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Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Fri May 03, 2002 10:45 pm

I went to BA website and booked a web fare between JNB-CPT, with a fare in South African Rand (about US$140.00) . You had to call BA to have the ticket issued. The reservation was confirmed with a record locator and all. When I (immediately) called BA to have it issued they told me the fare was about $250.00. The res was good they admited.

Why can BA advertise and confirm a res on line and when you go to purchase as per their instructions they double the price?

Is this fraud?
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RE: Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:10 pm

Yes this is a direct violation of (UK) Retail Law. Goods or services must be provided at the price they were advertised at, whether on a price tag, in a shop window or... oh yes... on the internet.

I would do a search online for the Advertising Standards Authority website who will give further details on how to best pursue your complaint to British Airways, and if they cannot help you ultimately the Trading Standards Authority certainly will.

Good luck.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
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RE: Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:16 pm

And before anyone says, it is not relevant where in the world the ticket was purchased (i.e. where the user was accessing the site from) nor that the purchase was made in another country.

The airline is registered in the United Kingdom and therefore must comply with English retail law in all transactions.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
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RE: Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:25 pm

Rick767, I'm not sure how this applies to this case, but it is not true that a shop must sell something to you at the price on the label. According to contract law, what you are doing when you are taking an item to the checkout is offering to pay the price indicated. The shop is not obliged to accept that offer, and on those grounds can refuse to sell you goods that have been mislabelled for example.

It is a common misconception, and I've heard people say that a shop must sell it at the price indicated, even when it is obvious they have made a mistake. They don't.
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RE: Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:28 pm

I wouldn't call it fraud, it sounds more like an error on their behalf. In the UK, if something is priced up incorrectly, the retailer is obliged to sell it to you at that price under trading standards laws. However, I remember that United Airlines and Dixons (an electrical retailer) both had errors in their prices on websites and honoured them out of goodwill. I think that was because the purchase was actually completed on the internet. If you have to phone them to confirm the booking, you might have a fight on your hands to get it at the price quoted, but then if you have it in writing, that should be your trump card.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

RE: Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:58 pm

Rick767 - sorry to rain on your parade, but the SA domestic operations are carried out by Comair Ltd, a South African company acting as a franchisee of British Airways. British law does not therefore come into the equation.

However, there is consumer protection law extant in South Africa, and as long as you have proof (eg in the form of a printout) that someone offered goods or services for sale at a certain price and you accepted that offer, then they have to sell them to you at that price. The provision of a stated price constitutes a contractual offer under SA law.

Having said that, I suspect that the fare you booked might be exclusive of passenger taxes and VAT - and that's where the additional charges come in.

RE: Is This British Airways Internet Fraud?

Sat May 04, 2002 1:28 am

A similar thing happened to my wife a few weeks back. She was booking a BA round trip SFO-LHR-SFO and was quoted $385 RT inc tax for the trip. When she tried to pay the BA website wouldn't accept her credit card for some reason so she phoned reservations and was told that the fare was in fact $700 plus tax. After pressing the agent she eventually got the $385 ticket. She even got upgraded on both sectors just by asking at the gate. I also got upgraded in February just by asking at the gate at LHR.

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