SQ error fare closed by FC

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Aussie_flyer

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I have heard of YUP/KUP fares offered by AA. I have also not heard of any other airline offering analogous fares.

Well there is many different fare basis existing that have various acceptable booking classes that do not correlate with the first letter of the fare basis.

Not only on AA
 

ermen

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Under common law of contract, SQ does not have to honour the fare if the offer price was a mistake and the acceptor knew that it was

Have a look at Hartog v Colin and Shields

Hartog v Colin & Shields - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I dont know what the law is if the acceptor did not know it was a mistake...

and obviously statute law can override case law... :p
 

basso

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Yes. Sorry. I don't know if they did that but they did say they were working with clients who were affected so I put two and two together. :p
..and got 5. There would be a time before they knew there was a problem, and a time after they knew there was a problem. It is quite possible they were selling the fare up until they knew the problem was there. They would still need to deal with those clients.
 

medhead

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I completely disagree. Yes, SQ were negligent and for that reason they should foot part of the bill. That doesn't change the fact that agents selling the tickets also knew or should have known there was a mistake. If I, acting as agent for SQ, know that they have made a mistake where they may lose a lot of money, it would be completely subversive to the relationship of agent-principal if I were allowed nevertheless and with impunity to go ahead and continue to cause SQ loss. If bam71's account is right in that it was clear that the fare basis was Y, then any agent selling those tickets must have known that there was a mistake. In the case of FC, they clearly knew there was a mistake: they were the ones who reported it. To know about it and then to continue selling the tickets to SQ's loss would completely subvert the nature of being an agent.

A TA acts as an agent for the passenger not the airline. If the TA was acting as SQ agent then selling the products of other airlines would be completely subversive as well.
 

Pushka

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..and got 5. There would be a time before they knew there was a problem, and a time after they knew there was a problem. It is quite possible they were selling the fare up until they knew the problem was there. They would still need to deal with those clients.

Yes. And that in no way means they didn't sell fares afterwards.

The price error would have been recognised with the very first booking.
 
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MEL_Traveller

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A TA acts as an agent for the passenger not the airline. If the TA was acting as SQ agent then selling the products of other airlines would be completely subversive as well.

A travel agent is an agent for the airline, not the passenger. It is possible for an individual to be an agent for multiple principles. Nothing wrong with that.

As for the law of mistake, the Canadian Transportation Agency (same legal system as ours) found mistake fares can void the contract outright. The test they used was that the passenger 'knew, or ought to have known' the fare was a mistake.

While that court is not binding on anything we have here, the arguments raised might be persuasive. SQ has a ready made case.

It will depend if the passenger or agent knew, or ought to have known, the fare was an error. The travel agent? Should have known. A passenger? more doubtful. Although in this case it is slightly different because the agent for the airline sold the fares, and possibly continued to sell the fares. That might absolve the passenger from the 'ought to have known' aspect. Although we'd need to see the facts.

I'm not aware of any consumer protection laws in Australia to protect the selling of mistake fares.
 
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medhead

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A travel agent is an agent for the airline, not the passenger. It is possible for an individual to be an agent for multiple principles. Nothing wrong with that.

As for the law of mistake, thanks to the Rangoon passengers, the Canadian Transportation Agency (same legal system as ours) found mistake fares can void the contract outright. The test they used was that the passenger 'knew, or ought to have known' the fare was a mistake.

While that court is not binding on anything we have here, the arguments raised might be persuasive. SQ has a ready made case.

It will depend if the passenger or agent knew, or ought to have known, the fare was an error. The travel agent? Should have known. A passenger? more doubtful. Although in this case it is slightly different because the agent for the airline sold the fares, and possibly continued to sell the fares. That might absolve the passenger from the 'ought to have known' aspect. Although we'd need to see the facts.

I'm not aware of any consumer protection laws in Australia to protect the selling of mistake fares.

My comment was based on the subversive theory present.

But the relationship in using a TA is that the passenger goes them and asks for, in the case of an airfare, travel from point A to point B. The TA then approaches a wide range of airlines to find what is on offer on behalf of the passenger. The passenger is not approaching flight centre, in this case, because they believe flight centre is SQ. The TA then takes direction from the passenger to purchase an airfare on behalf on the passenger from one given airline.

I see a relationship where the TA is acting on behalf of the passenger. In the case of the airfare I purchased via a TA last week, I paid them for their service over and above what was available direct from the airline. I initiated them to buy on my behalf, they did not represent themselves as being the airline and I paid them for the service. All of that gives me the expectation that they are acting for me as my agent.

But if we take the position posed in the other post that the TA is the agent of airline (in other words the TA is the airline) then SQ have no recourse to the passenger. The "airline" made an offer and the passenger accepted it in good faith. An issue that SQ might have with the TA should not undo that contract and the passenger should fly in business as purchased at no additional cost.
 

eosphoros

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My comment was based on the subversive theory present.

But the relationship in using a TA is that the passenger goes them and asks for, in the case of an airfare, travel from point A to point B. The TA then approaches a wide range of airlines to find what is on offer on behalf of the passenger. The passenger is not approaching flight centre, in this case, because they believe flight centre is SQ. The TA then takes direction from the passenger to purchase an airfare on behalf on the passenger from one given airline.

I see a relationship where the TA is acting on behalf of the passenger. In the case of the airfare I purchased via a TA last week, I paid them for their service over and above what was available direct from the airline. I initiated them to buy on my behalf, they did not represent themselves as being the airline and I paid them for the service. All of that gives me the expectation that they are acting for me as my agent.

But if we take the position posed in the other post that the TA is the agent of airline (in other words the TA is the airline) then SQ have no recourse to the passenger. The "airline" made an offer and the passenger accepted it in good faith. An issue that SQ might have with the TA should not undo that contract and the passenger should fly in business as purchased at no additional cost.

Whilst there is some simplicity in saying that the TA acts as agent for the passenger in that the passenger goes and asks for the airfare and the TA acts in that capacity for them, that puts to one side what in truth the TA is doing. The TA is not selling their own services as principal: they are selling the services of the airline. As far as I am aware, any contract entered into is directly between the passenger and the travel provider, that is to say, the airline or hotel.
 

MEL_Traveller

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My comment was based on the subversive theory present.

But the relationship in using a TA is that the passenger goes them and asks for, in the case of an airfare, travel from point A to point B. The TA then approaches a wide range of airlines to find what is on offer on behalf of the passenger. The passenger is not approaching flight centre, in this case, because they believe flight centre is SQ. The TA then takes direction from the passenger to purchase an airfare on behalf on the passenger from one given airline.

I see a relationship where the TA is acting on behalf of the passenger. In the case of the airfare I purchased via a TA last week, I paid them for their service over and above what was available direct from the airline. I initiated them to buy on my behalf, they did not represent themselves as being the airline and I paid them for the service. All of that gives me the expectation that they are acting for me as my agent.

But if we take the position posed in the other post that the TA is the agent of airline (in other words the TA is the airline) then SQ have no recourse to the passenger. The "airline" made an offer and the passenger accepted it in good faith. An issue that SQ might have with the TA should not undo that contract and the passenger should fly in business as purchased at no additional cost.

The travel agent sells tickets on behalf of the airline. The airline offers the fare, the agent sells it. Once the agent has sold the fare, the contract is between the airline and the passenger. You cannot enforce a contract of carriage against a travel agent. the travel agent doesn't have the planes. Nor, as you know, does the agent have the ability to bind the airline with some sort of special request the passenger may have.

The contract of carriage, and the ticket contract is not between the passenger and the travel agent. It is directly between the passenger and airline.

You are right - the basic concept is offer, acceptance and consideration. Then you prima facie have a contract. But as always, it's not usually that simple. There are a whole range of factors that can come into play which can void or alter a contract... duress, fraud, mistake, and overriding consumer law are some examples. And each of those has a whole range of differing circumstances that can come into play - when they might or might not apply, who the parties are etc etc.
 

medhead

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Whilst there is some simplicity in saying that the TA acts as agent for the passenger in that the passenger goes and asks for the airfare and the TA acts in that capacity for them, that puts to one side what in truth the TA is doing. The TA is not selling their own services as principal: they are selling the services of the airline. As far as I am aware, any contract entered into is directly between the passenger and the travel provider, that is to say, the airline or hotel.

My contention is the TA is buying services from the airline and selling a (buying) service to the passenger. The TA, if an agent of the passenger, is certainly empowered to create a relationship between the passenger and an airline. (I wonder how the need for the passenger to deal with the TA not the airline for changes and refunds impacts the situation? It might suggest there is no relationship between the airline and passenger)

But accepting your view that they represent the airline. Then I can see no recourse to the passenger in this situation. SQ certainly have an issue with the TA, but that is an internal matter to sort out who pays. The passenger should pay no more.
 

clazman

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What laws govern this?
European as the online store operates out of Paris?
The passenger is in Australia?
The airline in Singapore?
or US because they are in the middle of everything ?
 

MEL_Traveller

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My contention is the TA is buying services from the airline and selling a (buying) service to the passenger. The TA, if an agent of the passenger, is certainly empowered to create a relationship between the passenger and an airline

But accepting your view that they represent the airline. Then I can see no recourse to the passenger in this situation. SQ certainly have an issue with the TA, but that is an internal matter to sort out who pays. The passenger should pay no more.

you probably missed my reply while writing yours.

as the contract is between the airline and the passenger, if the airline wants to void that contract they can do so directly with the passenger. They can just cancel the ticket. End of story.

Now if the passenger wants to take action against that -for whatever reason - for example breach of contract, they would need to do so with the airline.

The passenger might also want to take action against Flight Centre - selling them a ticket they suspected was an error. But the passenger will need to show the loss they incurred. Did the passenger go out and immediately buy non-refundable hotels for example?

But this is far from being clear cut either in favour of the airline or the passenger. A fare of $3500 is not out of the ballpark for a special Christmas/holiday promotion to fill seats. BA is offering fares for around AUD1600 from London to all of asia, return, in business class. But that is a heavily advertised promotion.
 

eosphoros

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The travel agent sells tickets on behalf of the airline. The airline offers the fare, the agent sells it. Once the agent has sold the fare, the contract is between the airline and the passenger. You cannot enforce a contract of carriage against a travel agent. the travel agent doesn't have the planes. Nor, as you know, does the agent have the ability to bind the airline with some sort of special request the passenger may have.

The contract of carriage, and the ticket contract is not between the passenger and the travel agent. It is directly between the passenger and airline.

You are right - the basic concept is offer, acceptance and consideration. Then you prima facie have a contract. But as always, it's not usually that simple. There are a whole range of factors that can come into play which can void or alter a contract... duress, fraud, mistake, and overriding consumer law are some examples. And each of those has a whole range of differing circumstances that can come into play - when they might or might not apply, who the parties are etc etc.

Spot on. Could not have said it better myself. If it were otherwise, the position would be that SQ sold its seat to FC who, in its own capacity, then sold it on to the pax. For those who are interested, a recent UK Supreme Court decision is instructive: Revenue and Customs v Secret Hotels2 Ltd (Rev 1) [2014] UKSC 16 (05 March 2014)
 

medhead

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It is equally valid to see the TA as a buying agent, especially if the contract is between the passenger and the airline. The passenger had engaged, and paid, the TA to buy an airfare. The airline has not engages the TA to find that particular passenger. The TA buys a service from the airline on behalf of the passenger and charges the passenger a fee for that service.

Think of using a buying agent to get a house. The buying agent doesn't buy the house and then sell it to the purchaser. Similarly with a TA one transaction happens.

Sure about cancelling a contract, in accordance with the terms of that contract. Australian law does not require either the seller or the buyer to obtain fair value. SQ would be on pretty difficult ground if they cancelled simply because they made a poor offer.
 

JohnK

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Interesting to see what SQ decides.

As we know not all airlines honour mistake airfares but SQ has been good in the past.
 

MEL_Traveller

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It is equally valid to see the TA as a buying agent, especially if the contract is between the passenger and the airline. The passenger had engaged, and paid, the TA to buy an airfare. The airline has not engages the TA to find that particular passenger. The TA buys a service from the airline on behalf of the passenger and charges the passenger a fee for that service.

Think of using a buying agent to get a house. The buying agent doesn't buy the house and then sell it to the purchaser. Similarly with a TA one transaction happens.

Sure about cancelling a contract, in accordance with the terms of that contract. Australian law does not require either the seller or the buyer to obtain fair value. SQ would be on pretty difficult ground if they cancelled simply because they made a poor offer.

While I can understand why you might reach the assumptions you do, unfortunately they have little or no basis in the law.

Even your statement 'Australian law does not require either the seller or the buyer to obtain fair value' only holds true in some circumstances. There are situations where the courts will look at the terms of a contract to see if there has been fair value. That would come under the concepts of equity.

however, in this case SQ won't be arguing they made a poor offer... they would probably start with the line that it was a mistake and the contract would be void - as in it never existed.

Would SQ be successful? who knows.

All of this isn't to say that there isn't some other sort of relationship between the passenger and the travel agency. But where is the loss to the passenger? We don't have the same mistake fare fare consumer protections as they do in the USA.
 

medhead

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While I can understand why you might reach the assumptions you do, unfortunately they have little or no basis in the law.

Even your statement 'Australian law does not require either the seller or the buyer to obtain fair value' only holds true in some circumstances. There are situations where the courts will look at the terms of a contract to see if there has been fair value. That would come under the concepts of equity.

however, in this case SQ won't be arguing they made a poor offer... they would probably start with the line that it was a mistake and the contract would be void - as in it never existed.

Would SQ be successful? who knows.

All of this isn't to say that there isn't some other sort of relationship between the passenger and the travel agency. But where is the loss to the passenger? We don't have the same mistake fare fare consumer protections as they do in the USA.

Equity is an entirely separate matter. How does my statement related to making a mistake. You seem to be suggesting the seller is absolved of all responsibility to get their offers correct. The loss to the passenger is in not having their valid contract honoured, penalising the passenger for SQ's mistake.

We may not have mistake fare protections. But we do have protections against companies just deciding they don't want to provide a service they willing offered at a given price. Don't we?
 

MEL_Traveller

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Equity is an entirely separate matter. How does my statement related to making a mistake. You seem to be suggesting the seller is absolved of all responsibility to get their offers correct. The loss to the passenger is in not having their valid contract honoured, penalising the passenger for SQs mistake.

We're gonna have to wait and see how this pans out. We don't know the extent that either the travel agency, or passenger, knew this was a mistake (or likely to know it might be a mistake).

If they did, or suspected so, then equity comes in to play regarding the granting of relief.

if passengers/agents thought this was a genuinely offered special fare for discounted business class during quiet period for premium travel, SQ might have some difficulty proving its case.
 
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Mal

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According to industry blogs, SQ has decided to not honour these fares
 
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