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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
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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 26, 15, 6:33 am
  #5176  
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Originally Posted by Hansel Romeo Tellez
Thanks to all of you who made force to DOT to take a decision that has become in a very bad precedent for another mileage run deals.

All of us knew this could not go on, but you forced the situation.

Now, with this precedent, all the airlines will have a precedent to take of in the next mileage run deal. Thank you so much.
The US DOT was already biased against very cheap airfare deals and favorably disposed toward parroting on behalf of the US airlines. This just makes it more obvious.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 6:33 am
  #5177  
 
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So I just called the Dutch Human Environment and Transport
Inspectorate (the Dutch version of the DOT) and they said that according to the EU261 law United has to give me a refund or that they should offer me a different flight in the same class. They advised me to take them to court because my flight is in a couple of months and an investigation can take up to 6 months.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 6:54 am
  #5178  
 
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Originally Posted by Granite64
So I just called the Dutch Human Environment and Transport
Inspectorate (the Dutch version of the DOT) and they said that according to the EU261 law United has to give me a refund or that they should offer me a different flight in the same class. They advised me to take them to court because my flight is in a couple of months and an investigation can take up to 6 months.
Have they not refunded your money yet?
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Old Feb 26, 15, 7:00 am
  #5179  
 
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Originally Posted by ONTRandy
Have they not refunded your money yet?
Nope, I used a Skrill prepaid Mastercard for this transaction; I have to 'upload' money from my bank account to the creditcard. So the money would appear back on my creditcard if United gave me a refund.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 8:00 am
  #5180  
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Originally Posted by ONTRandy
Have they not refunded your money yet?
Not everyone has been refunded to their knowledge yet. Also, some were not refunded in full.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 9:43 am
  #5181  
 
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Originally Posted by Granite64
Nope, I used a Skrill prepaid Mastercard for this transaction; I have to 'upload' money from my bank account to the creditcard. So the money would appear back on my creditcard if United gave me a refund.
Originally Posted by GUWonder
Not everyone has been refunded to their knowledge yet. Also, some were not refunded in full.
Interesting. Clearly, they owe refunds.

As to Skrill cards, did they pre-authorize and take the money, or just pre-authorize? In reading the T&C for Skrill, there is a possibility that you need to contact them (I did a quick read because I was unfamiliar with this card). The T&Cs seem to make no mention of the merchant refunding, only Skrill refunding. Just my $0.02 that if you have requested the refund through UA and it isn't there, calling Skrill may be the way to go.

Also fascinating about the lack of full refunds. Is there any commonality to these instances? Were traditional cards used? What does UA say when asked, "where's my money?"

It will be interesting to see where this goes (UA, as I recall, was just fined for failure to provide timely refunds).
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Old Feb 26, 15, 10:28 am
  #5182  
 
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Originally Posted by Deltahater
Sound advise from a solid contributor on FT. What were we all thinking?
1. You wanted to fly. Who wouldn't?

2. You had a plain meaning argument. People tend to think these sorts of arguments are the key to winning legal disputes. They generally aren't, but the misconception is common.

3. I suspect the only real damage done here is on that issue of "marketed to US consumers". A number of mistake fares do not involve website manipulation and presumably the post purchase price increase rule remains in full force and effect with respect to those. But if the DOT won't enforce its rules wrt fares marketed to non-US purchasers, that's a big problem.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 10:34 am
  #5183  
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Originally Posted by jjmiller69
Yes it's time to end this thread!
This controversy won't be resolved for years.

Magic 8 Ball predicts the DOT will be sued.

NB Since when is a thread's viability legit fodder for discussion?
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Old Feb 26, 15, 2:12 pm
  #5184  
 
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It's a pity that the conversation can't stay civil. I for one am very interested how this is going to turn out for those with a legit Denmark connection.

Last edited by Pat89339; Mar 1, 15 at 8:31 pm Reason: Remove deleted post
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Old Feb 26, 15, 3:23 pm
  #5185  
 
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Originally Posted by Myyra
It's a pity that the conversation can't stay civil. I for one am very interested how this is going to turn out for those with a legit Denmark connection.
For those with a legit Denmark connection or those who live in the EU.
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Old Feb 26, 15, 4:33 pm
  #5186  
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Originally Posted by dilanesp

I suspect the only real damage done here is on that issue of "marketed to US consumers".
I was staggered by the sloppiness manifest in that part of the decision. I can only imagine its parochial nature was born of haste in the attempt to shore up the agency's support for UA.

As an alien, it seems I cannot expect protection travelling on US carriers within, to or from the United States. EU legislation appears enlightened in comparison.
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Old Feb 27, 15, 2:22 am
  #5187  
 
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Originally Posted by Granite64
For those with a legit Denmark connection or those who live in the EU.
True, but I think the position for those with Denmark connection is much clearer. Once (if ever) some kind of decision is made here, then the rest of EU nationals can claim they're entitled to the same.
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Old Feb 27, 15, 6:00 am
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last word
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Old Feb 27, 15, 12:14 pm
  #5189  
 
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I've been out of this thread for about 150 pages, so excuse me for not catching up lol.

I have not been refunded my money yet from these cancellations? Has anyone received a refund or have a way to do so?

I called United a few days ago and they said it should process the refund in 7-10 days and yet I don't have much faith in that because of the whole cluster this is.
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Old Mar 1, 15, 6:45 pm
  #5190  
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There have been numerous and repeated violations of the FT TOS by several posters.

It is important to keep this thread open for:

1. EU residents/citizens who purchased the fare.
2. People who have not yet received a refund.
3. People who are pursuing other avenues--EU courts, FOIA requests and the like.

Feel free to post helpful information after the thread is reopened.

Argumentative, snarky, and unhelpful posts will subject the poster to disciplinary action.

Pat89339
Moderator, Mileage Run Forum

Last edited by Pat89339; Mar 1, 15 at 8:53 pm Reason: Reopen thread
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