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UAs Official Response to HKG Ticketing/IT Error: Redeem @ Correct Amount or Redeposit

UAs Official Response to HKG Ticketing/IT Error: Redeem @ Correct Amount or Redeposit

Old Aug 8, 12, 9:12 am
  #3526  
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A key element in contract law is the delivery of the goods or service.
As we are talking about flights issued on e-ticket, thats why most analogies fail;
When is the contract entered? When is it delivered/fulfilled?

For physical goods these questions are easier, but what here when we talk about a service (flying/transporting you).

First, when a written contract (could as well be oral, like talking with a agent-but it easily leads to questions of proof before it materializes in written) is made, then it is valid. Its a seperate question if its only electronically signed, like in hitting purchase button, and using automated processes.

A contract is made/formed at latest when you receive a confirmation number.

Then you get different ways of sellers remorse, all kinds of excuses for not to honor an established contract, like due to mistake or even non-payment/non-consideration (which IMO is not an issue in this case).

The seller has far more power before handing over the goods/service. Lets look back a second to the paper tickets. These were considered papers of value, the piece of paper itself was of value and could be exchanged for a service. I claim that is the same for e-tickets. That electronically stored flight voucher would IMHO be something like an electronic bank acct. I claim that the service is provided when the voucher/e-ticket is delivered- like in the old days- and not when the flight is/the service is delivered in exchange for the e-ticket.

Its all upto the seller to control their sales mechanisms, especially when they choose to save money with automated not only confirmation- but also delivery systems.

The seller can normally not cancel a contract AFTER delivery, and even more so if the reason is a mistake within the control of the seller.

I of course might be way off here, and if ANYONE can point to case law that says so I would be happy. Not so much for pure moral counter arguments.

The importance of the e-ticket issuance is something important DOT has to consider.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 9:24 am
  #3527  
 
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Originally Posted by 110pgl View Post
Originally Posted by Renard View Post
My limited experience and minimal understanding tells me: If you buy a non-refundable ticket from UA, under normal circumstances UA will refund NOTHING...not the fare, not the taxes. Asking UA to refund the taxes portion on a non-refundable ticket will be met with hysterical laughter. If you pay the change fee, the total (fare and taxes) is applicable towards another ticket. That would seem to indicate the taxes are paid upon use of the service and not prepaid to the govt authorities in anticipation. UA pays the SAR if/when you fly.
As an fyi -

I can't cite UA, but, I know when I cancelled a BA non-refundable from LHR-CDG, I did get the taxes (and gov't fees, I think) refunded, which was the bulk of the econ fare I bought.
I was able to do this once too with BA....at least five years ago. However, I predict you'd get nowhere with this on UA today. (I tried this once a few yrs ago with CO and was met with hysterical laughter--not unexpected though.)
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Old Aug 8, 12, 10:20 am
  #3528  
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Originally Posted by travelkid View Post
The seller can normally not cancel a contract AFTER delivery, and even more so if the reason is a mistake within the control of the seller.

I of course might be way off here, and if ANYONE can point to case law that says so I would be happy. Not so much for pure moral counter arguments.

The importance of the e-ticket issuance is something important DOT has to consider.
I agree with you. However, there are laws that allow electronic sellers to back of transactions when there has been mistake due to computer error.

For example,

Amazon.com can reverse the sale of TV they sold for $0.02 and claim computer error.

There are real questions regarding the DOT's regulations regarding the sale of airline tickets and whether or not they prempt these sorts of laws. I will say the Airlines have never hesitated to claim premption when they want to avoid common law contract claims.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 10:42 am
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Any news from UA or DOT?
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Old Aug 8, 12, 10:52 am
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I could actually print out a boarding pass on OZ and not flying until nov 2012. I argued that with UA and was told to contact customer service.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by colpuck View Post
I agree with you. However, there are laws that allow electronic sellers to back of transactions when there has been mistake due to computer error.

For example,

Amazon.com can reverse the sale of TV they sold for $0.02 and claim computer error.

There are real questions regarding the DOT's regulations regarding the sale of airline tickets and whether or not they prempt these sorts of laws. I will say the Airlines have never hesitated to claim premption when they want to avoid common law contract claims.
Again this is possible when you have received e-mail conf for the TV and had your CC charge (=received flight confirmation, had CC charges and even picked seats) but not AFTER TV delivery (= value paper delivered/e-ticket issued).

Flights tickets are unique compared to TVs etc in the way they make people organize their lives (like hotels, relocating etc). And as the contract is the basic fundament of the society (contrate de social, concept of marriage, and all forms trade etc etc) there must be strict rules to unilaterally cancel any contract. By all means do cancel but pay damage (= also benefit of trade).

There are some contracts that should be harder to cancel to keep the publics trust in the instrument. Could be cash, cheques, e-tickets etc.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 10:54 am
  #3532  
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Originally Posted by Shanye2233 View Post
I could actually print out a boarding pass on OZ and not flying until nov 2012. I argued that with UA and was told to contact customer service.
When does OLCI open?
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:03 am
  #3533  
 
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
(emphasis added)

What a ridiculous exaggeration.
Really??? Any and every time a regulation or law has been put in place taking some power away from airlines and giving it to the customer, the airlines have fought it. Where am I exaggerating???? You name ONE new consumer protection regulation, put in place in the last 20 years and I'll show you where the airlines or their lobbiests have tried to fight it.

Originally Posted by Renard View Post
I was able to do this once too with BA....at least five years ago. However, I predict you'd get nowhere with this on UA today. (I tried this once a few yrs ago with CO and was met with hysterical laughter--not unexpected though.)
BA might be a different story. I bought a tkt from LHR-AMS and looked at the receipt. The fare was $299 and the taxes/fees were over $500 With the kind if taxes/fees they have in the UK I would not be surprised if there was a law regarding refunds (making at least the taxes always refundable. (I'm guessing, I just would not be surprised)

Last edited by iluv2fly; Aug 8, 12 at 12:22 pm Reason: merge
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:06 am
  #3534  
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Its clear that big actors in the tripoly world of legacy carriers (AA,DL,US/UA) are that big that they dont care about bad press, as long as its not day in and day out for lengthy periods. 4 mile island has probably received more press than any previous mistake rate- and UA probably couldnt care less. In one way all PR is good PR+ average Joe wont necessarily side with the customer here- as this thread has clearly proven. And in any case all carriers seem to agree on UAs stance here, meaning this bad press wont give any competition disadvantage.

As UA has repeatedly proven the only way is voting with your wallet, which by all means means following your claims by any legal remedy. That is your right, and maybe even plight.

This is about the confidence in contract in general but most importantly e-tickets in specific. If some carriers invest so little in their IT that they then want to spend 24h to issue tickets so be it, but then they will loose in competition with carriers keeping their act and IT together.

Its just like FT veterans know which OTAs to use for instant ticketing and avoid those with lengthy delays.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:10 am
  #3535  
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Originally Posted by travelkid View Post
Again this is possible when you have received e-mail conf for the TV and had your CC charge (=received flight confirmation, had CC charges and even picked seats) but not AFTER TV delivery (= value paper delivered/e-ticket issued).

Flights tickets are unique compared to TVs etc in the way they make people organize their lives (like hotels, relocating etc). And as the contract is the basic fundament of the society (contrate de social, concept of marriage, and all forms trade etc etc) there must be strict rules to unilaterally cancel any contract. By all means do cancel but pay damage (= also benefit of trade).

There are some contracts that should be harder to cancel to keep the publics trust in the instrument. Could be cash, cheques, e-tickets etc.
Like I said I agree with you. I think there are great arguments to make on both sides. If you have an argument and you haven't sent it to the DOT please do so.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
BA might be a different story. I bought a tkt from LHR-AMS and looked at the receipt. The fare was $299 and the taxes/fees were over $500 With the kind if taxes/fees they have in the UK I would not be surprised if there was a law regarding refunds (making at least the taxes always refundable. (I'm guessing, I just would not be surprised)
Believe refunding the taxes/fees of an unused ticket is an EU regulation.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:24 am
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What UA should have done?

This is not the first mistake rate. They need a quick contingency plan. They obviously came aware of this after a few hours only after it hit social media big time- by monitoring number of bookings. Ok, they closed down the mistake. A mail should have gone out before lunch first business day if not far earlier- containg at least a warning- then either in same mail preferredly or very shortly thereafter offering a token compensation. Offer a 200$ expiring e-cert valid on UA metal for those accepting with short offer expiry. That would take the number down from 6000 to maybe half. Maybe even offer downgrade to UA Y where available. Then no changes without reprice, and full redeposit fees. With so many speculative bookings lets cut in half again, giving 1500 flights to honor. 90% on UA metal (pure guessing). UA loss estimates have ranged from 23$to 10000$. Reality check would be maybe 500$ at average, considering a mix of UA/partners, one ways, short haul, expected loads etc. Even my honour is worth more than 750 000$

Even a sloppy mech loosing a wrench in the jumbos engine cost far more

Or some sort of variation of the above.

And they dont have insurance? More negligence then.

Funny observation is when scanning FT forums different newbies ranting about how bad this and that carrier treated them when their award segment fell out, they lost the passport etc etc. Then its all full power OP is negligent and have to pay his own mistake. Obviously not when it comes to UA.

US biggest problem is hipocrisy. Mods feel free to move last sentence over to OMNI^
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by travelkid View Post
What UA should have done?

This is not the first mistake rate. They need a quick contingency plan. They obviously came aware of this after a few hours only after it hit social media big time- by monitoring number of bookings. Ok, they closed down the mistake. A mail should have gone out before lunch first business day if not far earlier- containg at least a warning- then either in same mail preferredly or very shortly thereafter offering a token compensation. Offer a 200$ expiring e-cert valid on UA metal for those accepting with short offer expiry. That would take the number down from 6000 to maybe half. Maybe even offer downgrade to UA Y where available. Then no changes without reprice, and full redeposit fees. With so many speculative bookings lets cut in half again, giving 1500 flights to honor. 90% on UA metal (pure guessing). UA loss estimates have ranged from 23$to 10000$. Reality check would be maybe 500$ at average, considering a mix of UA/partners, one ways, short haul, expected loads etc. Even my honour is worth more than 750 000$

Even a sloppy mech loosing a wrench in the jumbos engine cost far more

Or some sort of variation of the above.

And they dont have insurance? More negligence then.

Funny observation is when scanning FT forums different newbies ranting about how bad this and that carrier treated them when their award segment fell out, they lost the passport etc etc. Then its all full power OP is negligent and have to pay his own mistake. Obviously not when it comes to UA.

US biggest problem is hipocrisy. Mods feel free to move last sentence over to OMNI^
You make great points send it to the DOT.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by stevenshev View Post
Believe refunding the taxes/fees of an unused ticket is an EU regulation.
No problem in the EU. Even Ryanair does, but of course they charge a fee for the admin costs of doing it And for carriers like FR it can be painful to contact them.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by stevenshev View Post
Believe refunding the taxes/fees of an unused ticket is an EU regulation.
Thanks, that's what I thought but wasn't sure
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