Consumer groups say travellers risk being shanghaied by the airlines into costly automatic opt-ins during the online booking process.
A trans-Tasman alliance of consumer groups is taking aim at the airlines over automatic opt-ins, which can see travellers paying up to 60 percent more than the advertised price when booking flights.
Consumer advocacy groups Consumer NZ and CHOICE have joined forces to campaign against the practice, inviting consumers to send a message to the CEO of one of the worst offenders – Jetstar.
“Jetstar’s practice of pre-ticking boxes for optional extras risked misleading customers on both sides of the Tasman into paying for services they didn’t want,” Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says.
“Jetstar’s booking process marks it out as a prime offender in New Zealand and Australia for pre-selecting optional services. In both markets, it uses the same sneaky practice of ticking boxes for travel insurance, seat selection and extra bags. It’s high time Jetstar stopped confusing its Kiwi and Aussie customers and ditched the ticks.
“Jetstar is now the only major domestic carrier in New Zealand that still has optional extras preselected, with Air Zealand bowing to pressure from the Commerce Commission earlier this year to remove its preselected travel insurance.”
A survey of Consumer NZ members in June found 93 percent of respondents wanted Jetstar to stop using pre-ticked boxes.
“We think Jetstar’s CEO David Hall needs to hear from consumers. No matter what side of the Tasman you’re on, this practice is shonky,” CHOICE director of campaigns & communications Matt Levey says.
“Websites shouldn’t be designed to trick consumers into paying for extras that they don’t want or need. From pricey travel insurance to $5 seat selection fees and sky-high baggage tariffs, Jetstar has you cornered.
“It is time that Jetstar follows Qantas and Air New Zealand and puts a stop to this dodgy practice.”
Travellers can send a message to Jetstar’s CEO David Hall and ask him to ditch the ticks here: http://choice.good.do/ditchtheticks
The cost of pre-ticked boxes: An Auckland to Wellington flight with preselected optional extras left selected.
|[width=33%]||Air New Zealand[width=33%]||Jetstar[width=33%]|
|Luggage||7kg carry-on bag included in price||7kg carry-on bag included in price;
$11 for 20kg (preselected)
|Seat selection - standard||$5 (not preselected)||$5 (preselected)|
|Travel insurance||$10 (not preselected)||$10.95 (preselected)|
|Price with preselected boxes left ticked||$59||$71.95|
|Cost of preselected add-ons||$0||$26.95|
|Percentage difference between advertised price and price with preselected add-ons||0%||60%|
Costs based on one-way trip Auckland to Wellington for Wednesday, 9th September 2015. Lowest cost ticket selected for each airline. Reviewed on the 9/7/15 between 1.45pm – 2.30pm. Preselected optional extras left as offered.