EMIRATES: New Zealand passenger successfully sues Emirates for ‘misleading and deceptive’ advertising of business class
Although Australians in particular joke about New Zealand being backward, it often displays extraordinary innovation. The ‘Disputes Tribunal is one such example. It’s a body acting as an alternate to, but similar to a small claims court. The tribunal administers disputes under NZ$30,000, and is less formal than a court.
Emirates forced to pay Business Class passenger for false advertising
New Zealander Mark Morgan has successfully gained compensation from Emirates airline to the tune of NZ $13,555 (~AU$12,661) for the misrepresentation in advertising of the Business Class product they were offering between New Zealand and Dubai. The advertising featured the most up to date product available on the 777-300, but unfortunately, Emirates only runs a much older product servicing New Zealand.
Unlike in the Emirates advertising, according to Stuff.co.nz:
Morgan and his wife found the seats didn’t recline to lie flat, were less cushioned than those shown in Emirates’ advertising, and the entertainment system was not a new, upgraded system, and “due to its age, malfunctioned”.
The complained about trip between New Zealand and Great Britain also didn’t have WiFi nor the seat have a mini-bar.
Despite Emirates arguing that the small print on the advertising allowed them to vary the service supplied, and therefore they had not broken the Fair Trading Act by running an Ad that could mislead gullible New Zealanders.
The referee Laura Mueller did not agree, finding:
‘Emirates advertised a business class service that consumers were very unlikely to receive.’
The Tribunal also disagreed with Emirates about the nature and extent of compensation.
It is a regular occurrence for airlines to feature their top, most recent product when advertising cabins and seats and premium classes, an offering that may vary from what is actually available on the route you plan to fly. While we all understand that sometimes, the expected plane and configuration of a flight might change at the last minute for operational reasons, this New Zealand tribunal has dealt a blow for truth in advertising on behalf of all airline travellers.
Well done New Zealand.