like everybody else here I worked hard, invested wisely and made a few lucky choices. I am well aware that others have had different life circumstances, adverse events, difficulties, divorce, bad luck etc etc and may not have been so fortunate. But I genuinely respect the contributors in this forum, as, although I may not always agree with some of the views, they have a wealth of experience, and I was trying to draw on that experience for this topic.

Thanks for your advice KSS about using the internet and I have tried that but from my experience of some misfortunes when travelling, I do like the back up of a travel agent, who I can email and get a response instantly and have the matter sorted out. That is not likely to happen if you make your own bookings on the interent, and from what I can see prices are on apar with an agent or on the internet.

6 comments