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Birdwatching
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Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:13 am

So here's what happened, not sure what I should make out of this. Your opinions appreciated.

So I look for a one way transatlantic award ticket. A whole list of options come up, all of them priced at 27,500 miles plus 128.20 $ in taxes and fees. All except one itinerary, which is priced at "0 miles + 128.20 $". Since that itinerary suits me best, I select it, continue in my booking process... on the very last page before I click "purchase", it still says "0 miles + 128.20 $". I made a PDF printout just in case.
So I hit "purchase", and I get a confirmation page still telling me I paid no miles plus tax. And an email too.
Now, a day later, 27,500 miles are taken from my account.
So I'm split between 2 opinions here:

Position 1: Clearly a tech glitch, the price for an award of my category is 27,500 miles plus tax, and that's what I have to pay, no matter what the web site told me when I hit "purchase". End of story.

Position 2: Till the end (and even till after booking), I was TOLD that I'd pay 0 miles plus tax for this particular itinerary, and I should end up paying what I was told I'd pay. Anything else is like standing at the supermarket parking lot after buying something, and the cashier comes running out, GRABS my wallet (without asking) and takes money. Sure, the item was mispriced, but they didn't notice at the register so it should be mine to keep now.

What do you think?
Soren   
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
MattRB
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:04 am

I'd be emailing and asking for my miles refunded. That was the advertised 'price' for the ticket - if it's a glitch, it's UA's problem, not yours.
Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
 
lhr380
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:33 am

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):

You noticed an error and tried to take advantage of it, a clear error as you pointed out, and the miles went and your complaining. No matter what you should have paid mileage for the journey you were booking. Why should they let you do it for no miles.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
blueflyer
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:40 am

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
What do you think?

Go with #1 because you're not going to get anywhere with #2.

For one thing, UA's Mileage Plus rules clearly state "(...) redemption shall basically mean the exchange of mileage in a member's account for a specified award." So getting something for 0 miles isn't an option.

For another, you knew, or had to know, since the beginning the mileage cost was wrong and you chose to go ahead with the transaction anyway. Therefore you were attempting to complete a transaction that you knew was erroneous in bad faith, for your personal advantage, at the detriment of UA. This doesn't amount to fraud, but comes close.

Finally, do no forget that reservations are not final until ticketed, and that UA can cancel one until then. In this particular case, their option, whether exercised manually or automatically, was to charge you the miles you knew you had to pay, or cancel your reservation and let you run the risk you might not be able to secure a similar award on the same date due to capacity control... I submit to you UA took the option least likely to inconvenience you.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:46 am

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 2):
You noticed an error and tried to take advantage of it, a clear error as you pointed out, and the miles went and your complaining. No matter what you should have paid mileage for the journey you were booking. Why should they let you do it for no miles.

So far as I am aware, that stance is only valid up until the purchase. After the purchase the transaction is completed, if you have sold an item at an incorrect price, you are not allowed to then reclaim any monies or goods you feel you are owed unless a fraud has taken place. It's going back five or six years to when I worked in retail on a till, but that is what I was told the law stated for the UK.


Dan  
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
Feroze
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:47 am

This reminds me of a case I studied during my contract law course in the UK. I have quoted from http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=85768&page=10

Quote:
Kodak is being threatened with legal action after refusing to honour the orders placed on its site for cameras that were offered to UK customers at an incorrect price. An unknown number of cameras were ordered for £100 each, instead of £300, before the error was identified.

The case is reminiscent of a similar error by Argos in 1999. In that case, televisions were offered on argos.co.uk for the sum of £2.99. The price should have been £299. The company refused to honour the orders placed and legal action was threatened – although it did not materialise.

The Kodak case differs from the Argos case in one significant respect. In the Argos case, the operation of the web site left it unclear as to whether or not a contract had been formed between the customer and the company. In the Kodak case, according to reports, the customers received confirmation of their orders and nothing on the web site would indicate that the contract had not been formed at this stage. However, Kodak denies that any contract was formed and has apologised to customers for "any inconvenience and disappointment caused".

When an item is offered for sale on a web site at a certain price, there is general consensus that it has the same effect in UK law as an item in a shop window being offered at a certain price. This is known as an "invitation to treat." At this stage, the item is not being "offered" to the customer. Rather, the customer is expected to make an offer at the check-out, which the shop will usually accept. If a price is incorrect, the shop can legally reject the customer's offer (although, if a shop does this too often, it may run into problems with Trading Standards).

In the Argos case, the £2.99 price tag on the televisions was probably an invitation to treat. Although the web site sales process was automated, the site did not "confirm" the customer's order. In the Kodak case, the order was confirmed. This confirmation is likely to be deemed "acceptance" in the legal sense, i.e. the point when the contract was formed, in the absence of anything to the contrary in the terms and conditions of the site. Accordingly, Kodak's case appears to be weak.


[Edited 2011-02-06 02:57:12]
 
lhr380
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:50 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 4):
So far as I am aware, that stance is only valid up until the purchase. After the purchase the transaction is completed, if you have sold an item at an incorrect price, you are not allowed to then reclaim any monies or goods you feel you are owed unless a fraud has taken place. It's going back five or six years to when I worked in retail on a till, but that is what I was told the law stated for the UK.

Yes, that is true, however in this case, he has clearly said that he saw the route he wanted, and noticed one of them showed no mileage, which for a mileage booking he would have known is a clear error and should not be booked. Now they have taken the miles he is claiming they have scammed him..
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:58 am

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 6):
Yes, that is true, however in this case, he has clearly said that he saw the route he wanted, and noticed one of them showed no mileage, which for a mileage booking he would have known is a clear error and should not be booked. Now they have taken the miles he is claiming they have scammed him..

No, he's asking actually, not claiming.

It's up to the retailer to ensure their merchandise/tickets are correctly priced, it's not up to the customer. People are now used to paying nothing for a flight, dubbed the Ryanair effect, so whether he knew or not is beside the point, because other customers would not. If the contract said 0, then 0 should have been taken. At the very least I would have expected someone from UA to contact me and explain the options before they were just debited.


Dan  
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N104UA
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:12 am

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):

Position 1: Clearly a tech glitch, the price for an award of my category is 27,500 miles plus tax, and that's what I have to pay, no matter what the web site told me when I hit "purchase". End of story.

Position 2: Till the end (and even till after booking), I was TOLD that I'd pay 0 miles plus tax for this particular itinerary, and I should end up paying what I was told I'd pay. Anything else is like standing at the supermarket parking lot after buying something, and the cashier comes running out, GRABS my wallet (without asking) and takes money. Sure, the item was mispriced, but they didn't notice at the register so it should be mine to keep now.

You could always write them an email and ask them if there is anything they could do, but I would not hold my breath. You could get something like a few free miles back.
"Learn the rules, so you know how to break them properly." -H.H. The Dalai Lama
 
AWACSooner
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:50 pm

Quoting N104UA (Reply 8):
You could always write them an email and ask them if there is anything they could do, but I would not hold my breath. You could get something like a few free miles back.

Good luck with that, UA has a reputation (and having experienced it myself numerous times) of never replying to any customer service email/letter/etc.
 
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TK787
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:56 pm

Because of a glitch on a newspaper ad, my friends bought RT tickets to Iceland from NYC under $100 each, few years back. They fixed the ad the next day but long after 8 of my friends bought theirs and had a wonderful trip.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:58 pm

I can't believe that after a dishonest act such as trying to fly for zero miles when there is NO PROGRAM ON EARTH that would let one do so, you are now wondering if you were "scammed"? Talk about victim mentality.

Anyway, your only recourse would be to contact UA and ask to be switched to a more desirable itinerary because you chose this one based on the zero miles, not on the best routing.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
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Amwest2United
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:58 pm

Quoting TK787 (Reply 10):
Because of a glitch on a newspaper ad, my friends bought RT tickets to Iceland from NYC under $100 each, few years back. They fixed the ad the next day but long after 8 of my friends bought theirs and had a wonderful trip.

I had a few friends on that as well, they honored the tickets, no issue.
Life is what happens to you while you making plans to live it!
 
Boeing744
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:02 pm

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 7):
At the very least I would have expected someone from UA to contact me and explain the options before they were just debited.

Yes, and they also should have given him the chance to cancel the ticket. However, it's possible that UA's computer systems simply debited the miles, without a real person every noticing the glitch.
 
keagkid101
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:38 pm

I don't understand why people on here are trying to say this is your fault--it isn't. Any frugal consumer would choose the flight that will cost them the less, in this case, 0 miles and $128 in taxes. So, you went along to purchase that itinerary. It still said "0 miles" when you purchased it, so United should have to honor that itinerary. This is in no way your fault. United is the one who had a glitch--its not like you purposely made the glitch to get the flight cheaper.

What I would do is call United and explain to them the situation. Make sure to tell them you have proof. If they refuse to do anything, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. United is required to respond to your complaint back to the BBB.

Good luck. I hope you get you 27,500 miles back!
 
lhr380
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:16 pm

Quoting keagkid101 (Reply 14):
Any frugal consumer would choose the flight that will cost them the less, in this case, 0 miles and $128 in taxes

Knowingly taking it because there is an error (Who would ever expect to see a mileage flight showing 0 miles) always expecting to spend miles for the flight, and now upset the miles were taken straight away.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:42 pm

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 15):
(Who would ever expect to see a mileage flight showing 0 miles

Who knows, but I'd have considered it to be an offer or something. I'm guessing a lot of people wouldn't expect a flight to show up as £0, but they have done quite often in my experience before you add in the fees, which were also applicable here. I'm also wondering what they would have done if there wasn't more than the 27,500 miles in the account?

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 15):
always expecting to spend miles for the flight, and now upset the miles were taken straight away.

I've think you've got the wrong end of the stick there, to me it comes across that the poster is unsure about what to think of the situation, hence the two position scenarios asking for advice.


Dan  

[Edited 2011-02-06 09:46:14]
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
packcheer
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:51 pm

Lets pretend for a minute that you aren't buying an award ticket.

You go online, search for a route that you have to travel on, on UA's website.

9 options come up. 7 of them show up for $200 + taxes, 1 shows up for $400 + taxes, and 1 shows up for $59 + taxes.

I come across this all the time. So i pick the $59 flight, pay, check out, get confirmation that I did in fact pay for 59 + taxes.

Is UA entitled to then charge my credit card an additional $100 if they think the price SHOULD have been shown as $159? Absolutley not.


In this case, he noticed 0 miles +all the taxes. For whatever reason UA could be promoting a route/connection/new flight/equipment swap, or any number of other things. Just because I am expecting to pay miles (or $$) for a flight, doesn't mean that I should assume an error has been made when I am on the receiving end of some good luck.

Talk to UA, see what they can do for you.
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Viscount724
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:17 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 4):
Quoting lhr380 (Reply 2):
You noticed an error and tried to take advantage of it, a clear error as you pointed out, and the miles went and your complaining. No matter what you should have paid mileage for the journey you were booking. Why should they let you do it for no miles.

So far as I am aware, that stance is only valid up until the purchase. After the purchase the transaction is completed, if you have sold an item at an incorrect price, you are not allowed to then reclaim any monies or goods you feel you are owed unless a fraud has taken place. It's going back five or six years to when I worked in retail on a till, but that is what I was told the law stated for the UK.

It depends on the legal system in place. In many countries, if it's obvious (or should be obvious) that it's an error (e.g. a zero price), the seller can normally require the correct price to be paid. However, if you buy something in a supermarket where the price was incorrectly marked as $1 when it should have been $2, that's the supermarket's problem since it's not an obvious error.

With an airline ticket purchase you also have to consider the conditions of contract which govern the transaction whether you read them or not.
 
Airport
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:27 am

Quoting packcheer (Reply 17):
Lets pretend for a minute that you aren't buying an award ticket.

You go online, search for a route that you have to travel on, on UA's website.

9 options come up. 7 of them show up for $200 + taxes, 1 shows up for $400 + taxes, and 1 shows up for $59 + taxes.

I come across this all the time. So i pick the $59 flight, pay, check out, get confirmation that I did in fact pay for 59 + taxes.

Is UA entitled to then charge my credit card an additional $100 if they think the price SHOULD have been shown as $159? Absolutley not.


In this case, he noticed 0 miles +all the taxes. For whatever reason UA could be promoting a route/connection/new flight/equipment swap, or any number of other things. Just because I am expecting to pay miles (or $$) for a flight, doesn't mean that I should assume an error has been made when I am on the receiving end of some good luck.

Talk to UA, see what they can do for you.

Initially I was flip flopping back and forth reading the replies and seeing both sides of the argument, but this right here convinced me the most. This is a very good point and a fair analogy, so indeed I would talk to UA about it.

Cheers,
Anthony/Airport

[Edited 2011-02-07 18:27:56]
 
Birdwatching
Topic Author
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:57 pm

Thanks for all your replies! Amazing how many people think I should bend over and pay whatever they choose to take from me after I have paid. I found the following two most convincing:

Quoting packcheer (Reply 17):
Lets pretend for a minute that you aren't buying an award ticket.
You go online, search for a route that you have to travel on, on UA's website.
9 options come up. 7 of them show up for $200 + taxes, 1 shows up for $400 + taxes, and 1 shows up for $59 + taxes.
I come across this all the time. So i pick the $59 flight, pay, check out, get confirmation that I did in fact pay for 59 + taxes.
Is UA entitled to then charge my credit card an additional $100 if they think the price SHOULD have been shown as $159? Absolutley not.
In this case, he noticed 0 miles +all the taxes. For whatever reason UA could be promoting a route/connection/new flight/equipment swap, or any number of other things. Just because I am expecting to pay miles (or $$) for a flight, doesn't mean that I should assume an error has been made when I am on the receiving end of some good luck.
Talk to UA, see what they can do for you.

and

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 7):
People are now used to paying nothing for a flight, dubbed the Ryanair effect

So I emailed United but nothing has happened so far, and that was a couple of days ago. I'll keep you updated.

Soren   
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:22 am

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 20):
Thanks for all your replies! Amazing how many people think I should bend over and pay whatever they choose to take from me after I have paid. I found the following two most convincing:

I think you are correct in asking for your miles back. As you said, it allowed you to purchase the ticket for "0 miles + Taxes & Fees". They always advertise on their site "Fares are not guaranteed until tickets are purchases" but it doesn't say anything about "Fares are not guaranteed after tickets are purchased".

I wonder what would happen if you didn't have 27,500 miles in your account to take, but found an Award Ticket for "0 miles". Would UA have taken what you did have, and then have written the rest off? Would UA have put your account in the hole (negative)?
"Let's Roll"- Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93, Sept. 11, 2001
 
Birdwatching
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:06 pm

Ok I got a reply from United now. What should I do now? Do you think they understand the issue; can reservations be of any help to me?

Hello Mr. ******,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Our Reservations Department will be able to assist you with this issue, please contact them at 1-800-United-1 (1-800-864-8331).

The Mileage Plus Customer Service Center does not have access to customer’s reservations or flight information. We are able to assist you with Mileage Plus account or program-related questions.

I appreciate you taking the time to contact me.
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
jetblue777
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:22 pm

I remembered, one time, I was looking for flights on UA's site from JFK-LAX rt and the price was only $179/roundtrip! I clicked it and it says $179 as the final price, which was just crazy. So I think that was a glitch as prices are usually $300+

If I were you, I would call UA and tell them your story, see if there's something they'll do. As some posters above said, 0 Miles was what you saw on their site, so it'd be fair if 0 miles was charged on your account... BUT, any person in the right mind would know that it is impossible to book an "Award Flight" with 0 Miles... But UA posted "0 Miles + $$$" So I guess you should settle that with UA.

I've called UA a couple of times and heard horror stories about their call-centre being in India, but I've never had any problems with the agents, their helpful, friendly and their English is understandable. But, since your case isn't really "simple", it might be a different story...let's just see. Good luck!  
Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 22):

Well that really didn't help lol
It's a cultural thing.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:48 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 3):

Go with #1 because you're not going to get anywhere with #2.

Literally. They will simply void your ticket and refund you the money, which is absolutely their right.

So you are best off calling them, pointing out the error, and saying that it's OK to be charged the miles, but you want to make sure that everything is set to go.
-Doc Lightning-

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Airport
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:58 pm

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 22):
Ok I got a reply from United now. What should I do now? Do you think they understand the issue; can reservations be of any help to me?

It doesn't hurt to contact them, so why not?  

Cheers!
Anthony/Airport
 
N809FR
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:06 pm

From a legal standpoint United should be required to honor the ticket as it was issued with an agreed upon price of zero miles plus tax. Unless you have a lawyer or sympathetic representative, chances are you're stuck either canceling the ticket or losing the miles. The airline made the mistake, not you, and ideally you shouldn't back down from getting the flight for zero miles.
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:42 pm

Quoting n809fr (Reply 26):
From a legal standpoint United should be required to honor the ticket

Since when do airlines have to abide by such laws?

I'd push to get the miles back, just because it can't really hurt anything. As far as United scamming you...eh, not really, since you kinda knew it was a mistake I think you're attempting to scam United. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't...they screw enough passengers every year that they should get a taste of it every once in a while. Good luck, and do let us know how it turns out!!!
 
flyguy89
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:11 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 27):
As far as United scamming you...eh, not really, since you kinda knew it was a mistake I think you're attempting to scam United.

What are you talking about? No where in his narrative did he mention that he knew it was an error but decided to continue on anyway. There could have been any number of assumptions as to why UA might have an option available for zero miles. Only after seeing that UA debited the miles from his account did it became clear that it was a tech glitch so lets stop with the attacks on this guys credibility.

This is UA's fault and UA's fault only. They have 100% control over what their advertised prices are and the mess-up is on their end. Additionally there are multiple precedent cases for incidents like this where passengers purchased tickets for ridiculously low advertised fares that were clearly a glitch, yet the airline still had to honor it because that is the price they advertised the ticket at. This is just one of those 'Sorry Charlie' incidents for UA, they made the mistake and they should honor the ticket price they advertised to him.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:02 am

Quoting flyguy89 (Reply 28):
This is UA's fault and UA's fault only. They have 100% control over what their advertised prices are and the mess-up is on their end. Additionally there are multiple precedent cases for incidents like this where passengers purchased tickets for ridiculously low advertised fares that were clearly a glitch, yet the airline still had to honor it because that is the price they advertised the ticket at.

You're referring to published fares. This case does not involve a fare (actually it does but the fare is zero plus taxes/fees and those amounts were applied correctly). When redeeming frequent flyer miles you are governed by the FFP rules.
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:59 am

Quoting flyguy89 (Reply 28):
No where in his narrative did he mention that he knew it was an error but decided to continue on anyway.

Uhhh, so he just happened to feel the need to print a copy of the order summary? Do you routinely do this? Plus, why did he say...

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
Position 1: Clearly a tech glitch, the price for an award of my category is 27,500 miles plus tax

Come on, you're deluding yourself if you think the OP didn't know this was a glitch, and was hoping to be able to exploit it.

Quoting flyguy89 (Reply 28):
Additionally there are multiple precedent cases for incidents like this where passengers purchased tickets for ridiculously low advertised fares that were clearly a glitch, yet the airline still had to honor it because that is the price they advertised the ticket at.

Actually the legal precedent is that the airline does not have to honor the mistake, although they often do just to avoid taking a PR beating (which is the wise choice IMO.) Now, this case doesn't even involve a cash fare but miles, remember, the mileage program which the airline reserves the right to amend or revoke at any time for any reason? This is why I seriously doubt the OP is going to get anywhere with this- the best he might hope for is a goodwill gift of 5000 miles or so, or to be able to change his itinerary without any penalties.
 
keagkid101
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:10 am

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 30):

Uhhh, so he just happened to feel the need to print a copy of the order summary? Do you routinely do this?

Yes, a lot of people do this for credit card statement double-checking, etc. It's very common. I always print my order summary.
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:00 am

Quoting keagkid101 (Reply 31):
I always print my order summary.

I'd be willing to bet money you print your order confirmation page, which is not the same thing. The OP printed the summary, the one you get BEFORE you click "purchase" and before any transaction has occurred. The only reason to do this is because you expect a discrepancy to arise after purchase- in this case the OP knew something was up with an FF ticket which cost zero miles.

It's amazing how people on here continue to pretend any rational, experienced traveler could play dumb about this. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with trying it, just that only a real idiot would actually think this itinerary was supposed to be available for nothing.
 
keagkid101
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:09 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 32):
I'd be willing to bet money you print your order confirmation page, which is not the same thing.

Nope. I print both, once again for future reference.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:25 pm

Just being the Devil's Advocate here, take away the word "miles" and add "dollars". Would UA still be justified in debiting this gentleman's account?

They had access to his credit card account, so in theory, they could have charged anything they want. Would that not be precedent setting ... going back to the buyer's account and deducting further what they feel is correct, without any communication with the buyer at all.

Or ... how about if the gentleman had no miles in his account? The transaction would still be processed, what would UA do later?
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:56 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 32):
I'd be willing to bet money you print your order confirmation page, which is not the same thing.

How much? I do exactly the same thing when I'm paying for a ticket in a foreign currency, because I like to know what the payment total was. Then I can check this with my bank, partly to see just what a crap rate I got on the exchange, but also in case they bill me incorrectly.


Dan  
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
Quokka
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:44 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 29):
This case does not involve a fare (actually it does but the fare is zero plus taxes/fees and those amounts were applied correctly). When redeeming frequent flyer miles you are governed by the FFP rules.

Actually it does although it is a non-revenue fare. In securing the fare you are trading miles for carriage and a contract is being established. The fact that, except for taxes, no dollars, euro, pounds, yen or whatever are being traded is not relevant. The form of payment is miles for the fare itself even if the quantity of miles is zero.

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 30):
Now, this case doesn't even involve a cash fare but miles, remember, the mileage program which the airline reserves the right to amend or revoke at any time for any reason?

Once a contract has been entered into it can not simply be changed to suit one party without the agreement of the other. Normally where rule changes are advertised there is a clause that reads something like " continuing use indicates acceptance of..." To change the rules before a booking is made is one thing; to back date a change after a booking is another. In such an instance the vendor should notify the customer of any change before applying any increase in fare, miles or whatever. The only instance where a carrier can request additional payment is when a government imposed fee is increased or, if they specifically stated at the time of booking, fuel charge supplements. Normal procedure would be to have an alert appear stating that the current fare is unavailable or words to that effect. That is, once the submit button had been clicked an alert should have appeared stating that a zero miles fare was not available.

The fact that the fare was posted on the site as 0 miles may or may not have been a mistake. Sometimes airlines do offer heavily reduced fares and that includes substantial discounts on reward flights. If that was the case in this instance I do not know and I am not going call the credibility of the OP into question. It may have been a genuine mistake on UA's part but before arbitrarily deducting miles they should have at least contacted the customer first.
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:57 pm

Quoting Quokka (Reply 36):
Once a contract has been entered into it can not simply be changed to suit one party without the agreement of the other. Normally where rule changes are advertised there is a clause that reads something like " continuing use indicates acceptance of..." To change the rules before a booking is made is one thing; to back date a change after a booking is another.

That's the way it should work, but I wouldn't count on it. Read the mileage plus TOC, specifically section 2 where it says "United has the sole right to interpret and apply the Program rules..." They do not give you the upper hand in ANY situation.

That being said, after reading the OP's post again, I think he may get his miles back. The fact that he got a confirmation email showing zero miles is what changed my mind...that alone may be enough for a creative lawyer to get involved, and United would be unwise to risk that. It's just a domestic award ticket after all.

Quoting keagkid101 (Reply 33):
Nope. I print both

Ok, to each his own. The point was that the OP knew he was getting away with something at booking, and the general tone of his post indicates as much.
 
Quokka
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 37):
"United has the sole right to interpret and apply the Program rules..."


Despite this provision, once a contract has been entered into UA can not unilaterally change the conditions. They must first advice the customer of any change and offer the customer the right to cancel the contract or accept the new terms. The crux of the matter is at which point a contract is entered into. Is it at the point at which the customer clicks submit or is it at a time that UA chooses without regard to the customer? I think they would have a hard time proving the latter option.
 
Birdwatching
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:25 pm

Thanks again for all your input! This thread has turned into a very interesting read, and I appreciate the comments from both sides.
In answer to your questions, the reason why I chose the 0 miles options was because THAT was the itinerary I wanted to fly on, more specifically, it was the one which included the 747 so I booked it. Heck I would have booked it for 27500 miles, thats what I was planning to do anyway, but there was simply no other option than to select the 0 miles option.
Why did I PDF-print the order summary? Simply because I like to have PDF copies of all my flights on my hard drive as I tend to lose paper printouts. Why did I print one BEFORE hitting "purchase" and one after? Quite simple, because that's how I do it.

Anyway, here is the page I clicked "purchase" on. Further down, the email confirmation I received. My question is: If YOU clicked "purchase" on THAT page, and later got THAT email confirmation, would you:
a) be pissed off because they took from you what they never told you they'd take, or
b) be happy when you see 27,500 miles missing from your account, because United can do whatever they want AFTER you booked, regardless of the price they told you you'd pay and you agreed to



Soren   
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
N809FR
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:06 pm

Just wanted to let you know, the fact that United charged the 27,500 miles without contacting you prior to check whether or not you still wanted the ticket is not legal. The only downside is that United is also not required to honor the 0 miles that should have been charged. Please keep us updated, I have my fingers crossed for you!
 
Birdwatching
Topic Author
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:27 pm

So should I call them before or after the flight takes place?

Soren   
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
N809FR
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:10 am

RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:12 pm

Call them as soon as possible, tell them that the breached the contract by charging you more than originally agreed upon without making you aware of the additional charges. Chances are you won't be able to get the flight for 0 miles, but good customer service would dictate that the proper thing to do is honor the original contract.

At the very least, United will be required to let you out of the flight for a full refund.
 
flyguy89
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:30 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 37):
Quoting keagkid101 (Reply 33):
Nope. I print both

Ok, to each his own. The point was that the OP knew he was getting away with something at booking, and the general tone of his post indicates as much.

The fact remains that you are not the OP and you can not say with 100% certainty exactly what he was thinking or what his intent was and it would be wrong for you to do so. For every point of suspicion you bring up, I could point out a perfectly plausible assumption anybody would make to counter it. The guy did not "conspire" to rip UA off as you might suggest and you're judging him based on your vague interpretation of the "tone" of his post or whatever else, so attacking his credibility is NOT the way to go. Now you may be absolutely right concerning his options especially since it was booked based on UA's FFP rules, but lay off the "..this guy ripped off United and is a con-artist" approach.
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Award Ticket: Did United Scam Me Here?

Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:36 am

Quoting flyguy89 (Reply 43):
you can not say with 100% certainty exactly what he was thinking or what his intent was and it would be wrong for you to do so. For every point of suspicion you bring up, I could point out a perfectly plausible assumption anybody would make to counter it.

...and if this were court, nothing could be proved. But it isn't, and therefore I'm still saying there's NO WAY that the OP didn't know something was up. BTW, he NEVER claimed not to know, in fact his post indicates he knew EXACTLY what was going on. So, please explain to me how I'm attacking his credibility?

Quoting Quokka (Reply 38):

Despite this provision, once a contract has been entered into UA can not unilaterally change the conditions.

They can cancel his membership, or even the entire program, on a moment's notice. They can certainly do this. It ain't nice and pretty, but it's the way FF programs are.

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 39):
My question is: If YOU clicked "purchase" on THAT page, and later got THAT email confirmation, would you:

c.) Understand that the award ticket I redeemed was supposed to cost 27500, that I expected to pay that, and that I didn't exactly get screwed, but that since they SAID zero miles, try to get them back and still keep my ticket. I'd look at it as a bit of a game, same as how the airline in question seems to view getting me to my destination 
Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 41):
So should I call them before or after

Since you have a ticket, and they've debited the miles, do it ASAP. The worst that will happen is that they only give you the option of canceling your ticket and refunding the miles.

Btw, despite what flyguy seems to think, I'm not in any way attacking you for this or think you're doing anything wrong. There are some airline apologists on here who think that pax are criminals but I'm not one of them. I really do hope you get your miles back... a small victory in the ongoing battle between airline and passenger!

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