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Stagecoach Auckland agrees to honour Sale

12 October 2004-05/047

Stagecoach Auckland agrees to honour its Big Ticket Sale after Commerce Commission investigation

The Commerce Commission has put a stop to Stagecoach Auckland's recent attempt to cut short its 'Big Ticket Sale' promotional offer on monthly passes.

Earlier this year, Stagecoach Auckland advertised the 'Stagecoach Big Ticket Sale, valid August, September, October 2004' in the New Zealand Herald, on buses, in ticketing agencies, and on the Stagecoach website, promoting discounts on the normal purchase price of monthly passes. The advertising specifically stated the offer was valid until 31 October 2004.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said the Commission had stepped in after receiving complaints that notices had started appearing stating that the Big Ticket Sale was ending on 10 October 2004 and that monthly passes would return to their normal prices from 11 October.

"After investigation by the Commission, Transportation Auckland Corporation Limited, trading as Stagecoach Auckland, has admitted that its behaviour was likely to breach the Fair Trading Act and has agreed to honour the Big Ticket Sale promotion until 31 October 2004, as originally offered. It has also agreed to discuss refunds with anyone who considers they have lost travel value due to the recent advertised change of final date for the promotion."

In addition, the company will publish apology notices in buses, at ticketing agencies and information kiosks, on the Stagecoach and ARC Rideline websites and in the New Zealand Herald.

"Traders need to check the wording of any promotional offer they make closely and consider how the offer might be interpreted by the public," said Ms Battell.

"In this case, Stagecoach Auckland has advised the Commission it intended to offer three months discounted travel, not three months opportunity to purchase discounted travel. The issue arose because Stagecoach Auckland thought it was offering one thing in its promotion, but the actual wording of the offer was interpreted by consumers as something quite different."

Ms Battell said that while the Commission was concerned that members of the public may have been misled by Stagecoach Auckland's behaviour, the company had acted quickly to rectify the situation. "This is a good example of what can be achieved when businesses co-operate with the Commission."

ENDS

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