Flight Centre is the only travel agent to be listed in Australia’s first consumer complaints register, released last week by NSW Fair Trading.
The NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register provides information about businesses that are the subject of 10 or more complaints received by Fair Trading in a calendar month – in this case, the month of July. The register is updated monthly and only includes complaints considered by Fair Trading to have been made by a real person, relating to a real interaction with a business.
Last week Fair Trading disclosed that Air Asia came third in the numbers of complaints received in the month. See: Airline makes top three in number of complaints
Flight Centre received 10 complaints during the same month, but there is no way of knowing whether the complaints relate to any particular Flight Centre outlet. The figures are aggregated for the whole chain as it operates in New South Wales.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, defended the decision to aggregate data under the overarching brand name for retail groups and franchises.
“This is the name these traders use when promoting their businesses to the public and this is the name consumers identify with when making a transaction,” he said.
Flight Centre is Australia’s biggest agency group, with approaching 700 outlets. Considering NSW is Australia’s most populous state (by a large margin) it could be argued that more stores plus more customers equals more complaints.
For comparison, Grays Online, the auction operator, also received 10 complaints
Apple received 13.
Real estate firm LJ Hooker topped the list with 31 complaints, followed by Harvey Norman with 29. Air Asia, with 25 complaints last month, came third on the list and was the only airline represented.
Written by Peter Needham