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Unintentional Oversights In Advertising

Freedom Air Says Court Fines Relate To Unintentional Oversights In Advertising

Freedom Air said today that the Commerce Commission prosecution against the airline in the Auckland District Court related to inadvertent omissions from advertising material.

Freedom Air earlier this year pleaded guilty on technical grounds to eight charges relating to domestic advertising which it ran last year. Three further charges were withdrawn. The eight charges related to the omission of CAA levy and insurance levy charges from press and website advertising. The airline was last Friday sentenced to two fines of $500, two fines of $1000 and four fines of $1500, totalling $9000.

Wayne Dodge, Freedom Air general manager/vice-president, says the charges related to Freedom Air domestic advertising during a period of transition in the airline industry. The CAA required Freedom Air to collect the CAA from August 2001, shortly before the disruptive effects on the airline industry of the events of September 11. The insurance levies were introduced by insurers directly as a consequence of September 11. When the levies were first loaded on the airline’s booking system the changes had not been noted in some advertising.

“As soon as we were aware of the discrepancy we moved to change the advertising to include those CAA and insurance levies,” Dodge says. “In the wake of September 11, Freedom Air – like other airlines – was put on short notice to update is systems and advertising practices. Inadvertent omissions were made and once discovered they were corrected straight away,” Dodge says.

Dodge says Freedom Air makes every effort to be clear in advertising material. “We are well aware of the need to be as transparent as possible in all our advertising. On this occasion we were simply caught out by the short timeframe involved. In the circumstances, we believe a request or notification from the Commerce Commission would have been more appropriate than a prosecution. “

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