Commission to prosecute Qantas and Air NZ
Issued 1 December 2002-03 / 081
Commission to prosecute Qantas and Air New Zealand: advertising of airfares misleading
The Commerce Commission is to prosecute Qantas Airways Limited and Air New Zealand Limited for misleading advertising of airfares, Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell told the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) at its 40th Anniversary Conference in Taupo yesterday.
The decision to prosecute both airlines comes hot on the heels of two recent prosecutions by the Commission of South Pacific Air Charters, trading as Freedom Air, and Polynesian Airlines, for misleading advertising in breach of the Fair Trading Act.
Ms Battell said the Commission had been concerned for some time about the travel industry misrepresenting airfare prices and separating out insurance and other costs.
“Consumers are entitled to be told one price. The advertised price should be the price they will pay for their tickets and should not have additional taxes, levies and costs disclosed only in small print or not at all,” said Ms Battell.
“Through this action, the Commission is signalling its expectation that advertised prices should be the price you pay,” she said.
Polynesian Limited, trading as Polynesian Airlines, was fined $7,500 plus costs in the Auckland District Court today for misleading newspaper and television advertising last year of an $889 flight and accommodation package to Samoa. Despite the nationwide coverage of the advertising, the offer was only available ex-Auckland, which was not stated.
South Pacific Charters Limited, trading as Freedom Air International, was fined $9,000 plus costs in the Auckland District Court, having pleaded guilty to eight breaches of the Fair Trading Act in relation to newspaper and website advertising which failed to disclose upfront the full cost of airfares to consumers.