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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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Last edit by: drewguy
If you've never gone through this process read this before posting!
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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 Mar 5, 15, 4:30 am
  #5206  
 
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I think UA didn't comply with this
http://www.konsument.gov.pl/en/news/...presented.html
i recently sent consumer complaint against UA . Maybe European commission can do anything about it, but I doubt it. They'll probably do nothing and troll US with that for more kudos in the UE - US trade treaty.
hellosweets is offline  
Old Mar 6, 15, 4:17 am
  #5207  
 
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So people in the Eu are just contacting there Lawyers?
No more going to regulators in the EU?
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Old Mar 6, 15, 2:20 pm
  #5208  
 
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If someone sues in US courts, their problem is going to be that under the common law, this is clearly a rescindable contract, both because of unilateral mistake and (unless the person is a Danish national) fraud (note that the fraud standard for RESCISSION is more lenient than the fraud standard in a criminal prosecution-- concealing material information (such as a billing country) from United to get the fare would be enough).

Your best shot would be to argue that the DOT regulation displaces the common law rule. This is possible and it does not depend on whether there is a direct private right of action under the regulation-- a state should still construe its common law rules consistently with a preemptive DOT regulation. The problem is, the DOT has construed their regulation to not apply to marketing tactics not directed to US consumers, as well as to situations where there was website manipulation that shows bad faith. Those constructions are authoritative in any court case unless they are unreasonable. I could make an argument that the "not directed to US consumers" one is unreasonable, although that is a difficult standard to meet. OTOH, the website manipulation construction would clearly be found to be reasonable.

By the way, as an aside, I'm getting more and more ticked off by the DOT's reliance on "not directed to US consumers". If they take that seriously, it means they won't protect people flying into the US, guests of the country, against even true post-purchase price increases (not mistake fares) imposed as a deceptive practice by an American airline. That's really scary-- it means that so long as they don't do it on their US-facing websites, American carriers could very well engage in exactly the sort of bait and switch or testing the waters only to pull back a fare later and demand more money. That's no way to treat people who are purchasing a service from an American corporation and are being welcomed as guests of the country.
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Old Mar 7, 15, 2:59 am
  #5209  
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Originally Posted by Oliveredmunds
So people in the Eu are just contacting there Lawyers?
No more going to regulators in the EU?
Nothing to stop anyone from taking either course of action. However, the regulatory route looks hopeless, and private action is tied to your willingness to pay legal fees - and your lawyer's perception of your ability to pay. It's not a rich field for success-fee arrangements, and not one likely to attract pro bono offers.

But who knows? Perhaps we have an FT lawyer sufficiently incensed at UA/DOT behaviour to take on a case ....
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Old Mar 7, 15, 3:02 am
  #5210  
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Originally Posted by dilanesp
... I'm getting more and more ticked off by the DOT's reliance on "not directed to US consumers". If they take that seriously, it means they won't protect people flying into the US, guests of the country, against even true post-purchase price increases (not mistake fares) imposed as a deceptive practice by an American airline. That's really scary-- it means that so long as they don't do it on their US-facing websites, American carriers could very well engage in exactly the sort of bait and switch or testing the waters only to pull back a fare later and demand more money. That's no way to treat people who are purchasing a service from an American corporation and are being welcomed as guests of the country.


Indeed. The the parochial interpretation DOT has place on its regulation is alarming. But this has been over-shadowed by (essentially trivial) concerns of those of us hoping to take advantage of extraordinarily cheap travel opportunities.

It appears that the DOT will now protect only US consumers from predatory action by US airlines.

This bizarre interpretation could come back to bite US carriers if its implications are taken in by EU (and other non-US) travellers.

It's worth noting that while the the EU's regulation may be limited in scope (essentially protecting consumers from overbooking, the consequences of flight cancellation and delay) it is not limited in application to EU citizens or to passengers purchasing tickets within the EU - or from EU-facing websites.
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Old Mar 7, 15, 6:57 am
  #5211  
 
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So, for those of you going the legal route in the EU, what are you being told your probability of success is? [mods, no snark, just curious]
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Old Mar 7, 15, 10:56 am
  #5212  
 
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New message from UA
Dear Mr.

I apologize for our delay in responding. We're experiencing a higher
volume of e-mail than normal and we're working on responding as quickly
as possible.
We are not honoring any of the tickets which were affected by the
pricing error. You may purchase the itinerary at the correct fare by
performing a new flight search at united.com. I apologize for the
inconvenience.
Regards,
United.com Web Support
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Old Mar 7, 15, 11:09 am
  #5213  
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Originally Posted by lukas1988
New message from UA
Welcome to FlyerTalk
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Old Mar 9, 15, 6:16 pm
  #5214  
 
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I was scheduled to fly 3 days after this happened, and was left high and dry at LHR. I filed for EU261 since they canceled my flight inside of 14 days.

Look what I got from United today

$100 off my next flight...

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Old Mar 9, 15, 10:40 pm
  #5215  
 
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Originally Posted by ironmanjt
$100 off my next flight...
You might be just about the only person to get anything out of this!
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Old Mar 10, 15, 1:52 am
  #5216  
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"$100 off my next flight..."

1) Care to share the terms/conditions of this consolation prize?

2) Care to share where you addressed your complaint?

3) Safe Travels.
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Old Mar 10, 15, 3:45 am
  #5217  
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Originally Posted by EZEDoesIt
You might be just about the only person to get anything out of this!
Not just about. Others have gotten that too.

And some national regulatory authorities in the EU/EEA have been supplied with that kind of letter as part of a package of evidence of having been denied transport despite having been issued with a ticket by UA.
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Old Mar 10, 15, 11:05 am
  #5218  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
Not just about. Others have gotten that too.

And some national regulatory authorities in the EU/EEA have been supplied with that kind of letter as part of a package of evidence of having been denied transport despite having been issued with a ticket by UA.
So, is there some kind of broader action ongoing that we can get in on?
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Old Mar 10, 15, 1:16 pm
  #5219  
 
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Originally Posted by ironmanjt
I was scheduled to fly 3 days after this happened, and was left high and dry at LHR. I filed for EU261 since they canceled my flight inside of 14 days.

Look what I got from United today

$100 off my next flight...

Since it was a denied boarding (someone would still disccus about it!), if i were in your shoes, I would deepen the issue with the EU261/2004 through your national authority (I mean the national authority deputed to regulate all the EU261/2004 issues, we're not talking about the judicial process at this stage!))!

Last edited by Paul4Travel; Mar 10, 15 at 1:22 pm
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Old Mar 10, 15, 3:18 pm
  #5220  
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Originally Posted by Paul4Travel
Since it was a denied boarding (someone would still disccus about it!), if i were in your shoes, I would deepen the issue with the EU261/2004 through your national authority (I mean the national authority deputed to regulate all the EU261/2004 issues, we're not talking about the judicial process at this stage!))!
I don't believe this was a denied boarding for the purposes of EU261, which requires the passenger to have a confirmed reservation.

UA cancelled the reservation (separate issue to be pursued).

The $100 appears to be a 'goodwill' recognition of inconvenience, rather than an admission of anything.

This was also not a cancelled flight for the purposes of EU261. The reservation was cancelled, not the flight.
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