SINGAPORE: Jetstar Asia Airways will stop its practice of pre-selecting travel insurance for customers purchasing flight tickets in a year's time, said the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) on Thursday (Nov 15).
Instead, the budget airline will implement an "opt-neutral" approach from October 2019.
This means that consumers will have to consciously accept or reject travel insurance during the booking process.
The move comes after CASE urged airlines to be more transparent in their ticket pricing and booking process.
According to CASE, one of the challenges consumers faced when buying tickets online was pre-ticked boxes that added options to their purchases without their express consent.
However, Jetstar had initially declined to change the travel insurance inclusion, saying that "each pre-selected item is clearly drawn to the attention of the customers through their booking flow". CASE had said this was "not acceptable".
Earlier this year, two other airlines, Singapore Airlines and Scoot Tigerair, removed the pre-selection of travel insurance on their booking websites and offered it as an "opt-in" feature instead.
Businesses should clearly present all information relevant to a sales transaction upfront to the consumer, said the consumer watchdog.
"Any additional goods or services, whether paid or free, should only be included if the consumer has given express consent," it added.
"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."
According to CASE, businesses in Singapore are not prohibited from using pre-ticked boxes to seek express consent for additional payments from consumers.
However, 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".
On the part of consumers, CASE advised customers to look out for pre-selected options when shopping online and to check their purchases before making any payment.