Ticket companies are supposed to include the full price of airfare, including taxes and fees, in any advertisement. According to the Department of Transportation, Orbitz displayed homepage ads in early 2011 that did not have that information. Instead, the taxes and fees were disclosed at the bottom of another page in fine print.
"Consumers have a right to know the full price they will be paying for air fares," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a written statement. "We established airline price advertising rules to protect the consumer and will take enforcement action when these rules are violated."
But Orbitz described the apparent violation as a "glitch," claiming the issue has been resolved.
"Orbitz is in compliance with DOT advertising requirements and the glitch that resulted in how fares were displayed for a short period of time earlier this year has been addressed," Orbitz said in a statement.
There is one exception to the taxes-and-fees disclosure rule when it comes to taxes imposed on a "per-passenger basis," but starting next year ticket agents will have to include all taxes and fees in ads.