Orbitz Complaint - Beware of Orbitz.com Scams
I booked airline tickets for my family of four (including two minors) from Los Angeles to Rome via Detroit. There were four flight segments (on Northwest) : Los Angeles to Detroit, Detriot to Rome, Rome to Detroit and Detroit to Los Angeles. Orbitz.com displayed the seats "available" on all four flight segments and asked me to select my seats. Traveling with minors, I selected contiguous seats. I also booked a simultaneous transfer through Orbitz from Rome airport to city center. Once I gave Obitz my credit card number, they came back with my confirmation. The problem was I did not get the seats I had selected. So the seats that were advertised as "available" instantly became "non-available" as soon as they got my credit card number. Not just that, on all four segments my family got seats that were spread all over the plane (mostly middle seats).
I called Orbitz right away and canceled my reservation, including the transfer. That should have been the end of the matter. However, I got a charge of $125.00 on my next credit card statement. Orbitz claimed that I was not due any refund for transfer at Rome airport since the transfer was non-refundable type. That is not withstanding the fact Orbitz was trying to scam me in the first place using the classic fraudulent bait and switch tactic. Besides the transfer was tied to the arrival time at Rome based on the Orbitz booking and pretty useless when I book through someone else.
What are my options at this point? I have decided to fight these shysters.
First I am disputing the charge through my credit card company. I booked through Orbitz using my credit card. Any card holder is afforded some protection under consumer laws against substandard service and products once he has made a "good faith" effort to resolve this with the merchant. This may or may not work, depending how aggressively the credit card issuer pursues Orbitz.
If the credit card issuer fails to deliver results, there is always the option of Small Claims Courts. Small Claims may sound cumbersome and time consuming but they work. It is a level playing field where you do not need a lawyer and can represent yourself (in contrast a company like Orbitz has to get legal help costing hundreds of dollars an hour). The mere filing and proper service of summons usually results in a happy outcome where you can recoup your disputed amount, filing fees and then some. I have prevailed several times against large corporations in small claims. You will be surprised to see how much attention you get once you file these suits. All you need is a little patience. In California you can claim up to $7500 plus costs in a small claims suit. Collection is very easy when large solvent corporations are involved.