Jetstar cops $2m fine for misleading refund claims

Jetstar has been ordered to pay almost $2 million in penalties after it admitted it wrongly told passengers not all super-cheap fares were refundable.

Under Australian consumer law, passengers whose flights are cancelled or significantly delayed due to reasons within the airline’s control are entitled to refunds.

The claims were made on the low cost carrier’s website between April 2017 and March 2018. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched legal proceedings against Jetstar over the claims in December.

“Jetstar’s representations were false or misleading because all flights come with automatic consumer guarantees that cannot be excluded, restricted or modified, no matter how cheap the fare,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“If a flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, passengers may be entitled to a refund under the consumer guarantees. All consumers have the right to a remedy, such as a refund, if services are not supplied within a reasonable time.

“Businesses simply cannot make blanket ‘no refunds’ statements because they can mislead consumers into thinking they can never get a refund under any circumstances.”

A Jetstar spokesperson said in a statement: “We take our obligations under Australian Consumer Law seriously and it was never our intention to mislead customers about the circumstances in which they could claim refunds.

“We worked closely with the ACCC during its review and in July last year made changes to our website and our conditions of carriage, to make sure it’s clear when customers are eligible for a refund.”