Effective 3rd February 2020, AFTA released the Advertising Guidelines for ATAS Participants. The guidelines now form part of the mandatory requirements for ATAS Accreditation. An amnesty period of 3 months applies for ATAS accredited members to implement any required changes to their business.
The Guidelines seeks to highlight those obligations that are current in the travel industry, it does not cover all obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. In addition to general guidance provided by the ACCC, AFTA have clarified two specific areas affecting the travel industry.
By doing so, AFTA aims to protect its members from regulator or legal action with Chief Executive Jayson Westbury quoted in TD (19 Feb) stating:
“We’re attempting to try and get ahead of the game so that members comply with what we believe is our interpretation in advance of a regulator making a determination that could see them before the courts”.
1. Two-price comparison
The use of the words “typically” and “valued at” in advertising is deemed to be a two price comparison and the principles of such advertising outlined by the ACCC are to apply.
Advertisers need to retain records and be able to substantiate the offer whether that be to the ATAS Compliance Manager or the ACCC.
2. Component Pricing
When advertising prices to your customers, you should state the total price. If you promote a price that is only part of the total price of goods or services, you must also include the total price (as a single figure) at least as prominently as the part price.
Components you are required to include are:
- A tax, duty, fee, levy or charge payable by the consumer for the supply (and use) of the travel;
- Resort fees;
- Mandatory gratuities; and
- Direct payments required to a 3rd party operator.
What do you need to do?
Agents should review their advertising in light of the guidelines and implement any required changes prior to the amnesty period ending (3rd May 2020). If you have concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to discuss further.
Want to know more?
The advertising guidelines are available on the AFTA website here. Also we'll be hosting a member webinar on Wednesday 18th March 2020, which will go through in detail the changes and provide examples of what NOT to do. Register for the webinar here.
2020 AFTA Member Roadshow: If you have not yet signed up to attend the AFTA Roadshow in a capital city near you, we encourage all members and staff to join us to learn more about AFTA member activities. For event details or to register, click here.
Any questions or feedback can be directed to Naomi Menon Head of Compliance and Operations at AFTA at firstname.lastname@example.org.