Orbitz Complaint - Orbitz has lost my business forever!!
On Monday night I tried booking a flight from Seattle to Ontario California on Orbitz. For some reason my card was declined (I'm thinking address issues?) so I tried again and then again, for a total of 3 times. When it didn't go through I used my friend's debit card and planned to give her the money for the ticket. No problems, ticket booked, excited about my trip!
Until yesterday (April 26) when I found out my friend had been charged DOUBLE the ticket cost. She called and was told the second charge would fall off within a few days, which was upsetting to say the least. If they are going to hold two times the amount of the ticket they need to put that in BOLD where it is visible before purchasing a ticket. I would have booked elsewhere if I saw it which is probably why its somewhere in the fineprint but regardless, we were less than thrilled.
THEN, I checked my account and found out I had ALSO BEEN CHARGED for the same ticket!!!! Seriously, you ask? Oh yes. So by declined they meant "this will look like its not being processed so you continue on in another way but we are actually in the process of manhandling your financial life. Thanks." The incredible part is that because I was charged this amount without knowing the other items that hit my account caused it to be overdrawn, causing hundred of dollars in fees to be assesses before I had my morning coffee. Of course I called and spoke to a woman who didn't understand that my problem was not that the money would be put back in my account. It was explained to me that within 3-5 days the charge would "fall off" because it wasn't attached to an actual reservation. However, my problem was that I was incurring fees as a direct result of their substandard system and would have multiple bills returned, incurring more fees AND damaging my history with these companies. I explained this to the woman at least 5 times and was told that I should contact my bank. So I did.
My bank informed me that the only thing I could do is file a claim which would take about 10 days to resolve. So I did so and then per my bank's instructions, called Orbitz back. This time I was able to talk to a fantastic gentleman named Ryan. He did a truly great job of keeping me calm and listening to my ACTUAL problem and offered to call Alaska Airlines on my behalf to have the charge reversed. Unfortunately, there was no code listed with the transaction on my bank account so he was told Alaska couldn't do anything. Back to square one after more than 5 hours on the phone.
I called my bank to get the code and it wasn't there- the transaction simply said something to the effect of "Alaskaairorbitz"- not what we needed. I called Orbitz again and was accidentally hung up on during the initial "can you verify your account" thing which I know was accidental but now on my 6th hour I was getting upset. That didn't help. Maybe they need a new phone system too?
This time I encountered a less than accommodating woman who was obviously trained to ignore a customer's request to speak with a manager and continued to waste my time informing me of the same irrelevant details that were becoming a redundant song blasting my ear drums!!!! I was extremely frustrated and asked yet again to speak with a manager. The woman I was transferred to couldn't help and sent me to yet ANOTHER woman who was reasonable but not at all kind or comforting through this process. After another 30 minutes of the runaround of what the problem was, whom I had spoken to and what they said, how my bank was handling this situation etc I was finally able to convince her to call my bank herself to rectify the stinking issue. She did and I was told the money was already added back to my account. I thanked her and went on my merry way after the most hideous experience with a company I've ever had.
Problem was- it wasn't. She told me that money would be available right away and maybe it was a bank hang up that caused it not to be available until this morning but how about checking with the person youre talking to before giving out false information? I attempted to get gas and was declined which would have been a HUGE issue had I not had cash with me.
All in all I'm angry. I spent the better portion of my day dealing with an issue that shouldn't have happened in the first place BUT I get that systems have glitches. That's not the problem. My problem is that whatever she did at the end of the day should have been done when I called initially. I was also not offered any help with my bank- which is not the treatment my friend got (she was told they would contact her bank on her behalf), not met with a courteous or helpful attitude in most cases (except Ryan-great job with him!) And was not offered anything for my ordeal. This has been a miserable experience. In the future I will either book directly through an airline (or hotel or rental company). The last thing I'll say is that this isn't just unfortunate for my friend and I on a personal level because of all of our wasted time and held funds but also because this particular friend works for a company which utilizes companies like Orbitz on a regular basis and because of our experience this week, they will also be going elsewhere from now on. Great job Orbitz! It's been an experience.