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American Airlines fined for giving incorrect information abouts fees, surcharges

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(WJLA) - American Airlines has been fined by the U.S. Department of Transportation for violating an advertising rule regarding full fares.

According to a DOT release, American Airlines was fined $60,000 after the airline's agents told consumers that surcharges imposed by the carrier were government-imposed taxes. 

“We expect airlines to be truthful to their customers when they provide information about their fares,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to take enforcement action when airlines fail to disclose their fares fully and accurately.”

Under the full-fare advertising rule, the first price an airline or ticket agent quotes for air travel must state the entire cost the consumer pays, including all mandatory taxes, fees and airline surcharges. 

An investigation found that on a number of occasions in 2012 and 2013, American's telephone reservation agents "mistakenly" told consumers that a variety of additional taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges were collectively "taxes." Many of the charges were not taxes but airline fees.

The Department of Transportation also found information on the airline's website also claimed the surcharges were taxes. 

American has since corrected its website and provided additional training to its agents.

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