24 February 2017
Consumer group CHOICE has welcomed today's pledge by the regulator to review the behaviour of Australian airlines, following CHOICE's super complaint into the industry late last year.
"It's great news that just two months after we launched our super complaint into the shonky practices of Australia's major domestic airlines, the regulator has decided to investigate," says CHOICE Director of Campaigns, Communications and Content, Matt Levey.
"From repeatedly informing travellers they have no refund rights to a lack of redress when flights are delayed and cancelled, domestic airlines have been flying below the radar for too long when it comes to consumer protection."
During a keynote speech today in Sydney, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said the regulator would be looking at the terms and conditions used by the airlines and whether the sector is complying with the consumer guarantees for delayed and cancelled flights.
In last December's report, Fare Play? Terms and conditions in Australia's Airline Industry, CHOICE identified systemic breaches of Australian Consumer Law by the domestic airlines.
"The ACCC's guidance to travel providers says cancellation fees should be reasonable and reflect the actual costs to the business, with fair deposits generally 10% of the total cost. When a consumer can't or chooses not to travel they can lose up to 100% of the fare, even when there is ample time to re-sell the seat," Mr Levey says.
"We hope this move by the regulator finally forces the airlines to do the right thing by their customers and respect Australia's consumer law."
CHOICE welcomed a range of the ACCC's 2017 priorities including private health insurance, issues in the new motor vehicle market and the commission-driven sales practices of third parties representing charities.
For more on CHOICE's airline super complaint go to: choice.com.au/fareplay
Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669
Set up by consumers for consumers, CHOICE is the consumer advocate that provides Australians with information and advice, free from commercial bias. As vital today as when we were founded in 1959, CHOICE continues to fight for consumers and uncover the truth. By mobilising Australia's largest and loudest consumer movement, CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable and achieve real change on the issues that matter most.