False Advertising, Bait and Switch

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May 14, 2018
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#1
I looked for a flight today in Priceline and airline direct. I saw the special non refundable pricing on Priceline where you don’t know exact flight until after you book. It stated in print that the RETAIL price of the flight to be a very specific $1,299.71. I looked at all the available RETAIL price flights in that price point and found only 2. Both were acceptable choices for me so I figured to proceed with the purchase based on that information they posted to be the RETAIL price. When I got my flight it was one that was RETAILED for a different amount so they switched the flight to one they did not state. I called customer service and said I want one of the 2 flights in the price point THEY advertised it to be. They said no refunds and it’s a bulk price. I told them but they ADVERTISED the RETAIL price of the potential flights I’d get. So I EXPECTED one of the two retailing priced flights! It was the basis for me to proceed to purchase. I’m livid. I either want them to give me what they Advertised which is one of the two flights that retailed for $1,299.71 or I want my money back and the transaction canceled so I can purchase a flight as ADVERTISED. I even have a print screen of their page stating “This discounted fare retails for $1,299.71” Left voicemail to CEO and another VP. Not sure I’ll get a response.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
This is the problem with blind bidding- you have no guarantee what you are going to get. And they are non refundable. Had you booked normally - you have 24 hours you could have canceled.

You assumed something that was wrong- that you were getting one of the two flights you found. However, there is much more to a flights price than what you see- there are various fare codes that come into playnand they most for now have access to the fare codes you found.

Why do you mean by “Priceline and airline direct.”
You priced the flight with an airline as well as Priceline?

What exactly did you end up with ? From where to where, what dates, what airline and how many people?
 
Likes: jsn55
May 14, 2018
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#3
Correct. I checked the stated “discounted fare retails for $1,299.71” statement they posted with the express deal on both price line retail fares and United Direct sight which had the same fare pricing. It’s a very specific dollar amount for the stated retail price. None of the other airlines had that retail price. Only 2 flight options from United. I should have received one of those two flights as they were the only two that retail for that very specific amount. I did get a call from the executive offices recently and I hope to see a credit on my charge card as they said they would cancel my reservation as an accommodation and listened to my suggestion to change the wording to either put a range or a price equal to or greater so as not to mislead the consumer. I sent a print screen as well of the wording. Credit may take a day or two to show up on my account so I’ll update this post when I am certain I received the credit.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
I am a little confused at what happened. Are you saying that since you only found 2 airlines with the ticket of $1,299.71 that it had to be those two airlines -- when one does a search not all the fares classes and prices are shown -- unless one is a travel agent -- there are many different economy and business fares.

What did you expect and what did you receive?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
I too am confused. I have no idea what "retailed" means in your context. Perhaps a list of the facts in your case would clarify things for us. Are your Priceline tix way out in the future so you have time to fight this battle? We can give you guidance on how to do that once we understand exactly what happened. Solving travel issues is an extremely detailed experience, so we ask lots of questions in order to give you proper advice.
 
May 14, 2018
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#6
I am a little confused at what happened. Are you saying that since you only found 2 airlines with the ticket of $1,299.71 that it had to be those two airlines -- when one does a search not all the fares classes and prices are shown -- unless one is a travel agent -- there are many different economy and business fares.

What did you expect and what did you receive?
I expected one of the two flights whose retail price matched what was stated. If they state retail price then that is the price a consumer pays for the product and is available to the consumer. The specific flight they did send me “retailed” for a different price. I have a friend at the airlines and also a travel agent friend and that flight did not retail for that price. Only the two that I found so when they posted that THIS flight retails for $1,299.71 I expected one of those two flight options only. Priceline executive office talked to me on the phone and we went over the specifics. They offered me an accommodation and will reverse the transaction. They also listened to my suggestion of possibly rewording the verbiage when making the decision to buy the express deal.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,633
11,985
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
I expected one of the two flights whose retail price matched what was stated. If they state retail price then that is the price a consumer pays for the product and is available to the consumer. The specific flight they did send me “retailed” for a different price. I have a friend at the airlines and also a travel agent friend and that flight did not retail for that price. Only the two that I found so when they posted that THIS flight retails for $1,299.71 I expected one of those two flight options only. Priceline executive office talked to me on the phone and we went over the specifics. They offered me an accommodation and will reverse the transaction. They also listened to my suggestion of possibly rewording the verbiage when making the decision to buy the express deal.
Unfortunately- you “assumed” and assumed wrong. Why didn’t you just buy the ticket you saw for the price?

Please tell us the full info on what you bought so we can check pricing to see if you got a fair deal or not. Where, when, what airline, which flights and what did you pay?

It sounds more like you didn’t understand how those “deals” work.
 
May 14, 2018
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#8
Unfortunately- you “assumed” and assumed wrong. Why didn’t you just buy the ticket you saw for the price?

Please tell us the full info on what you bought so we can check pricing to see if you got a fair deal or not. Where, when, what airline, which flights and what did you pay?

It sounds more like you didn’t understand how those “deals” work.
Exactly. I did assume incorrectly that when they state the retail price of the ticket is “X” that it may not necessarily be true. Had I known that to be the case, I would have purchased one of those two flights directly and paid more. I figured that the “deal” was that the stated retail price options would then be up to the airline as to which flight of those in that price point should be booked. I’ve never booked a flight on Priceline so I had no idea it could mean that price range and not exact price. Lesson learned for sure. I’m happy that I had a call back from the executive team and they understood my concern, listened to my suggestion and said they’d refund my ticket. I have to wait now to see if the credit is posted to my account. Once I see that, then I know it’s complete. You all have been so kind to jump in and try and clarify things help. In the future I plan on checking here FIRST before acting on something.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,633
11,985
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
I’m happy to hear that someone did reach out and made an exception for you.

Give it a week and if you don’t see a credit back- we have a list of company contacts on top of our page. You can use that to follow up.

Going forward- don’t use those third party websites. Always buy directly through the airline. You’ll have 24 hours to cancel your booking if there’s a problem.

Read some of the stories in our forums for the horror stories dealing with the OTAs.
 
May 14, 2018
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#10
I’m happy to hear that someone did reach out and made an exception for you.

Give it a week and if you don’t see a credit back- we have a list of company contacts on top of our page. You can use that to follow up.

Going forward- don’t use those third party websites. Always buy directly through the airline. You’ll have 24 hours to cancel your booking if there’s a problem.

Read some of the stories in our forums for the horror stories dealing with the OTAs.
Thanks so much. I’ll update when it’s processed. And I will totally take your advice. Lesson learned. I hope Priceline changes the wording to This ticket is at least retailing for “X”. Or something like that. Every travel sight and airline I checked had the same price for the flight they gave me and for the flights in that stated price. Published consumer pricing is Retail so that really was misleading.