DoNotPay thinks it can save its users hundreds of dollars by automatically getting partial refunds on flight tickets if prices drop.
A new service is trying to exploit legal loopholes to get people cheaper plane tickets — by automatically checking flight prices 17,000 times a day.
DoNotPay, an automated legal tool, is branching out into helping users book airline tickets, it announced on Monday. It says its services have previously helped overturn hundreds of thousands of users' parking tickets and assisted people affected by the Equifax data breach in suing the firm. It also works in 1,000 other areas of law.
The new service will monitor the price of tickets for flights its users have purchased, then try to take advantage of legal loopholes to get users partial refunds if prices drop.
For example: If you're flying from New York to San Francisco and your ticket drops to $300 from $400 after you book it, DoNotPay will try to get you a $100 refund.
"In the US (unlike Europe, unfortunately), there are about 70 different loopholes that will make even the most nonrefundable ticket refundable," DoNotPay's founder, Josh Browder, told Business Insider in an email.
He continued: "For example, if bad weather is predicted for your flight, the schedule changes, the airline's contract with you required them to open it up. Similarly, every single flight can be refunded before 24 hours [after it's booked]. Since airline prices change so often, it's highly unlikely you got in at the bottom, so when it drops, it automatically applies one of these many rules to your ticket and switches you to the cheaper ticket in the same fare class."
Browder said that in private tests with a few hundred users, 68% of flights saw a price decline, with an average of $140. The largest savings on a plane ticket that DoNotPay has seen was $650.
Originally from the UK, Browder is a student at Stanford University in California. His startup has raised $1.1 million in funding from venture-capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz.
DoNotPay's services are free to use, and it says it won't take any cut of the money its users save on flights.
"As with everything before it, I'm not looking to make money with this specific service," Browder said. "I am just trying to build a great product and one day expand this product to insurance, healthcare, and retail, where there may be an opportunity to make it sustainable."