Tonight I tried to book a long trip for 4 through justairticket.com.
I found they had the lowest prices by far - international. So I booked. Was happy. 10 mins later. Cell phone rings.
Brian (justairticket) calls me from a New Jersey number but obviously he was in India. Brian asks me if I want to upgrade or take faster flights for more money. I say no. Brian then tells me my flight is not available for the price. I then threaten to call AMEX and he then offers other tickets for the same price.
So didn't book through them as you might suspect. (2 hours later the tickets still available on their site for same price)
With the seemingly 100s of booking sites what can travelers do to make sure they are dealing with a legit site? Also is there any recourse when you get duped?
Note: I was sent to this site from kayak.com - which has to be one of the largest airline booking sites in the world. What is the use of looking for low fares if I cannot trust any of those sites?
Update! My last call last night ended with me telling Brian that they had committed bait and switch and that I was reporting him to the BBB and NJ police. I have done both. Just 2 mins ago - some 11 hours after my conversation with Brian, another justairticket.com rep (from India) calls me from 201-942-1029. He informs me of the new deals. I tell him I have reported his company for fraud. He continues to tell me about deals I could have!
Update#2 I go on their website. The same exact flight is STILL BEING OFFERED for the SAME PRICE. So they tell me that I can't have it after I buy it then still advertise the same thing on their site. I cannot believe I live in the US and there is no one I can call to watch a crime happen and take care of this. It is one thing for them to have committed bait and switch - they are openly still committing it and too dumb to understand the complaints against them.
Update#3 Jersey City Police called me back - AMEX suggested I file fraud report with the police due to justairticket having brick and mortar. JCP tells me that they doubt they find anything more than a few empty boxes at this place. Then the detective verified that he still sees the fraud taking place. And then says that due to US regulations there is almost nothing he can do. He says that even seeing the issue it still falls under civil crimes and it is hard for the police to enforce anything no matter how guilty the company is. So it looks like this question is pretty important - what can consumers do to protect themselves (especially in the US where there seems to be little to no regulation)?
Update4 - JC Police have actually followed up. They are sending a cease and desist order to justairticket.com on the addresses they have list in Jersey City and have an official fraud case open on them (I got a case #). The detective said that I had a rare case of the crime still happening and their real issue is that they called me and every time they called me confirmed they were in NJ. He said without that they would have been stuck. He said his expectations are really nothing but he said he hasn't seen a more solid case than this with evidence so the local DA team wants to use it as an example...