Story image

Air NZ bins automatic travel insurance after warning from ComCom

06 Mar 15

Air New Zealand, the national carrier, will scrap its pre-selected travel insurance option after receiving a formal warning from the Commerce Commission, which is cracking down on businesses misleading consumers with 'opt out' additional products.

The Auckland-based airline has agreed to no longer pre-tick travel insurance on its online ticketing system from April after a warning from the anti-trust regulator, the commission said in a statement. Previously as customers went through the check-out insurance options had been automatically added on, needing the buyer to actively un-check the option.

"Consumers are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether they want to pay for additional products or services," commission chairman Mark Berry said. "If a company is concerned that its customers need insurance then a suitable approach is to require them to tick 'yes' or 'no' in a mandatory field and leave it in their hands."

The ditching of the policy comes as the regulator cracks down on businesses using 'opt out' options which it says could be misleading consumers to buy things they didn't intend to. The commission wants companies to employ an 'opt in' approach when selling add-on products online to avoid any possibility of the Fair Trading Act.

"We will be targeting other companies we are concerned about," Berry said. "We would encourage all businesses selling online to proactively change their behaviour or drop any consideration of introducing this practice. We believe Air New Zealand made the right decision and other businesses should follow their example."

Last year, the airline had another brush with further regulation after it cancelled several regional domestic routes citing high costs to keep the flights operating. The New Zealand Airports Association lobbied the Commerce Commission to regulate Air New Zealand's regional air fares, where it says it has an effective monopoly. While in September, Prime Minister John Key said he had told the airline it should lower regional airfares if it could, and was supported by former Commerce Minister Craig Foss, who oversaw competition law.

Last week the national airline posted a 20 percent increase in normalised earnings before tax of $216 million, driven by lower fuel prices and increased numbers of travellers.

Shares of the airline last traded at $2.95 and have gained 19 percent since the start of the year.

DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."
52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach
Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.
GirlBoss wins 2018 YES Emerging Alumni of the Year Award
The people have spoken – GirlBoss CEO and founder Alexia Hilbertidou has been crowned this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Emerging Alumni of the Year.
SingleSource scores R&D grant to explore digital identity over blockchain
Callaghan Innovation has awarded a $318,000 R&D grant to Auckland-based firm SingleSource, a company that applies risk scoring to digital identity.
IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.