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Injunctions > Expedia Moves Against Small Travel Agency

In civil lawsuits, there are times when one party can ask the Court for early relief and an Order stopping the other party (to the lawsuit) from doing something or acting in a certain fashion.  For example, a party can ask the Court to order an interim injunction, preventing the other party from carrying out certain business practices.

In the interesting case of Pacific Express Travel Ltd. v. Expedia Canada Corp., (2009 Ontario Superior Court), a new and small travel agency (Pacific Express) was apparently using the Expedia website to book plane tickets primarily from Canada to China.  Pacific Express apparently found a loophole which saved its customers a few hundred dollars when booking a roundtrip flight from Canada to China.  This loophole was to book an extra segment of the trip to another destination (ie thereby ensuring that this was not a direct roundtrip from Canada to China), even when the customer had no intention of using this extra flight segment, to avoid a travel surcharge which would otherwise be charged.  It appears that this practice was expressly disallowed and that travel agencies were not allowed to knowingly engage in this practice.

The non-use or late cancellation of this last trip segment appears to have been a significant problem for the airlines and Expedia, such that Expedia was considering cancelling up to 500 tickets booked in this fashion, including tickets for which the customers had used the first half of the trip (i.e. were currently visiting in China) and had not yet returned from their trip.

On an interim injunction application, Pacific Express sought to prevent Expedia from cancelling approximately 500 trips booked in this fashion.  Their application was denied, although an arrangement was reached with Expedia about those trips.

Expedia also brought an interim injunction application in the same motion, to prevent Pacific Express from engaging in any more bookings on the Expedia website.  Pacific Express agreed to this injunction.

The Court reviews the test for an injunction, including the issues of whether: (i) there is a serious question to be tried; (ii) the moving party will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted; and (iii) the balance of convenience favouring an injunction.
Gregory Chang
Toronto Insurance Litigation Lawyer