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The home of the roaming gnome faces a stiff fine.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday that it has fined Travelocity $180,000 for violating a new federal full-fare advertising rule. The Texas-based online travel agency has a bearded lawn gnome as its mascot.
The rule that took effect in January says online travel agents and airlines must include taxes and fees in the full fare that they prominently advertise.
The Department of Transportation said an investigation found that Travelocity’s website sometimes did not include fuel surcharges in the advertised price of airline tickets until Travelocity customers selected an itinerary.
In addition, Travelocity did not inform customers on some itineraries that a paper ticket was required for a minimum price of $29.95, the agency said.
“Many consumers choose their flights based on price, which is why we require all airfare ads to include the full price consumers will pay,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
In response, a Travelocity spokesman said the travel agency disagrees with the fine but plans to pay it to settle the charges.
“We have always sought to provide consumers with full and accurate fare information, even as airlines add new surcharges,” said spokesman Joel Frey.
(c)2012 Los Angeles Times
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