Jetstar Asia to end travel insurance auto-inclusion in online bookings

Jetstar will implement an "opt-neutral" approach for travel insurance from October next year. Consumers will then have to select to either accept or reject insurance when booking online.
Jetstar will implement an "opt-neutral" approach for travel insurance from October next year. Consumers will then have to select to either accept or reject insurance when booking online.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Budget carrier Jetstar Asia Airways will join Scoot and Singapore Airlines (SIA) in not pre-selecting travel insurance for consumers when they book online.

Jetstar will implement an "opt-neutral" approach for insurance, but not until October next year, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said yesterday.

Consumers will then have to select to either accept or reject insurance when booking online.

SIA and Scoot implemented the change after the issue was raised earlier this year by Case. Scoot replaced the pre-selected travel insurance with an "opt-in" feature in February and SIA followed in May.

Case noted that with the growth of e-commerce over the past decade, consumers encounter several challenges when shopping online, such as pre-ticked options that are added to purchases without their express consent.

It said businesses should clearly present all information relevant to a sales transaction upfront while any additional free or paid goods and services should be included only with the consumer's express consent.

"In Case's view, failure to opt out of travel insurance should not be regarded as express consent as it is possible for some consumers to overlook that this option had been selected," Case said.

NOT EXPRESS CONSENT

In Case's view, failure to opt out of travel insurance should not be regarded as express consent as it is possible for some consumers to overlook that this option had been selected.

CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

It added that the European Union is one jurisdiction that prohibits companies from using pre-ticked boxes for online transactions to infer consumers' consent for additional payments. Firms must obtain express consent.

Case added that it "strongly encourages all businesses to engage in ethical marketing by ensuring that their consumers consciously agree to the purchase of goods and services by taking clear affirmative action".

"Meanwhile, consumers are advised to look out for pre-selected options when shopping online.

"They should also remember to thoroughly check through their online bookings or shopping carts for extra charges before making any payment," it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2018, with the headline 'Jetstar Asia to end travel insurance auto-inclusion in online bookings'. Print Edition | Subscribe