Canada’s main airline must pay compensation after an AI chatbot convinced a customer to buy a full-price ticket by promising a discount.
Jake Moffatt bought an Air Canada ticket to go to his grandmother’s funeral.
He was helped by a chatbot, which told him he could get some of his money back under the airline’s bereavement policy as long as he applied within 90 days of travel.
So he bought tickets from Vancouver to Toronto for about $590 and, a few days later, paid $630 to return.
But when he asked for some money back, Air Canada said the chatbot was wrong and would only consider requests made before the trip.
Air Canada was ordered to pay Jake Moffatt $483 plus $27 in interest and about $93 in fees after he was forced to take the airline to court when it refused to refund money a chatbot had promised him. .
Tribunal member Christopher Rivers called Air Canada’s response a “remarkable submission”
Air Canada was criticized by the court for attempting to claim that its chatbot was “responsible for its own actions” and was a separate legal entity.
Moffat’s grandmother died on November 11, 2022, and that day we visited Air Canada’s website and asked the chatbot about bereavement fares. The chatbot told him he could get a refund to reduce the amount he would end up paying.
Moffatt showed them a screenshot of the chatbot’s advice, but the company said it had used “misleading advice.”
So Moffatt He sued for the difference and won. in the Civil Resolution Court of British Columbia in Canada.
But not before Air Canada bosses put their foot down and sent what tribunal member Christopher Rivers called a “remarkable submission.”
Airline bosses claimed the chatbot was “responsible for its own actions” and was a separate legal entity. They said the correct information was in the fine print on the airline’s website.
“While a chatbot has an interactive component, it is still only a part of the Air Canada website,” tribunal member Christopher Rivers wrote in his decision.
‘It should be obvious to Air Canada that it is responsible for all information contained on its website. It doesn’t matter if the information comes from a static page or a chatbot.’
Moffat’s grandmother died on November 11, 2022, and that day we visited Air Canada’s website and asked the chatbot about bereavement fees.
The chatbot responded: “If you need to travel immediately or have already traveled and would like to submit your ticket for a reduced bereavement fare, please do so within 90 days of your ticket issuance date by completing our Refund Request form. ticket”. He booked the flights with the promise of a partial refund.
On Nov. 17, she requested a refund and sent her grandmother’s death certificate, seeking a response from the airline over the next few months.
In February 2023, the airline told him that the chatbot was wrong and that he would not receive a refund.
DailyMail.com mocked this image to show what the Air Canada chatbot, of which it took screenshots, said to Moffatt, according to the court documents below.
Moffatt took screenshots of what the Air Canada chatbot told him, described here in the British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling.
Air Canada offers reduced fares for those traveling at the last minute due to bereavement. But these must be agreed in advance. A chatbot told Moffatt that he could purchase flights and then request a refund up to 90 days later.
According to the decision, Moffatt said he would not have purchased the tickets if he had had to pay the full fare.
He felt like he should have paid around $565, but he actually paid $1220.
Rivers ordered Air Canada to pay Moffatt $483 to cover the promised refund. The airline also had to pay $27 in interest and about $93 in fees.
In the ruling, he wrote: ‘Moffatt says, and I accept, that they relied on the chatbot to provide accurate information. I consider that it was reasonable under the circumstances.
“There is no reason why Mr. Moffatt should know that one section of Air Canada’s website is accurate and another is not.”
In the comments section below a version of the Washington Post story, Readers criticized Air Canada.
One wrote: ‘Air Canada’s refusal to take ownership of its own Chatbot is a really stupid move, but completely typical of its disdain for its customers and its willingness to confuse, mislead and overcharge them.
‘Truly amazing. Air Canada’s argument is so crazy: Air Canada put the chatbot on their website! What bad public relations too.
Another wrote: “The commenters seem to have missed the point. Turns out SkyNet is more compassionate than Air Canada.”