Beware, Beware, Of CheapoAir! (please share)

I just got scammed, and now I am screwed. And I'm not the only one.
If you search for a flight on, the results for the date in question will look just like those on Orbitz or any other such site - with one very shady difference:

The first, cheapest option is for a completely different date than that for which you searched - without a warning of that fact.

I searched several weeks ago for a one-way ticket from Cleveland (where my sister lives) back home to PDX on Dec 28th. Try it. It will list some results for about 1.5 seconds, as it tells you "Just a moment more - we want to be sure we find you the best price." Then suddenly a cheaper price shows up, prompting you to do just as you would, and have, hundreds of times before on other sites - jump on it! All standard fare.

But wait - before you click select on cheapo, look closer. Directly under the date you searched, listed AS RESULTS FOR THAT DATE, the cheapest flight is a completely different date. There is absolutely no indication in the field that the option you're clicking on is not the date listed directly above it! It is quite simply (and I believe deliberately) falsely-labelled. I've done it a dozen times, for many cities. Anyway, back to me trying to go home for Christmas in a very tight year:

Of course it says "Act now! Only 2 tickets left in this price!". So I did. Only problem is, I just found out I would have to fly home early on Christmas morning.

And now, many weeks later, and with prices around $700, I could go to Cleveland to see my siblings, but it would be absolutely impossible for me to get home. My sister is in tears.

How long have they been pulling this? How many people will actually drive to the airport, only to find they are going nowhere? And how can this be anything but deliberate trickery? It's clearly designed to prey on your trust of a repeated system. As I wrote, I'm very experienced at booking online flight, and it's still practically impossible to notice. What about those who fly once a year to see family?

After very close inspection, you'll see the fine print "This is a flexible date." What does that even mean?! Is 12/25 inherently flexible? Because I certainly did not indicate that I was. Every other result is for the day I SPECIFICALLY searched. But nah - 12/28 is so rigid!

I tried calling them twice, and was hung up on both times without speaking to anyone (shocker, that). I just wrote every local news source in Portland (update - one called me back!). At this point, muckraking is the only chance I have.
My speculation is that perhaps the website by contract gets to share in the windfall of an unused ticket. There has to be some incentive to employ such obvious trickery.
This is evil. At the very least, people should be warned. Please repost or forward, or whatever the hell it is you do on social media.

If you hear of any other people who've fallen for this, or have some idea if I might have legal recourse, please contact me:

Thanks. Be careful out there. And punch a libertarian for me, please. Cuz regulation is bad, m'kay?

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