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Air Canada's chatbot gave a passenger false information about claiming a discount, and the airline must now pay him compensation

Pete Syme   

Air Canada's chatbot gave a passenger false information about claiming a discount, and the airline must now pay him compensation
  • An Air Canada chatbot told a customer he could receive a bereavement discount after traveling to his grandma's funeral.
  • But the airline says claims for bereavement rates must be submitted beforehand.

Air Canada was on Wednesday ordered to compensate a passenger who was misled by its online chatbot.

Jake Moffatt brought his small-claims case to the Civil Resolution Tribunal after the airline denied his request for a refund.

When his grandmother died in 2022, Moffatt booked a flight with Air Canada — hoping to use its bereavement rates which offer a discount for those traveling due to a family member's death.

Moffatt said the airline's chatbot told him he would be able to claim this discount after traveling.

However, a separate page on Air Canada's website notes it "does not allow refunds for travel that has already happened."

After exchanging emails for three months, an Air Canada representative told Moffatt the chatbot had provided "misleading words."

When the case was brought to the tribunal, Air Canada asked the adjudicator to dismiss Moffatt's claim.

It denied all his allegations but didn't provide any evidence to dispute them, according to a court document.

The airline also claimed it shouldn't be held accountable for the chatbot's actions.

"In effect, Air Canada suggests the chatbot is a separate legal entity that is responsible for its own actions," wrote Christopher Rivers, the adjudicator. "This is a remarkable submission."

"There is no reason why Mr. Moffatt should know that one section of Air Canada's webpage is accurate, and another is not," he added.

Moffatt's flights between Toronto and Vancouver cost around $1,200. Air Canada has been ordered to refund $602 of this, based on the expected bereavement rates.

Air Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, sent outside Canadian working hours.


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