Air Canada must pay refund promised by AI chatbot, tribunal rules

Air Canada must pay Vancouver man partial ticket refund promised by site’s chatbot and Canadian court Decided on Wednesdaycould be a landmark case in the use of artificial intelligence in business.

Jake Moffat asked the airline’s artificial intelligence support chatbot whether the airline offered bereavement fares in November 2022 after his grandmother’s death. The chatbot said the airline was offering discounted fares, which Moffat could claim within 90 days of flying by submitting an application.

However, the airline’s actual bereavement policy specifically states that it does not include post-flight refunds and that discounts must be approved in advance.

Moffat booked a round-trip ticket from Vancouver to Toronto for about $1,200 and then requested the promised half-price discount, but the chatbot response from the airline’s support staff was inaccurate and legally binding. He was told that there was no one.

Air Canada argued in civil court that the chatbot is a “separate legal entity” to the company and cannot be held liable for what it says to customers.

Tribune member Christopher Rivers ruled in Moffat’s favor on Wednesday, finding the airline had committed “negligent misrepresentation” and must honor the discounts the chatbot promised. did.

“This is a noteworthy submission,” he wrote. “Although the chatbot has an interactive component, it is still only part of Air Canada’s website. It is clear that Air Canada is responsible for all information on the website. It makes no difference whether it comes from a static page or a chatbot.”

Mr. Rivers ordered Air Canada to pay Mr. Moffat a promised $483 refund and nominal fees.

“I don’t think Air Canada took reasonable care to ensure the chatbot was accurate,” Rivers continued. “While Air Canada maintains that Mr. Moffat was able to find the correct information elsewhere on the website, the web page titled ‘Bereavement Travel’ is inherently more trustworthy than the airline’s chatbot. It doesn’t explain why they can. Nor does it explain why customers should double-check information in one part of the website in another part of the website.”

The support chatbot, launched last year, was not visible on the airline’s website as of Sunday.

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