The U.S. Department of Transportation issued its first fine Friday, against the online ticket agent TripAdvisor, for violating a new airfare advertising rule that took effect in January.
The federal agency fined TripAdvisor $80,000 for prominently advertising on its website airfares that did not include taxes and fees. The violations took place from March to June, according to the Department of Transportation.
The new regulation requires ticket agents and airlines to display the fares that include taxes and fees more prominently than the base fares.
The agency also found that TripAdvisor failed to disclose to customers that tickets sold through a major carrier were actually on flights operated by a regional carrier through a “code-sharing” agreement.
In a statement, TripAdvisor said, “We were surprised by the Department of Transportation’s ruling that suggested consumers might feel confused or deceived in these matters.”
“However, naturally we have made the Department of Transportation’s requested changes to be compliant with the regulations, including reducing the display of the base fare by two font sizes against the total fare in one placement in our search results.”