A class-action lawsuit brought against Priceline for failing to honor its “Best Price Guarantee” on Spirit Airlines flights was given the OK to proceed.
Chapman v. The Priceline Group Inc. was filed on Oct. 10, 2015, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. It alleges Priceline of Norwalk charged an undisclosed markup fee that made the ticket more expensive than if consumers bought them directly from Spirit Airlines. Priceline filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last year, but Judge Robert N. Chatigny denied the motion on Sept. 30 by ruling that “even when (Priceline’s) ‘fine print’ is read in conjunction with the prominent ‘best price’ representation, the overall impression is still that Priceline is not actively adding surcharges.”
Chatigny said that while Priceline’s “‘Best Price Guaranteed’ policy is a price-matching scheme, not an absolute promise to provide the best price on all purchases … it is plausible that a reasonable consumer would interpret the contract language to include a promise not to add hidden surcharges.”
Jeffrey Kaliel, a partner in the law firm Tycko & Zavareei LLP who is representing the plaintiff, Austin Chapman, praised the judge’s ruling. “Priceline’s practice of adding surcharges to Spirit Airline tickets is in violation of its best price guarantee,” he said. “The court’s ruling on the motion to dismiss is the first step toward achieving an important victory for consumers.”
Priceline did not publicly comment on the ruling.