The move to stop Air New Zealand and other businesses using ‘opt out’ pricing is to be congratulated, Consumer NZ says.

This follows the announcement Air NZ is to remove its ‘opt out’ pricing for travel insurance from April. The charge caught consumers who were unaware they had to untick it if they did not want it.

Wellington lawyer Michael Wigley complained to the company after he was charged for it more than once. But Air NZ refused to budge. He then wrote to the Commerce Commission.

Today the commission said it had issued the airline with a formal warning. The airline had agreed to change the travel insurance to ‘opt in’ – where the consumer could tick a travel insurance box online if they wanted it.

The commission said it would target other companies and would encourage all companies selling online to proactively change their behaviour or drop any consideration of introducing the practice.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin congratulated the commission for taking this line. Ms Chetwin said it was particularly confusing for consumers when making online bookings or payments when companies tried to trick them into paying for services they did not want or need.