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[PREM FARE GONE] UA: NCL-EWR 600 DKK (mistaken fare) DOT ruled; see wiki for link

[PREM FARE GONE] UA: NCL-EWR 600 DKK (mistaken fare) DOT ruled; see wiki for link

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Old Mar 16, 15, 6:19 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: drewguy
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Note: Please consider that with high probability, United is monitoring this thread, so please pay attention on what you post!

DOT Investigation UpdatesNews Media Updates:

-------

According to USA Today, Ben Mutzabaugh:
United is voiding the bookings of several thousand individuals who were attempting to take advantage of an error a third-party software provider made when it applied an incorrect currency exchange rate, despite United having properly filed its fares. Most of these bookings were for travel originating in the United Kingdom, and the level of bookings made with Danish Kroner as the local currency was significantly higher than normal during the limited period that customers made these bookings.
Note that United has also accidentally cancelled "legitimate" tickets paid for in USD, purchased in USD from LHR... Please check your other tickets if purchased today to ensure they were not unilaterally cancelled.

However, there is no chance at all that you can have your tickets re-instated if you complain to DOT on the basis of DOT rule 399.88:
399.88 Prohibition on post-purchase price increase.

(a) It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.
Form for filing DOT complaint. File complaint as soon as your ticket is cancelled.

Link to PDF of enforcement bodies for European customers affected. File complaint as soon as your ticket is cancelled.


Tips for DOT Complaint:
  • File on DOT for every ticket number affected.
  • If you have one reservation with four people traveling (four tickets) file 4 DOT complaints, one per ticket.
  • If you have separate reservations, file a DOT complaint for each.
  • The DOT complaint website may take several minutes to load, depending on demand.
  • When you go to upload a file, be careful as it will reset all your radio buttons. So, if you want a copy of the complaint, make sure you double check that "Yes" is still selected before submitting, especially if you upload a file.

Template For Complaint:
United has unilaterally cancelled my ticket without my consent.

Facts:
1. The ticket was ticketed (had a ticket number).
2. I received a confirmation number, ticket number, and emails stating both
3. The ticket was paid for and my credit card charged.

United must reinstate the ticket within its original cabin. This trip is for travel TO the United States.

At no time during the booking process was any other fare than the Danish Krone equivalent displayed. As a reasonable, prudent consumer, I believed I was paying the price displayed to me on the website. United never sent or displayed the equivalent fare in any other currency.

Trip Details
Ticket #: 016XXXXXXXXXX
PNR: XXXXXX
Routing: LHR-EWR-LAX-HNL

Attachments: Attached is a document showing the ticket, routing, and providing proof that the reservation was ticketed.

Filename: Cancelled - UA Reservation - LHR-EWR-LAX-HNL - XXXXXX - 016XXXXXXXXXX.pdf

+-------------------------------------------------------+
| Relevant Law |
| http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/399.88 |
+-------------------------------------------------------+
399.88 Prohibition on post-purchase price increase.

(a) It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.

+-------------------------------------------------------+
| Relevant FAQ |
| http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/EAPP_2_FAQ.pdf |
+-------------------------------------------------------+
Does the prohibition on post-purchase price increases in section 399.88(a) apply in the situation where a carrier mistakenly offers an airfare due to a computer problem or human error and a consumer purchases the ticket at that fare before the carrier is able to fix the mistake?

Section 399.88(a) states that it is an unfair and deceptive practice for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, or of a tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation to a consumer after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of a government-imposed tax or fee and only if the passenger is advised of a possible increase before purchasing a ticket. A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer. Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a mistake.
-----
Tips for retrieving your ticket number:
  1. paste(right click copy link location first) following link into your web browser
  2. change XXXXXX next to COPNR= for your reservation number and LASTNAME next to LN= for you SURNAME
  3. go to the webpage address you have just created

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/app...NRCD=2/11/2015


Originally Posted by MatthewLAX
Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
R E L A X

Breathe deep.

Congrats on all who got in.

Now comes the fun part.

1. Discovery - mistake fare is posted on FT. Novices frantically checks how much vacation time they have and if the dates of availability mesh with their schedules. Experienced FTers just book it and worry about contacting spouses or their boss later. Word spreads like wildfire.

2. Excitement - Tickets purchased, confirmation emails received and dates of travel shared with other FTers. Discussions of what to see and do and where to stay crop up in other threads. Novices contact source to change seats or inquire about upgrades, Seasoned FTers sit back and enjoy reading the discussion threads.

3. Stress Stage 1 - Concern over paper ticket delivery - Novices Frantically check otheFedEx website every few hours, constant monitoring of driveway for FedEx truck. Seasoned FT veterans sit back and relax.

4. Glee and happiness - Paper tickets in hand, vacation request submitted, spouses finally informed, hotel reservations made and bragging to friends and co-workers begins. Both novices and experts get very excited.

5. Stress Stage 2 - Rumors of fare not being honored, discussion threads about the airline and ticketing agency ensue. Rumors crop up like crabgrass at this stage. Many FTers begin to worry excessively about whether or not the trip will happen. Novices make non-refundable and financial committments to their trip. Seasoned FTers make mixed drinks (and maybe a sandwich) and is patient.

6. Reality Check - Accurate information is obtained - usually takes place a week to 10 days after mistake fare is published. Confirmed information from the source as to whether or not tickets will be honored.

7a. Pure Joy (Icelandair style- Fare is Honored) - Lots of happy people, FT threads on shared information regarding hotels, restaurants, tours, etc. Jealousy from others sets in. First "FT guinea pigs" embark, post confirmation threads that all is ok.


7b Hostile Feelings (Copa Airlines Style - fare is not honored) - Many angry and disappointed FTers. Refunds are issued. Novices have multiple discussion threads of lawsuits and hostile correspondence, FT pros mutter "c'est la vie" and look for the next fare mistake.

8a Success (Honored) - Trip Report thread becomes very active


Freedom of Information Act Request
File #2015-147, Office of the Secretary of Transportation - Receipt acknowledged 3/13/15

http://www.dot.gov/individuals/foia/...ia-information

Relevant excerpt from my request on 2/24/15. There no need for multiple requests for the same thing, though feel free to request more or different information obviously. I'll post any updates as I get them.

"Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S. C. subsection 552, I am requesting access to any and all records of correspondence, including electronic, between anyone working for, or on the behalf of, United Airlines and its subsidiaries, and with anyone working for, or on the behalf of, the Department of Transportation; specifically this would include only the date range beginning on February 11th, 2015 through and including February 24th, 2015.

In addition, I am requesting access to any and all internal records and correspondence in relation to coming to the decision made on February 23rd, 2015 regarding the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings Determination Regarding United Airlines Mistaken Fare, with the exception of any of the consumer submitted complaints via phone, email, website, or letter. Specifically, this would be any records beginning on February 11th, 2015 through and including February 24th, 2015."
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:18 am
  #2221  
 
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What are the chances that filing a DOT complaint will actually work?
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:22 am
  #2222  
 
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Originally Posted by Novemurr View Post
Generally, if you weren't ticketed, you're generally SOL. You can try to file a complaint, but you should have as much expectation as a stockholder in a bankruptcy case.
Then again, the DOT rule says nothing about ticketing. If your card was charged, that is "confirmation" as per DOT.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:23 am
  #2223  
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The relevant DOT section being cited here is titled, "Prohibition on post-purchase price increase." United canceled our tickets. They did not demand more money for them. Methinks they were quick to cancel before the end-of-day psting of credit card transactions kicked in. While we may have seen pending charges on credit card statements, did any charges actually post to anyone's accounts? My credit card shows several pending transactions related to this along with a note that states, "Pending Charges are temporary and subject to change. Only Posted Transactions can be disputed."

I'm not sure at what point the DOT considers tickets "paid for." Is that when a credit card account has been charged or when a temporary authorization has been placed against the account? Clearly the regulation says nothing about tickets having been issued, though that generally only happens after payment.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:25 am
  #2224  
 
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if you have a ticket number starting with 160, you should have a valid ticket right? It is like buying a ticket 6 hours before flight, the credit card transaction may not have been "paid for" but you have a valid airticket which you can utilise?
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:30 am
  #2225  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
The relevant DOT section being cited here is titled, "Prohibition on post-purchase price increase." United canceled our tickets. They did not demand more money for them. Methinks they were quick to cancel before the end-of-day psting of credit card transactions kicked in. While we may have seen pending charges on credit card statements, did any charges actually post to anyone's accounts? My credit card shows several pending transactions related to this along with a note that states, "Pending Charges are temporary and subject to change. Only Posted Transactions can be disputed."

I'm not sure at what point the DOT considers tickets "paid for." Is that when a credit card account has been charged or when a temporary authorization has been placed against the account? Clearly the regulation says nothing about tickets having been issued, though that generally only happens after payment.

" Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a mistake."
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:32 am
  #2226  
 
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Should I use the "I am relative of passenger"-option when submitting the claim for my +1? Or just submit it in her name? Does this make any difference?

We have two PNRs, each with both of us as Passengers. Is it possible that DOT/United only reinstates parts of these PNRs if I submit each claim individually?
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:35 am
  #2227  
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Originally Posted by dera View Post
" Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a mistake."
But UA didn't increase the price. It canceled the tickets. However, the message from UA does indicate that it thought the tickets were, in fact, purchased. UA said this (bolding mine):

You purchased tickets through the Danish version of united.com during the time when the prices were incorrect. As a result, we are not able to honor your tickets at the price that you paid. We have voided your reservations and will not process your payment.
Des cancellation equate to a price increase?
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:38 am
  #2228  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
But UA didn't increase the price. It canceled the tickets. However, the message from UA does indicate that it thought the tickets were, in fact, purchased. UA said this (bolding mine):

Des cancellation equate to a price increase?
If that would be a valid way to cancel tickets, that fare holding clause would be completely worthless because airlines would simply cancel them instead of insisting on a price increase.
So it is obvious, cancellation and offering to rebook on higher price is the same thing as a price increase.

UA says you have purchased the tickets, and also offers to rebook at the "correct" price. Therefore I think they imply that a) I have purchased the ticket and b) they cancelled the ticket because of a erroneous fare, which they now are trying to increase.

It's obvious this falls to the DOT "mistake fare" rule, but just how much DOT will force this rule, we do not know.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:42 am
  #2229  
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Originally Posted by dera View Post
UA says you have purchased the tickets, and also offers to rebook at the "correct" price. Therefore I think they imply that a) I have purchased the ticket and b) they cancelled the ticket because of a erroneous fare, which they now are trying to increase.

It's obvious this falls to the DOT "mistake fare" rule, but just how much DOT will force this rule, we do not know.
Clearly it's late and I'm not reading properly. UA did indeed ffer to rebook at the 'correct price.' I think I need to go to bed... Cheers!
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:52 am
  #2230  
 
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Just filed a few more DOT complaints with the new priced quoted for the same itinerary, as UA suggest in their email I got.

Obviously they try to make a post purchase price increase.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 12:54 am
  #2231  
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Originally Posted by hugolover View Post
I'm most interested to see the outcome for those ticketed to depart in T-14 days and subject to cancellation within that time-frame. As far as I know there is no scope with EC261/2004 for a unilateral mistake in the ticket alleviating the need to pay compensation. UA claiming fraud is far-fetched. What would be the course of action for passengers in this situation? I cannot imagine the DOT would fast track it. I do not think that cancelling the ticket is any different than cancelling the flights. Indeed, for the average consumer anything that cancels flights is itself just a flight cancellation and the leg doesn't seem to take a different view. This would mean compensation and re-route under 261 but I do not think this has been considered by UA.

Naturally, very few of those who booked this fare in good faith will be traveling inside 14 days and the costs of honouring those tickets or paying compensation is a tiny fraction of the costs UA will/would have incurred.
Booked in good faith is anyone who paid the UA-advertised price with valid means of payment.

By the way, next week and the week after is a major time off for peole who live/work in Denmark and have children in school who are on vacation within the next 14 days. A lot of last minute Danish ticket purchases.


Originally Posted by mbwmbw View Post
Exactly. Reason airlines have rules like this is because they are also protected from numerous lawsuits due to ADA.
A government-coddled/-protected industry whose biggest cartel kingpins try to act like customers are "over-entitled" in the main regardless of the price consumers pay.

Originally Posted by dera View Post
I highly doubt that number. I don't think the total amount of tickets booked was 17000. Maybe they made a conversion error and meant 1700?

Since a vast majority probably haven't filed yet, that would mean the total number of bookings is probably closer to 100'000. Highly doubt that.
Their number is deceptive. They are even counting ticketed bookings that were cancelled by the customers even before UA had shut down the DKK sales.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 1:12 am
  #2232  
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DOT complaint filed ;-)
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Old Feb 12, 15, 1:16 am
  #2233  
 
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Originally Posted by nufnuf77 View Post
DOT complaint filed ;-)
What document did you upload? The e-ticket receipt or just confirmation of your flight?
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Old Feb 12, 15, 1:17 am
  #2234  
 
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Hey guys,

Do you have any mail address for united complaint department?
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Old Feb 12, 15, 1:21 am
  #2235  
 
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United really are handling this badly. There isn't even a 'sorry for any inconvenience caused' line in their email.

Anyone know how long it will take DOT to give an indication of their thoughts?

Btw still worth making your feelings known on social media #UnitedSucks
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