USA: DOT fines Virgin Atlantic for deceptive online advertising
The U.S. Department of Transportation has fined Virgin Atlantic USD 50,000 for deceptive online advertising. The DOT said that Virgin Atlantic displayed air fares, but without government taxes and fees. To see taxes and fees, consumers had to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the fine print.
That violated DOT rules requiring any advertising that includes a price for air transportation to state the full price to be paid by the consumer, including all carrier-imposed surcharges. The only exception currently allowed is government-imposed taxes and fees that are assessed on a per-passenger basis, such as passenger facility charges, which may be stated separately from the advertised fare but must be clearly disclosed in the advertisement so that passengers can easily determine the full price they must pay.
The consent order is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0003.