(Update) Orbitz' Low Fare Promise

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I purchased airfare today through Orbitz knowing that it will qualify for the Low Fare Promise. They're playing games that they're not going to win.


Here's the low fare promise:

With Orbitz' Low Fare Promise, you know you're getting a good deal on your flight! Just book a qualifying flight on Orbitz, and if you can do better, we'll send you a $50 coupon.

Here's how it works:
Find a published airfare online for the same airline and flight(s) that costs at least $5 less than what you paid on Orbitz (excluding service fees), and we'll give you the $50 coupon for future travel.

To take advantage of the Low Fare Promise, fill out the claim form in "My Trips" by midnight Central Time on the day you buy your Orbitz ticket. If the claim is valid, you'll get a $50 coupon for every ticket in the Orbitz reservation, redeemable on any future flight, hotel, rental car or vacation package purchased on Orbitz.com.

The Low Fare Promise applies to published airfares, including Web fares, purchased on Orbitz.com, and is valid for travel wholly within the 50 United States. Restrictions apply and terms and conditions are included below.

Here's the deal: The link does not exist on Orbitz. I called customer service twice; the first guy had no clue (35 minute waste of time), the girl told me I have to email them with a screen shot of the lower price.

When it comes down to it, I have no problem fighting them to keep their "promise" and I don't doubt that I'll get it. My problem with the whole ordeal is that it is deceitful and preys on those that easily give up. I posted on their Twitter, Facebook, and have emailed the email address that was provided to me.

Any other suggestions to make sure that they follow their own rules? Attorney General? BBB (blah)? Consumerist? Am I missing anything?

$50 isn't a ton of money. This really comes down to the principle of the whole ordeal and if I fell for it, I'm sure thousands of others have too.

Member Summary
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I'm not sure which of the numerous steps I took made it work. I took the approach of attacking from multiple angles and... (more)

DealCrzy (Jan. 11, 2013 @ 3:03a) |

SIS, something tells me you'd know the answer to this: If a hotel, airline, Orbitz, whoever, give you a hard time over ... (more)

sjwaste (Jan. 11, 2013 @ 7:06a) |

Dispute would be a good tactic that I likely would have considered if bugging the living hell out of them didn't work...... (more)

DealCrzy (Jan. 11, 2013 @ 7:39a) |

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This is not a travel question, it is a financial question. If I were asking questions regarding how to use the $50 credit once it is applied, the travel discussion would be appropriate.

uutxs said:   Travel Discussion: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/travel-discussion/

DealCrzy said:   This is not a travel question, it is a financial question. If I were asking questions regarding how to use the $50 credit once it is applied, the travel discussion would be appropriate.



it belongs in the travel forum, or at least that is what the travel forum was intended for.

This isn't a travel oriented question. Replace Orbitz with any company and the situation stays the same...It could be a bank, department store, internet service provider. Anything at all. A travel company just happens to be associated with this incident.

Here is the issue with that kind of guarantee. Expedia had a similar guarantee and I called about it and the problem was that my fare was class X and the sale fare was class S. Because it fell within 24 hours I was able to get the lower fare, but they didn't give me the $50 credit, they gave me a $25 coupon.

Many hotels have a similar price guarantee when booking direct on their website , there's a thread in the travel forum about all the bs excuses they try to get out of honoring it

It's really shameful they offer these policies then try everything they can to not honor them

I have also encountered such deceptive practices on many occasions. Some time ago I was pissed off at Vayama for advertising fake sales. They would sneakily increase the price of certain itineraries for certain dates by $40 and advertise a sale with $40 off the current price. Not sure whether they still do that crap nowadays, but I wouldn't know because I vowed to never ever buy from them again.

While I am all for free market, entrepreneurism, self-initiative, etc., these things just go to show how necessary government regulation is. Capitalism left on its own is inherently unstable and invariably degrades into corruption of morals and petty thievery just for the sake of slightly larger near-term profits.

I don't care what forum you post in - I appreciate the heads up and will be on the lookout for this type of gimmick.
Thanks for the post (would have missed it in the Travel Discussion forum )

DealCrzy said:   This isn't a travel oriented question. Replace Orbitz with any company and the situation stays the same...It could be a bank, department store, internet service provider. Anything at all. A travel company just happens to be associated with this incident.

Your justification is silly. If I am looking to save $50 a night at a hotel is it travel or finance? What if you replace the word hotel with hooker. Instead of posting in a specific forum, where people talk about experience with companies like Orbitz, you would rather convince us we are wrong.

tante said:   DealCrzy said:   This isn't a travel oriented question. Replace Orbitz with any company and the situation stays the same...It could be a bank, department store, internet service provider. Anything at all. A travel company just happens to be associated with this incident.

Your justification is silly. If I am looking to save $50 a night at a hotel is it travel or finance? What if you replace the word hotel with hooker. .

Then my topic alert would go off

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   tante said:   DealCrzy said:   This isn't a travel oriented question. Replace Orbitz with any company and the situation stays the same...It could be a bank, department store, internet service provider. Anything at all. A travel company just happens to be associated with this incident.

Your justification is silly. If I am looking to save $50 a night at a hotel is it travel or finance? What if you replace the word hotel with hooker. .

Then my topic alert would go off


Its about time you started a FAQ. If its not sticky after you write it, we can sticky it to the front page... Fatwallet subforum "AMP"

I was actually doing some research on the AMP Faq this weekend with sone fwf vets

And yes it would end up sticky.
It always does.

gacobacov said:   Some time ago I was pissed off at Vayama for advertising fake sales. They would sneakily increase the price of certain itineraries for certain dates by $40 and advertise a sale with $40 off the current price
...
While I am all for free market, entrepreneurism, self-initiative, etc., these things just go to show how necessary government regulation is

So you want to government to regulate how a private company decides to price their product, or how they price their sales prices ?


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GreyRabbit said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   tante said:   DealCrzy said:   This isn't a travel oriented question. Replace Orbitz with any company and the situation stays the same...It could be a bank, department store, internet service provider. Anything at all. A travel company just happens to be associated with this incident.

Your justification is silly. If I am looking to save $50 a night at a hotel is it travel or finance? What if you replace the word hotel with hooker. .

Then my topic alert would go off


Its about time you started a FAQ. If its not sticky after you write it, we can sticky it to the front page... Fatwallet subforum "AMP"


SUCKISSTAPLES, the most interesting man in FWF.
"I dont always post, but when I do, its either incredibly informative or entertaining as hell."

From my experience, it's just a marketing scheme to get you to buy through them. They create a ton of exceptions to prevent you from cashing in. For example, as suggested, the lower price is fare class X instead of fare class S. Or the flight routes through Denver instead of SLC. This is not much different than businesses who claim to "price match". They sell certain items that are identical to another store, but have different model numbers. I've seen it done with beds, furniture, electronics, etc. I agree with the OP that it seems quite dishonest. On the other hand, they haven't done anything illegal and are just trying to make a buck.

Stores will always try to outsmart us, and we will always try to outsmart them. We're all just trying to get more for less.

Here's another gimmick that Orbitz pulls: their price assurance.


Orbitz said:

Dear holv,

Thank you for contacting Orbitz. This is regarding your current booking and the disqualification of the price assurance promotion due to a schedule change. On behalf of Orbitz, I do apologize for the confusion that this has caused. I do appreciate the opportunity to research your query.

As I understand, you had booked your ticket on ______ for yourself and Ms. holv. You did receive notice that you had qualified for the Price Assurance program. However, due to current weather conditions, the ticket needed to be changed from a different originating city and destination airport, which canceled the Price Assurance refund.

Mr. holv, I do understand your concern as you did book the ticket, received notification of the rebate, only to have a last-minute change which was not implemented by yourself. Per the Price Assurance terms and conditions, refunds will not apply in the event of natural catastrophes, acts of terrorism, third party errors, technical failures, software or system malfunctions, governmental acts, transportation stoppages or slowdowns, or other events beyond its control.

We take our customers' comments very seriously, and I thank you for your honest feedback albeit the result was not what you were expecting.

Mr. holv, we apologize for any misunderstanding this might have caused. Orbitz hopes to have a future opportunity to serve you with your travel planning needs.

Sincerely,

Orbitz Customer Relations

Seems that a weather change does not fall into any of those listed exclusions. I would push it to the executive level

It was last year. I did push it all the way up, and it ended up being that Orbitz has a full discretion to determine what constitute as "other events beyond its control." So in the end, I got $10 gift certificate to restaurant.com - which as all of you know, is worth nothing.

I think I argued with them once about a flight that was pretty much exactly the same except it had a different flight number. Same time/date/connecting airports, but not the same flight number and thus no deal.

dampierirrific said:   I think I argued with them once about a flight that was pretty much exactly the same except it had a different flight number. Same time/date/connecting airports, but not the same flight number and thus no deal.
Even if it was the same flight, it has been my experience that the airline would tell you that in order to get the lower fare with the difference credit, you have to pay the $150 change fee, allowing you to pay more to get the refund than the refund was even worth.

computerquest said:   Even if it was the same flight, it has been my experience that the airline would tell you that in order to get the lower fare with the difference credit, you have to pay the $150 change fee, allowing you to pay more to get the refund than the refund was even worth.
True, although some airlines automatically adjust the ticket to lower price if you ask them (US Airways), and others let you cancel the original ticket free during the first 24 hours and then you can repurchase it for less.

email travel ombudsman Chris Elliott. His website is elliott.org (seems to be down this morning) but he's great. He has a lot of experience in dealing with these sites and can usually get results.

Alcibiades said:   gacobacov said:   Some time ago I was pissed off at Vayama for advertising fake sales. They would sneakily increase the price of certain itineraries for certain dates by $40 and advertise a sale with $40 off the current price
...
While I am all for free market, entrepreneurism, self-initiative, etc., these things just go to show how necessary government regulation is

So you want to government to regulate how a private company decides to price their product, or how they price their sales prices ?


The government puts in place consumer protection laws. Are you arguing that it is desirable for a private company to misrepresent their pricing structure in order to get more revenue without really putting up a better product than the competition? If there is nothing else to stop them, the free market encourages everybody in the same industry to start misbehaving just to stay competitive with the first cheater. This develops pretty quickly and after it does the consumer is defenseless. That is when government needs to step in and pull some ears.

Isn't that pretty much how the sub-prime mortgage debacle happened? And it happened exactly because the government slept through all the rampant cheating. I'm not saying that Orbitz and Vayama's little marketing tricks can ever lead to a global financial meltdown, but innocent consumers definitely end up suffering and this should not be tolerated at all.

gacobacov said:   Are you arguing that it is desirable for a private company to misrepresent their pricing structure in order to get more revenue without really putting up a better product than the competition?Yes, I do not want to waste government resources tracking and deciding what constitutes the "Regular" price for each individual item sold by a company, private or public. It sounds like a stupid practice to me, but Vayama should not be prohibited from playing around with their product's "Regular" or "Sales" price if they want to.

Alcibiades said:   gacobacov said:   Are you arguing that it is desirable for a private company to misrepresent their pricing structure in order to get more revenue without really putting up a better product than the competition?Yes, I do not want to waste government resources tracking and deciding what constitutes the "Regular" price for each individual item sold by a company, private or public. It sounds like a stupid practice to me, but Vayama should not be prohibited from playing around with their product's "Regular" or "Sales" price if they want to.

Well then you would be disappointed to find out that lots of government resources have been "wasted" for a long time already:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/decptprc.htm

Alcibiades said:   Vayama should not be prohibited from playing around with their product's "Regular" or "Sales" price if they want to.

This sentence is the epitome of corrupted morals. Wait until someone plays around with your grandma's purse in this way and see if you like it.

Received an email from Orbitz this morning:

Thank you for contacting us regarding low fare promise. We have verified and approved your claim, Orbitz offering you a $50 rebate per pax to use towards a future Orbitz booking. Please know that this compensation is not intended to place a value on your experience, but rather, it is meant to emphasize our commitment to you as a customer. We want to encourage you to continue using Orbitz for your travel needs.

We will get back to you with in 2 -3 days time with the required information on the usage of these vouchers.

In case you have any queries please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

OrbitzTLC


---

Received the desired result, but still not exactly happy with their business practice.

gacobacov said:   Well then you would be disappointed to find out that lots of government resources have been "wasted" for a long time already:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/decptprc.htm
This shows that Vayama's pricing practice is not prohibited

Alcibiades said:   gacobacov said:   Well then you would be disappointed to find out that lots of government resources have been "wasted" for a long time already:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/decptprc.htm
This shows that Vayama's pricing practice is not prohibited


Dude are you kidding? Here is an excerpt from the FTC link above:

"Where the former price is genuine, the bargain being advertised is a true one. If, on the other hand, the former price being advertised is not bona fide but fictitious -- for example, where an artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction -- the ``bargain'' being advertised is a false one; the purchaser is not receiving the unusual value he expects. In such a case, the ``reduced'' price is, in reality, probably just the seller's regular price."

Vayama's former price being advertised was not bona fide but fictitious. An artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction. The purchaser is not receiving the unusual value he expects. The "reduced" price is, in reality, just the seller's regular price.

Do you still not understand?

gacobacov said:   Alcibiades said:   gacobacov said:   Well then you would be disappointed to find out that lots of government resources have been "wasted" for a long time already:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/decptprc.htm
This shows that Vayama's pricing practice is not prohibited


Dude are you kidding? Here is an excerpt from the FTC link above:

"Where the former price is genuine, the bargain being advertised is a true one. If, on the other hand, the former price being advertised is not bona fide but fictitious -- for example, where an artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction -- the ``bargain'' being advertised is a false one; the purchaser is not receiving the unusual value he expects. In such a case, the ``reduced'' price is, in reality, probably just the seller's regular price."

Vayama's former price being advertised was not bona fide but fictitious. An artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction. The purchaser is not receiving the unusual value he expects. The "reduced" price is, in reality, just the seller's regular price.

Do you still not understand?


Their former price is IN FACT totally bona fide. Here's an example of bona fide vs. fictitious

Fictitious:
Price is $99 on Friday
Sale on Saturday says "We usually sell this for $150 but today only it's $99!!!!"
Total lie because the price is $99 today and sale price is $99.

Bona fide
Price is $99 on Friday
Price change on Saturday early AM (upon store opening) to $150
Sale on Saturday says "We sell this for $150 but today only it's $99!!!!"
Price change on Sunday early AM (upon store opening) to $99

In the bona fide example, the price is in fact $150 on the day of the sale. They had an official price change, changed the tickets on the items and/or the "regular price" signs in the store, and BAM the price is $150 legally.

EVEN if the item was $99 on Friday, they can legally raise the price on Saturday. The price they choose to sell at is not government mandated.

That's why you see Sears ads with "lowest price of the season". The item just came out yesterday and is $5 off today! Of course it's the lowest price "so far" of the season... it's $5 off yesterday's price! So many people mistake "lowest price of the season" for "lowest price IT WILL BE this season". Trust me, that $500 item that is $495 today will be $99 at the end of the season!!!!

DealCrzy said:   Received an email from Orbitz this morning:

Thank you for contacting us regarding low fare promise. We have verified and approved your claim, Orbitz offering you a $50 rebate per pax to use towards a future Orbitz booking. Please know that this compensation is not intended to place a value on your experience, but rather, it is meant to emphasize our commitment to you as a customer. We want to encourage you to continue using Orbitz for your travel needs.

We will get back to you with in 2 -3 days time with the required information on the usage of these vouchers.

In case you have any queries please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

OrbitzTLC


---

Received the desired result, but still not exactly happy with their business practice.

Do you know what step you took that worked to change their position ? Please share !

nbha said:   
Fictitious:
Price is $99 on Friday
Sale on Saturday says "We usually sell this for $150 but today only it's $99!!!!"
Total lie because the price is $99 today and sale price is $99.

Bona fide
Price is $99 on Friday
Price change on Saturday early AM (upon store opening) to $150
Sale on Saturday says "We sell this for $150 but today only it's $99!!!!"
Price change on Sunday early AM (upon store opening) to $99


I am not familiar with the technical/legal definition of bona fide, but your example contradicts the clarification for 'fictitious' in the FTC guide: "for example, where an artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction". Artifical, inflated price for a clear evil purpose is established in both of your cases. It does not matter whether they untruthfully tell you they usually sell the item at the inflated price or artificially inflate the displayed "regular" price on the day of the sale just to get you to buy at the true regular price.

I agree the price cannot be government mandated, but the government should indeed guard consumers against deceptive pricing of the sorts discussed here. Does anybody know of cases in which the FTC has actually gone after businesses violating the directions in the deceptive pricing guide?

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   DealCrzy said:   Received an email from Orbitz this morning:

Thank you for contacting us regarding low fare promise. We have verified and approved your claim, Orbitz offering you a $50 rebate per pax to use towards a future Orbitz booking. Please know that this compensation is not intended to place a value on your experience, but rather, it is meant to emphasize our commitment to you as a customer. We want to encourage you to continue using Orbitz for your travel needs.

We will get back to you with in 2 -3 days time with the required information on the usage of these vouchers.

In case you have any queries please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

OrbitzTLC


---

Received the desired result, but still not exactly happy with their business practice.

Do you know what step you took that worked to change their position ? Please share !


I'm not sure which of the numerous steps I took made it work. I took the approach of attacking from multiple angles and hope to hit the target with at least one. I talked to their customer service twice via phone (worthless and did nothing), I posted about it on their Facebook wall (may have actually helped - they sent me a message), I tweeted about it (they responded and called - this may have been the golden ticket). I only have about 150 followers on Twitter, which isn't exactly substantial, but maybe enough to get their attention before I made more noise about the issue.

Anyhow, I was definitely on their radar after the first day.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Many hotels have a similar price guarantee when booking direct on their website , there's a thread in the travel forum about all the bs excuses they try to get out of honoring it

It's really shameful they offer these policies then try everything they can to not honor them


SIS, something tells me you'd know the answer to this: If a hotel, airline, Orbitz, whoever, give you a hard time over a redeption under one of these policies, is that pretty firm ground to dispute with your CC? I'm thinking that if you used an AMEX at least, they'd find a way to fix it, given that they market their products to travelers.

I'm ashamed to post this on FWF, but I'm 30 years old and have never had to dispute a CC charge. I missed out on some sort of rite of passage.

Dispute would be a good tactic that I likely would have considered if bugging the living hell out of them didn't work...Followed by small claims court - Companies often times seem to respond favorably when it starts to cost them more than it's worth.



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