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WestJet - Unethical "Seat Sale"?

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  • Jan 31st, 2009 8:06 am
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[OP]
Member
Dec 22, 2007
364 posts
20 upvotes

WestJet - Unethical "Seat Sale"?

Hey guys, so I've never booked through [rfdlink=114]West Jet[/rfdlink] before, but I was well aware that they had a policy where you can cancel a flight within the same day at no fee (this is what the rep told me over the phone). I booked a round trip for 2 to Vancouver (seats sale had the tickets there priced at $105 each, and return at $125 each, plus all those fees) at around 11:00pm on Tuesday night. [rfdlink=114]WestJet[/rfdlink] claimed these prices were "50% off". I wake up at 9:00am on Wednesday morning, and just for the sake of checking, I notice "40% off seat sale". So I click to check the Vancouver costs, and they are now down to $79 there and $79 back! My booking costed me $641, whereas 10 hours later it now costs $490! I called [rfdlink=114]West Jet[/rfdlink], and the rep yet again said, "had this occured on the same day, we would gladly rebook your seats and refund you the difference as a credit, however, because it was a different calendar day we won't." Can you believe this??

..I called them back immediately and the rep told me "I don't think I should refund this" even though I pointed out how unethical it is to misadvertise the pricing (first claiming a 50% off discount, then a 40% discount at an even lower price) and to do so within a matter of hours.. not even days! The rep seemed to mildly understand, so he credited me $46.. Big effin deal, right?

So I call back again, hours later, and speak with another rep, absolutely furious. The guy tells me no, there's nothing he can do. I yet again point out how unethical it is to tell me 10 hours later doesn't count as "same day" (my idea of a full day is 24 hours..) He credits me another $52.50. Okay, a little bit better I suppose.. But what about the other $50?!

Am I the only one who thinks this is unethical to falsely advertise promotional pricing, and to try and deny a "price protection" within 24 hours? Perhaps you have all dealt with [rfdlink=114]WestJet[/rfdlink] before, so know more than I do..
50 replies
Sr. Member
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Dec 6, 2008
501 posts
27 upvotes
Ontario
invisible wrote: Hey guys, so I've never booked through West Jet before, but I was well aware that they had a policy where you can cancel a flight within the same day at no fee (this is what the rep told me over the phone). I booked a round trip for 2 to Vancouver (seats sale had the tickets there priced at $105 each, and return at $125 each, plus all those fees) at around 11:00pm on Tuesday night. WestJet claimed these prices were "50% off". I wake up at 9:00am on Wednesday morning, and just for the sake of checking, I notice "40% off seat sale". So I click to check the Vancouver costs, and they are now down to $79 there and $79 back! My booking costed me $641, whereas 10 hours later it now costs $490! I called West Jet, and the rep yet again said, "had this occured on the same day, we would gladly rebook your seats and refund you the difference as a credit, however, because it was a different calendar day we won't." Can you believe this??

..I called them back immediately and the rep told me "I don't think I should refund this" even though I pointed out how unethical it is to misadvertise the pricing (first claiming a 50% off discount, then a 40% discount at an even lower price) and to do so within a matter of hours.. not even days! The rep seemed to mildly understand, so he credited me $46.. Big effin deal, right?

So I call back again, hours later, and speak with another rep, absolutely furious. The guy tells me no, there's nothing he can do. I yet again point out how unethical it is to tell me 10 hours later doesn't count as "same day" (my idea of a full day is 24 hours..) He credits me another $52.50. Okay, a little bit better I suppose.. But what about the other $50?!

Am I the only one who thinks this is unethical to falsely advertise promotional pricing, and to try and deny a "price protection" within 24 hours? Perhaps you have all dealt with WestJet before, so know more than I do..
Basically, the representative said it is for same day only and you want it to have effect on the day after because the time frame was relatively close. It's not false advertisement in any way. And usually that's how most air services do with prices - constantly changing every day (some on a per hour basis depending on some other factors).

Tough luck, but at least you got reimbursed a little for it. If you are truly desperate, then keep hassling them.
Deal Addict
May 1, 2006
3817 posts
322 upvotes
Toronto
just because you're personally pissed off because you missed a specific sales time frame doesn't mean anything is unethical. be glad you got any money back at all.
Member
Jul 4, 2008
206 posts
I guess that means WestJet's 'day' is midnight to midnight Mountain Time? As opposed to time zone of the person booking the flight?

Anyway, I don't think it is unethical, but I certainly don't get how WestJet prices their flights. My most recent flight from Toronto cost me $109. Which I thought was pretty good. But in the few days before I booked it and for a few days after the price ranged from $99 to $454.

Oh well. Kudos to WestJet for adding that scrolling price checker. Great little rig when you don't have set leave and return dates. And if you let it run it'll check months into the future. :cheesygri
Sr. Member
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Dec 21, 2006
649 posts
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Richmond
There's nothing unethical about what they did and you were pretty fortunate to get even some money back.

The same-day refund policy is basically there to let you correct mistakes. I took advantage of this when I once booked a Kelowna-Vancouver-Kelowna round trip instead of the other way around. The policy is not there to provide any kind of "price protection".

As for the 40%/50% off thing, it's usually a bad idea to buy into those tactics. Obviously they can just say that they adjusted their "regular price" downward, which they are well within their rights to do at any time.
Sr. Member
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Dec 21, 2006
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Richmond
eastwood wrote: I guess that means WestJet's 'day' is midnight to midnight Mountain Time? As opposed to time zone of the person booking the flight?

Anyway, I don't think it is unethical, but I certainly don't get how WestJet prices their flights. My most recent flight from Toronto cost me $109. Which I thought was pretty good. But in the few days before I booked it and for a few days after the price ranged from $99 to $454.

Oh well. Kudos to WestJet for adding that scrolling price checker. Great little rig when you don't have set leave and return dates. And if you let it run it'll check months into the future. :cheesygri
Airlines have (so I'm told) developed some pretty complex algorithms to set pricing such that it maximizes their profit from every single flight. The price on any given day is probably some function of the number of days until the flight, how many seats are left, the rate at which similar flights fill up, etc.. As far as I know, there's no magic secret to cracking the system and guaranteeing you get the best price.
Deal Addict
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Aug 21, 2006
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Ottawa
I was hoping to come here seeing that they were having a seat sale "only for skinny people" or "only for westerners".
Deal Addict
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Aug 15, 2006
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Kingston
I have to agree with everyone else here.

It was a one day sale and you gambled and lost. Westjet could have a one day sale every day for a yr and it could fluctuate from day to day. It is a crap shoot, you win some and you lose some.

Their policy specifically stated that you could make any changes within that specific day. You bought the tickets on a Tuesday and the price was cheaper on Wednesday. Sure it was only 10 hrs later, but the point is that it was a one day sale and you basically had 1 hr to make any changes.
Banned
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Jul 16, 2003
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Toronto
invisible wrote: ... I yet again point out how unethical it is to tell me 10 hours later doesn't count as "same day" (my idea of a full day is 24 hours..) ...
So wednesday is not from 00:00 until 23.59...its from timeof:thepurchase until 24hours:later, right ?
Andre Oliveira - Mortgage Agent
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Nov 30, 2005
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Belleville, ON
I'm just shaking my head at the TS.
+1 to what everyone has said. Stop pestering the reps.
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2008
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Langley
A day is not a 24 hour period from when a specific event took place or birthdays and anniversaries would be even harder to remember that they are now.
Deal Addict
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Dec 11, 2006
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Calgary
+1 I would agree with everyone else


Try getting dealing with Air Canada and you will see what bad customer service is!! That's at the check in desk, on the plane and if you really unfortunate, the lost baggage area. I have have to deal with all three and it is not holiday!! Try losing luggage from calgary to edmonton, i don't even know how that is possible on such a short flight.
:lol:

Calgary, AB
Newbie
Sep 16, 2008
80 posts
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i looked at the westjet website and couldn't find that policy anywhere. But it sounds to me like if they meant one day was from 12 to 12 they should explicitly state that somewhere. BUT, i used to watch judge judy, and when ever someone gives you a small amount of a refund it means that they've admitted liability... so maybe you can run with that? Good luck.
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Dec 18, 2008
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does your local TV station have one of those consumer reporters people can take this issue to?

in vancouver CTV has this guy called Olsen on your side and he takes cameras and stuff to businesses - lartge and small who rip people off and the people usually get refunded or the problem fixed

take it to the media and expose west jet

I remember they were havinga $1 fare sale once so i looked up some prices and one way was regular price and the return was "$1" so i totallted it and it was bout $450 or so

so I tried a different date when they didn't have the $1 sale and the price totalled the same around $450

all they did was jack the $1 fare up for the going there portion - the regular non sale fare was about equal for both retrun and going portions

cheeky
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Dec 21, 2006
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Richmond
ithumbus wrote: if they meant one day was from 12 to 12 they should explicitly state that somewhere.
Isn't that kind of the universally-accepted definition of a day???

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