Air Canada held responsible for chatbot’s misleading advice on airfares



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Summary

Air Canada must compensate a British Columbia passenger after its chatbot misled him about airfares.

The man relied on the chatbot’s information about airfares when booking a flight to his grandmother’s funeral, CTV News reports.

Specifically, he wanted to know about special bereavement fares for flights due to a death in the family. The chatbot told the man that he was eligible for a discount within 90 days of the flight.

This information was incorrect, and the airline refused to grant the bereavement discount retroactively.

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Air Canada argued that it could not be held responsible for the information provided by the chatbot. The chatbot was a separate legal entity and responsible for its actions.

However, the Canadian civil court ruled in favor of the man and awarded him $650.88 in damages for negligent misinformation. The amount represents the difference in price between the flight he paid for and a discounted bereavement fare, plus interest and fees.

A chatbot on a website is part of the website

The court concluded that Air Canada failed to ensure the accuracy of its chatbot. The chatbot is part of the website and, like the website, must provide accurate information.

Air Canada is responsible for all information on its website, whether it comes from a static page or a chatbot.

The court also rejected the argument that the man could have found the correct information on another page of the website, noting that there should be no reason for customers to compare the chatbot’s information with information elsewhere.

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