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Fly Away - but you'll have to pay:


Fly Away - but you'll have to pay:

Commission concerned about 'free flight' deal

The Commerce Commission is concerned that both consumers and retailers are being misled by 'free' flight deals to the Gold Coast offered by Fly Away New Zealand Limited.

The Commission is investigating Fly Away's 'Free Flights' promotion which is marketed to retailers as a rewards incentive programme for use with valued customers. Over 2,000 vouchers for two 'free' return airfares have been sold to around 50 retailers nationwide for $89 each.

The vouchers are distributed by Holiday Resorts International Pty Limited, an Australian company which came to the Commission's attention in 1998 for a similar promotion.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that in order to redeem the vouchers customers must purchase accommodation specified by Holiday Resorts for a minimum of ten nights.

"While the vouchers may provide air fares at no cost, the accommodation that must be used is expensive and in some cases so expensive that you could reasonably expect to buy a package deal for both flights and accommodation for a similar price," she said.

"This promotion seems similar to offers the Commission has been aware of in the past where the cost of the compulsory accommodation is inflated by as much as the cost of an airfare."

Ms Battell said that the Commission had reason to believe Fly Away has been advising retailers that it is OK to advertise these 'free' airfares along with a statement, 'conditions apply'.

"The accommodation requirement is more than a condition. It directly impacts on the offer - the flights cannot be used without a considerable outlay by the consumer for accommodation," she said.

Ms Battell reminded retailers that they are legally liable under the Fair Trading Act for any misleading claims made to customers.

The Commission is interested in receiving information from members of the public who consider they have been misled by Fly Away's Free Flights promotion. Contact the Commission on 0800 94 3600.

Background

In 1998 the Commission issued a media release alerting consumers and retailers about travel vouchers to the Gold Coast being offered by Australian Company Holiday Resorts International Pty Ltd. See Media Release 1998/16 Commission warns about travel vouchers ( http://www.comcom.govt.nz/publications/display_mr.cfm?mr_id=373)

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