Qantas has been accused of issuing misleading advertising after promoting a special return fare to London on its website that was scarcely available — to the point that its own sales staff were unable to find and book it for customers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is considering a complaint about the airline that alleged it had breached consumer law by advertising return fares from Sydney to London Heathrow as a “top offer.”
The flights, which cost $2,455 per adult, were featured prominently on the London section of Qantas’ website. The offer was only available for flights departing between 1 September and 1 October. However, the terms and conditions also specified that the sale price as not available for all dates within the month-long period. No date was specified for the return leg.
According to a report in The Guardian, a customer known as “Dave” went to the Qantas site but was unable to find the flight. Then he tried searching for every single departure date within the promotion’s T&Cs but couldn’t find anything.
Then he called the Qantas sales team and asked if they could find the flight. But, the salesperson said that there was nothing available but would check with their supervisor. Dave received a call back hours later and was told that there was nothing available.
Qantas has denied that it misled consumers.
“Any suggestion that this offer is misleading is not correct,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
“While it’s unfortunate this customer wasn’t able to find a fare at this price to London on the dates they were looking to travel, many other customers have already snapped up fares at this price.”
When asked by The Guardian about the fare, Qantas sent over a set of dates that would return a price of $2,463 – $8 more than the advertised fare – but this required a trip of at least five and a half weeks, returning in November.
While this price is no longer available for those dates, the ad remains online.