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Flight Centre slapped with $252k fine for dodgy holiday ads

Flight Centre in Melbourne, Thursday, August 17, 2017. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Flight Centre has been ordered to pay a $252,000 fine after the competition watchdog sent the travel group two infringement notices about allegedly misleading ads promoting holiday vouchers.

During Christmas last year and Easter this year, Flight Centre ran ads in store and in newspapers about a promotion offering $250 vouchers to customers that spent $1,500 on a Flight Centre holiday package. These vouchers would be redeemable with their next holiday booked with Flight Centre.

However, customers were not told that the next holiday would have to be worth more than $5,000 in order to redeem those vouchers.

The ACCC believed this was misleading and a breach of Australian Consumer Law, and had concerned that customers weren’t told about the limited time frame in which to redeem the vouchers.

“We are concerned that consumers were enticed to purchase their holiday through Flight Centre to obtain a voucher they were not able to use without spending another $5,000, when this was not adequately disclosed,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.

More than 35,000 customers ended up receiving cash vouchers from these promotions.

Print newspapers and around 700-800 Flight Centre stores ran the promotion during Christmas and Easter.

Court warned businesses that terms and conditions of any deal or promotion had to be prominent so customers understood what was involved in redeeming an offer.

On top of coughing up $252,000 in penalties, Flight Centre has waived the $5,000 minimum spend and extended the redemption period from June to 31 December this year.

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