Should Costa reverse course on this fare error?

Kosmider/Shutterstock
By | June 16th, 2014

Oh no, not again.

That was my first reaction when I heard from Alexander Lavrinovich about Costa Cruises’ refusal to honor a fare on a Mediterranean sailing in August.

Lavrinovich contacted me last week asking for help. He’d paid 145 euro for a cruise on the Costa Classica, received a confirmation, and several days later, was informed that because of a “system error” his fare was incorrect. He could either pay seven times more for his vacation, or get a full refund.

“I would be grateful for any advice and helpful information on how to act in this situation,” he says. And if I would push Costa to honor the fare, that would be nice, too.

I have a long and tortured relationship with fare-error predators that I feel compelled to disclose.

It’s true: travel companies have double standards when it comes to mistakes. For example, if Lavrinovich booked a cruise, and was outside the cancellation period, he would lose his entire vacation. But it can cancel a sailing at any time, for any reason. Not exactly fair.

But just because a cruise line would stick it to us doesn’t mean we should do the same thing. If Lavrinovich knowingly booked a mistake fare with the intention to hold its feet to the fire with some negative media exposure, then I won’t get involved. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

We’ve debated this issue before. Here’s the last big dust-up, for your entertainment. No point in rehashing it, except to say that my position is unchanged.

If Lavrinovich knew this was an incorrect fare, and booked it anyway, I won’t get involved.

Related story:   Wish I could forget about the Hideaway Inn

But did he? Let’s dive into this case a little. By the way, there’s a related post on Cruise Critic, if you prefer the annotated version.

He booked a seven-night Mediterranean cruise of the Greek Islands departing from Rhodes. A quick check of the rates shows the price of an inside cabin at around $1,300.

After a call from Costa’s office in Italy to Lavrinovich and at least 30 other passengers, who were connected via Cruise Critic and Facebook page, the cruise line outlined its reasons for the fare change:

You will understand that this mistake was clearly recognizable as all other cruises in the website were sold to a much higher price and there was no indication of discounts.

We have immediately corrected the error, but regretfully we had to modify the bookings already processed, including yours.


Lavrinovich agrees that at first glance, it looks as if he and the other customers whose fares were “modified” were taking advantage of an obvious fare mistake. But he insists they weren’t.

“145 euro is a pretty good price, but not fantastic at all,” he says. “Costa Classica is the oldest and the cheapest ship. Even this year, there were sale prices even less than 145 euro for other cruises. As for the so-called right price, more than 1,000 euro is just enormous.”

I asked Lavrinovich how he found out about the deal.

Nothing special. We have our own Facebook group where a lot of people share various touristic sales and discounts. So somebody found that offer (and that was nothing special — a regular offer that could be easily found on one of Costa websites) and a lot of people started making the bookings.

My response: “Costa will probably tell me that the group knowingly booked a mistake fare, and that because you knew, or should have known, that it was a mistake, they don’t have to honor it.”

My answer seemed to put him on the defensive.

Just to clarify my own position — and that is true for most of the people in the story — we are not evil.

We don’t want to sue Costa just to get compensation. We just like the cruise and want Costa to honor the original price.

And our conscience is clear – the price is not fantastic. It is on the lowest boundary of Costa’s regular sale prices.

Some of you reading this will say otherwise — that the fare clearly had a missing decimal point. I hear you.

Costa’s original request to pay up or face a cancellation has since been modified, and now it’s offering Lavrinovich and the other members of the group a 300 euro “sale” price. But they’re unimpressed. They want Costa to honor the original price.

I’m really torn. If this wasn’t an obvious fare error, then I could make a case for Cost honoring the price. A business shouldn’t be able to revise its rates after you’ve made a purchase.

On the other hand, people who prey on businesses by exploiting price errors — no matter their justifications — are thieves. And people who encourage others to book obvious mistake fares are not just evil, but a special kind of evil.

So we have two questions to answer here, and thus, two polls to take. First, was the original fare an obvious error?

Is a 145 euro fare for a seven-day Mediterranean cruise an obvious fare error?

View Results

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And depending on how you answer that, should I inject myself in this dispute and ask Costa to honor the original fare?

Should I ask Costa to honor its 145 euro fares?

View Results

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  • Richard

    Come on. 20€ a night for a cruise. I don’t care how old the ship is or even how bad the food might be. You can’t get lunch for that price. The 300€ price offered is more than fair.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    For the moment. I’m sidestepping whether business should honor fat fingered fares.

    Looking at what we know.

    …According to Chris, inside cabins run about $1300, much higher than 145e.
    …The LW and his friends are part of a Facebook page that deals with cruises. That suggests to me that they have some sophistication about cruises and presumably cruise prices.

    Therefore it’s hard to believe that they reasonably believed that 145e was a reasonable price.

    This is particularly telling….

    So somebody found that offer (and that was nothing special — a regular
    offer that could be easily found on one of Costa websites) and a lot of
    people started making the bookings.

    I find that statement to be less than credible. If this offer was nothing special, why did a lot of people start booking? The obvious conclusion is the offer was not nothing special

    The facts surrounding this situation, specifically:

    …The huge price 7x price differential
    …The LW’s likely sophistication
    …The LW’s likely multiple duplicitous statements

    lead me to the inescapable conclusion that the LW and 30 of his closest friends purposely booked an obviously erroneous fare.

  • FQTVLR

    Like Carver says, noting the Facebook page devoted to travel specials is pretty much a dead giveaway that they spotted a fare error and booked, as did others getting the info. from that page. Leave this one alone.

  • sirwired

    I’m sure there are maybe some last-minute “We might as well get SOMETHING for this berth” specials for super-duper cheap, but 145 for a Mediterranean cruise in the high season booked months in advance? Perhaps a link to one of these other similar sales could be provided, ’cause I don’t believe it.
    300 is a more than “fare” compromise, and they should take it.

  • TonyA_says

    How can anyone reasonably know this was an obvious fare error? Don’t cruise lines have cheap fare sales? Was it fat fingered? Why is it an error? Just because Costa says so?
    From what I can gather, a bunch of Russians went to the Norwegian page to buy a Mediterreanean cruise. Should they have used the Russian page? Why can’t they shop around? Why should consumers be penalized for devouring cheap prices, even if they organize themselves in facebook pages?
    This is not like those Myanmar fares where the currency had a big depreciation and the airlines were slow to adjust the MYR rate in relation to their currency.
    Can someone point out the reason why this was an obvious mistake?

  • John Baker

    Ugh … I’m really conflicted on this case. First, and foremost, I have always believed that once a business charges the credit card for the deposit, they should honor the fare. They’ve made the choice to save money by taking the human out of the loop, which is fine, but they need to own the mistakes a human would have caught if they were in the loop. Beyond that, I have seen Carnival, part of the same parent as Costa, advertise 7 day Caribbean cruises for $199. At current exchange rates, his €145 is just a little under that so on its face a week for €145 isn’t that obvious an error.

    However, this is a case where something is just not right with the OP’s story. I’m going to assume he’s American since he contacted Chris. I went to Costa’s website. They price cruises in your home currency. Since he’s not complaining about them not honoring a $199 fare but a €145 fare Since he’s complaining about a €145 and not a $199 fare, I’m going to assume he went to a non-US version of their website. There’s no real reason to do that unless you are “gaming” the system. It also raises the possibility that he wasn’t eligible for the fare (Cruise lines in the states run FL only specials all the time). I know … lots of assumptions but I think they are reasonable ones.

    In short, if you’re going to game the system, own it. Don’t run to the media when you get caught.

  • stevepy

    I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary. I booked a 12 night transatlantic on Royal Caribbean for $449 (single occupancy – double occupancy was $299/person), and I was able to use a $50 repeat customer credit and received $100 on-board credit. Even with these sale prices, the ship sailed at about a 70% occupancy rate. There were so many rooms available, I was upgraded from my cheap-o inside cabin to an ocean view family room in order to fill up some of the lower revenue cabins.

    This was far from a mistake fare – if cruise lines are trying to fill the ship, they’ll price aggressively knowing they can make up for it in liquor or other areas. I’ve seen similar low fares – especially close to a sail date or when they are aggressively trying to fill the ship.

  • TonyA_says

    Don’t you think the cruise lines , hotels, and the airlines are gaming us, too? Isn’t yield pricing management a game? The reason why people game the system is because the supplier created the game (in the first place). Part of the game is lack of consumer protection. That allows the supplier not to honor so-called mistakes, tilting the game to their favor. Sometimes we have a good referee. An example of this is the DOT’s prohibition against post price increases. I find it so naive for anyone who is inside the playground or the stadium to say they don’t want to play the game. I believe, we are all better off if we know how to play the game well. Running to the media, including using Facebook to your advantage (public shaming) is now part of the game.

  • TonyA_says

    I didn’t know we had a cruise pricing accountant and guru here :-)

  • John Baker

    @TonyA_says:disqus I have never seen YPM systems as a game. If the LW had come to Chris with a fare that he purchased on the US page, I’d support him 100%. If he’d found this on his own and was already interested in a cruise, 100% again. He didn’t. In fact, he basically admitted to the behavior that Chris detests. A group on the internet that seeks out fares like this to take advantage of. Funny thing is… I’m willing to bet if they didn’t all jump on it right away, they would have gotten away with it. It probably the spike in traffic that highlighted what was occurring.

    Its a fine line thing with me and it all has to do with intent. Last year I stumbled on a cruise fare just after New Years where a suite was selling for what a standard room did the cruise before. Booked it. I found it because I was looking for a cruise not because I was trolling FB pages looking for mistakes. I would have sent a note to Chris if the company had come back. Interestingly, the fare of the standard room was almost equal to our suite by the time the pay in full date arrived. Sometimes you get lucky with timing …

  • TonyA_says

    Obviously erroneous fare? I deal with airfares everyday. Sometimes I see a bewildering fare being discussed in a hacker site. They think it is an error fare. I investigate. But unlike most of them (hackers), I have the ability to do deeper research. From my experience, many cheap fares that are labelled obviously erroneous are not obviously erroneous. The basic reason is that fares are now so complex and convoluted and buyers cannot simply guess what the seller had in mind. There is no reason for a buyer to do anything else than to take the published fare at face value. If it is cheap for you, then buy. If it is not cheap then don’t buy.

    Bottom line: it is the seller’s responsibility to prove why the fare was posted in error. Just because the fare is dirt cheap does not mean it is erroneous. If you read the DOT inquiries about the more recent so-called mistake fares you will begin to understand why. I don’t think the DOT believed they were simply fat-fingered .

  • DotWonder

    having seen 14 day transatlantic fares go for $249, i wouldn’t have batted an eye at paying 145Euro for a week

  • Nick Paegle
  • Stephen Pickford

    Cruise lines, airlines, hotels…all employ lawyers with six-figure salaries. Therefore, if they insist on outsourcing their IT departments to India, they have, therefore, assumed internally the risk for errors. Is it so difficult to review materials before one pushes the proverbial button to “post to site”?

  • Sharon

    I agree that the price is not so “extraordinary”. Considering the fact that Costa has had some rock-bottom pricing in past months due to the bad publicity of the Concordia situation, the price – if it was for an inside cabin – might have been almost realistic.

    Last year we had great pricing on the Ruby Princess (and for me, Princess is several notches up from Costa) and a 5-night Caribbean cruise in relatively high-season mid-February (think Valentine’s Day) was offered for IIRC inside cabin $229.pp We booked a balcony for $349 since the price was excellent. And, on top of that, every guest (inside or balcony) received a tax-deduction form (ours was for $200 per person since it was a balcony cabin) – the amount of which was paid by Princess, since the cruise was to benefit the American Heart Association.

  • Michael__K

    The article says:

    He’d paid 145 euro for a cruise

    The annotated version (related post on Cruise Critic that Chris linked to) says:

    the price paid was cheap, but did not look like an obvious mistake (about 420$ per booking).

    Which is it? 145 Euros is just under $200.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Simple. If it walk like a duck.

    The seller states that it was an error
    The LW acts like it was an error. (More than merely booking it)

    Probably was an error.

  • TonyA_says

    John, how about using Nash Equilibrium in Airline (or Cruise) Pricing? Isn’t that game theory? How do we know if Contra was not initiating or responding to some kind of competitive pricing in Norway?

    Consumers do not control or publish prices, suppliers do. So why do consumers have to justify if the price they saw is correct or a mistake?
    It is the supplier that has to prove they made a mistake. So far I have not seen Costa explain where the mistake is and why they made the mistake.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    It’s not just the price, but the surrounding facts. My last cruise was in 1986. I’m ignorant about prices. But I travel to downtown Los Angeles routinely. Next trip is this Saturday. I’m very knowledgeable about LA area business oriented hotels and the prices. At the hotel that I will be staying at, the cheapest publicly availabe rate that I’ve ever seen was $88…in 2001, the day after Thanksgiving.

    If I saw a publicly available, unrestricted weekday rate for under $100, I couldn’t claim, with a straight face, that I believed it was legit. My experience belies that contention.

    I submit that the LW is in the same position.

  • TonyA_says

    Maybe I should add they also own a losing NBA team, register their ships in tax-free or low tax and easily corruptible countries, what else? (added: using cheap workers from third-world countries) :-)

    What’s a few hundred dollars in less revenue to these guys?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Errors always happen. Perfection has not yet been attained.

  • TonyA_says

    Guilty of using Facebook to find a cheap fare? OMG what’s happening here?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Context Tony. It’s that combined with the fact that a lot of people started booking it upon its presentation.

  • Raven_Altosk

    He’s a fat-finger-fare predator.
    Let him fight his own battles.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I think customers only have to justify it if the facts surrounding it suggests that they knew that the fare was an error, hence the obvious modifier.

    Charging $500 when you meant $600 is not obvious. Charging $6.00 when you mean $600 is.

    Or in my case, when some Westin in Florida was charging the exact same rate for every room, including 2 bedroom suites.

  • TonyA_says

    Carver, you sound like Costa is blameless here.
    I see nothing wrong in a democratic and free-market based country for consumers to read facebook, discover a great price, and buy.

    Added: and talking about CONTEXT. What is the net damage to this business empire? Probably meaningless compared to the tax breaks they get,

  • John Baker

    @Michael__K:disqus After I got done laughing at the CC string, I did a little research. About the time this happened, the EUR to USD was trading at about $1.37. Add in a foreign exchange fee and you get $210 per person or $420 per cabin/booking.

    I just think the units got mixed up…

  • TonyA_says

    Suppose it was a real sale and the Russians did not pounce on it because according to Elliott readers it looked too cheap.
    Who will they blame? Of course themselves. They missed an opportunity.
    Different people have different understandings and morals.
    But to allow Contra or any travel company to use the mistake get out of jail card willy-nilly is more dangerous IMO.
    People need to be able to believe the price they see on a website and if it is not correct, the website needs to explain why (and not the readers).

  • sirwired

    And that’s a cruise that is two weeks away; a last-minute special. Is there something two months out near that rate?

  • Richard

    TransAtlantic fares, especially in spring and fall, are usually re-positioning voyages. The ship is going to go from to port of origination to the destination full or empty. If the ship carries a nominal crew they might as well be doing something. So, the actual out-of-pocket incremental cost per passenger may be very low: food and cleaning supplies. OTOH, in season cruises are the bread and butter f the business this is where thy make their profit and it is very unlikely they would offer 20€ a night.

  • pauletteb

    I agree. Perhaps those so vigorously defending the OP may themselves have fat fingers.

  • TonyA_says

    Re:

    If Lavrinovich knowingly booked a mistake fare with the
    intention to hold its feet to the fire with some negative media
    exposure, then I won’t get involved. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Actually a much larger event recently happened, also in Norway. Does anyone here remember the Wideroe case? Well thanks to the DOT and the law prohibiting post-purchase price increase, no one had to come here and beg for help.

    Because we have this law, booking a mistake fare is now fair game.

  • You seem overly aggressive in your defense of the OP. Not sure why that is….

    First, to me the fare does seem like a mistake. Not the most sophisticated cruise traveler, but that price just seems to good to be true. Second, I don’t see why a mistake cannot be corrected. Perhaps the price posted was per night. Would seem logical.

    Anyway, I have no sympathy for the OP, and don’t think assistance should be given in this case.

  • Alan Gore

    If no ticket for the funny fare was ever issued, the OP does not have much of a case. A real travel problem begins when you are underway, and the unexpected happens.

  • TonyA_says

    Overly aggressive?
    I would be IF Costa has actually proved it was a mistake.
    But as I said in a number of posts, we in the USA already kinda sealed the fate of mistake fares. Our government actually protects consumers because we now have a law the prohibits post purchase price increases.
    [Of course they can try to cancel and refund but let’s see if they get away with that under unfair and deceptive advertising.]

    Maybe unbeknownst to many Elliott followers, there is a law in the USA (maybe not in Russia or Norway, I don’t know) and I cannot see why we have to keep on debating the morality or ethics here.
    These types of consumer protection pricing laws are not rare.
    In Connecticut we have this:

    Sec. 21a-79-7. Electronic pricing error. One item at no cost.
    (a) In the event that any consumer commodity electronically scans at the cash register or checkout terminal at a retail price which is higher than the posted retail price, one item of such consumer commodity, up to a value of twenty dollars, shall be given to the consumer at no cost.

  • ORguest

    To me, it’s not an “obvious error”, but sounds too good to be true. I would have wondered what was excluded. Using today’s exchange rate, it’s about $197. For a seven day cruise? I don’t think so. Costa’s counter offer (roughly $408) seems fair.

  • saffy

    Similarly, in 2012 we took a Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity. Balcony staterooms, 10 day cruise, for $500 per person. It was a special fare, but we just got in at a good time, the rate was booked through AAA, no computer glitches involved. Celebrity is, to me, many notches above Costa, so this doesn’t seem all that out of line.

  • TonyA_says

    To Sharon and Saffy, I see your point. But isn’t it strange that a cruiser has to prove their innocence when they buy a cheap fare? From now on you have to pray to the holy spirit for guidance – is this a mistake or just a real cheap fare?

  • How does one prove this mistake?

    And that law you quoted, I could see where it would apply to actual stores, but not sure it could be applied to online transactions.

  • TonyA_says

    The DOT one applies to online transactions.

    How does COSTA prove this is a mistake? I’ll leave that to them.
    I’m not in their payroll. Unfortunately, based on what I read above, they did not even try.

    ADDED:

    You will understand that this mistake was clearly recognizable as all other cruises in the website were sold to a much higher price and there was no indication of discounts.

    Do you really think a consumer has to look at ALL OTHER CRUISES to make a decision?

    If they fat fingered this one, then tell us HOW.

  • Asiansm Dan

    On the other hand, Bait & Switch, numerous hidden extra fees are not unfamiliar with the Cruise Industries. Any sale tactic stunts are permitted but they don’t take responsibility when thing goes wrong by their fault.

  • TonyA_says

    What if the cruiser bought airline tickets to the cruise embarkation port and from the disembarkation point?
    You don’t think this is a problem?

  • Daddydo

    You sir, are alright be me. Wow, a person that can make total sense of a bad situation!

  • TonyA_says

    But that is exactly the point. If one goes directly to the SUPPLIER’s site, why would they have to pontificate or second guess the price?
    Suppliers can insure themselves against their own errors.
    Aren’t we expected to insure ourselves as travelers?

  • TonyA_says

    Insurance (ie E&O), Carver. Buy it.

  • um..they typed in the wrong amount? ;)

  • TonyA_says

    Question: How do you know it is a mistake fare?
    Answer: I know one when I see one :-)

  • TonyA_says

    I would really appreciate it if they said that (even in Italian google translate). But they didn’t.
    They did not even tell the LW what they intended to write down as the correct fare. Maybe the reason is they have to prove it.

  • kp propertyitaly

    if a company advertises something whether it is a price or a description they have to honour that or you can sue them with the trade act, its misrepresentation and false advertising, talk to a lawyer they will confirm or read the act it is online somewhere

  • Jennifer Moore

    I routinely pay less than $30 a night for a cruise. Costa is a low cost provider, and I would expect them to be in the $30-$50 range.

  • TonyA_says

    That’s why many sites ask us to key in our email address(es) and password twice, right. You’d think Costa (and their mother company) would do the same?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Mr. Lavrinovich is being disingenuous. I decided to go looking at that Cruise Critic thread, where he’s “imagenature”. His comments in that thread and on others strongly suggest to me that he likes to look for loopholes.

    That being said, Costa screwed up by posting an incorrect fare on a Norwegian website, which the OP and others latched onto. That Cruise Critic thread indicates the fare was discounted by 93% and that Costa is trying to up the price to a 73% discount. IMHO, Costa should just eat that other 20% and use it as a lesson learned in proofreading.

    As for Christopher Elliott’s role in this: RUN AWAY! I know how much he hates a particular aviation forum and their penchant for finding unbelievable fares. His name has now been invoked as a champion for this kind of nonsense on Cruise Critic. The OP says he lives in continental Europe (per a CC thread post) and is a Costa shareholder. Let him fight his own battles using tools available to him in Europe and as a shareholder.

  • TonyA_says

    What is the difference between Mr. Lavrinovich and the other constant whiners (or maybe even liers) that complain to Chris? They all have an axe to grind?
    So let’s take this conversation to a higher level.
    Shouldn’t (large) cruise companies, airlines, hotel chains be held accountable for the rates they post on their own websites?
    Why can’t they buy insurance or self-insure against their own errors or omissions?
    I don’t think Costa or its big owner will go under because of this event.
    If Mr. Lavrinovich went to Facebook and took advantage of a dirt cheap fare, then he’s just doing what is acceptable now in the sharing economy. Russians can also participate in the capitalist, free-market world. Thanks to the Norwegian site :-)

  • DeLight

    I feel no urge to defend myself but your particular comment caught my attention because of the false information in it.
    I never posted on CruiseCritic, I just sent this link to Elliott as an example of other people being resented by the same situation.

  • DavidYoung2

    Well now just hold on there a minute. Two things jump out at me:

    1) Is it true that this cruise line offers the same or similar cruises for the same or lower price? If so, it’s not an ‘obvious’ mistake.

    2) Why did Costa ‘recalculate’ his fare to € 1,000 (US$1,300) but now says €300 is okay? Wait a minute Costa! One day the ‘real’ price is €1,000 and now it’s €300, a drop of 70%? If that’s true, why is € 145, so ‘obviously’ an error?

    To me, if it’s true that Costa does occasionally offer the same or similar cruise for the same or lower price, it’s not an obvious error. And the fact that Costa is now lowering its ‘real’ price to €300 tells me there’s a whole lot of flexibility in Costa’s pricing, and from €300 to €145 isn’t so unbelievable (a further discount of €155 isn’t an ‘obvious’ fare error.)

  • DeLight

    I’m not Russian. A lot of the people in the story are, though :)
    Also Norwegian, Belgian, French or any other Costa website explicitly state residents of what countries their rates are applicable to. The rates in the story were applicable to Russian residents.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Per my 2nd paragraph, I agree with your position.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    My mistake, then. An “Alexander Lavrinovich” writes to Christopher Elliott about the exact same situation that “imagenature” writes about on Cruise Critic. An earlier post by @imagenature on CC dated Feb. 19, 2012 is signed by “Alex”. So, naturally I assumed that imagenature = Alex = Alexander Lavrinovich. “Could somebody recently sailed on Norwegian Jade remember a price of Walkie-Talkie on board? Do they sell it? Is it reasonably priced or I better get one before cruising?

    Thanks, Alex
    __________________
    @imagenature”

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    No, not at all. Costa made an error with the price. But that’s not the issue here.

    I see nothing wrong in a democratic and free-market based country for consumers to read facebook, discover a great price, and buy.

    Except it’s not a “great” price, it’s an “erroneous” price. Huge difference if the LW knew it at the time of booking. What’s the difference between that and seeing an ad for a BMW for 6K instead of 60K and trying to buy it.

    The damage to the business is at best irrelevant to this discussion.

  • DonnaW

    Just came back from a Caribbean cruise where we paid $199 for a balcony cabin, and similar prices (within $30-50) are being offered 2 months out. I kniow this was in the Med, but I’ve seen some astounding Med prices when ships weren’t full (did one on Costa a few years ago, in fact; as I recall, it was $299 for 10 days…) So those kinds of fares do pop up fairly frequently, and enthusiastic cruisers who watch for bargains naturally jump on them. I see no reason to think this would be seen as an obvious mistake, or that booking it would be unethical. Costa advertised it; they confirmed it; now they should provide the goods.
    Like airfares, cruise lines have a million different fares. There is no “fixed” price. If you surveyed 10 people on a cruise ship, you would likely find they paid 10 vastly varying fares. I say the OP should get what he booked at the price he booked it. Help him out, Chris.

  • So tell me, are you one of these people that do go around looking for these low (and possibly erroneous) fares? I just want to make sure, to understand where you are coming from.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    You’re redefining the situation. We are speaking of a very specific scenario, i.e. the obvious error. No one is suggesting a get out of jail cards willy-nilly.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Two wrong right

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Christopher Elliott – specific question for you, regardless of the merits of the situation:

    Costa is an Italian company.
    The OP is located somewhere in Europe.
    This transaction took place somewhere in Europe.

    I understand when something happens to an American renting a car from Hertz in Germany – Hertz has a large presence here in the US and you can use your resources and contacts to investigate right here. What abilities, resources, etc. can you bring to bear in this situation?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Depends on whether he knowingly purchased an erroneous fare. The general legal maxim is that if you purposely engage in bad or fraudulent behavior you suffer the consequences. If it was inadvertent that mitigation is appropriate.

  • TonyA_says

    I look at low fares, that is my job.
    People pay me to find cheap fares.
    They can use kayak or himpunk or ITA matrix for free to find some but I have to find something better :-)
    If we allow suppliers to use the mistake fare cop out without justification, it is grossly unfair to consumers and people whose job is looking for low fares.

    Also Im not sure why you seem to ride a high horse. What is so wrong with looking for dirt cheap fares? Many of my clients are not rich. Publishing a dirt cheap fare seems like public service in my book. Do you really think many people spend a lot of time figuring out if a fare is a mistake or just cheap? Maybe you don’t know since you are not in the business.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Would it cover that?

  • TonyA_says

    Have you ever bought something in Amazon’s own store?
    They have great sales, they stand behind their prices, and when they run out of the gold box items, they find a good substitute to sell cheap.
    Sorry, I just don’t buy this mistake fare BS.

  • Nothing wrong with looking for cheap fares. I’m just trying to figure out why you respond the way you do. No high horse, I don’t even have a low horse. Just wanting a little info…

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Whiners are annoying, but do not fundamentally involve ethical decisions. Chris would not assist a liar.

  • TonyA_says

    Self insurance will :-)

  • TonyA_says

    The only thing he is guilty of is being cheap and having cheap friends :-)
    I do not believe they absolutely knew this is a mistake fare not unless maybe someone inside Costa tipped them.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    In two months, the Caribbean will be at the beginning of the hurricane season. I can imagine all sorts of touristy things becoming very cheap

  • Lindabator

    Tony is not usually so aggressive – but he doesn’t like cruises to begin with, which may color his stance here.

  • DeLight

    Let me answer (I’m Alexander, the “thief” in the story).

    The only reason me and other people started all this buzz is the fact that the price of €145 (per person, so the whole amount paid for the booking was €400+, including service charges) for Costa cruise is not fantastic at all. This could be confirmed by any person who monitors their prices for at least a couple of months. It is good to make 30-50 people to book it (on a resource that has thousands of visitors) but not fantastic.

    Costa is the cheapest Europe cruise line and Costa Classica is it’s cheapest ship that is known for it’s crazy sale prices. Only this year I witnessed two similar sales (and I bet there were more of them) but didn’t even bother to book them:
    – Costa Classica from Cherbourg (June, 7 days) from €199
    – Costa Serena from Savona (November, 7 days) from €129
    I know people who booked two round trips of the latter just to have 2 weeks of cruising for €258. Last year there were a lot of sales like this and no “system error” questions were ever raised even though hundreds of people booked at these prices.

    Furthermore I even bought a flight for that cruise the same day just because I had no doubt that the price was legit. So I was literally shocked when I got a call from Costa claiming the price was a mistake and I have to pay 7 times more (more than €1000 per person, whopping €2000 per the cheapest cabin on the cheapest ship of the cheapest cruise line) to reconfirm my already confirmed booking.

    As for the offer we have now (only 3 weeks later, before that we had an “offer” to pay €1000+ per person), €300 per person is an ordinary Costa sale price – you’ll get that price for almost any of their 7-day cruise if you wait for it for enough time. Taking into consideration I have my non-refundable airline tickets bought I’m going to pay (even though Costa proposed to refund my flight too). Most of the people in the story won’t because they know that €300 will get them almost any other cruise this year. And also because going on a cruise with the company that tries to screw you up is not the most pleasant thing in the world.

    As for the moral of the story, I simply don’t understand why Elliott tries to make fun of this story. From the consumer point of view this story creates a very dangerous precedent – the price that you consider normal can be easily called a mistake and you can’t do anything about it. People in my community of cruisers have already started inventing stupid rules like “book a cruise and wait for a week to know if the price was right”. Is it normal? No.

  • TonyA_says

    owned by carnival corp?

  • TonyA_says

    Here’s the problem:

    people who prey on businesses by exploiting price errors — no matter their justifications — are thieves. And people who encourage others to book obvious mistake fares are not just evil, but a special kind of evil.

    The attitude of most people here is – You are guilty unless proven innocent.
    Sorry but you really have a good case. Unfortunately, it is poisoned by some self-righteous crusaders.

  • Some may say that your last comment is the pot calling the kettle black. Just because we don’t agree…

  • TonyA_says

    I hope you simply argue the facts.
    What facts were presented by Costa that the fare was a mistake?
    Do you know? Anyone here knows?
    Then why call it a mistake?

  • Super sleuth!

  • TonyA_says

    Yes true, full disclosure I don’t like MOST cruises but I like some river and some island ones :-)
    But if any of you can recall, I argued for the opposite in the other case (Myanmar) because I did research and found out most people knew it was really a mistake fare.
    In this particular case, NONE of us can prove it is a mistake fare.

    There has been other developments US rule enforcement since then. The UA and Wideroe case has proven that the carrier is not going to fight mistake fares.
    Today the morality behind mistake fares is moot. The US government is on your side (the buyer). It would be stupid in my end not to mention that.
    I understand Canada and EU may have similar consumer protection laws.
    The message – search all the cheap fares you can find because if you buy them, the carrier will not be able to change your price later.

  • DeLight

    Actually I don’t know why Elliott skipped a lot of facts from my letters, but in one of the latest letters Costa started claiming the following reason of the mistake:
    “As you are already aware, due to an error of our web system, the cruise you have chosen has been proposed to a wrong price. In fact the price of the cruise was indicated in NOK whilst it was Euro”.

    The amount I paid was 1159 NOK pp, other dates were selling at the price of 7959-8619 NOK pp that is ~€980-€1060, not €1159. The version sounds legit but there is still some number mismatch.

  • TonyA_says

    Oh please – obvious error. It is an obvious cheap price.
    You say it is an error but you do NOT know what the correct price should have been in Norwegian Kroners. Gimme a break.
    `

  • TonyA_says

    General Info: 1 NOK = 0.123EUR, 1 EUR = 8.12 NOK.

    Wow this is IMPORTANT information you are disclosing.
    Can you please tell us what Costa country website you used?
    If I understand you correctly you were quoted in NOKs and Costa is claiming it should have been in Euros? Am I right?

  • I have excellent contacts at Costa. Contacting them would not be a problem, and I’m sure they would respond.

  • DeLight

    That was Norwegian website that has all the rates in NOK and never charges in EUR. Yeah, they are claiming they have messed up with the currencies. This version appeared during the 3rd week of communication with Costa. Factual amounts are:
    – I was charged 1159 NOK per person.
    – They always claimed the right price was 8619 NOK per person.
    – In one of the latest emails they claimed that instead of 1159 NOK I should have paid €1159 per person. But that would make 9410 NOK, not 8619 NOK.
    So as I said the version sounds legit for me, but for some reason it appeared only now and numbers simply don’t match. That are all the facts I have.

  • Alan Gore

    There was one detail I missed on initial reading: he got a confirmation for the EUR 145 and then several days elapsed before Costa changed his fare. If he did buy airline tickets during this interval then yes, he has a case for getting Costa to pay for a foregone reservation if he decided not to book at the higher rate.

  • John Baker

    Those numbers aren’t as egregious as you would think. Internal corp exchange rates often have little to do with the current bank rate.

    For example… Current iPad mini prices from the UK and US Apple stores… £319 & $399… Based on the current exchange rate the £319 equates to $542. Put another way… Bank rate GBP to USD is 1.70 but Apple is using closer to 1.25

    For me that’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. They used an exchange rate of 0.1345 even though current bank rate is closer to 0.1230 (0.1233 when this occurred).

  • TonyA_says

    First of all thank you for coming here and explaining.
    You are a brave person.

    As far as I know, just like airlines, cruise lines also propagate their fares in GDS. Many of these fares are LOCAL – meaning they may be priced in the POINT OF SALE’S CURRENCY.

    Since this is NOT the first time Costa files a fare in NOK and there was no massive recent devaluation of the EUR/NOK to talk about, then people ticketing in Norway would not necessarily believe that a 1159 NOK quoted price is a mistake. I certainly do not expect Norwegians to compare their fares in EURO since they use NO Kroners.

    Now a dose of reality. I’m not sure my American friends here understand the power of POINT OF SALE PRICING. Let me try to explain. A trip or cruise in the Mediterranean may not involve a Scandinavian country or the USA. However, the supplier (carrier) may define fares in many different countries for that same flight or cruise. It behooves the buyer to find the cheapest POINT OF SALE (POS) where a ticket can be issued. For DeLight it was Norway.
    We live in a global economy. If the Norway site is cheaper than the Russian site or another European site, then why not buy in Norway. It is the same cruise, right?

    Now FULL DISCLOSURE. This is exactly what I do with many international air routes. I built an app (myself) that queries many different international sites for the same flight (it could be a cruise but I don’t want to sell cruises). Then I tell my clients if I find a cheaper POS for the same ticket. I give them the option to ticket from almost anywhere in the world. Why not? It saves them money.

    Should I investigate all cheap fares if they are a mistake?
    Of course not. That is the job of the GDS, not mine.
    As far as I know, Costa cruises are visible in Amadeus and Sabre GDS. If a travel agency in Norway sold the same cheap Costa fare, would they be accountable for the so-called mistake?

    Bottom line. In this highly global and computerized world and economy, who are we human agents not to trust what we see in GDS? If the carrier files their fares wrong, that is their problem. They must be held accountable or else no one would trust the systems that are in place today. Trust is more important than whatever moral issues you can think of. Sorry.

  • DeLight

    Apple is not the case here – their prices are not a result of simple conversion, they set specific almost independent prices for different markets. For example, iPhone 5s costs 29 990 RUR in Russia that makes $865 ($650 in US).

    Overall I see your point and I’m familiar with conversion rate tricks on different websites. This may be the case here as well (10% difference looks strange though). But not the numbers make it look suspicious for me, it’s the fact that this version appeared only now after a couple of weeks and a number of emails and calls.

  • John Baker

    @TonyA_says:disqus … To answer your question… If a TA can look in the GDS and see that one cruise price is very inconsistent given current exchange rates, they should know that is probably a mistake. In this case an agent looking at a GDS would see the fare in NOK is 15% of the fare in EUR. If that doesn’t raise red flags, shame on the agent.

    As I said below, its all a matter of intent and circumstances. Someone with an address in Norway that booked the fare, Costa should honor it. Someone that clearly went out of their way to book a fare that was inconsistent with every other Costa site, I could understand why Costa wouldn’t and I’m the one normally arguing the “card laid is a card played” rule that the airline / cruiseline should honor anything that they charged a deposit (or the entire fare in this case) on.

  • TonyA_says

    Sorry John, that’s not the way it works. There are some awesome LOCALIZED fares. Our job is to SEARCH them for our CUSTOMER, not to be private dicks for some morality group or an airline.

    A TA will only reject it if it can come back to haunt him (i.e. ADM).
    Almost everyone today wants a low fare. There is no bible or ten commandments in finding a low fare; just risks. My job is to match the product with the price the customer wants to pay and the risks he wants to take. Technology makes it easier for me to do it. There are NO boundaries since we can ticket or get it ticketed anywhere we want. Think of it as LEAST COST SOURCING. This is what is really happening today. Get used to it.

  • DeLight

    What does this story have to do with the address in Norway and Norwegian website at all? Why do you keep repeating that if it is completely irrelevant to the story?

    Costa has always had different prices on different websites and people have always booked on the website that proposed the best prices. Each Costa website has the information on the applicability of the prices on that website. The prices on Norwegian website are applicable to the whole Northeastern Europe region (including Russia), you can easily check that.

  • TonyA_says

    So what exactly is the moral dilemma here?
    When a passenger makes a mistake, he pays.
    When a TA makes a mistake, he pays.
    But when an airline or cruiseline posts a mistake fare, we pay?

  • TonyA_says

    people have always booked on the website that proposed the best prices

    Couldn’t have said it any better.
    Perhaps that is the problem with many Americans.
    They cannot seem to understand that prices are very different across Europe. Why not shop around? Are we too lazy?

    Maybe Americans are just quite naive about what their cousins in Europe and Australia do to shave on fares. Many Australians prior to May 2014 got a huge break ticketing Qantas in Brazil. Completely legit and moral IMO.

    I hope this site understands that the rest of world is reading it.
    Failure to understand how the other parts of the world works may simply alienate foreign readers.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thank you for responding. Glad to know that you have such a wide range of contacts. Good luck with the decision on this one.

  • bodega3

    Interesting that on CC the wording is so similar to comments you have made here and also there is the fact that another CC poster suggested a contact with Chris Elliott and this article appears. Hummmmm……..

  • bodega3

    It will be interesting to see what the cruise line says with CE contacting them. I appears to me that the LW plays the internet game and it bit him in the behind!

  • TonyA_says

    imagenature:

    May 27th, 2014, 11:48 AM

    I made two booking on Costa Classica two days ago: all payed and
    confirmed by Costa (got their pdf email confirmation). Today I received a phone call saying they had a system arrow and the price I paid is not right. They are canceling the booking or asking to pay much more.
    I have already booked air ticket that I can not refund.
    How something like this could happen? It’s unbelievable they are doing this. Any advice you could give? Thanks in advance.

  • bodega3

    Something funny about this booking…which I think you see it, too!

  • TonyA_says

    They booked DIRECTLY on the Costa site. Can they expect worse? :)

  • bodega3

    Yes he can and he got it…cancelled!

  • TonyA_says

    Chris, so much distrust seems to come from the “mention” of a Russian facebook page where supposedly 30 people or so conspired to abuse a mistake fare.
    OK I went to facebook (google translate) and cannot find the posts.
    Can you please send us a link to the specific post.
    Hopefully, we are lot better in investigating the truth rather than repeating a bunch of hearsay. Thanks

  • bodega3

    The more you post, the more you show us the tricks you play. I am even more convinced you played the game one too many times and this one you lost on.

  • bodega3

    BTW, ‘The only reason me and other people’, should be, ‘The only reason other people and I’.

  • TonyA_says

    The damage is definitely relevant :-)
    Only reason Costa made a counter offer IMO is because their reputation is getting more damaged in social media.
    For a company that sunk a ship not too long ago, you’d think they will more sensitive.
    They ought to take lessons from United during the last 2 mistake fare sales.

  • TonyA_says

    Perhaps this kind of buyer will never use a human TA because of differences in style.
    But, I have met many buyers like him – they really scrape the internet for the best deals (no matter how you and I might think risky). They do it because it’s DOABLE. And, they do have a right to do so. They are only getting bigger. Travel SEARCH technologies are still one of the hottest venture capital or crowdfunding activities

    If the average internet shopper is like him and they get screwed, will Elliott help them? How does Chris look at risky behavior? How does that relate to airbnb, vrbo, uber, lyft and other disrupting technologies that seem to go around taxes. licensing, insurance, liabilities, etc.? Are we simply just going to condemn them all?

    I think travel has really changed. We are probably old school. And if we do not change and adopt we might never see eye to eye with the younger generation travelers. Even morality changes through time. I’m afraid that Elliott also has to adapt to these changes or else he risks becoming irrelevant.

  • bodega3

    Travel and how travel is booked has changed. But when any consumer ‘plays’ the field, I have little to no compassion if they get burned.

  • Guest

    What a nice piece of troll we have here. The problem is that I have nothing to prove to you. You either believe it or not – I’ve never posted to CruiseCritic (some people from the community I’m member of did though, and you are right I learned about Elliott from that topic) and it’s the first time I’ve appeared to catch some erroneous rate (that would be plain stupid to buy a non-refundable flight straight away while expecting the cruise rate to be a mistake).

    As for your English corrections, thank you! English is pretty hard for me, so I would be glad if you could correct all my mistakes. Feel free to send your corrections to my email scottjpvv [] gmail dot com so as not to clutter up this topic (no joke!).

  • DeLight

    What a nice piece of troll we have here. The problem is that I have nothing to prove to you. You either believe it or not – I’ve never posted to CruiseCritic (some people from the community I’m member of did though, and you are right I learned about Elliott from that topic) and it’s the first time I’ve appeared to catch some erroneous rate (that would be plain stupid to buy a non-refundable flight straight away while expecting the cruise rate to be a mistake).

    As for your English corrections, thank you! English is pretty hard for me, so I would be glad if you could correct all my mistakes. Feel free to send your corrections to my email scottjpvv [] gmail dot com so as not to clutter up this topic (no joke!).

  • Extramail

    This is why I read Chris’ newsletter – I am always learning something new and, hopefully, information that I can use for future travel. I haven’t traveled to Europe in years and would not even begin to know how to look up local websites to try to find a better deal than I could looking from an American website. That is why I would want help from a travel agent if booking a place I am not familiar with and, Tony, I would use you as my agent because you do know more than I do about travel. That’s what a travel agent is for!

  • DeLight

    The source of the information was exactly this post http://forum.awd.ru/viewtopic.php?p=5120650#p5120650 (it’s the largest Russian speaking board devoted to independent travel and at the same time the largest Russian speaking cruise discussion board).
    It has a link to further discussion topic. If you have any problems with translation I’ll help.

  • Guest

    I posted a link to the source below, but it have to be approved by Elliott. Waiting.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Well, I found this on vandrouki dot by:

    Невероятно: 8-дневный круиз по греческим островам в конце августа за 143€ = Incredible 8-day cruise to the Greek islands in late August for 143 €

    Copy and paste the link below (swap out the “dot”) and you get this great screenshot that someone posted with a chart showing all the fares for sailings on 15 Aug, 22 Aug and 29 Aug, including 3 categories of cabins. Notice how the obvious fat-finger fare has been highlighted?

    http://vandrouki dot by/2014/neveroyatno-8-dnevnyiy-kruiz-po-grecheskim-ostrovam-v-kontse-avgusta-za-143e/

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Oh, and “DeLight” aka “Alexander” aka scottpvv aka imagenature chimes in on the comment section, complaining that those of Belarus citizenship cannot get that rate.

  • Guest

    .

  • DeLight

    I’m Alexander and DeLight here and on vandrouki by, imagenature is completely another person, I’m responsible for only my sins not theirs.
    scottjpvv is just a secondary email and not a nickname.
    As for the screenshot, Costa usually has only couple of dates discounted, open any other sale report on the website.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Here’s the Vandrouki dot by article (A travel “deal” site in Belarus) with the details on this “deal”, Google Translated into sorta English.

    Pretty clear it’s a fat-finger fare, since someone has kindly boxed in the error. What’s telling is that the person who posted this says to go onto the Norwegian site to book this – see the very end to be property entertained. I left out the itinerary details in the middle.
    ***************************************************
    So check out at this price is available only on August 22 from Heraklion (Crete, easily reachable by ferry or loukost from other islands) . Ship: Costa Classica, price: 143 euros all taxes per person for inside cabin (cabin 2 human). This special offer, seats are limited.

    In price – three meals (no alcohol) and entertainment! Extra charge on board tip – about 7 euros per person per night.

    By the way, a cabin with a window only costs 40 euros more expensive.

    . . .

    How to buy a cruise?

    На сайте круизной компании: http://www.costacruise.com/no/cruise_details/201408-NOK_CL_7_HER_S_B0H0_HER_JMK_JTR_IZM_SAM_KOS_RHO_HER-CL07140822.html

    Do not be afraid of the Norwegian version of the site, payment on it goes, you will be put on board. Most importantly, create an address in Norway, it is desirable not real – it will not be checked, need to send the payment receipt (which is nowhere needed). Checking friends and our readers.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Just a coincidence that imagenature’s given name is also Alex. Both of you used the same phrases in describing your dilemma. That may also be a coincidence, since people do tend to repeat things that they particularly like.

    Whatever and whoever you are, the vandrouki site and your subsequent comments on the site indicate you knew that this was not a legitimate fare.

  • Are you suggesting that I should start advocating to people who are gaming the system, in order to remain relevant? If that’s the case, maybe I’m better off sticking with my 20th century concepts of “right” and “wrong” and fading into obscurity. Perhaps it’s time to hang up the cape.

  • DeLight

    If you are so interested on who imagenature is just find the appropriate post on forum awd ru (I posted a link below), there was a person who notified others that he started that topic on CC. I’m DeLight-tm on that board (surprisingly!).

    As for legitimate fares, I just lost your logic. I have only one comment on vandrouki page saying that Costa had some problems with check-in process – their website was throwing errors for some time and that was (check the dates) 3 days after the booking was made! By the time Costa called me for the first time I had my tickets printed already. What’s your point?

  • TonyA_says

    It depends by what you mean with gaming the system.
    Right and Wrong can be viewed in moral terms and lots of us have different moral standards.
    Legal and not legal is another thing – usually much narrower in scope than right and wrong.
    In my opinion it is the airlines, cruiselines and hotels that are “systematically” gaming the system. They can even afford politicians.
    When consumers use the little “tricks” that can empower them (such as aggressive fare searches, finding and exploiting loopholes, and using the post purchase price increase prohibition), people here suddenly condemn them.
    After considering today’s search technology and the way most people search and buy tickets, I have changed my mind about mistake fares. I would like to make them meaningless. In order to have a clean, efficient, and trustworthy search then the best policy IMO is the deal is what you see displayed in front of you. If you have to keep on second guessing whether a cheap fare is a mistake then that make search pretty inefficient and useless.
    This ain’t about morality. It is all about efficient SEARCH. If you post a fare (and you are not a small company) you eat your mistake fares.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    But that’s the rub. An honest mistake is one thing. That’s the scenario that you keep putting forth. If I booked it, it would be totally and completely through my incredible cluelessness.

    Purposely booking a fare that you believe to be erroneous is quite another situation.

  • TonyA_says

    The article according to google translate said This special offer, seats are limited.
    It did not say, these are mistake or hacked fares so never call the cruiselines :)

    How else would the writer show the real cheap fare other than taking a pic of the Costa screen for that particular week? Highlighting the cheapness, for me, does not mean it is obviously a mistake fare.

    I cannot agree with the conclusion that these people KNEW this was a mistake fare. There is just no evidence of that at this point.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I’m going to disagree with you. The information that person posted to that board specifically said to make up a Norwegian address if necessary to obtain the fare. The 1,159 Norwegian Kroner price was specifically highlighted in contrast to prices 7,000 and 8,000 Kroner more the week before and the week after.

    To reference Carver’s post earlier today, this is too duck-like for me to ignore.

  • bodega3

    Sorry Tony, like Jeanne, I have to disagree with you, too. Slick Sam Alex plays a game and got burned. He knows exactly what he did and is trying to play Chris to get Costa to reverse their decision.

  • DeLight

    So what’s you point here? Vandrouki is just a local website that reposts deals from other sources. The deal initially came from forum awd ru (I posted a link below), check the dates. Neither forum awd ru nor vandrouki claimed the price was a mistake. If a discounted price is boxed, then it is a mistake – what kind of conclusion is that? Costa usually discounts only one or two dates of the given cruise, that is nothing special at all.

  • bodega3

    Interesting how well you know all this.

  • TonyA_says

    I went to the Russian forum site using goggle translate. It looked harmless and clean to me. I did not read any hacking advice or something like that :-)
    By now it is obvious I do not agree with the way Costa handled this.
    I can’t see why it’s wrong for 30 people to get excited about a cheap cruise and blog about it or share the info in a forum. These fares are not supposed to be a secret anyway :-)
    I wish all these facts were present in the article. Maybe they got lost in translation. Good luck in your quest for justice.

  • DeLight

    OMG, so you think I’m posting here to convince Elliott to get Costa to reverse their decision? In the very beginning of this discussion I wrote that I’m accepting Costa’s last offer and wrote the same to Elliott earlier this day. Moreover I never asked Elliott to mediate in this situation, I only asked him for advice on how to act and he decided to make fun of the whole story. Well, people see what they want to see.

  • DeLight

    So what? Monitoring prices is a crime?

  • DeLight

    Thanks for your support but my quest of justice ended earlier than I jumped into the conversation here – read my first post, I’m accepting Costa’s offer.

    As for the article, Elliott decided to paint everything with one color for some reason – but that’s his website after all. I just tried to add all the facts that make up the whole story here in comments.

  • TonyA_says

    Jeanne I did not read that part in the article. Was it a comment of another person?

    ADDED: Did you mean this?
    Do not be afraid of the Norwegian version of the site, payment on it goes, you will be put on board. Most importantly, create an address in Norway, it is desirable not real – it will not be checked, need to send the payment receipt (which is nowhere needed).

    OK now I ask you. is this the site that convinced the LW to buy and write Elliott. I thought it was the Russian site.

  • I think it is about morality.

  • TonyA_says

    Good luck then. I think you will find that so many customers don’t think of that when they buy :-)

  • DeLight

    She is referring to the guide on how to book on regional Costa websites properly. This guide is used by thousands of people every year to book Costa cruises. For some reasons she thinks it is something special, which is obviously not. Even Italians book on Belgian or French or any other Costa websites if the price is lower there.

  • TonyA_says

    Why is this a game? Searching directly in the carrier’s site a game?
    You haven’t seen nothing yet. Wait till you see how real hackers do it. :)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Glad you found it, so I don’t have to copy and paste it.

    The URL to which the article directs one has the “no” country code in it. @DeLight has a comment in there, saying that his Belarus citizenship is preventing him from executing the transaction.

  • TonyA_says

    He he, you don’t have to convince me. I have been doing ex-Europe, ex-Australia and ex-Asia fare searches and travel consulting and I know how the game is played over there. It was quite shocking for me since it was quite different from the way we do things here in the USA.
    I just go with the flow :)

  • bodega3

    You just keep showing your stripes. Glad you no longer want Chris’ help, as he should not touch this.

  • TonyA_says

    Why didn’t Costa use that to disqualify the “foreign” buyers?

  • bodega3

    Looks like they did, right, by denying them? They are gaming it and got caught. Go Costa!

  • TonyA_says

    I don’t think so. Can you show me where that was used to disqualify a buyer. All I read was they were asked to pay more.

  • DeLight

    Why don’t you read properly?
    My comment on vandrouki was made 3 days after the booking (check the dates) and it is about check-in process, not booking. And it was a temporary issue with the Costa website. By the time I got the call from Costa I had my tickets printed already.

  • bodega3

    It doesn’t matter how they disqualified these scammers.

  • TonyA_says

    If you are correct, then this is NOT a mistake fare. Based on your comments this sounds more like a Norwegian exclusive fare.
    But I have NOT read the fare rules so I cannot verify anything.

    By negotiating a higher (though attractive) rate with NON-Norwegian residents, then it seems that the issue of residency is now moot :-)

  • DeLight

    OK, so you obviously have some problems with others saving on traveling. Or just trolling. I suppose it is the right moment to stop feeding the troll.

  • bodega3

    So you admit to gaming. Thanks for being honest!

  • DeLight

    The fare rules haven’t changed since the beginning of the story (they are still available on the cruise webpage). Just to remind you most of the people in the story are from Russia.

    The prices applicable to residents for Czechrepublic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Sweden only are per person, per type of cabin on a dual double occupancy basis, including port taxes. Insurance and service charges are excluded.

  • TonyA_says

    Bear in mind that even if Norway and Belarus are not part of the EU, they may by treaty respect and agree to this EU Regulation (Costa is Italian) …
    Discrimination in access to fares between passengers or between users of the cargo service on the basis of their place of residence or their nationality within the Community is prohibited

  • TonyA_says

    So are you saying you do not have to lie about your residency to get this low fare? Please clarify as there are accusations here that people lied to get the fare.

  • DeLight

    You don’t have to lie, their website asks for regional address to send you the correspondence (that’s why all the guides advise you to write your friend’s address or even imaginary address if you need no correspondence from them). After that you just state you residency as usual during check-in process. All Europe has been booking Costa, MSC and other cruises like this for years, I just can’t understand why it attracts so much attention in this discussion, Costa never stated residency as a cause of any problems – on forum awd ru there are people from Norway, Russia, Belarus, Cyprus, Moldova, Ukraine and other countries and everyone gets exactly the same emails from Costa.

  • bodega3

    So you lied in your booking and you now either pay more or don’t travel. Tony and I sell travel for a living. We know how games are played and you got caught. At least you finally admitted this and Chris only wasted an article on a scammer and didn’t go to bat for you.

  • bodega3

    No sugar plum, lying is your crime.

  • bodega3

    Has your opinion changed with all his postings and admitting to lying on residency?

  • bodega3

    And you don’t live in any of those countries.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    And many customers do.

    Good work Chris. Please continue to consider morality, ethics, right and wrong, in your advocacy.

  • TonyA_says

    Yeah right. How many times have we caught LWs who lie and still get help here.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Ignoring the meaningless gimme a break comment, I don’t need to know the correct price to know that something is an error. See my example above. Is it possible that the Westin was having a really good sale? Yes. Is it likely? Not at all.

    I declined to book it and by the next morning correct pricing has been re-established.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That is, of course, your prerogative.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    lol

  • TonyA_says

    NO. I did a test booking online right now. I put my (and my wife’s) citizenship as American and got the same NOK rate. The Norwegian site does not require you to be Norwegian to get the rates today.
    I don’t know what this residency white lies is all about.

    I’m a skeptic. I actually do research before I believe anyone.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Nope.

    Purposely and knowingly availing yourself of a mistake.

  • TonyA_says

    The difference is you (and I) really have no clue what Costa Mediterranean rates are but we do know what typical USA room rates are. We can more or less roll our eyes when we see an unbelievable Westin rate. But I gotta believe you and I will scratch our head on European cruise fares. :-)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thank you. I spent waaay too much time on this topic today and let it upset me. I’m glad that your moral code commits you to helping others. Don’t hang up the cape just yet.

    (Final post for tonight!)

  • bodega3

    All his postings show that he knew that the rate wasn’t allowed for his country. I am trusting but can smell a rat.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I wouldn’t know a good cruise rate if it bit me on the *ss. The analogy holds though. There are times when I know when something is an obvious error and times when I am wholly clueless.

    If I know its an error, and I get caught, then I’m SOL and rightfully so. Morality aside, that’s just a gamble that you may win or lose. If I’m clueless, then its a different situation.

  • DeLight

    So you have problems with reading and understanding too *sigh*. It looks like you are arguing with yourself all the time (or just plain stupid, sorry). Let it be my last message then, I have better things to do in my life other than looking at the trolls dancing around.

    That is how the system has been working in Europe for years. Everyone is booking on the website that proposes the best price. Period. That has never been a surprise for Costa and doesn’t involve any lying for obvious reasons – you won’t get on board if there is a problem with your documents.

    And the residence side is not significant in this story at all. This particular cruise was booked by Norwegians too, and they got the same emails, calls and offers other people got (just read the forum awd ru). Costa didn’t disqualify anybody just because of the country of residence (and btw my country of residence is Russia along with the Belarusian citizenship, I hope you’re clever enough to figure this out), it is only the rate that appeared to be a mistake.

    I showed you all the sources of the information about this rates, and all the discussions – and the sources obviously had no evidence on the “falseness” of the price – everyone thought that was a usual sale on one of the Costa websites. So when you admitted there were no evidence of evil intentions connected with the price itself you started picking on the booking process and from this point the discussion started being meaningless and stopped being interesting for me at all.

    Thanks for so much English practice and my request to send me my mistakes corrected is still actual (scottjpvv [] gmail com). Good bye.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I challenge you to find one case where Chris states, the LW is lying but I will help him anyway.

    Chris never takes a case where he believed that the LW lied to him. Anyone caught has been after the fact. That’s one of the reasons that read this site, although i often have vociferous disagreements with Chris’ positions.

  • TonyA_says

    When I go to the English site and chose Norway as my country, I can put my citizenship as American and get the same price in NOKs. All it asks me for is my email after that. In other words, I don’t need to lie about anything. Don’t understand what this belarus website is talking about. This residency thing is BS IMO since I can’t find it.

    I read the Costa contract. I could not find a clause that says fares are limited to specific European residents. In fact it says this:

    The said contract shall also be governed by Italian law in accordance with mandatory legislation and regulations applicable to the protection of consumer rights (Directive No. 90/314/EEC), the Italian Code for the regulation of tourism and the tourism market (Legislative Decree of 23 May 2011 No. 79, hereinafter the “Tourism Code”), the European Regulationn°329/2009 and/or national and international legislation and regulations regarding the individual services that constitute the tourism field

    As far as I know EU regulations are non-discriminatory.

  • TonyA_says

    Ok accepted. I will hunt then down.

  • +1000

  • TonyA_says

    I think the reason why Costa asks for your residency and citizenship is for passport and visa requirements. I don’t think it has anything to do with the fare itself. At least that is my experience using the English site.

    With all these Russian or whatever google translate, I don’t even know what the heck those foreign sites are really trying to say. I am not sure that translation makes sense (at least to me).

    I’m sorry but I might be the only person here who is not convinced you all knew this was a mistake fare. It must be your unlucky day :-)

  • shulyan

    Costa offered me the price, I am satisfied with the price, I made an advance payment, Costa agreed to prepay and sent me a confirmation, then Costa confirmed it. What did I do wrong?

    Look at another side. The Company attracts customers by low price and then require an extra charge. What’s it called?

  • Marina Zaimonte

    OK, here debating Russians or not Russians bought this cruise on the Norwegian site Costa. My Norwegian husband, who lives in Norway, bought me on Costa Norwegian site cruise ,price was specified in the Norwegian krone, the money had been paid from his Norwegian kron bank account, what about EURO??? IF American lives in America, buying on the U.S. Costa site, paid the money in dollars, but then oops sorry, it turns out to be in Euros??? More that 3 days have passed since the payment has already been made and check in . W this price is not surprised for me , cruise 22-29.08 in Norwegian schools s
    starts from 15.08, so the lowest price for this cruise beat understandable.

  • LFH0

    I have seen several cruises selling for around $30 per night per person, an amount that is in the same range as is the case here. Not too long ago I booked a 7-night cruise on NCL for a one-way journey from Quebec to Boston for $250 per person because I thought it was a very good deal. As to this Costa price, I think it was a very good price, something most knowledgeable people would probably think was not an ordinary offer. But it was not so unreasonable that anyone should know it was a mistake. Perhaps cabins were selling very slowly and the line wanted to boost sales. Perhaps the line just had a vessel sink as a result of inattention by its captain, and it just could not get the same prices as before. A reasonable person would not know absolutely that this was a mistake fare.

  • shulyan

    Costa offered me the price, I am satisfied with the price, I made an advance payment, Costa agreed to prepay and sent me a confirmation, then Costa confirmed it. What did I do wrong?

    Look at another side. The Company attracts customers by low price and then require an extra charge. What’s it called?

  • Anthony

    Buying cheap flight tickets and hotels months in advance do not surprise anyone — closer to the date you might not afford it.

    Buying cheap cruise — you are the fat finger. Where is your logic, guys? You seem to be jealous of the deal you have missed.

    I am one of those who bought this cruise too. I am Norwegian resident, currently living in Norway. I just went on the Costa website and found this offer since I need to plan my summer holidays and checking what is available. Believe it or not.

    Costa ALWAYS showing prices as at least 50% off of their original crazy prices.

    The “error” price was live for 3(!) days. I had time to spoke with colleague at work on the following day. The price includes only the cruise. Alcohol, excursions, transportation (like ship to the city center), service charges — its all extras.

    if I go to the shop and find I was charged more than I should, I will get a refund according to the price listed on the tag with apologies. Sometimes I was able to get compensation on top of this. Costa states it was an error and I have to pay for it.

    If I need to be the price expert to buy the cruise, I would like to know how to distinguish between correct and error price. For example, is it a correct price for 10 nights Greek cruise for 5540NOK (76% off) on August 25? http://www.costacruise.com/no/cruises_list/eastern_mediterranean-201408.html

    If you think that consumers should pay for “system errors”, do you realize that many things can be explained by system errors in the future?

  • Richard

    Turn it around. You misplaced a decimal and sent Costa a check for 10 times what you had intended. Their accounting clerk just cashes the check and credits your account, never bothering to pay any attention to the amount. Should they get to keep the money if you request a refund?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Something I just noticed. On the other days, the price differential between cabin type is roughly consistent. Column 2 cabins are 10% more than column 1. Column 3 cabins are roughly double column 2 cabins.

    Yet on the day in question, Column 3 cabins remain consistent with previous pricing, but column 2 cabins are 1/12 the price, not 1/2 as before.

    One more element to suggest, but certainly not prove, that the price is erroneous

  • John Baker

    If you have to lie about where you live…. you’re probably doing something wrong …

  • shulyan

    It is unclear why you protect the company, not the client. You may find yourself in the same situation. Have you ever thought about that?

  • TonyA_says

    Well that makes 2 of us. But Alex the LW has already been sentenced as a thief by our stone-throwing crowd. Because for our crowd, it smelled like a mistake fare, walked and talked like one.
    As usual they offer NO FACTS. Lesson to other readers – don’t bother asking for help here if you found your dirt cheap fare in a forum or facebook since you are probably guilty of abusing a mistake fare.

  • HJ

    We live in Norway and are also affect by this problem. However, we only found the Costa’s cheap “error” by accident while we were looking at their website, so it had nothing to do with what people posted on facebook at that point. So I think it is pretty unfair to say that all customers who purchased such cruise were gaming the system, and it had nothing to do with morals. The reason why any company gives discounts is to attract customers, and Costa gives many discounts of over 70% off on any given occasion. Not to mention this particular “error” was hanging on the internet for sale for 3 working days. Never before Costa Norwegian site was selling in Euros, all their previous and current prices are listed in NOK, so no one would consider if it had anything to do with Euros when buying from the Norwegian site. Or if Americans find cheap travel deals or whatever discounts, that they do not share the info with their friends or families etc? There are many airlines and hotels offering huge discounts daily, are we in the need to question whether it is an error, every time we see a big discount?

  • HJ

    Hi, we live in Norway, paid with Norweigan bank card, and are in the same situation as all others, so it has nothing to do with where customers currently live. Card was laid, but Costa is taking it back.

  • TonyA_says

    If you read somewhere here, I went to Costa’s site, selected Norway and got a fare in NOK. Then I tested booking it. It asked for my citizenship. I could not find USA but I found “American”. So I selected that. I got the same price. The only other thing is asked me was my email since it said everything will be sent there.

    So the assumption that price is dependent on your residency is not correct. It depends on the POINT OF SALE, in this case Norway. Costa’s fares are NON DISCRIMINATORY of residency.

    I think all the hoopla about residency has to do with visa paperwork. Not everyone if from the EU (or visa-free country) and may need a schengen visa to do this Med cruise. Belarus and Russia passport holders need a visa to visit Greece and Italy. I hope people here understand that.

    So what are the established facts today?
    The Costa cheap fare was a mistake – no one has proven that?
    The Costa cheap fare was exclusive to Norwegian residents – Nope, that’s false.
    The 30 passengers knew the fare was a mistake and knowingly abused it? Nope, no one here has been able to prove it.

  • HJ

    Well, it was a different story. Costa’s price was clearly marked on the webiste, available to everyone to purchase for 3 days, from 26th to 28th of May, so how was any mistake involved here? For example, if you purchased a pair of shoes on sale, and took them home. Is it OK that the seller appears at your door 3 days later, saying that you bought the shoes at the wrong price, now pay the new price or give back the shoes?

  • HJ

    We live in Norway, and paid for this cruise with our Norwegian bank account. Now we are experiencing the same problem, as the others. So does this prove anything?

  • shulyan

    To understand the extent of the problem, 30 confirmations… About 100 people. Families, children, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers.

  • John Baker

    Tony … Read somewhere else where the LW said he had to give a fake Norweign address in the booking process.

    So I reaffirm my position, if you have to fake where you live, what you are doing is probably not above board and I’m the guy that normally won’t stand with the business on things like this.

  • John Baker

    HJ… As I said somewhere else, in your case, I think Costa should honor the fare and if you had written Chris, I would say he needs to help you. You followed every reasonable step a customer should. You used the website for your country and paid in you home currency. Its hard to argue that you were taking steps to game the system. I’m not sure anyone, with a straight face, could make the same argument about the LW.

  • Richard

    Why is it assumed that I am protecting the company. What I am protecting is a sense of FairPlay. The fact that the price was clear in the website does not mean it was not an error. And, that is my point. If it is fair to take advantage of a business’ error then it must also be fair for them to take advantage if the customers’ mistakes. You cannot accept the one without accepting the other.

  • TonyA_says

    John, to be honest I could not even understand half of those Belarus and Russian website posts using google translate in Chrome.
    In addition, the different names used by supposedly the same people made it even more confusing.

    But here’s the issue. The ORIGINAL accusation is that it was a mistake fare. I see no evidence proving that.

    Then the issue became it (the cheap fare) was only for Norwegian residents. This was not part of the article. So I checked the Costa site and contract and found no evidence of that either.

    Maybe some people in those foreign forums BELIEVED they had to trick the Norwegian sites because they were Belarus or Russian passport holders for OTHER reasons besides the fare. However, I see no evidence that people colluded or conspired to take advantage of a MISTAKE FARE.

    Maybe people buying from those countries (not exactly free countries) have to do something different (like socially acceptable usage of false information) to have a better life so they think they have to lie to get the expected results.

    I don’t see how these so-called white lies are any different than Elizabeth Warren saying she is of Indian (Native American) heritage.

    People can believe whatever they want to believe.
    Even liars can buy a perfectly legit cheap fare.
    Sorry I just have to disagree with a lot of regular posters here.

  • HJ

    Honestly speaking, I think now all affected customers are on the same boat, and it does not feel right that customers are considered “guilty” unless proven “innocent”. Costa did not require buyers to be living in Norway with a valid Norwegian address, nor did they require buyers to pay with a Norwegian bank card. Also, this sale price was on the website for 3 working days, so it is hard to argue that it is solely customers’ fault which has resulted the current situation. If it had been a mistake, Costa at least had the responsibility to correct it sooner, to reduce the number of customers affected.

  • HJ

    But Costa should show proof that it was an error? Or customers should be suspicious that any big discounts could be later explained as “errors”?

  • HJ

    But is it a mistake that buyers compare prices, and buy from the supplier which offers the cheapest price for any particular product? It is common sense, not to mention that the price was listed on Costa’s official website.

  • bodega3

    What are the consumer protection laws in your country? To answer your question, if you see an amazing price call the company. If they can get it, then get them to book it. Costa only has to follow the laws of YOUR country. If you are lying about where you live to get a residency rate, SOL.

  • bodega3

    We have consumer protection laws in the US on purchases made on US websites. Check your country’s laws if you played by the rules and have nothing to hide.

  • bodega3

    Those passengers who played by the rules, should check into their country’s laws on consumer protection. But the LW, clearly is a scammer. Interesting on how the other travelers are now coming to CE’s site and posting. How did they, all of a sudden, find CE? I am sure this is being discussed on one of the scamming websites. Selling on line and over countries borders is being a concern for sellers and buyers.

  • bodega3

    How the cruise line handled this in your country, should be checked out with your laws regarding online purchases, that are handled by you honestly. If you think you did everything right, then contact your authorities.

  • shulyan

    I do not want to give anybody extra money for HIS mistakes. Do you here me? That`s wrong! They can change the terms like Costa wants, but that actions are not in my best interest.
    About LAW!
    In accordance with the provisions of art. 4.4 of the EU Directive 90/314, The prices laid down in the contract shall not be subject to revision. Protection laws are in the country, where I bought cruise. EU!

  • TonyA_says

    Scamming websites? Forums? Who is being scammed?
    All these social media sites are doing is empowering a sharing economy.
    If I bought this fare and Costa asked me for more money, I will feel like I was being scammed :-)
    It is all a matter of perception.
    To understand what the new sharing economy is, I read and listened to Jeremy Rifkin. It changed my outlook.

  • HJ

    We live in Norway, and Costa does not have a physical presence in Norway, meaning they do not have a sales office in Norway. So all those directly purchased from Costa, made their purchases through http://www.costacruise.com/B2C/NO/Default.htm. We have already found out from the authorities that it will be a very lengthy and expensive process, if we do decide to take Costa to court. So the worst situation for us is that we take our money back, and never travel with Costa or any Carnival cruise lines in the future. I did nothing wrong, but I cannot agree with you that customers should be paying for the suppliers’ mistakes, regardless of the reason. It is the one who makes such mistakes should pay for them, and learn the lesson, not to mention that no one knows for sure whether it was an error or not. It is also Costa’s job to identify which buyers are permitted to buy from the Norwegian website. We bought from Costa’s website in good faith, so we expect the same from them. It doesnt make sense why consumers should prove their innocence when they purchased a discounted travel product online.

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    Don’t lower yourself to assist a scammer, Chris. However, if he can prove that Costa offers these kinds of fares, he might have a “case”. He’s the one who needs to put the facts in order and show some proof of his argument before you agree to help.

  • shulyan

    About reasonable price. Here is no wonder the price from Costa. How many cases do you need to make sure that it is often the price?

  • bodega3

    Then collect your paperwork and file a claim if you were completely honest in your transaction of purchase.

  • bodega3

    The scamming sites that people frequent to share mistakes found online to take advantage of them

  • shulyan

    What about that price? Look, you may buy it right now. Or mistake? (((

  • bodega3

    If you participated in those sites and when to make the purchase to get a rate that you didn’t qualify for, then SOL. If Costa did break the consumer protection laws of the countries all these 30 people live in, then they should file action against the cruise line. I am not a betting person, but I would bet on this one being against the consumer.

  • bodega3

    Why didn’t you call the cruise line and verify the price before paying for it?

  • shulyan

    Every time… must do what? Why? Questioning the pricing? Do you know what is Public Offerta?

  • shulyan

    My cabin was put up for sale before I was able to give any answer. I was just in shock.

  • bodega3

    I am a seller of travel. If there is a low price on a vendors site, if it can’t be held with a deposit, we call. Yes, question, question, question. It got you where you are now by not questioning.

  • bodega3

    Then file your complaint with your government’s consumer board.

  • HJ

    So the act of buying anything online is wrong then, or at least buying anything hugely discounted is wrong. Why do people shop on Amazon then? Costa does not have an office in Norway, so the only option to buy directly from them is to use their webiste. Costa called us on our Norwegian mobile number to report the “error” before the emails arrived, so I do not think country of residence is the problem here.

  • shulyan

    I’m a traveler, I do not need such nuances. Every time I see a good deal I should clarify it? If the booking is not confirmed – zero issues. But my reservation was confirmed! I began to make plans and buy plane-tickets. So what I see! My cabin was put up for sale before I was able to give any answer.

  • bodega3

    If Costa broke a law in your country, then you file charges. They gave you your money back so you are made whole.

  • bodega3

    Then file charges if you think you did everything right. They gave you your money back so you are not out anything. But yes, you do need to clarify…it got you in trouble once.

  • HJ

    Basically, bodega3 is saying that you should always be suspicious of any big discounts, and never trust those sales online. I do not know what kind of society he lives in, but it seems like he does not think that it is the sellers’ obligation to publish true and honest information to the public, and it is OK to carry out any kind of misleading advertisement publicly. He expects ordinary buyers to either call Costa’s office in Italy at our own costs, or book through a TA like himself. I think it is pathetic that if consumers need to every time ask themselves the question ” is this offer authentic”, every time they try to make a purchase.

  • shulyan

    Why do you think that Costa gave my money back?

  • shulyan

    Well, imagine a situation: I call, they tell me that the price is faithful, and three days later again cancel the reservation. What’s next?

  • HJ

    Hi Tony, we are residents of Norway, and purchased the same cruise with Norwegian bank card, and Costa later contacted us on our Norwegian mobile number to tell us about this “error”, so residence is not the problem here.

  • TonyA_says

    Oh. I thought a SCAM site scams consumers (the buyers). The site steals money from the travelers thinking they found cheaper fares.

    Flyertalk is a site where people share their low fare search findings. Now I would not rate Flyertalk as a scam site just because of that.

    There are some threads there discussing what could be a MISTAKE fare. Does that make flyertalk forum a scam site? NO in IMO.
    You might find the behavior of some posters despicable but that does not mean ALL the posts and posters in flyertalk are bad.

    How can it be a scam? flyertalk is the largest online community of air travelers. Hard to believe there are that many hackers and shysters or else the airlines could not and would not survive. Seems to me many airlines even court flyertalk members.

    Full Disclosure: I am NOT a flyertalk member but I read it regularly. Why? Because I can learn from it and get entertained at the same time.

    Here is another site that publishes airfare deals:
    AirfareWatchdog dot com.
    It is run by George Hobica (a friend of Elliott I believe).

    Read how the site responded to a Delta GLITCH (mistake) fare:

    Delta’s Boxing Day Fare Glitch
    Q. I was curious why Watchdog didn’t pick up these fares when there was a glitch in the delta system?

    A. Actually, we did catch them and we tweeted about them. If you’re not following us on Twitter, you should be.

    And we also sent out many of them by email. However, the sale only lasted a short while, and frankly a lot of people saw the email alerts too late (in some cases, the next day) and called us “bogus liars.” You know how that goes.
    Consider, too, that there were literally thousands of these fares,
    and we are not automated, so it was impossible to list all of them.

    I don’t think you would call George a scammer, would you?

    I suggest people here in this site lighten up on the morality play.

  • HJ

    Sure if its all simple as that. Sorry but we do not have the time for this, and it is hell a lot of trouble for 300 Euros, and it will not come in time to solve the problem in time for this August’s cruise. If customers need to take Costa to court to make them hornor their contracts, then I think it says everything about Costa as a service provider already.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I”m afraid I don’t speak Italian, But I find it interesting to note that the previous one that your posted, which I don’t see any more, was for January 2013. You had to go back 18 months to find something during a different season and different route.

    Presumably, if you could reproduce the same price and itinerary you would have.

    Just more evidence that this was a mistaken rate and you guys knew it.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I suggest people here in this site lighten up on the morality play.

    Why? Why should we adopt someone else’s morality and ethics.

  • TonyA_says

    Thank you HJ.
    There you go folks.
    Can you think of other infractions why these innocent buyers are now thieves?
    Let’s see what you can come up with next.
    These people were screwed (of a dirt cheap fare).

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    DUPE

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The original (and now deleted) post. Note that its for a trip, 18 months ago with a different itinerary.

  • shulyan

    Why do I have to think it was a mistake? If I made ​​a mistake, I would apologize. But it’s not my fault. Why should I pay for someone else’s mistakes?

  • TonyA_says

    Because you cannot simply smell a mistake fare like you said.
    No one is forcing you to adopt anyone else’s ethics and morality.
    But when a person accuses someone of abusing a mistake fare you better have more evidence than just a smell test.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    You’re not paying for someone else’s mistake. You’re not out any money. You merely at not getting to keep the benefit of your dishonesty

    If I believed that it was an honest mistake by you guy, I would have a different perspective. But I believe that you guys tried to take unfair advantage of Costa. Morality aside, you gambled and lost.

  • shulyan

    About reasonable price. Here is no wonder the price from Costa. How many cases do you need to make sure that it is often the price?

  • shulyan

    Ho-ho-ho! What a price? Look, you may buy it right now. Or mistake? (((

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Lol.

    The smell test is a strawman. No one mentioned the smell test. The uncontroverted information is sufficient to show that it is more likely than not that these folks purposely availed themselves of a fare that they suspected was a mistaken fare.

    Is it proof beyond a reasonable doubt? No. Does it meet the preponderance of the evidence. Easily.

  • shulyan

    Conspiracy Theory? Do you sleep well? Don`t you dream of green men?

  • shulyan

    Simple question. Even if we assume that is possible… Points: “IF” “possible”. If you know all about that and able to quickly assess, why don`t you use it?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Ad hominem attacks merely make you look more guilty, assuming that were possible.

  • shulyan

    Why do you think that my quetion is attack?
    Your assumptions attacks. And I’m not going to defend. It’s simple:
    Costa offered me the price, I am satisfied with the price, I made an advance payment, Costa have agreed to prepay and sent me a confirmation, then confirmed it.

    In accordance with the provisions of art. 4.4 of the EU Directive 90/314, The prices laid down in the contract shall not be subject to revision.

    No options.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Equally simple answer. Because I try to behave ethically. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Why do you think that my quetion is attack?

    I think the following answers that question…

    Conspiracy Theory? Do you sleep well? Don`t you dream of green men?

    Your assumptions attacks.

    No. You guys came asking Chris’ help. Chris asked us for our opinion. We gave it to him. A simple dispassionate analysis of the situation.

  • shulyan

    One more time. Look for words: Costa offered me the price, I am satisfied with the price, I made an advance payment, Costa have agreed to prepay and sent me a confirmation, then confirmed it.

    In accordance with the provisions of art. 4.4 of the EU Directive 90/314, The prices laid down in the contract shall not be subject to revision.

    No options.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    It may be simple to you. To many of us, if the price was an error, and if you believed that it was an error, then booking it was unethical. Legal perhaps, but unethical.

    If you wish to rely on the law, i.e. the E.U. directive, then your remedy is to pursue legal action. However, as Chris asked for our opinion, the ethics of the situation become relevant.

    Many of us have opined that this is not an ethical situation and as such, it does not deserve Chris’ assistance.

    You may disagree with that perspective. That is of course your right.

  • shulyan

    Is it ethical to look for something I do not? Maybe you are pursuing the interests of Costa, hmmm… And all about hiding behind Chris… Good job, guys.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    So let me ask you directly.

    When you booked the fare, did you have any suspicions that Costa posted the fare accidentally?

  • HJ

    Hi Jeanne, if you have taken into the fact that many affected by this problem are Russians, you should not be surprised to see that many people are named Alexander. It is the most popular male name in Russia, and Sasha is the short form of it. It is also better not to pay too much attention to their phrases used in describing the situation, as neither is a native speaker of English.

  • shulyan

    Never think about this. What I Do:
    1. look at the service,
    2. give money
    3. get confirmation
    4. use the service.

    And I`m happy all time I did it.

  • bodega3

    Haven’t a clue.

  • bodega3

    Do note that the LW and Imagenature’s names are exactly the same. You can access Imagenature’s website from his login on CC. Quite possibly two people with the same name, from the same country, both having their reservations revoked is just a cowinkydink, but I think something else is up.

  • HJ

    Well, if you check out their Russian forum, you will find more people from Russia named Alexander.

  • Lindabator

    I agree 100% with you, Chris. Advocate for those who do NOT game the system, as those who do hurt the rest of the travelling public in the end.

  • HJ

    Hi John, thanks for your understanding. We mailed Chris. However, I think in the current situation, all affected customers are treated equally by Costa, so it might be very difficult to look at each case individually, as there are so many people affected. It is not in Costa’s interest to check how people purchased these cruise tickets, this has been very clear from the beginning.

  • bodega3

    Their first and last names are exactly the same.