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Jetstar fined for misleading customers on refunds

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered Jetstar to pay $1.95 million in penalties for making “false or misleading representations” surrounding consumer rights on its website.

The Court found that between April 2017 and March 2018, the travel business noted that some fares were not refundable, and a customer could only be eligible for a refund if a more expensive fare be purchased instead.

“Jetstar’s representations were false or misleading because all flights come with automatic consumer guarantees that cannot be excluded, restricted or modified, no matter how cheap the fare,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said.

“All consumers have the right to a remedy, such as a refund, if services are not supplied within a reasonable time.”

Jetstar has committed to change its policies and practices to ensure they are compliant moving forward, and is reviewing customer complaints for the period between 10 April 2017, and 13 March 2018, to find who would be entitled to refunds or other remedies retroactively.

Sims notes that this result should be a warning to all other businesses, that misleading customers about their rights may well result in multi-million dollar penalties.

“Businesses simply cannot make blanket ‘no refunds’ statements, because they can mislead consumers into thinking they can never get a refund under any circumstances,” Sims said.

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