1. I’m not your Rabbi, Priest, or ethicist. If you are uncomfortable with a deal then don’t do it. Or ask someone who is one.
2. Let’s not mix up airfare mistakes and other price mistakes. I wrote about some of the halachic (Jewish law) implications of airfare mistakes for the Yated a couple of years ago here.
The DoT regulates the airlines and requires them to honor all confirmed bookings as it’s too difficult for consumers to know what’s a great sale and what’s a price mistake. (And it’s only fair considering what the airlines will charge you if you make a mistake…) Sometimes airlines even honor unconfirmed bookings out of an abundance of goodwill. Delta wasn’t obligated to honor unconfirmed $50 first class tickets to LA or Hawaii but decided to do so anyway. They reaped positive news stories and coverage at a cost far lower than traditional advertising, plus they got to “pay” with seats that would be flying anyway instead of cash.
3. Any non-airline can cancel an online price mistake at will. There’s nothing at all compelling them to honor it. Of course they’ll probably get some nice PR if they do, so their bean counters will decide what makes the most sense and whether to ship orders or cancel them. Perhaps there was inventory sitting around they want to clear anyway so they will decide to honor some orders but not others, who knows? Point is that it’s up to them.
4. An online price mistake isn’t at all comparable to walking into a store and walking out with a mispriced item. Everything bought online is fully verified before it ships out. Especially in the case of a mistake that’s published on any large website when there’s an unusual volume of orders. With an online glitch the higher-ups in the company will have complete control over the situation. With an in-store glitch that is not the case.
5. If you’re not comfortable with all that, don’t take advantage of it. I’ll continue to label things that seem like mistakes as a mistake rather than as a great sale so that you’ll know to skip those posts.
Of course sometimes the lines are blurred as to what’s a fantastic sale and what’s a mistake, but I’ll use my best judgement in making that call. Sometimes we’ll never know what was intentional and what was not.
6. There have been many documented cases of websites making intentional price glitches just for the publicity and traffic. Even airlines have been caught leaking price mistakes on internet forum, such as last November’s Wideroe error for $300 tickets to Israel which turned out to be a leak from their CEO and not an error! I don’t pretend to know what’s what every time. I report the facts, you decide what you want to do with them.
7. Once again, thanks for all your comments. There’s nothing wrong with a lively debate as long as everyone remains respectful of one another.
Thanks for visiting DansDeals,