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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:

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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.
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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, 10:09 pm
  #3151  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
And you said "I live in Denmark". If you lied are you complaining because UA won't accept?
2 wrongs don't make a right. Yes the customer lied. Then so did UA when they said, "ticketed and confirmed." Which lie is worse? I'm not sure but once someone receives a ticketed and confirmed message, there is a good chance they may have gone out and made hotel reservations. Perhaps made connecting flight reservations that cannot be cancelled. An endless list of possibilities.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:13 pm
  #3152  
 
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DOT update:

You are here
Home › Resources › For Individuals › Aviation Consumer Protection

United Airlines mistaken fare

The Department of Transportation is aware of an issue involving mistaken fares on United Airlines’ Danish-facing website. The Department's Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings has begun looking into this matter, including speaking to United and reviewing consumer complaints. That Office will gather all the relevant facts before making a determination as to whether United is or is not required to honor the mistaken fares.

Updated: Thursday, February 12, 2015

http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/unite...-mistaken-fare
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:20 pm
  #3153  
 
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[QUOTE=UA1K_no_more;24342741]There have been several cases where companies have not been held accountable for order confirmations issued by automated systems because the prices were obvious mistakes. You seem to think that once the order confirmation has been sent out, there is no way for the seller to get out of the deal.

Two differences:
1) in this case, money actually changed hands. Credit cards were charged and debit cards were debited. That brings a measure of finality to the contract.
2) this is not the retail industry. Airlines are subject to rules from their regulator which expressly forbids changing the price once a ticket is ticketed and confirmed. If United wanted to avoid an error from a 3rd party, they could have designed safeguards against situations such as this. At their own risk, they chose not to. It is too late in the game for United to plead innocent. They designed the system. They must leave with the consequences of attempting to violate DOT regulations.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:33 pm
  #3154  
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Originally Posted by skiwindham
Two differences:
1) in this case, money actually changed hands. Credit cards were charged and debit cards were debited. That brings a measure of finality to the contract.
Money changes hands when orders are accepted by automated ordering systems run by online retailers, including the referenced Walmart issue.
Not a difference, and not a valid argument for never allowing UA to cancel a transaction that was accepted by their automated system.
2) this is not the retail industry. Airlines are subject to rules from their regulator which expressly forbids changing the price once a ticket is ticketed and confirmed.
The same protection applies to online retail purchases. From the "Small Business" article:
Laws against false or deceptive advertising require an intent to deceive on the part of the advertiser. If a company can demonstrate that an advertised price was simply a mistake, then it's not false advertising.
Consumers who seize upon a fantastic advertised offer that they're later told is a mistake might cry "bait and switch" -- and they frequently do. However, the Federal Trade Commission has a very specific definition of illegal bait-and-switch schemes, which it refers to as "bait advertising."
Again, not a difference.

Last edited by UA1K_no_more; Feb 12, 15 at 10:39 pm
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:36 pm
  #3155  
 
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
And you said "I live in Denmark". If you lied are you complaining because UA won't accept?
I know I never said I lived in Denmark. All I did was click this link:
http://www.united.com/web/en-US/defa...e=en-US&POS=DK
(which now says US but still has denmark flag)
picked my flight, entered my US info, and UA's system auto-generated Denmark into the fields. Same seat should cost the same regardless of what country you are buying from...
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:36 pm
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UA's level of customer service is explicitly horrible. I was on the line with UA service center for an hour after having manager on the line he just said things from script saying why this ticket is cancelled then hang up the call.
level of service is getting worse by day. if UA was not part of Star alliance there's no way I would fly with them. their hard ware and human resource is disgusting.
even on the flight crews look at you like so what do you want again from me , leave me alone attitudes .
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:45 pm
  #3157  
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Originally Posted by bargainlover
UA's level of customer service is explicitly horrible. I was on the line with UA service center for an hour after having manager on the line he just said things from script saying why this ticket is cancelled then hang up the call.
level of service is getting worse by day. if UA was not part of Star alliance there's no way I would fly with them. their hard ware and human resource is disgusting.
even on the flight crews look at you like so what do you want again from me , leave me alone attitudes .
I fully agree with you, but their poor CS doesn't mean that UA should automatically be forced to honor a deal where customers took steps to misrepresent their financial information in order to make the UA website issue the tickets.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:52 pm
  #3158  
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more
I fully agree with you, but their poor CS doesn't mean that UA should automatically be forced to honor a deal where customers took steps to misrepresent their financial information in order to make the UA website issue the tickets.
Buying airline tickets isn't on the honor system. If the website is broke (and the site was broke), smart consumers will take advantage of the opportunity until the site is fixed.

UA screwed up, consumers took advantage of it, UA issued the tickets and payments were collected. Bottomline is tickets need to be honored.

And you can scream from the mountaintops all you like that consumers "cheated" the system. Bottomline is this was UA's fault, not my fault or anyone else that bought these mistake fare tickets.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:52 pm
  #3159  
 
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Originally Posted by bargainlover
UA's level of customer service is explicitly horrible. I was on the line with UA service center for an hour after having manager on the line he just said things from script saying why this ticket is cancelled then hang up the call.
level of service is getting worse by day. if UA was not part of Star alliance there's no way I would fly with them. their hard ware and human resource is disgusting.
even on the flight crews look at you like so what do you want again from me , leave me alone attitudes .
I'm surprised they talked with you for more than one minute! Why should they take their time talking to someone trying to take advantage of their company? What did you expect to come from your call? This is poor customer service alright, they took far too much time entertaining your call IMHO. Good CS in this case is to just read the script and then hang up on you.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 10:53 pm
  #3160  
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Originally Posted by UA1K_no_more
I fully agree with you, but their poor CS doesn't mean that UA should automatically be forced to honor a deal where customers took steps to misrepresent their financial information in order to make the UA website issue the tickets.
Nobody misrepresented their financial infrmation. We simply asked to pay in DKK and UA obliged. It works this way every day on the UA site.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 11:00 pm
  #3161  
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It's always a shame when FT threads dissolve into these endless, silly and pointless discussions between grown-ups who really should know better.
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Old Feb 12, 15, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by travelinmanS
Why should they take their time talking to someone trying to take advantage of their company?
Perhaps b/c they charged my credit card? Crazy I know.

Originally Posted by IAN-UK
It's always a shame when FT threads dissolve into these endless, silly and pointless discussions between grown-ups who really should know better.
It'a always a shame when FTers decide to insert these worthless barbs that don't advance a particular discussion.

Last edited by Pat89339; Feb 12, 15 at 11:55 pm Reason: TOS 14; consecutive posts
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Old Feb 12, 15, 11:07 pm
  #3163  
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy
Nobody misrepresented their financial infrmation. We simply asked to pay in DKK and UA obliged. It works this way every day on the UA site.
What country did you use for your credit card billing address? Denmark? Do you have a credit card with a Danish billing address? Did you enter your US card billing address, but misrepresented the billing address country as Denmark in order to make the website complete the reservation and issue the ticket?

Originally Posted by TMM1982
Buying airline tickets isn't on the honor system. If the website is broke (and the site was broke), smart consumers will take advantage of the opportunity until the site is fixed.

UA screwed up, consumers took advantage of it, UA issued the tickets and payments were collected. Bottomline is tickets need to be honored.
Do you feel the same about the people who exploited an obvious website glitch to book R/T tickets to HKG for 4 miles?
What about the ones who exploited another website glitch enabling people to book a R/T ticket to HNL for $80?
Would those tickets also "need" to be honored?

A vast majority of the people who took advantage of this latest glitch knew that they needed to misrepresent their financial information in order to make the website accept the reservation. Were those people acting in good faith?

Last edited by Pat89339; Feb 12, 15 at 11:54 pm Reason: TOS 14; consecutive posts
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Old Feb 12, 15, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Tblack15
Ah yes, the ole Dutch UA website test trick... I was signed into my account, and like I said, I did not use a saved traveler, I changed my passport nationality, and I used my AmEx on file to book this for a friend as well as myself. At first I tried my Visa and it didn't go through.. so I went back for the AmEx and it flew through like Usain Bolt.

Listen, relax. We all know these aren't going to be honored.. Maybe we should have separate threads for people that did book vs. people that didn't? I feel like I'm seeing a trend here of people just hating on us "bookers"...

Yes, I booked one.. no I don't feel guilty, nor do I feel like I lied, nor do I feel bad at all.
I don't hate you, I am not accusing you of lying, per se, and I really don't make any moral judgment about people who booked this. Nothing really wrong with taking a shot, IMO.

However, what I object to is all the formalistic ("legalistic" is the wrong term, because the law actually is likely to take into account what people were intending to do when they booked this) claims that nobody was "really" misleading United and this is "really" about discrimination in favor of Danes and against other EU residents and nobody "really" knew if this was a mistake or a real fare and United "has" to honor this because of some rules that were enacted to address completely different situations.

My points are (1) we all know that anyone other than a Dutch resident had to engage in some deliberate subterfuge to obtain this fare, and (2) because this was produced by a combination of a mistake and intentional subterfuge to take advantage of it, the buyers have an extremely weak case to get United to honor the tickets. And most importantly, (3) if you bought this fare and don't live in Denmark, you should not pretend that you really didn't engage in any misleading conduct or subterfuge to do it. Own up to it.

Originally Posted by trouble747
Friend, I'm not claiming the website asks the wrong question. I'm saying you mistakenly referred to "nationality" when the question doesn't turn on a misrepresentation of nationality, but rather a misrepresentation of physical location or location of billing address. Buyers from the U.S. either misrepresented they were purchasing from Denmark or misrepresented that the billing address of their credit card is in Denmark, but there was no need to misrepresent their nationality, because that isn't a factor (indeed, if someone from Denmark was living in the U.S. and being billed in the U.S., under United's website terms they should choose the U.S. site and not Denmark's).

I'm not making a legal argument. I'm not making ANY argument whatsoever in defense of a purchaser of the fare. Law is about details. You were going on and on about 'how the law works' and ripping people apart 'on the stand,' so I thought I'd throw in a little jab regarding your lack of attention to one particular detail. That's it.
And I'm telling you that legally, "the buyers MISLED United about their nationality" is a CORRECT statement. You may not like it. You may not think it's really true. But it's NON-lawyers who always obsess about technical definitions of terms and how they don't "really" apply-- the law actually cares a lot more about substance than form.

(1 caveat-- the CRIMINAL law does care a lot more about technical definitions. But this isn't a criminal case-- you can get rescission for civil fraud even if the other party never technically lied.)

Originally Posted by AA_EXP09
I think that this case would still be considered ineffective at preventing purchases from the blocked jurisdiction, as they would more likely block shipments to such jurisdiction, as well as IP addresses (admittedly, there are workarounds on both of these as well.)
"Ineffective" is an IT issue. The law does not require that any seller have optimal IT.

So long as the seller puts in place some mechanism to determine where the buyer is located, an attempt to circumvent that could be construed as an attempt to mislead for purposes of rescinding the contract.

Last edited by Pat89339; Feb 12, 15 at 11:50 pm Reason: TOS 14 consecutive posts
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Old Feb 12, 15, 11:28 pm
  #3165  
 
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Originally Posted by TMM1982
Quote:





Originally Posted by travelinmanS


Why should they take their time talking to someone trying to take advantage of their company?




Perhaps b/c they charged my credit card? Crazy I know.
They also refunded your card and your $100 "First Class" ticket. No need to entertain you further from their POV.
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