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Order 2013-7-27 - Bloomspot - Consent Order - Internet Advertisements and Email Solicitations


Bloomspot, Inc.

Order 2013-7-27
OST-2013-0004 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served July 31, 2013

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements and e-mail solicitations by Bloomspot, Inc. that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84(a), as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Bloomspot to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the ticket agent a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

For a period of time in late 2012, on its website and by email, Bloomspot promoted air-inclusive tour packages that failed to meet the requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). For example, Bloomspot sent an e-mail to its subscribers promoting a Highlights of Egypt tour with a stated price of “$2,877 for 7-day Highlights of Egypt tour ($4,795 value).” Clicking on the “Read more” and “SEE OFFER” links in the e-mail directed consumers to a “Primary Offer” landing page that stated: “$2,877* for 7-day Highlights of Egypt tour ($4,795 value)”. On the same webpage under the heading “The Details” an additional disclosure noted that the “Rate is per person but based on double-occupancy: $450 single-occupancy fee for solo travelers will be collected upon booking.”

The Highlights of Egypt tour promoted in an e-mail to subscribers also appeared on a webpage on the Bloomspot website. Like the e-mail advertisement, there was no disclosure of the double occupancy requirement on the Bloomspot webpage promoting the Highlights of Egypt tour. Consumers who viewed the promotion on the Bloomspot webpage had to click an arrow to be directed to the “Primary Offer” landing page that disclosed the double occupancy requirement and single-occupancy fee. The failure to adequately disclose the double occupancy requirement (1) in email solicitations and (2) on the first webpage advertising the air-inclusive tour package violates section 399.84(a) and constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

https://www.bloomspot.com/


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