Class Action Lawsuit Brought Against Spirit Airlines for Deceiving Customers
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Spirit Airlines by a group of lawyers that is accusing the airline of deliberately deceiving its customers with erroneous fees.
The law firm Podhurst Orseck, based in Miami, Florida, said the airline tricked its customers by saying that its 'Passenger Usage Fee' was a required government fee, when it was allegedly just a fee set by the airline to increase its profits.
The law firm says that it expects millions of passengers to be covered by the class action suit.
The lawsuit alleges that Spirit purposely misleading unsuspecting customers into believing that the passenger fee was a mandatory expense. It also accuses the airline of violating federal regulations by not being forthcoming about its costs.
The firm claims that instead of disclosing the fee and its purpose upfront, Spirit chose to embed it with other fees that are either required or sanctioned by the government, so that it sounds like a legitimate fee.
In November 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Spirit Airlines $50,000 for violating federal aviation laws and the Department's rules prohibiting deceptive price advertising in air travel.
In early 2012 Spirit was also fined $100,000 for not addressing or remedying complaints filed by passengers with disabilities.
This latest lawsuit claims that for a period of time in 2011, Spirit used billboards and posters to advertise new service from Los Angeles that contained an asterisk next to the advertised fare. On the billboards, the asterisk led to small print which stated that additional taxes, fees and conditions would apply, but did not disclose the amount of those taxes and fees. The posters did not include any information about the taxes and fees or their amounts.
The company has yet to fully explain the true purpose of the passenger fee in question, which ranges from $9 to $17 per ticket.
Spirit Airlines has denied the claims of doing anything deceitful or illegal.