The Department of Justice ("DOJ"), through the Office for Competition ("OFC"), issued Advisory Opinion No. 01, Series of 2013, which discussed the requirements and the allowable limits in the advertisement of airline fares, especially promotional fares such as "seat sales."
Consistent with the proactive stand of the DOJ and the mandate of the OFC under Executive Order No. 45, s. 2011, which is to protect consumers from abusive, fraudulent or harmful business practices, the Advisory addresses a recurring issue in economic justice in terms of protecting the rights of airline passengers, particularly, their right to non-misleading advertisements and promotional campaigns of air fares, under the country's consumer protection laws.
The Advisory points out that while enticing consumers and catching their attention is a legitimate goal of advertising, airline companies should not lose sight of the limitations prescribed by the law aimed at protecting the public against misleading advertisements. In all cases, advertisements should not make any false, deceptive or misleading claims. Airline companies should be responsible for the content, substance and manner of presentation of their offers of services or goods to the public, consistent with the Consumer Act and the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.
The Advisory provides guidance on how airline companies should advertise and what information should be disclosed in their advertisements, and what consumers must do to avoid being misled by deceptive or misleading advertisements.
The highlights are as follows:
1. Airline companies should be conscious of the allowable limits of their advertisements under the Consumer Act and the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.
2. Advertisements should contain reasonable details about the deal being offered, taking into account the perspective of a consumer.
3. The full price of a particular airline ticket should be revealed to the consumer before a transaction is completed.
4. Consumers should always be vigilant in scrutinizing offers, especially those which involve significantly lower prices, and should know how to protect and assert their rights.
5. Consumers are encouraged to provide feedback on their experiences when dealing with airline companies.
With this Advisory, the DOJ hopes to continue to build community awareness, and to increase social trust for a peaceful and just Republic.