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U.S. Department of Justice Notified of Southwest Airlines Fare Scheme

Published fare offered at $234 one day after purchase

Fare published at $234 but required purchase price of $411

Published fare offered at $234 ONE HOUR before depature

New evidence details U.S. DOT violations related to real-time published fares that yield profound pricing increases moments later at point of sale.

It was obvious to me that many others have been victimized in the same manner with this predatory pricing model.
— David Howe
DALLAS, TX, U.S.A., October 15, 2015 /EINPresswire.com/ -- In response to DOT case # JI2015100057, the following additional explanation and documentation have been prepared for the U.S. Department of Justice.

"On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, I shopped Southwest.com for airfare from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale for travel on Thursday, October 15, 2015," said David Howe, president of SubscriberWise. "I entered the departure and arrival cities along with the date. I was provided a number of options. I chose a non-stop flight (Flight #1877) and selected the 'Wanna Get Away' fare. The published fare was $234.00.

"I agreed with the one-way published fare and confirmed the option for purchase. Next I was prompted to enter the traveler information, contact information, and payment. The process required only a minute or two, in part because payment information was maintained with my Southwest account," acknowledged Howe. "After I entered the necessary information - less than 3 minutes - I selected the 'Complete this Purchase' option. I didn't receive the expected confirmation, but instead an error indicating that the fare was no longer available at the price published. Frustrated, I returned to the search page and re-submitted the travel information only to obtain a significantly higher fare of $411.00.

"And, regrettably, $411.00 is the amount that Southwest ultimately charged for the one-way 'Wanna Get Away' fare that they initially offered for an advertised price of $234.00 seconds earlier," continued Howe. "That mysterious and substantial on-the-fly fare hike translated into a price increase of 75 percent, mere minutes after agreeing to pay for the lower fare.

"I'd argue this is hardly consistent with Southwest's new 'TRANSFARENCY' ad campaign," Howe commented.

"I contacted Southwest immediately after I was charged the additional $177.00. I was politely advised that 'prices are
subject to change' and fare rules have been in place for 'years and years and years'. Although Southwest's customer representative was very professional, her performance was also highly scripted as it related to my concerns over their pricing scheme - including my repeated claims of bait-and-switch pricing. It seemed obvious to me that others had been subject to this predatory pricing model," Howe said.

"Among other things, I was told that I could not have a refund for the lower fare. I was told no supervisor was available during that time and only additional explanations regarding Southwest's pricing scheme could be offered (audio of call: http://www.subscriberwise.com/media/SWA.wav ).

"On Wednesday, October 14, 2015, I returned to Southwest.com and searched for the exact same itinerary. To my dismay, Southwest.com (http://www.southwest.com) was continuing to advertise for purchase the lower fare of $234.00. I immediately notified Jessica Ilich of the U.S. Department of Transportation with this perplexing news, including providing her with a screen-shot proving the date the fare was published.

"Today, Thursday October 15, 2015, approximately one hour before the scheduled departure, I was outraged to find the same fare quote of $234.00, particularly after I paid $411.00 for the exact same itinerary only two days earlier. Once again, I provided this information to Jessica Ilich of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"I've asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an investigation into Southwest's computerized pricing
scheme. I've also asked the Department of Transportation to vigorously enforce rules that require airlines to sell fares at the price that's published or quoted.

"I'm hopeful Southwest's senior executives will acknowledge they have a serious failure with their computerized pricing and agree to implement new technology to protect consumers from this current predatory model.

"For the record, I have absolutely no other complaints or criticism for Southwest Airlines," concluded Howe.

About SubscriberWise

SubscriberWise® launched as the first U.S. issuing consumer reporting agency exclusively for the
cable industry in 2006. In 2009, SubscriberWise and TransUnion announced a joint marketing
agreement for the benefit of America's independent cable operators. Today SubscriberWise is a risk
management preferred-solutions provider for the National Cable Television Cooperative.

SubscriberWise protects billions of dollars of capital equipment and programming costs for leading
communications companies across the nation. SubscriberWise technology also protects the
identities of children and adults everywhere.

David Howe
SubscriberWise
330-880-4848 x137
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