Qantas to pay $120 million in fines and compensation after misleading customers over flight cancellations

Qantas admitted to misleading thousands of customers about flight cancellations for years and will pay $120 million in fines and restitution.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is suing the airline in the Federal Court Court after claiming that Qantas had engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct by continuing to sell the tickets.

The declared guardian of the competition on Monday the parties agreed to ask the court to impose a $100 million penalty after Qantas admitted the conduct went on for a year longer than the ACCC claimed.

Payments to 86,597 customers who were sold tickets between May 2021 and August 2023 that Qantas had already decided to cancel will share about $20 million in compensation.

Qantas will pay $225 to domestic customers and $450 to international customers.

“Qantas’ conduct was egregious and unacceptable,” ACCC chairwoman Gina Cass-Gottled said in a statement.

“Many customers will have made holiday, business and travel plans after booking a phantom flight that was cancelled.”

The commission alleged that Qantas advertised tickets for more than 8,000 canceled flights between May 2021 and July 2022.

It is also alleged that for more than 10,000 flights scheduled to depart between May and July 2022, Qantas failed to notify customers in a timely manner that the flights had been cancelled.

Qantas now admits the conduct continued until 26 August 2023, affecting flights scheduled to depart between May 2022 and May 2024.

The The ACCC has announced it is suing Qantas on August 31.

Qantas has agreed not to repeat the behavior in the future and to make payments to affected customers as soon as possible.

It has also committed to notify customers of canceled flights as soon as possible and no later than 48 hours after the decision to cancel a flight and to stop selling tickets for such trips within 24 hours.

The commitment also applies to subsidiary Jetstar.

“When flights resumed after the COVID-19 suspension, we recognized that Qantas was disappointing customers and not meeting our own standards,” said Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson.

“Returning to travel was already stressful for many and we didn’t provide enough customer support and didn’t have the technology and systems in place to support our people.”

Payments will be accessible through a dedicated online portal facilitated by Deloitte and will be audited by an independent body.

Qantas will notify affected customers by email from June.

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