SQ error fare closed by FC

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MEL_Traveller

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According to the head of Choice media, SQ is 'out of luck'. He says there is Australian consumer law that states customers are entitled to a product they have been sold.

he then goes on to say that airlines are under a lot of pressure regarding credit card surcharges, and therefore SQ should take this hit to help the image of the industry. :shock:

Link here: Singapore Airlines Is Dead Out of Luck: Godfrey: Video - Bloomberg

Perhaps he has more in formation than we do. But he goes on to say 'depending how these tickets were sold' - which is a pretty massive qualification.

He states SQ's brand will take a 'battering'. I'm not so sure about that. A battering from whom? Those who bought the cheap tickets? If they are regular business class passengers they'd likely know the fare was an error. A battering from people who normally fly economy and this was their first time in business class? I dunno. A battering from regular SQ business class flyers, paying $8000, who will look badly on SQ for denying someone to sit next to them for just $3500? I doubt it.

Anyway - will be interesting to see.

I think the travel agent has some issues to answer here. Maybe they'll come to the party.
 

ftm

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I wonder if was restricted to just one GDS? Galileo perhaps , as that's what FC uses.

The airline is responsible for loading their fares correctly into the GDS, which then auto-prices the itinerary based on what the airline has loaded. Each GDS is slightly different, so it might be that it wasn't in the other GDSs (which is why it wasn't coming up on the SQ website)
 

Pushka

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Passengers got lucky! The fares were booked in U class
Just in from SQ PR:
"Singapore Airlines was alerted on Saturday, 29 November to an issue which saw Business Class bookings able to be made at an outdated Economy Class fare level. This was due to a booking sub-class recently being reassigned from Economy Class to Business Class. Corrective action was immediately taken to address the issue.

To ensure no disruption to our customers’ travel plans, Singapore Airlines wishes to advise that it will honour all affected bookings.
Singapore Airlines will be contacting affected customers and travel agents to advise that their Business Class bookings will be honoured at the original fare purchased.
Investigations continue to be carried out to determine the root cause of this issue."


 

Aussie_flyer

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Not surprised at all. Good news. SQ stuffed up and they should not punish their customers.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Not surprised at all. Good news. SQ stuffed up and they should not punish their customers.

there must be more to it that we know.

On the face of it - mistakes happen, and the law allows for those mistakes to be rectified. Contract law, and Australian consumer law were both - on the story we knew - more than likely on the side of SQ. (Flight Centre, not so sure without all the facts.)

the customers would have lost nothing in a situation like this. Especially with such a short time scale between booking and cancellation.
 

Jleno

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Once the error was identified, SQ should have known that the only viable PR outcome is to honour the tickets. I suspect someone senior wanted to stand firm until their PR team (or someone higher up in management) woke him/her to their senses.
 

Melburnian1

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The decision was probably made by someone in Singapore at a relatively high level in the company.

Good on SQ for doing the correct thing. Most of us don't win Tattslotto, nor do we see or benefit from such 'mistakes', but they can and will again occur, so SQ can claim the moral high ground for honouring the tickets at the fare paid.
 

Danger

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I have no issue whatsoever with mistakes happening. But I expect it to be a two way street. If I inadvertently book the wrong date or type a passenger's name wrong or similar, I'd like it if the airlines extended me the courtesy of rectifying that mistake without issue, perhaps with say 24 or 48 hours. Then, on the odd occasion the airline makes an error, the same timeframe should apply.

I recognise that there are differences that make it complex but it should work both ways. I know I hard on about the RGN deal but in the third round Iberia took no less than six weeks to cancel some of my tickets which can in no way be considered acceptable.
 

vitagen

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3,700 isn't that cheap in order to consider it a massive win. But I'm glad SQ honoured the bookings, I'm sure majority of the customers were not exploiting a mistake fare but a genuine promo fare!
 

MEL_Traveller

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I recognise that there are differences that make it complex but it should work both ways. I know I hard on about the RGN deal but in the third round Iberia took no less than six weeks to cancel some of my tickets which can in no way be considered acceptable.

Qantas and USA Airlines do in fact have those allowances - 24 hours to make changes free of charge. Which is a positive.

It's important to note that the Rangoon passengers knew it was a mistake and kept quiet for the purpose of snapping up the mistake to the detriment of the airline.
 

MEL_Traveller

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No, it was not.

We are off topic. I'm happy to continue the discussion but we should move it to the RGN thread.

It is relevant to the discussion around mistake fares more generally, and how courts may decide to deal with the issue of mistake when it comes to airlines honouring a fare. It is clear the knowledge of the passengers, and their subsequent actions (or inaction), can determine whether or not they are likely to be successful in forcing the airline to fly them.

My understanding is that australian consumer laws do not currently overrule the concept of mistake.

The SQ case is not as clear cut as there is no assertion that the passengers deliberately 'kept quiet'.

For the Iberia fares in RGN Round 3 the CTA found (my bolding):

[43] In light of the above, the Agency is of the opinion that Iberia has made convincing arguments relating to whether, at the time of purchase, the complainants knew or ought to have known that the fares at issue were a mistake. In addition, the Agency notes that the complainants did not raise the mistake with the carrier, and therefore intended to benefit from it. In light of the foregoing, the Agency agrees with Iberia that this case is analogous to First City Capital, where Chief Justice McLachlin referred to situations where a party “knows or ought to know of another’s mistake in a fundamental term, remains silent and snaps at the offer, seeking to take advantage of the other’s mistake.” Therefore, the Agency finds that no valid contracts were entered into between Iberia and the complainants as there was no meeting of the minds. Consequently, the Agency dismisses the complaints against Iberia.

The full decision is here: https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/ruling/290-c-a-2014

The CTA made the same finding in the majority of other cases against Swiss.

The exception to the above ruling has applied in circumstances where the airline sought to rely solely on its tariff in order to cancel a fare, rather than seeking to void the contract from the outset by virtue of mistake.
 

medhead

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there must be more to it that we know.

On the face of it - mistakes happen, and the law allows for those mistakes to be rectified. Contract law, and Australian consumer law were both - on the story we knew - more than likely on the side of SQ. (Flight Centre, not so sure without all the facts.)

the customers would have lost nothing in a situation like this. Especially with such a short time scale between booking and cancellation.

Actually they would have lost their paid flights to take a trip, that they purchased in good faith. They would then have likely had to pay more to replace those flights. I still reject your view that a business can screw the customer just because they change their mind.

I have no issue whatsoever with mistakes happening. But I expect it to be a two way street. If I inadvertently book the wrong date or type a passenger's name wrong or similar, I'd like it if the airlines extended me the courtesy of rectifying that mistake without issue, perhaps with say 24 or 48 hours. Then, on the odd occasion the airline makes an error, the same timeframe should apply.

Trouble is most airlines demand your money and will not allow changes for a mistake. Also in the case SQ what to get out of their mistake more than 2 days later.

Qantas and USA Airlines do in fact have those allowances - 24 hours to make changes free of charge. Which is a positive.

It's important to note that the Rangoon passengers knew it was a mistake and kept quiet for the purpose of snapping up the mistake to the detriment of the airline.

Qantas is same day as booking NOT 24 hours. It might be a short as 5 minutes for the passenger to fix a mistake when booking at 11:55 pm.
 
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burmans

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It is relevant to the discussion around mistake fares more generally, and how courts may decide to deal with the issue of mistake when it comes to airlines honouring a fare. It is clear the knowledge of the passengers, and their subsequent actions (or inaction), can determine whether or not they are likely to be successful in forcing the airline to fly them.

My understanding is that australian consumer laws do not currently overrule the concept of mistake.

The SQ case is not as clear cut as there is no assertion that the passengers deliberately 'kept quiet'.

For the Iberia fares in RGN Round 3 the CTA found (my bolding):



The full decision is here: https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/ruling/290-c-a-2014

The CTA made the same finding in the majority of other cases against Swiss.

The exception to the above ruling has applied in circumstances where the airline sought to rely solely on its tariff in order to cancel a fare, rather than seeking to void the contract from the outset by virtue of mistake.

Yes but this ruling specifically relates to the complainants in the case, not all people who booked the flight. The complainants were a group of very experienced frequent flyers who indeed probably had a fair idea it was not a mistake but I kind of agree it's a sweeping statement to suggest everyone was in this category!
 

MEL_Traveller

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Actually they would have lost their paid flights to take a trip, that they purchased in good faith. They would then have likely had to pay more to replace those flights. I still reject your view that a business can screw the customer just because they change their mind.

That's the two issues. (a) 'good faith' - if the passenger buys the fare knowing it is a mistake, and subsequently snaps up the fare knowing it is a mistake, then they may not get protection (b) is the notion that a business is just 'changing their mind'. if it is a mistake, then the company is not changing their mind.

Australian consumer law and contract law both absolutely protect the consumer if a company 'changes it's mind'. An airline couldn't advertise fares for $3500, promote them, and then later say 'it was a mistake'. But that's not what happened in the case of SQ. It's not what happens in most mistakes. As they are never intended, there can't be a 'change of mind'.

If you flip that around, why should a company be screwed because a consumer knows of a mistake and seeks to take advantage of it? The law rightly protects innocent consumers and companies. But not necessarily if either of them knowingly do wrong.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Yes but this ruling specifically relates to the complainants in the case, not all people who booked the flight. The complainants were a group of very experienced frequent flyers who indeed probably had a fair idea it was not a mistake but I kind of agree it's a sweeping statement to suggest everyone was in this category!

I think given the facts of the case, the total pax falling into that category = the total number of tickets sold. The CTA was able to look at the timing of the release of the fare on the blogs, and the timing of the tickets sold. The two perfectly matched. IIRC not a single ticket had been sold on that route prior to the fare being announced on bulletin boards and blogs, and all tickets sold for that route were sold within ~24 hours. And not a ticket since.

I think it is pretty fair to say almost everyone purchasing the fare had a pretty good idea it was a mistake ($150 plus tax/fuel for Singapore Airlines Suites and Swiss First class from Asia to Canada).

There's nothing wrong with a consumer buying a mistake fare, or seeking to take advantage of it. Or even flying on it if the airline decided to honour it. But the difficulty comes when you might want to go to court to enforce it if the airline decides to cancel. You may not always have the rights you think you do.
 
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JohnK

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I recognise that there are differences that make it complex but it should work both ways. I know I hard on about the RGN deal but in the third round Iberia took no less than six weeks to cancel some of my tickets which can in no way be considered acceptable.
To be fair you booked more than a dozen of these mistake airfares? And you did know they were a mistake. Right?

Not criticising as I have been guilty as well.
 
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