Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security in conjunction with the National Secretariat of Consumer Protection (Senacon) fined Iberia EUR 252,000 for having cancelled some 4,000 round-trip tickets between Rio de Janeiro and Paris.

The case refers to what happened last December 28, when thousands of people rushed to buy flights between the two cities when a fare of USD 118 was published.

The error fare was available for about three hours, but those lucky enough to take advantage of it began to receive messages from the airline in the following days informing that the purchase was cancelled.

According to Iberia, it was a human-created error fare when publishing the prices, as the intended price was USD 1,180, not USD 118, and since there are platforms dedicated to tracking significant price variations (and going viral when they find one), the consequences of the error escalated more than desired.

None of this mattered to the Brazilian authorities: as reported by our partner media in Brazil Aeroin, the Senacon fine is based on the violation of articles 4 and 20 of the Consumer Protection Code (CDC), which oblige companies to create «efficient means of controlling the quality and safety of products and services, as well as alternative mechanisms for resolving consumer disputes» and that «by offering a product, Iberia assumes responsibility for the business risk.»

Brazil’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, Anderson Torres, said 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 would have no further recourse to appeal the measure, so the authorities set a 30-day deadline to pay the fine.

This is not the first time (nor will it be the last) that, due to human or technological error, erroneous fares are published. Without going any further, this week in Argentina, eDreams Online Travel Agency mistakenly sold transatlantic tickets at two cents on the dollar.

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