BBB National Programs Archive
Momentum Ventures Discontinues Certain Claims Challenged by Fareportal, NAD Recommends Additional Disclosures
New York, NY – May 31, 2017 – Momentum Ventures, operator of the travel websites JustFly.com and FlightHub.com, said it has voluntarily and permanently discontinued certain advertising claims challenged by Fareportal, Inc., a competing online travel agency that operates CheapOair.com. The National Advertising Division has recommended the advertiser also modify or discontinue claims related to its cancellation policy.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
NAD asked Momentum Ventures to provide substantiation for the following express claims:
- “80% off Cheap Flights”
- “80% off Cheapest Flights”
- “More cheap flights than anywhere”
- The “cheapest options available for airline tickets.”
- “FlightHub always guarantees the BEST PRICES possible. Customer satisfaction GUARANTEED!”
- “Best Purchase Guarantee”
- “Free Cancellations”
- “Limited Sales”
Fareportal, in its challenge, also asserted that Momentum Ventures advertises non-existent airfares, advertises false ticket prices in response to specific itinerary searches and
labels airline fuel surcharges as taxes.
In response to NAD’s inquiry, Momentum Ventures said it would permanently discontinue the “cheap” and “cheapest” flight claims, the “best prices” guaranteed claims, and take corrective action to ensure that all airline fuel charges are included in the price of the base fare.
Further, Momentum agreed to permanently discontinue its limited time offer claims in accordance with NAD precedent.
Momentum also agreed to implement modifications to its search engine marketing (SEM) advertising to ensure that when a consumer searches for both an origin and a destination, and subsequently receives a Momentum advertisement with a price to the searched destination, that the displayed price is for a flight from the searched origin to destination.
In considering the advertiser’s “Free 4H Cancellations” claim, NAD noted its concern that the claim does not clearly convey the parameters of the advertiser’s free cancellation policy.
While the advertiser includes a rollover disclosure explaining that the cancellation offer is restricted to a four-hour period, NAD determined that the “4 hour” phrase could easily be incorporated into the underlying claim and would make the meaning of the claim more transparent than the abbreviated term “4H.” NAD also found that the claim should make clear that consumers have four hours from the time of booking to cancel their reservations for free.
During the course of NAD’s proceedings, Momentum replaced the “Best Purchase Guarantee” with an “Extended Cancellation Policy.” This policy provided an extended cancellation period up to 24 hours and allowed consumers to receive a full refund of the booked fare for a fee of $19.99 per passenger. The parties disagreed as to whether a Department of Transportation (DOT) rule that allows reservations to be cancelled within 24 hours after the reservation is made without penalty, applies to both airline carriers and ticket agents, like Momentum. Fareportal argued that the Extended Cancellation Policy leaves consumers with the false impression that the policy includes airfare, when in fact, they already have airfare protection under DOT requirements.
NAD noted that its role is not to assess compliance with DOT rules and regulations and limited its review to the truthfulness and accuracy of the challenged “cancellation” claims.
As to Momentum’s Extended Cancellation Policy, NAD was concerned that the advertising omitted important information concerning the ability of consumers to obtain a full refund for the period of 4 to 24 hours after booking if they do not purchase the $19.99 Extended Cancellation Policy. To ensure consumers have access to material cost information prior to purchasing airfare on JustFly and FlightHub, and to render the advertising more truthful and accurate, NAD recommended that Momentum modify its Extended Cancellation Policy to clearly and conspicuously disclose that consumers may cancel their reservations for free within 4 hours of booking, and that consumers may purchase the Extended Cancellation Policy for $19.99 per passenger and cancel their reservations within 4 to 24 hours of booking for a full refund of the fare.
Finally, NAD recommended the advertiser clearly and conspicuously disclose the consequences for consumers who elect not to purchase the Extended Cancellation policy and wish to cancel their reservation within 4 to 24 hours of booking.
In its advertiser’s statement, Momentum Travel Group said it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations. While Momentum respectfully disagrees with certain NAD findings, it appreciates the opportunity to participate in this voluntary self-regulatory process and to improve its advertising practices with the goal of providing the best possible service to its customers.”
Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.