Thursday 17 April 2008

Aer Lingus - A Class Act facing a Class Action?

The current dispute between Aer Lingus and the lucky customers who purchased €5 business class flights to the US via their website has implications which reach far beyond the current situation. It is patently obvious that Aer Lingus hasn't got a leg to stand on (a wing to fly on) as there was a legally binding contract in place as soon as they accepted payment for the €5 flights on their website. It is irrelevant whether the offering was a mistake or not! The offer was made and accepted and money changed hands - Case closed!  Hopefully the airline will fulfill the contracts made with the customers concerned but if not this looks like the ideal opportunity for a very costly class action which the airline will most certainly lose.

A much more serious situation will result however if the airline does not back down and if customers let them away with it!  Contract law in this jurisdiction will be effectively worthless! Every time a party wants out of a contract all they will have to do is say "I didn't mean it - I was only joking - April Fool!" As anyone knows April Fools after the 1st April are invalid!  I think it might actually be desirable that this does go to court regardless of Aer Lingus' response. Serious damage has already been done when a major company like Aer Lingus shows such blatent contempt for the law of the land!  Consumer law is one of the vital protections within any civil society and any organisation that seeks to subvert it should face the consequences! If Aer Lingus walk away from this with only a telling off Justice will have been severly diminished!

8 comments:

Primal Sneeze said...

Doubt if you're a betting man, Stephen, so you may not know that the only grouping that can legally renege on a contract are bookies. They can legally refund your stake rather than pay out the winnings (without having to prove you were cheating i.e. the reason the law was brought into being).

Aer Lingus will get their wings clipped on this one.

Bock the Robber said...

It will go to court, but probably only the District Court which is not a court of record.

I recommend placing a curse on them.

What do you suggest?

Stephen Neill said...

Primal - Not a betting man but have had odd flutter on the Stock Market so I have no objection in principle - just enough vices as it is!
Interesting point re bookies and contracts.

Bock - Something along these lines: " I fart in your general direction and may you spend eternity sorting baggage in Terminal 5!"

Bock the Robber said...

There's a lot more to the Terminal 5 debacle than a glitch.

Heathrow and organised crime are almost synonymous.

Caoimhin said...

Unfortunately in Ireland there is no such thing as a Class Action lawsuit, Aer Lingus will squirm out of this with a small compromise.

Stephen Neill said...

Bock - Please elaborate - intrigued?

Caoimhin - yes so I gather - are there any moves to introduce such a procedure here?

Bock the Robber said...

Heathrow has always been a thief's paradise. Theft of passengers' possessions is institutionalised there and has been for generations.

Setting up the new terminal included the introduction of a screening process to weed out crooks, and the crime gangs didn't want that so they brought the airport to a halt, helped by British Airways' stupidity.

What happened at T-5 was a battle to see who really runs the airport, the BAA or the criminals. The gangs set out a marker and as a result their symbiotic relationship with BA and BAA continues as before.

Caoimhin said...

Not that I am aware of Stephen, giving a group of litigants an opportunity to unite in legal action, ie. the autism cases, or the above mentioned Aer Lingus action, would grant an option that seems contrary to the Irish "divide and conquer" theory of justice. Financially the government, big business, and industry have the upper hand as they can sustain higher court costs whether they win or lose, private individuals cannot and fear to take on these lawsuits. Can you see the establishment giving up this commanding advantage?