Orbitz has been slapped with a $60,000 fine by the Dept. of Transportation because the travel site violated federal laws that require clear disclosure of taxes and fees associated with airfares.
“Consumers have a right to know the full price they will be paying for airfares,” explained U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We established airline price advertising rules to protect the consumer and will take enforcement action when these rules are violated.”
According to the DOT:
For a period of time in early 2011, Orbitz’s homepage displayed advertisements that did not provide any information on additional taxes and fees. Consumers clicking on an advertisement were not notified of the additional charges until after they arrived at the following page and scrolled down to the bottom of the page, where information in fine print about the taxes and fees could be found. Also, consumers selecting discounted fares advertised by Orbitz found that these fares were no longer available, and they were instead taken to a page where a different fare was displayed.
DOT rules require that any ads that name a price for air transportation must state the full price to be paid by the consumer, including all carrier-imposed surcharges.