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DOT Fines Internet Sellers Over Travel Fees

April 07, 2002|Jane Engle

Two Internet travel sellers were fined last month by the U.S. Department of Transportation over how they displayed taxes and other charges.

The DOT said www.travelocity.com omitted some taxes and fees in initial displays of airline fares although it did display them when the purchaser prepared to book the flights. It also said so-called fuel surcharges, which airlines add to fares, were not properly displayed in "Best Fare Finder" searches. "We thought the way we were doing this was in compliance with the rules," a Travelocity spokesman said, adding that there was no intent to deceive customers and that the site has changed its displays. The company was fined $50,000.

The DOT said that in advertising travel packages, www.site59.com failed to mention that fees and taxes would be added to the listed prices. A spokeswoman for Site59, which specializes in last-minute bookings and was recently bought by Travelocity, called it a "technical violation" and said taxes and fees were displayed before purchase. The company was fined $40,000.

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