Flight Centre fined $252,000 for misleading promotions

Flight Centre Travel Group has paid $252,000 in fines after misleading customers with unclear promotions during the 2018 Christmas and 2019 Easter periods.

The travel group offered customers who spent $1500 on a holiday package during these periods a $250 voucher to use for their next holiday – though failed to disclose that the next holiday needed to be worth more than $5000 to qualify.

According to the ACCC, over 35,000 customers received these vouchers as part of the promotions.

“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.

“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.”

In addition to the fine paid, Flight Centre has also waived the $5000 minimum spend condition and has extended the redemption period for the vouchers. Those earned during the 2018 Christmas period will be extended from 30 June 2019 to 31 December 2019, while those earned during 2019 Easter will also be extended to 31 December 2019.

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The ACCC notes that the payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of Australian Consumer Law.

Earlier this year, the ACCC also targeted online retailer Kogan for misleading promotions, stating it made “false or misleading representations about a 10 percent discount promotion”, and would be taking the retailer to court.

The consumer rights commission alleged Kogan had advertised a 10 percent discount on certain products, though raised the price of around 600 products before the promotion began – in some cases by at least 10 percent.

“We allege that Kogan’s advertisements were likely to have caused consumers to think they were getting products below their usual price,” Court said in a statement in May.

“In fact, Kogan had inflated product prices which we say created a false impression of the effective discount.”

At the time, Kogan denied the allegations, stating they ignore critical facts and matters that are relevant to the situation.

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