Flight Centre cops $252k fine for ‘misleading’ adverts

Australia’s consumer watchdog has hit Flight Centre Travel Group with more than $250,000 in fines for “misleading” holiday advertisements.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found Flight Centre had misled customers during its 2018 Christmas and 2019 Easter promotions which offered $250 vouchers to consumers who spent $1500 on a holiday package with the travel agent.

But Flight Centre had failed to disclose that to redeem the $250 voucher consumers had to book another holiday through the travel agent worth more than $5000.

More than 35,000 consumers received cash vouchers as part of these promotions which featured in store and in print newspapers.

“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,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.

“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.”

Flight Centre said the promotion was not deliberate and it was working to rectify the vouchers with customers who may have been affected or disadvantaged by the campaign.

As well as the payment of the $252,000 of fines, Flight Centre has also waived the $5000 minimum spend condition and extended the redemption period for vouchers provided as part of the 2018 Christmas promotion from June 30, 2019 until December 31, 2019.