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

Old Feb 11, 15, 11:49 am
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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, 15, 5:46 pm
  #3061  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
Raise your hand if you want to stand in front of a judge while trying to sue United and admit to criminal fraud.


Quite a jump to get to "CRIMINAL FRAUD" () based on the facts available, here!
trouble747 is offline  
Old Feb 12, 15, 5:50 pm
  #3062  
 
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Originally Posted by trouble747


Quite a jump to get to "CRIMINAL FRAUD" () based on the facts available, here!
but of course hyperbole is a flyertalk favorite and makes such good entertainment
Renard is offline  
Old Feb 12, 15, 5:50 pm
  #3063  
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Originally Posted by trouble747


Quite a jump to get to "CRIMINAL FRAUD" () based on the facts available, here!
Wonder how much UAL is paying these "advocates"?
sonofzeus is offline  
Old Feb 12, 15, 5:52 pm
  #3064  
 
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Originally Posted by trouble747


Quite a jump to get to "CRIMINAL FRAUD" () based on the facts available, here!
criminal fraud is a bit extreme
haddon90 is offline  
Old Feb 12, 15, 5:55 pm
  #3065  
 
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Originally Posted by haddon90
criminal fraud is a bit extreme
Just a little, considering most fraud statutes would also require that the assertion be material. UA didn't intend to offer a discount to anyone whatsoever. It was a means to make a purchase in a different currency, which as best I can tell is not prohibited by UA (and in any event would likely still not be illegal).
trouble747 is offline  
Old Feb 12, 15, 5:56 pm
  #3066  
 
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Originally Posted by burmans
I agree, it is unlikely that UA would be able to mount this case that use of the Denmark site by non-Danish customers is invalid if they don't regularly act to prevent this. And as noted its probably not likely they do as its against EU law to do so.
That is a non-argument. United has multiple opportunities to validate any of the data they are given. In many instances airline tickets take 30-60 minutes to process before being fully ticketed. Airlines do this under the understanding that the ticket is the finalization of the contract.

At the same time, there are little dinky travel sites that show you the current price of tickets, price trends, average prices, changes in prices..For some reason United doesn't have the technology to alert them they dropped their ticket prices 99% day-over-day (based on the same currency makes the most sense since currencies fluctuate), any they don't notice it for over 5 hours. Negligence plain and simple
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:00 pm
  #3067  
 
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Originally Posted by dlandz
That is a non-argument. United has multiple opportunities to validate any of the data they are given. In many instances airline tickets take 30-60 minutes to process before being fully ticketed. Airlines do this under the understanding that the ticket is the finalization of the contract.

At the same time, there are little dinky travel sites that show you the current price of tickets, price trends, average prices, changes in prices..For some reason United doesn't have the technology to alert them they dropped their ticket prices 99% day-over-day (based on the same currency makes the most sense since currencies fluctuate), any they don't notice it for over 5 hours. Negligence plain and simple
They don't want to spend the money to do this it seems. They judge that it will be cheaper to just bite the bullet and play the victim on the few instances when the government actually makes them honor the tickets.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:04 pm
  #3068  
 
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I gave up on reading every post about 1500 posts ago, but I am thinking that UA may very well be orchestrating the uproar about canceling the tickets and is hoping for as many DOT complaints as they can get. I haven't been able to wrap my head around why they would say that they are canceling the tickets because it was just a foreign exchange problem and not misfiled fares. To me, their strongest reason for canceling would be that buyers misrepresented their billing country and therefore manipulated the website to take advantage of poor little old UA. That has even worked for them before.
It is possible that if it works, that they get out of all of the tickets, even the ones legitimately obtained in Denmark, but I would think that that is such a small number that it wouldn't be worth it. I think that there might be something more nefarious at work here. If they get enough people who complain to the DOT about not receiving a ticket that they knew could not be legitimate, then, win or lose, they have a remarkably strong example of why the legislation should be changed as is currently being contemplated. They may be thinking that $40 million or so is a good investment toward getting the rule changed so that they can screw people over at will in the future. That is the only reason I can see why they would be asserting a reason for canceling which seems to me to so obviously violate the DOT rules. They may even be looking at creating the uproar now, then when they have made their point, use the blatant manipulation after so that they can both get the rules changed and still not have to allow most of the tickets.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:12 pm
  #3069  
 
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Originally Posted by farnorthtrader
I gave up on reading every post about 1500 posts ago, but I am thinking that UA may very well be orchestrating the uproar about canceling the tickets and is hoping for as many DOT complaints as they can get. I haven't been able to wrap my head around why they would say that they are canceling the tickets because it was just a foreign exchange problem and not misfiled fares. To me, their strongest reason for canceling would be that buyers misrepresented their billing country and therefore manipulated the website to take advantage of poor little old UA. That has even worked for them before.
It is possible that if it works, that they get out of all of the tickets, even the ones legitimately obtained in Denmark, but I would think that that is such a small number that it wouldn't be worth it. I think that there might be something more nefarious at work here. If they get enough people who complain to the DOT about not receiving a ticket that they knew could not be legitimate, then, win or lose, they have a remarkably strong example of why the legislation should be changed as is currently being contemplated. They may be thinking that $40 million or so is a good investment toward getting the rule changed so that they can screw people over at will in the future. That is the only reason I can see why they would be asserting a reason for canceling which seems to me to so obviously violate the DOT rules. They may even be looking at creating the uproar now, then when they have made their point, use the blatant manipulation after so that they can both get the rules changed and still not have to allow most of the tickets.
To be honest, I'm surprised it took so long for a conspiracy theory to surface ... next step is to insinuate that the DoT is on it with them to force an actually court ruling ...
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:14 pm
  #3070  
 
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Originally Posted by trouble747
Just a little, considering most fraud statutes would also require that the assertion be material. UA didn't intend to offer a discount to anyone whatsoever. It was a means to make a purchase in a different currency, which as best I can tell is not prohibited by UA (and in any event would likely still not be illegal).
People need to take a step back here.

Obviously nobody's going to jail here. So talk of "criminal fraud" doesn't go anywhere.

But some people are making really formalistic legal arguments, as if you just have to plug yourself into the right legal box and you get to fly first class for a hundred bucks. That's not how legal reasoning works.

The rules we are talking about have purposes. And when laws and regulations are interpreted, they interpreted with reference to those purposes.

In this case, we have a DOT rule, whose purpose is to ensure that airlines don't bait and switch passengers with low fares and then upcharge them after they already made their travel plans. And perhaps, there is a secondary purpose that someone who unknowingly purchases a mistake fare doesn't have to worry about being told that at the airport on the day of the trip that he can't fly unless he pays an additional fare.

And we have an EU rule, whose purpose is to cement an economic union and free trade by requiring that businesses afford everyone in the EU the same access to their services regardless of which country they reside in.

Note that neither of these rules has anything to do with people trying to take advantage of an obvious mistake in website programming by pretending to be Danish when they aren't.

Now, does that mean that there's no way one can ever win a claim in this sort of situation? Not quite. But it does mean that people who are trying to get these tickets honored need to be a little less formalistic. If this thing ever were to go to court, in a case brought by anyone other than a Danish national, the first thing United's high priced legal counsel would point out in the proceeding, before even mentioning the law, is that the plaintiff had to mislead the company with a Danish address which is not the plaintiff's actual nationality, to even obtain the fare.

And this is important for at least a couple of reasons. Go back to the purposes I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Is the DOT regulation intended to protect people who are entirely aware that a fare is a mistake and have to go to the point of inputting misleading address information to even obtain the fare? And is the EU regulation intended to ensure that people who misleadingly enter a Danish address are entitled to equal access to a mistaken airfare as those who actually live in Denmark?

I suspect that United has ample grounds to rescind contracts on the grounds of contractual (not criminal) fraud (as well as unilateral mistake) where a party misleads United about her address in order to obtain a mistaken airfare. But even if I am wrong about this, I wish the people citing these regulations would at least be a bit more forthcoming about what they are doing and what they are arguing. Of course they knew this fare was a mistake, and (if they did not live in Denmark) of course they knew they were using a Danish address to mislead United into issuing them tickets. That was the point. If any regulation requires United to honor these tickets, it isn't because someone could have bought one of these tickets with innocent intent-- it would have to be because the regulation applies even when the party is knowingly misleading the airline to induce it to sell an air ticket at an incorrect fare.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:15 pm
  #3071  
 
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Originally Posted by farnorthtrader
I gave up on reading every post about 1500 posts ago, but I am thinking that UA may very well be orchestrating the uproar about canceling the tickets and is hoping for as many DOT complaints as they can get. I haven't been able to wrap my head around why they would say that they are canceling the tickets because it was just a foreign exchange problem and not misfiled fares. To me, their strongest reason for canceling would be that buyers misrepresented their billing country and therefore manipulated the website to take advantage of poor little old UA. That has even worked for them before.
It is possible that if it works, that they get out of all of the tickets, even the ones legitimately obtained in Denmark, but I would think that that is such a small number that it wouldn't be worth it. I think that there might be something more nefarious at work here. If they get enough people who complain to the DOT about not receiving a ticket that they knew could not be legitimate, then, win or lose, they have a remarkably strong example of why the legislation should be changed as is currently being contemplated. They may be thinking that $40 million or so is a good investment toward getting the rule changed so that they can screw people over at will in the future. That is the only reason I can see why they would be asserting a reason for canceling which seems to me to so obviously violate the DOT rules. They may even be looking at creating the uproar now, then when they have made their point, use the blatant manipulation after so that they can both get the rules changed and still not have to allow most of the tickets.
Actually quite a clever idea. You could interpret this kind of stuff into everything. Even in to OPEC lowering oil prices so much all the time to get rid of fracking in the US and that Russian distress is due to oil... .........
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:23 pm
  #3072  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingLasse
Whats that in GMT time? god. my girlfriend would be so happy. LH F..
If my experience is any indication...she won't just enjoy it, she'll expect it!

Don't even get me started on what I get for having us slum it in C
CLEguy is online now  
Old Feb 12, 15, 6:24 pm
  #3073  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp
And we have an EU rule, whose purpose is to cement an economic union and free trade by requiring that businesses afford everyone in the EU the same access to their services regardless of which country they reside in.

Note that neither of these rules has anything to do with people trying to take advantage of an obvious mistake in website programming by pretending to be Danish when they aren't.
I beg to differ, changing the billing address to Denmark, was the only way the website allowed all EU customers to access the same services (and prices) regardless of their country of origin/residency/nationality etc. Therefore by changing the country to DK, all EU customers only exercised their right guaranteed by EU consumer protection laws.

Also, it is no mistake in website programming. It is a feature that united.com allows you to select the currency in which you like to be billed rather than forcing $ or the currency of the country of origin.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 6:25 pm
  #3074  
 
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Originally Posted by CLEguy
If my experience is any indication...she won't just enjoy it, she'll expect it!

Don't even get me started on what I get for having us slum it in C
hahaha. Though SQ Suits would be much better haha :P

I beg to differ, changing the billing address to Denmark, was the only way the website allowed all EU customers to access the same services (and prices) regardless of their country of origin/residency/nationality etc. Therefore by changing the country to DK, all EU customers only exercised their right guaranteed by EU consumer protection laws.

Also, it is no mistake in website programming. It is a feature that united.com allows you to select the currency in which you like to be billed rather than forcing $ or the currency of the country of origin.
I second that.
FlyingLasse is offline  
Old Feb 12, 15, 6:27 pm
  #3075  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
UA decides to push it with local authorities then the ticket buyers should be aware that the standard legal language (from Williston) is: "a deception deliberately practiced in order to unfairly secure gain or advantage, the hallmarks of which are misrepresentation and deceit, though affirmative misrepresentation is not required, as concealment or even silence can under certain circumstances constitute fraud" and that is a criminal act.
lol... and when United forces us to pay award ticket taxes in USD and automatically goes to the USA site, because it cannot handle award tickets in foreign currencies, are we guilty of misrepresenting ourselves?

I've also used USA as POS dozens of times instead of CAD because the USD price is often lower ex-Canada ... and they've yet to come after me for fraud in 10+ years.
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