Imagine coming across a too-good-to-be-true error fare and scoring a flight to Europe for just a fraction of its usual cost. Now imagine your joy turning to disappointment when the airline realizes their mistake and cancels your ticket.

Last December, Iberia accidentally advertised a round-trip fare between Brazil and France for a much lower (and incorrect) price. Now the airline has a $260K fine to grapple with.

Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Safety and the National Secretariat for Consumer Defense fined the Spanish airline 1.3 million reais (around $260,000 USD) after Iberia canceled roughly 4,000 round-trip tickets between Rio de Janeiro and Paris.

The human-generated error fare was mistakenly advertised for $118 USD on December 28, 2021. The error went viral and thousands of travelers bought tickets for around three hours before the mistake was rectified.

In this time span, around 4,000 tickets were sold for the incorrectly advertised price. The authorized advertised price was supposed to show for the fare of $1,180 USD. Given the mistake, Iberia sold them at $118 USD. The airline suffered further when platforms dedicated to sharing discounted flights noticed the drastically low price and broadcasted it to their followers and subscribers.

The National Secretariat for Consumer Defense launched an investigation in Brazil. According to the Secretariat, Iberia failed to comply with its contractual obligation. Allegedly, the airline infringed upon articles four and 20 of the Consumer Defense Code.

Brazil’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, Anderson Torres, commented that: “The legislation on consumer relations is clear in emphasizing respect for dignity, health, safety and the protection of the economic interest of the citizen.”

Iberia has a 30-day deadline to pay the fine since they have no further recourse to appeal the fine.

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