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Refund for customers following ‘invoice’ mail out

13 May 2004

Company to refund customers following ‘invoice’ mail out

Australian-based website design and hosting company, Time Away Services Pty Limited, has agreed to refund all money paid by New Zealand businesses on an ‘invoice’ document sent out in November 2003, and has admitted, in a settlement with the Commerce Commission, that it was likely to breach the Fair Trading Act.

The Commission investigated complaints arising from a document headed ‘Invoice’ sent by Time Away Services to 860 New Zealand accommodation providers. In the Commission’s view, the document gave the impression that the recipient had agreed to a $50 annual directory listing on tourism website when this was not the case.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that in the Commission’s view the document sent out by Time Away Services was misleading and was a deceptive method of trying to attract new customers.

“What Time Away Services sent out to the businesses was a document that closely resembled an invoice and that may have led the businesses to pay for something they hadn’t asked for.”

Ms Battell said that this case was a timely reminder to businesses to ensure they have effective systems in place for ordering goods and services and checking and authorising payments.

Under the terms of the settlement, Time Away Services must write to those businesses that paid on the ‘invoice’ document offering to make a full refund of the listing fee if they consider that they have been misled. The company has also agreed to make the New Zealand section of its website a free listing service, and to put in place a formal compliance programme.

Businesses that have paid on the invoice document sent out by Time Away Services can contact them directly at in regards to any refund.


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