U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings
Aviation Consumer Protection Division
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Washington D.C. 20590
Phone: (202) 366-2220
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which began operation in 1967, deals with, you guessed it, transportation. Its Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD) is tasked with monitoring compliance with and investigating violations of the DOT’s consumer protection requirements.
As part of that mission, the ACPD is responsible for, among other things, ensuring that airline advertisements comply with the DOT’s rules prohibiting deceptive advertising in air travel. It does this, in part, by issuing fines to airlines that violate the rules.
For example, in October 2011, the DOT fine the online ticket agent Orbitz $60,000 for violating the DOT rules requiring any advertisement that includes a price for air transportation to state the full price to be paid by the consumer. For the full story, click here.
It’s important to remember, though, that the DOT doesn’t handle advertisements relating to other forms of transportation. It only deals with airline ads. So, if you’re upset about an ad for a car, bus, or train, you’re probably better off complaining to the FTC.