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

Old Feb 11, 2015, 11:49 am
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Last edit by: drewguy
If you've never gone through this process read this before posting!
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/office-secretary-foia-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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[PREM FARE GONE] UA: NCL-EWR 600 DKK (mistaken fare) DOT ruled; see wiki for link

Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:49 am
  #2791  
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It's not about "fairness".

It's about following the rules promulgated by the government entity (entities) that has (have) jurisdiction over the transaction(s).
sonofzeus is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:50 am
  #2792  
 
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Me oh my. Guess which company lied about where it's based in order to save a few $ on fuel costs.

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-ne...-tax-avoidance
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:51 am
  #2793  
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more
Since they put Denmark as their CC billing country, they misrepresented their CC information.
Bingo! And knowingly commit deceiving practice if not outright fraud, to obtain something that was not meant for them.

I would leave the moral and ethic alone. Each one has his own line.

However by putting the restriction on the applicability of the fare, and is viewable on line, albeit not prominent, the airline does not practice deception. Therefore those who bypassed such steps to obtain the fares do not have any ground to argue.

This is like rental car companies have different pricing for different country origin. However when you present driver license at the rental counter if the agent is smart enough or the system is built smart enough to ask for a country check, you would not get your cheap rental. Instead you would be offer the rack rate if you still want a car.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:51 am
  #2794  
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Originally Posted by MilesToGoBeforeISleep
A smart company could turn this around to their benefit also and get lots of good press for honoring the tickets - capitalize on the champagne drinking masses writing blog posts on their first class flights and posting pictures throughout the web with 'thank you United captions'.... you can't buy good will and publicity like that with a couple of superbowl ads...
They also run the risk of a lot of trip reports confirming how bad UA Global First really is compared to the competition :-).
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:52 am
  #2795  
 
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Originally Posted by SCSA
Me oh my. Guess which company lied about where it's based in order to save a few $ on fuel costs.

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-ne...-tax-avoidance
United lied, People didn't fly first class
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:53 am
  #2796  
 
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Originally Posted by flyino07
Then you make completely moronic analogies to state your case. Really, you think that booking a cheap fare in a foreign currency is analogous to taking money from a "spitting bank machine?" Really?
It's like when a cashier from evil corporation our heroes here are fighting against who give you change and then notice he gave you too much and ask you to double count the money expecting to have the money back.
.
It happened to me dozens of time and I've never had the face to refuse, let alone not give any money back if the change was indeed too much.
Playing same logic people use here, I should have said "no thanks, you made a mistake just suck it up". Probably I would indeed be couple of thousands euros richer now.

I'm not against trying to snag error fares - and I did, fully aware that it's a gamble. Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don't.
Sueing the airline, crying for DOT support or even worse playing innocent kid that feels so entitled to it, is , in my humble opinion, far from reasonable
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:55 am
  #2797  
 
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Originally Posted by RTW1
They also run the risk of a lot of trip reports confirming how bad UA Global First really is compared to the competition :-).
^ Nailed it!
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:56 am
  #2798  
 
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Happy, there was no such restriction on the applicability of the fare. Simply untrue. It was posted incorrectly in one currency.

Car hire companies charge foreign drivers more because it's much more difficult to obtain recourse against them if they bang up the cars. Their insurance for those drivers is costlier as a result, and that's factored into the pricing. The analogy doesn't work.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:56 am
  #2799  
 
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Originally Posted by Happy
This is like rental car companies have different pricing for different country origin. However when you present driver license at the rental counter if the agent is smart enough or the system is built smart enough to ask for a country check, you would not get your cheap rental. Instead you would be offer the rack rate if you still want a car.
That's actually a GREAT analogy, thank you for sharing your valuable opinion;

Now, if I hold drivers licenses from 2 countries, two passports, a permanent resident card for 2 and am a resident in another one, which location is the correct one to use? Obviously according to some holier-than-thou people here, I should use the one that gives me the most expensive rental rate. Otherwise it would be stealing, right?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:57 am
  #2800  
 
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:57 am
  #2801  
 
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All this arguing seems a bit pointless.

Lets face it, everyone booking this knew it was a huge mistake. That does not mean you should not complain to DOT to try and get it honoured, but ultimately it will be their call. Nobody here can say with 100% certainty how DOT will decide on this.

Whether you feel it is ethical to try and avail of obviously mistaken rates or not, is a personal decision imo. Everyone should decide for themselves and stop trying to convince each other that their view is wrong.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:57 am
  #2802  
 
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Originally Posted by Happy
This is like rental car companies have different pricing for different country origin.
The fare/tickets originated at LHR and regardless of where you live, it is a violation of EU regulations to charge different amounts.

I did what was needed to protect my rights/hold UA to EU regulations and paid in DKK.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:58 am
  #2803  
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Originally Posted by flyino07

UA is the only party here to blame. They know it, too (hence the "third party provider" BS -- as if me hiring a 3rd party provider to do a task that is absolutely essential to my business absolves me of all wrongdoing). If anything, they are liable for letting "false" billing countries fly through.
Not wanting to upset our esteemed US members but I think blaming third parties is an American thing. It is also prevalent on FT and some members back their favourite brand to the hilt using the same reasoning.

Man falls asleep on a United Express flight at IAH and gets locked in. Not UA's fault because it is United Express, like their brand somehow made its way onto the plane, the flight got given a UA flight number and made its way into the UA schedules without UA having a hand in it.

e-rewards will not credit miles to a AA account and AA does not care. Actually it is incumbent on AA to make sure that their partnerships work, especially if they are selling them databases

Boeing 787 should not fly too close to storms, not Boeing's fault because they do not make the engines, except they are the programme manager for the 787, they do spec the engines and they presumably spent months testing them.

I am sure there are many more examples where FTers have leapt to the defence of an airline

Likewise, UA is blaming a third party supplier for this glitch is par for the course as the public has historically let them get away with such blame shifting. As such it is a logical thing to do but nice at the same time to see another FTer recognising the fallacy.

Cheap opportunistic flights or not, it would be nice to see a ruling that actually it indeed is the airline's responsibility to make sure the information on its website is accurate and if they do contract out expertise or data provision, that does not absolve them of responsibility. That for me would be a bigger win than having a cheap ride on Luftie
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 11:59 am
  #2804  
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Originally Posted by DeltaWings
I did what was needed to protect my rights/hold UA to EU regulations and paid in DKK.
... and in the process lied about your CC's billing country. There's nothing wrong about lying, right?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 12:00 pm
  #2805  
 
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more
You don't find anything wrong with people lying about their CC billing address country in order to pull off their stunt?
As mentioned earlier, it's actually against European regulations to price discriminate based on country of purchase.
So yeah, I find something wrong here, but not with people booking.

Originally Posted by Jesperss
I've run out of popcorn.

What else is everyone snacking on?
Pączki. It's their holiday.
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