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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 Jul 17, 12, 7:35 pm
  #706  
 
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Originally Posted by Eryeal View Post
Actually this would be more comparable with someone getting a $200+ cert for a faulty footrest, coming to the forum and telling everyone, then everyone trying to book that exact same seat on that exact same aircraft with the intention of getting a $200+ cert as well.
That's fair. They're certainly not identical situations, and this mistake would cost United much more money in the long run than a footrest.

My point is, before everyone blasts everyone else for costing the airline money in this particular case, I think they should take a step back and look at how many times they've somehow gotten something ridiculous (like a $200 cert for a footrest) or gotten a rep to waive fees they otherwise should have paid.

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is hypocrisy. None of us here are completely virtuous. I'd argue that most of us came to FT in the first place as a place to share ideas on how to gain something from our chosen airline. If we all wanted to play 100% by the rules United set up, why does FT exist in the first place? I'd just ask Alex all of my questions.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 7:39 pm
  #707  
 
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A well-stated argument. The analogy's a bit off, but still worth reading.

The UA ‘deal’ is sleazy – should I stiff my barber for 14 cents, too?

Great comment, this:
Anonymous Flyer says:
July 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm
I thought people taking advantage of this mistake was horrible. That is why I called United and let them know. Within minutes, the bloggers were complaining about the “deal” being over.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 7:42 pm
  #708  
 
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
I just hope the people that got this deal and now have this holier then thou attitude have a nice trip. When they get back they no longer have the right to consider themselves "some of Uniteds best customers" nor should they ever open their mouths again and complain how the airline is treating them. If I was United I would let everyone who got this mistake fare go on their trips and then close down each ones account and rip any status away. The whole purpose of these programs is to reward loyalty. The whole purpose of Elite levels is to reward UA's best customers. None of these people fall under the category of "best customers" if the airline is forced to take a bath on an "obvious mistake" that some people exploited
^
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Old Jul 17, 12, 7:46 pm
  #709  
 
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I want to know what Harvard Professor Michael Sandel thinks.

my $81 has given me some great entertainment for the past couple of days. Plus I am heading to HKG ;-)



Originally Posted by gvol21 View Post
A well-stated argument. The analogy's a bit off, but still worth reading.

The UA ‘deal’ is sleazy – should I stiff my barber for 14 cents, too?

Great comment, this:
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Old Jul 17, 12, 7:47 pm
  #710  
 
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Originally Posted by gvol21 View Post
A well-stated argument. The analogy's a bit off, but still worth reading.

The UA ‘deal’ is sleazy – should I stiff my barber for 14 cents, too?
SUPERBLY written article. The more you try and game and take advantage of a system or a mistake, the harder it will be in the future to use the system (if available at all). Sometimes you have to know that even though a rule or law says one thing, doesn't make it the absolute right thing. Even if DOT enforces this and requires the tickets to be valid - it still doesn't mean it is right in the end. There are millions of examples of companies starting out with the best intentions (whether it's liberal returns policies or something completely different), and then due to so many consumers taking wrongful advantage, those intentions come to an end. It doesn't end because their rules, or lack thereof, were faulty. It ends because of so many folks abusing the system. Yeah, Sam's Club may have an unlimited returns policy, but I'm not going to take the TV I bought a year ago and accidentally dropped in for a refund or replacement, despite the fact they will accept the return.

I love the #3 comment on the bottom of the article by "Bob" - saying exactly what the article points out is the wrong way to think.

Last edited by Eryeal; Jul 17, 12 at 7:56 pm
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Old Jul 17, 12, 7:58 pm
  #711  
 
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
If I was United I would let everyone who got this mistake fare go on their trips and then close down each ones account and rip any status away.
I would be interested in whether there is any legal precedent for whether this is permitted? I have asked this question a couple of times only been told that a) the T&Cs say they can b) that some people have had their accounts closed for dodgy behavior. What no-one seems to have answered is whether anyone has ever fought such a thing and what the outcome was.

In other jurisdictions (e.g. the UK) such a transparently one sided contract would be deemed 'unfair' under the relevant consumer legislation; this would seem doubly so if UA tried to engage those unfair terms on an arbitrary basis to punish lawful behavior (e.g. complaining too much, only buying 'mistake fares') and took away something of value (miles, instruments etc). However I don't know US consumer law and therefore would be interested in whether there is any settled case law in this area.

PS In case you can't guess I'm not interested in the "my bud Joe says the conditions of carriage say that they can take away your miles if you're rude about their videos" type answers that seem to predominate this thread.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:00 pm
  #712  
 
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Originally Posted by alex_b View Post
I would be interested in whether there is any legal precedent for whether this is permitted? I have asked this question a couple of times only been told that a) the T&Cs say they can b) that some people have had their accounts closed for dodgy behavior. What no-one seems to have answered is whether anyone has ever fought such a thing and what the outcome was.

In other jurisdictions (e.g. the UK) such a transparently one sided contract would be deemed 'unfair' under the relevant consumer legislation; this would seem doubly so if UA tried to engage those unfair terms on an arbitrary basis to punish lawful behavior (e.g. complaining too much, only buying 'mistake fares') and took away something of value (miles, instruments etc). However I don't know US consumer law and therefore would be interested in whether there is any settled case law in this area.

PS In case you can't guess I'm not interested in the "my bud Joe says the conditions of carriage say that they can take away your miles if you're rude about their videos" type answers that seem to predominate this thread.
Doesn't really matter - it is impossible that something like this happens. A company is not going to go the route of taking a financial hit and then applying mass retribution. That's suicide.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:03 pm
  #713  
 
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I have a question for everyone who claims those of us who booked the deal should be kicked out of MP.

As oft-noted above, I booked one trip. At the time I booked it, I had no expectation that UA would honor the ticket, but figured hey, if they do, awesome! I have not made one post threatening to sue, or even file a DOT complaint should my ticket be cancelled. I simply booked a ticket, and am sitting back to let the chips fall as they may.

To date, other than Shannon's post about this time last night, no one from UA has contacted me to inform me of their intention to cancel my ticket. To date, UA has not unilaterally chosen to cancel my ticket.

Assuming I fulfill my original intent to go quietly in the night if UA cancels my ticket (I'm fairly non-confrontational...ironic for a lawyer, eh?), do you think it would be fair for UA to cancel my MP account should they decide to honor the deal without any threats or provocation from me?

Given the facts as they currently stand, I don't think any of us should lose our status, miles, accounts, simply because we booked a ticket. If we, individually, were to cause bigger headaches for United, say, by filing a lawsuit, that's a different argument for a different day. But as things currently stand, UA hasn't even contacted me to say "hey, we made a mistake, mind if we cancel" and given me the courtesy of agreeing.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:08 pm
  #714  
 
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There are a lot of accusations being thrown around here. Full disclosure, I'm in for one ticket in a few weeks. If it plays out, great; if not, I'll see what my options are, and if there aren't any, then that's OK, too.

Some people have come down on those who took advantage of the deal. That's what it is - taking advantage. Usually, it's for moral reasons. Check out Matt's upgrd post on why he's sitting this one out. Quite honestly, I really do believe that the majority of people who are preaching from alleged moral high ground are sitting on a big pile of sour grapes. "This is awful," "you're taking advantage of the airline," "you're making it harder for people who play by the rules", and so on.

Guess what? Chances are that you all do this too - after all, that's why we're all here on FT. As someone wisely pointed out, if I wanted to play it completely straight, I'd ask Alex all my UA-related questions. How is this any different from taking advantage of a $300 mistake fare to RGN (or however much it was), or even credit card churning? The extent, of course, but that's really it. If everyone started churning cards like some serious FTers, they'd change the rules (and in some cases, I'm sure they already have, thanks to over-eager churners). That's the way travel hacking works, folks - it's gaming the system for your own benefit.

A few people have brought up the massive lost revenue that UA faces due to this deal. There are a lot of armchair airline accountants chiming in that this figure could be in the tens of millions. As has been pointed out, it's not likely to be anywhere near that high (wanna bet that the majority of those F seats would be empty or shilled to pax at the gate for a hundred or two?), but let's assume that this high figure is correct. If so, that would be the only ground on which to criticize this deal - UA's excessive loss. That's it. So please, leave the morality out of this. Chances are, if you're posting on FT, you've gamed the system in one way or another.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:12 pm
  #715  
 
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Originally Posted by Eryeal View Post
SUPERBLY written article. Yeah, Sam's Club may have an unlimited returns policy, but I'm not going to take the TV I bought a year ago and accidentally dropped in for a refund or replacement, despite the fact they will accept the return.

I love the #3 comment on the bottom of the article by "Bob" - saying exactly what the article points out is the wrong way to think.
Fair points and agreed it can be a slippery slope - but United (and airlines in general) dug it's (their) own grave with regard to mistake fares - they allow NO LEEWAY (like Sams Club) in normal day-to-day transactions (if I goof up beyond 24 hrs I have no recourse, unlike your Sams Club example), so they must be held to the same standard when they goof up. Karma perhaps? Or is that the golden rule?

Originally Posted by Eryeal View Post
Doesn't really matter - it is impossible that something like this happens. A company is not going to go the route of taking a financial hit and then applying mass retribution. That's suicide.
To all the nuts who have claimed 'offending MP accounts should be vaporized' or whatever: in this very pro-consumer govt environment, the only ways an airline could do something like that would be to have a case that vast fraud or breaking of rules had occurred. Miles are more considered a different form of currency than ever before and to assert that airlines could wipe out large 'sums' of 'money' on a whim is ludicrous. If precedent hasn't been reached in court cases already and this ever happens either A) the court would rule in favor of the account holder or B) court rules against account holder then the airlines get their mileage currency regulated by legislation. Either way to insinuate account balances could be vaporized at a whim is just insane.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:16 pm
  #716  
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Originally Posted by mabramovich View Post
So I find the whole situation rather interesting. I did "buy" a few tickets, and certainly if UA is forced to honour them, I'm going to fly (Well not really, tickets were for my parents).

That said, there's really really no reason UA should have to honour these. We all agree that in any other industry, a mistake is a mistake. I know we have the DoT rules and I understand why those were put into place -- so many different prices to pay, how does one know if it's a real price or a mistake, but there's got to be some protection for both consumers and the service providers.

Now, I do find that if UA is allowed to cancel these tickets on the basis that the DoT rules don't apply to reward tickets, that's really problematic. Otherwise the airline can kick you off a plane 3 days before flying because they'd really rather sell the seat. A confirmed ticket is a confirmed ticket, and it really shouldn't matter how one got in.

Likewise, I find it problematic if UA is allowed to cancel these tickets on the basis that we didn't provide "full" payment since they never grabbed those 4 or 8 or 12 miles from people's accounts. Then what's to stop an airline from charging you later, or charging you 90% of a fare at ticket purchase and being allowed to cancel your ticket the night before travel because they haven't yet charged that last 10%?

If UA is in fact allowed to cancel them, I hope it's simply because the DoT decides it was so obviously a mistake and no one actually thought this was the right price. Obviously people here will be unhappy, but at least all of our DoT protections would still sort of stand.

And finally, if they're going to cancel them, they better do it soon. The longer it goes, the harder it is to argue it was a mistake, one was in a remorse period, etc.
What's the basis for this continual repetition of "obviously a mistake"? The DoT ruling specifically calls out "mistakes" by vendor as an ineligible "justification" for post-ticketing price increases.

I cannot understand why anyone thinks the DoT can follow anything other than a consistent course in their interpretations. If they permit a "mistake" to be defined, how would DoT protections "still sort of stand"? The ruling is designed to establish a clear line between compliance and violation.

Nothing is clearer than if ticketed, defined as possession of eticket receipt specifying price, flights, cabins, T&C etc. Those who buy, fly as specified.

This is also in the long run helpful to service providers. It means they will need to allocate resource to verifying and checking prior to ticketing because they will know very clearly where they stand vis a vis consumer protection.

In the past it's been a gray area. Nobody has known what would happen when misfiles occur. Rather than filing and reneging as they see fit, in the expectation that such behavior cannot be corrected or challenged (viz. BA), the airlines will need to ensure they offer what they want us to buy. Their call to put systems in place to deliver this.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:17 pm
  #717  
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Originally Posted by alex_b View Post
I would be interested in whether there is any legal precedent for whether this is permitted? . . .
Plenty of law on that. The rule is along the line that, absent other circumstances, a clerical error (such as putting $4 instead of $400) would usually get you your relief, but poor business judgment won't.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:20 pm
  #718  
 
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Gur nisht = absolutely nothing

Originally Posted by aubreyfromwheaton View Post
WOW

always thought it was "gournish"!

RIP sabta
The actual expression comes from German ... "gar nichts" = "absolutely nothing". The same expression found its way into Yiddush as "gur nisht" ... most often stated as "gur nisht hilfen" = "absolutely nothing would help". Yiddish was widely spoken by Eastern European Jews (long before WWI), representing a bas.tard.ized form of German created by Polish/Russian Jewish merchants who dealt with Germans at the constantly changing borders.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:20 pm
  #719  
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
I just hope the people that got this deal and now have this holier then thou attitude have a nice trip. When they get back they no longer have the right to consider themselves "some of Uniteds best customers" nor should they ever open their mouths again and complain how the airline is treating them. If I was United I would let everyone who got this mistake fare go on their trips and then close down each ones account and rip any status away. The whole purpose of these programs is to reward loyalty. The whole purpose of Elite levels is to reward UA's best customers. None of these people fall under the category of "best customers" if the airline is forced to take a bath on an "obvious mistake" that some people exploited
I hear ya and understand why you said this, however most likley it wont affect UAs finest, simply since most likely they didnt have say 1k in their accts but most likely 100s of 1000s and therefore UA withdrew the proper amount and not just 4 miles.

But even if they didnt have enough to pay the actual amount if all they cashed in for was 1 tkt then Id think UA shouldnt go after them. But for those who cashed in for 10s of tkts either for themselves or their entire extended family then I agree with you especially if they went to DOT or filed a law suit . If someone cashed in for 2 tkts for themselves and their spouse or SO then UA shouldnt throw the book at them if it was a simple US-HKG Itin, but if they booked flying all around Asia and or Europe UA should throw the book at them.

That said COdbaUA is no Favorite of mine but for now I cant divorce her, it would work against me. I just hope that with all that has happened since 3/3that Jeff comes down off his High Horse and starts looking at not what is the cheapest way to run this Airline but instead starts thinking what do we NEED to do to make sure this Airline is #1 in all facets

Last edited by craz; Jul 17, 12 at 9:04 pm
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:23 pm
  #720  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Is there anybody who seriously thinks that UA hasn't already informed DOT as its primary regulator? And, having done that, is there anybody who thinks that UA won't confer with DOT about what it intends to say to each pax and then do?

This whole thing is way overblown. Except for the few people who really were headed to HKG and expected to pay more cash/miles and were simply pleasantly surprised, the rest will cancel and this will be over.
UA and DoT colluding. Riiiiigggggghhhhhhttttttt.

So now there's an underlying 'needs' test? At least your posts are predictable.

Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
I just hope the people that got this deal and now have this holier then thou attitude have a nice trip. When they get back they no longer have the right to consider themselves "some of Uniteds best customers" nor should they ever open their mouths again and complain how the airline is treating them. If I was United I would let everyone who got this mistake fare go on their trips and then close down each ones account and rip any status away. The whole purpose of these programs is to reward loyalty. The whole purpose of Elite levels is to reward UA's best customers. None of these people fall under the category of "best customers" if the airline is forced to take a bath on an "obvious mistake" that some people exploited
Playing devils advocate here:

When the fox gets the sheep all is well. When the sheep traps the fox the fox gets to say "whoa, let's go back to the beginning, this ain't right."?

We have posters on one side talking DoT complaint and lawsuits, which I think is premature. We have others prominently desiring UA to cancel MP accounts and blacklist these people which is just a tad vindictive. Just a tad......

We also have a number of posters, like me, who didn't partake in the purchase and are quite entertained at all that is going on.

Forget the popcorn, I'm sitting down with a few bottles of vodka and a case of soda water. This is gonna be interesting watch play out.
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