Honoring a fare misprint would have cost Travelocity $2 million. Not honoring it would have damaged their brand. They decided to go with the former. [BusinessWeek]


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  1. BrockBrockman says:


    Good for Travelocity – this makes me want to use their services. For some reason, though, I don’t think consumers would have been too surprised to have had the fares revoked.

  2. meeroom says:

    I think she made the right choice. I jump around when I make travel arrangements, and use all sorts of different sites, but I’ll probably think of Travelocity first now just because I liked this story and way the company handled the situation.

  3. pyloff says:

    I knew those gnomes couldn’t spit in my face.

  4. liquisoft says:

    I smell a marketing campaign based upon this…

  5. Kyle Shipp says:

    I wish Sears would see this article and follow suit. They seem to have a pricing mistake at least once a week. Anyone get a new drill press last week?

  6. crnk says:

    That’s great they honored it….and great that channa posted it for all *(I actually got to meet channa himself earlier in the fall).

  7. scootinger says:

    That’s pretty surprising….being a regular user of deal forums like FatWallet and SlickDeals I see lots of price mistakes that do not get fulfilled. A BIG one was a few weeks back when Best Buy advertised a 50″ plasma at the price of a 42″ on the front page of their flyer. Instead of honoring it they put notices on their website saying they won’t honor their advertised price….now that’s “HD Done Right.”

  8. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    @scootinger: I too use those sites daily, and I can’t even get Best Buy to price match THEMSELVES between different stores using receipts… so of that I’m not the least bit surprised. Thumbs up to travelocity, though.

  9. Buran says:

    I don’t think they should have done anything less than honor it. You advertised it, you sold it. It doesn’t matter to me if I think a company might realize it’s a mistake; that’s their incentive to not make a mistake like that next time.

    I haven’t used travelocity in a long time and I tend to want to book directly with airlines to lessen hassle if something goes wrong, but I still think they did the right thing by not trying to weasel out of a mistake. It shouldn’t be paid for by customers losing what they paid for or being forced to pay more than was advertised.

    I don’t like the mindset that allowed anyone to even think of saying “we screwed up, but we’re NOT going to honor our mistake”. Doing the right thing means dealing with it, not screwing people.

  10. Benny Gesserit says:

    Compare and contrast this with something Futureshop (Canadian version of Best Buy) did when they accidentally loaded a $750 low-end computer into their website as $75. (It was even marked as “SALE”.)

    Each person who ordered one at the wrong price received a canned email saying, in essence, “We made a mistake on our website. We’ve canceled your order, Loser.”

    Futureshop: We don’t care cuz we don’t have to.

  11. KJones says:

    Given that plane tickets are a service and not a product, I think this situation is a little different than your typical mispricing of products.

    Any reasonable and experienced air traveller would know that a $51 ticket was a mistake. Were I in the shoes of that woman, I would have told purchasers, “We made a mistake and you caught us, but we can’t honor the tickets at that price. In its place, we are giving you a coupon for $200 for any ticket to any destination.”

    That would have kept customer goodwill, lived up to their campaign, and saved themselves tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps over a million. As long as they were honest about the mistake, as a customer I would have no problem taking a price cut in place of a freebie.