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Orbitz.com is evil

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1. Posted by Chad_E (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

Ok, Maybe not evil, certainly not Ted Bundy/Jeffery Dahmer evil. More like a little boy burning ants with a magnifying glass, or maybe pulling the legs off spiders, evil. I can see you sitting there, reading this, thinking "Hmm, he certainly has a penchant for hyperbole". But my case, the description, although exaggerated, pretty much sums up my experience. I purchased tickets for my Honeymoon to Italy several months ago for a flight in mid July through.. wait for it... Orbitz.com. The Airline was Alitalia (I should actually append Alitalia is evil too, to the title, but I digress). Several weeks ago, I was just printing out some additional information so I wanted to check the flights and make sure everything was OK. I discovered that the last connecting flight (to my home state) had been canceled. I promptly called Orbitz (they never notified me of the cancellation) and over the course of two weeks, and MANY HOURS on the phone with them I still do not have a flight home. It has basically boiled down to a "pissing" contest between orbitz and Alitalia as to how is going to accommodate me. I fly next week July 13th and I still have no flight. But I was "assured" that something will happen, not sure what, within 7-10 working days. Mind you, 10 days, will actually be after the date that I depart. So this is just friendly warning to be careful when doing business with Oribtz and Alitalia. I'd love to hear some of your horror stories...

2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 10y

Good god Chad!!!
I have used Orbitz over 10 times with never a problem, well... once they changed one of my flights, but I recieved 2 email notifications about it! Let us know how it all works out.......good luck to you! :)

3. Posted by Chad_E (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

I'm thinking that I should have an incrementing counter, I could call it "Days until I yell at Orbitz again" I'd have to reset the counter, I yelled at them this morning. I was told it hasn't been 7-10 days. It was only 5 days since the 7-10 day quote. No joke, the first call (after my discovery) I made started with the Customer Service rep telling me I should call back a week before I fly. Not, "can I help you?". Please, that would be silly. I had to press her to have it referred to the dreaded (Ok she didn't say dreaded, I added that, but trust me here, dreaded is the word) Scheduling Department. They were foolish enough to send me a customer service survey.. BIG MISTAKE.

4. Posted by zzyzx (Budding Member 16 posts) 10y

What a mess, Chad. Hope it all works out okay for you.

I booked roundtrip airfare for 3 adults to Rome through Expedia for last March. Stuff came up and we had to cancel the trip - got socked with a hefty cancellation fee, which we expected, and credited through United for the remainder, to be used by the end of this year (or forfeited).

When I tried to re-book the flights for November - again, through Expedia - United decided it wouldn't accept my credits unless I re-booked at a "higher rate." I pointed out to the Expedia agent that the November flights would cost an additional $175/person over the original cost. But evidently what United had in mind was that I re-book in business class. (Oh no, United. You di'in't.)

To their credit, the folks at Expedia were great. They re-issued the tickets to me at the Web rate and told me they'd square it themselves with United.

I've since heard many a horror tale about United pulling this and similar shenanigans on travellers. While I'd certainly use Expedia again - United? Nah.

5. Posted by Chad_E (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

Hmm, lets see.. For all you folks playing the home game... I leave Thursday the 13th, and still no return tickets. They (orbitz.worthless) said they were putting a "rush" on resolving my issue. Mind you that was Friday the 7th. Apparetly "rush" is code for "we really enjoy being yelled out on the phone".. Hmm, pissed off? yeah just a little

The saga continues...

6. Posted by Chad_E (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

How do I express my displeasure, let me count the ways.. I had another two hour phone call with orbitz again today, they claim the e-mails they were sending were going unreturned by Alitalia. And therefore they were sorry but they couldn't help me. I should, in thier words "arrive a couple of hours early at the airport and talk to the airline" After nearly melting down on the phone, I calmly asked since they sold me the ticket and Alitalia won't talk to me/always refers me back to orbitz, would they be willing to do anything for me? Say cancel these tickets and book me on another carrier? of course they would. it is $400 to cancel the tickets (paid to airline for a flight I don't have) plus the orbitz service fee of $60.00. And then they would re-book the for whatever the new tickets would cost, which at this late of the game, was like $5K + $500 I already lost on the refund. I politely told him this was not acceptable. We went round and round for another 30 minutes discussing "good will" and that he had lost a customer for life, and that I would make sure anyone who asked I would tell of this experience with oribtz, and so much for good will. Now to the important part. What am I going to do? Well i've purchased tickets for the flight home (the final leg) at a cost of $800 more and I am going to dispute this amount on my credit card, so that I am not going to pay one additional cent. For anyone of you in this position, your credit card company can dispute this kind of thing under "non-fulfillment" or "services not rendered". I hope the B.S. I've gone through will dissuade you from doing business with these two companies. Ultimately the measure of a company is how they treat you when things go wrong, not when everything works perfectly. Clearly orbitz does not measure up, and since there plenty of good sites out there I would suggest that you use them before you have to go through the silliness that orbitz put me through....

Chad

7. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 10y

Sorry it all ended up so shitty Chad...did you threaten any legal procedeings? Sometimes that makes them jump (not always)
I had a couple of trips go sour on Travelocity, but they really did everything they could to remedy the situation (even though it meant a 14 hour layover at LAX) I really wish it had gone better for you...let us know how the credit card thingy goes....sometimes credit card companies are worse.:(

8. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

I am not sure if this applies to the Us legal situation as well, but in the Netherlands, the situation is really quite simple. This is how you solve it:

1. You bought your tickets through orbitz. That means that you as a consumer only have dealings with Orbitz.com, and not with any third party that they may rely on to transport you. The problems between Orbitz and Alitalia are none of your concern, and you can hold Orbitz accountable for their mistakes. That means that, if they have no story why things went wrong and if they cannot show that they did everything in their power to mend it (which they will not be able to), they have to find an alternative solution, which can vary from returning (part of) your payment, putting you on a different airliner, etc.

2. Under EU regulations, Alitalia has an obligation to provide transport after you bought a ticket. Sadly, this regulation doesn't apply outside EU territory, plus it contains a clause regarding cancellations announced more than 2 weeks prior to departure...

What you should do, is write to Orbitz.com and announce legal action. State your complaint, demand a concrete and realistic solution, and give them once last reasonable term to respond. If they don't, under EU private law you'd have every right to annull the remaining part of your contract with them, which would mean that you can get part of your money back. And be sure to threaten them to report this case with large consumer organisations, etc. That usually scares them :-)

good luck litigating,
Niels

[ Edit: Edited at Jul 12, 2006 2:17 AM by bentivogli ]

9. Posted by Chad_E (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

I'm definitely considering legal action, unfotunately, they finally told me that they couldn't/wouldn't help me three days before I fly, which is today. They've sent, according to their own people, e-mails since May 26th. Why not just call?? Not sure. They also admitted that, they've had problems with Alitalia for over a year, and that there are internal "training issues" regarding this. They (Andy, a supervisor in their "Exchange Department") also hinted that they might be ending their relationship with Alitalia because of this problem. All of this smacks of fraud, they sell a product that they know is defective, or at least potentially so. When I get back from Italy, I am planning on talking to an attorney, and I'm also going to send an e-mail to our local paper, and news stations. And of course, I plan on contacting oribtz's corporate HQ. I am just one person, but I bet I can make it sting for orbitz..

Thanks for the advise, I appreciate it.

Chad.

10. Posted by reijiro (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

i'm a travel agent. for months now alitalia is preventing all travel agencies to demand for flights to be fixed on a real time basis. they set up a policy that *requests* should all be emailed and you wait for a response. I tried fixing a flight of a friend of mine and they bluntly reminded me that flight doesn't leave until august so i shouldn't rush them. okay then. silly me. just thought i'd get a little worried cause that flight's already paid and there's still no way for him to return home. *i think i sent you a message instead of a reply to this post sorry*