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Cable Television Executive Blasts Delta For Fare Gouging

Claims Fare Increased While He Was Completing His Transaction

The president of the cable television company SubscriberWise has filed a complaint with Delta Airlines and the FAA charging the airline with increasing his ticket price while he was completing his purchase.

David E. Howe, the president of the company, said in an open editorial issued as a news release that while he was completing his purchase, "the published price instantly increased following my agreement to purchase.”

“This is not the first experience I’ve had with Delta’s corporate-owned website increasing a published a fare following an otherwise successful booking,” continued Howe. “I was logged onto (Delta's website) with my Delta SkyMiles account. I located a flight and selected the fare. Immediately after I completed the booking session and entered the three digit credit card information for payment, the system replied with a message that the fare increased and additional payment was now required.

“I’m outraged by what should be recognized as nothing more than a deceptive pricing scheme. There was no time-out from the website and the booking process was timely. It’s time now for the federal government to investigate this practice and enforce a policy against it. Frankly I’d appreciate if Delta’s senior executives would acknowledge their system failure and develop a solution so that when a customer selects a fare, the published price cannot increase when a payment is processed promptly for that fare.

“Although I understand the economics of supply and demand well, there’s simply no defense Delta can offer to justify an on-the-fly price increase during the time a customer chooses their itinerary, promptly completes payment, and then selects ‘agree to purchase’,” Howe emphasized. “Delta’s programmers need to modify their website so no other consumer is a victim of this scheme.

“As the majority shareholder of SubscriberWise, an issuing CRA (consumer reporting agency) for the communications industry, I understand and know well about federal regulations; there are a myriad federal regulations placed on consumer reporting agencies like the one I work for. And I certainly don’t agree with every regulation and government bureaucracy. However, even as a business owner, I understand and appreciate why U.S. consumers – including myself - must have protections from organizations that choose to engage in unethical, immoral, harmful, and sometimes even illegal practices.

“I’ve provided the FAA with documentation to substantiate exactly what happened. I encourage the FAA to investigate the matter carefully and I look forward to their (and Delta’s) response. For the record, I have no other complaints with Delta Airlines,” Howe concluded.

In a statement sent to Howe, the U.S. DOT’s  Transportation Industry Analyst  Jessica Ilich said "Based on the information you have provided, your complaint appears to fall under the Department's rules. We will forward your complaint to the airline and ask the company to respond directly to you with a copy to us. Airlines are required to acknowledge receipt of a consumer complaint within 30 days and provide a substantive response to the complainant within 60 days. We will review the airline's response."

"I appreciate the Department of Transportation's very prompt and professional response to the serious complaint I've (and others) made against Delta Airlines," Howe said of the response.

FMI: www.dot.gov

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