The Legal Complexities of Suing a Travel Sites

Online travel sites are an easy way for individuals to find and book their dream vacation. Whether it be from purchasing airfare or cruise passage, these self-service travel sites seem to be a way around paying the extra fees associated with a travel agency while still receiving rock bottom prices on rentals or packages. Though millions of people have good things to say about sites like Priceline, Travelocity, or, there are some whose experiences have been unfortunate. In these cases, you may be wondering if it is possible to sue a travel sites.

The Legal Complexities of Suing a Travel Site

The Legal Process for Internet Businesses

Dealing with an individual at an internet site when things go wrong doesn’t carry the same ease as working with an individual at a brick and mortar retail location or office. Face-to-face disputes can escalate to management or business owners, but the world of cyberspace has you jumping through hoops with dozens of email addresses, phone numbers, or contact forms to register a complaint. Small claims court is usually the last resort for individuals that can’t make headway with a local business, but this process is more complicated when attempting to retrieve your losses from an online agency. The geographic complications of where the business is physically located or registered make it harder to bring a lawsuit.

Bringing a lawsuit of any kind involves hiring a lawyer, retaining a court reporter Oahu for depositions, gathering documents, providing evidentiary proof, and finding expert witnesses. Cases taken to small claims court aren’t generally this involved, but battling a major online corporation takes more involvement. Not only that, but internet businesses of many kinds have tucked a lot of legal jargon into their booking or terms-of-service paperwork that denies site users the ability to sue the company if something goes wrong.

The Legal Battles Brought Against Online Travel Sites

Consumers aren’t the only people frustrated with the way things work at online booking sites. In fact, the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority has conducted several investigations in the unfair commercial practices are several key online travel sites, including accusations of misleading omissions, misleading actions, and aggressive commercial practices. Hoteliers and consumers alike can expect changes in the way online travel companies do business, but this doesn’t remove the total liability of fraud, breach of contract, or negligence that may fall with a particular company.

The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has created new dilemmas for a majority of online travel sites, from key airline companies to third-party ticket sellers. The forced cancellation of many tickets and passages has consumers demanding full refunds instead of rainchecks or vouchers. Though the situation was unprecedented, many of these major travel companies are facing class-action lawsuits for their response (or lack of one) to consumer rights.

The Consumer Recourse Against Online Travel Sites

Though you do have the liberty to present your complaint to a lawyer and present evidence of your claim, you may want to consider legal action as a last resort against an online site. The amount of money you lost or the damages that you feel owed will help you make this decision, but you could be spending thousands of dollars trying to get a refund of a few hundred dollars. Before you seek legal compensation, consider moving through the following channels for complaint resolution.

  1. Move the company’s customer service hierarchy. It may take considerable time, but you never know where your complaint may end up. Follow the company’s published protocol for filing a complaint or requesting a refund.
  2. Report the incident and relevant details of non-compliance or refusal to your local Better Business Bureau. You will also want to register the complaint in the state where the company is headquartered.
  3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission and report the incident. You can fill out the form online.
  4. Reach out to any accredited membership organizations the travel site may claim to be a part of.

When necessary, the legal system can help you recover monies that have been lost or damages that have occurred because of a breach of contract or unethical business dealing. Weigh your options carefully, consulting with a lawyer as necessary.

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Article Author Details

Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner loves writing about technology and the impact it has on our lives, especially within businesses.