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Thumbs down Orbitz/Cheaptickets: False Advertising?
Old 05-14-2008, 03:29 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Orbitz/Cheaptickets: False Advertising?

So I go to purchase a ticket via Orbitz.com and it's advertised at $1,642. When I select it for purchase, the site gives me this message: "We're sorry. Due to changes in airline availability, the fare for your selected trip is no longer available. We have adjusted the fares for all affected flights. The fare for your selected trip is now $1938 total. See below. (Message 1048"...an 18% increase.

Very disheartening to say the least...BUT,here's the kicker; I've been getting the same result for the last 30 days. The advertised price of the ticket has remained the same, yet there are no tickets available at that price.

Is this not false advertising? Should the company be held accountable for the services and prices they are offering, or be able to lure consumers in with teaser figures only to change them at the last minute when it's time to actually purchase? Thoughts?
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:03 PM   #2
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2 things:

1. Airline prices and availability change constantly, so yes, I think that in general them showing you what's available at what price at first and then reconfirming the price when you book and notifying you if there's a change is 100% appropriate.

2. If this has been going on every day for 30 days, I would contact Orbitz directly by telephone and discuss your concerns with a manager there. (I probably would have done so after the first two or three days...)

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Old 05-14-2008, 04:37 PM   #3
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I am still watching prices for our trips this summer and last night we saw crazy lower prices for our dates but with ridiculus connection times. One is 37 mins!!!

Not a chance we make that connection in my eyes, but it is 150 dollars rt cheaper than any other flight.

I am spending more time with kayak and the airlines themselves. Orbitz priceline etc are well not any cheaper.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:14 AM   #4
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I've used Cheaptickets at least two or three times in the past couple years for flights to Europe and got the price they advertised and had no problems at all.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:33 PM   #5
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Okay, so today I go to check the exact same itinerary from Orbitz again and it advertises the same flight I want for $1,661 total (+ $19 from yesterday) and when I select it...I get "We're sorry. Due to changes in airline availability, the fare for your selected trip is no longer available. We have adjusted the fares for all affected flights. The fare for your selected trip is now $ 2002 total. See below. Message 1048. Again, the same message, but this time an additional 20%.

I understand that prices change at a moments notice, I don't have a problem with that....but it is absolutely ridiculous that they advertise one price, but then tell you it's not available at that price when you are ready to purchase.

By the way, I bought my ticket yesterday for $1983 total. Still not too happy about it though.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:23 AM   #6
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I don't understand why you don't call them. If their behavior seems ridiculous to you and that is making you unhappy, surely calling them would be more productive than telling us.

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Old 05-16-2008, 10:54 AM   #7
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You ever try to call a company like Orbitz that outsources all its customer service calls to India? Good luck with that...been there, done that. It all boils down to how much my time is worth. I make way too much money to argue with somebody who doesn't understand me nor I them....or to be on hold waiting for the "manager". I'd rather get paid to surf the net and share a valid complaint with you kind people.
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
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You have a good point there. I try to avoid the Indian CSR folks as well most often because like you I can't understand what they're saying.

Most MNEs use a "follow the sun" approach to their customer service operations, so calling in the early morning US time is probably more likely to get you to a CSR in the Western hemisphere.

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Old 05-16-2008, 04:50 PM   #9
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I don't understand why you don't call them. If their behavior seems ridiculous to you and that is making you unhappy, surely calling them would be more productive than telling us.
How about he calls them AND tells us -- I'm always interested in avoiding companies who pull this type of thing and appreciate the heads-up.
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:53 PM   #10
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You might want to look at Yapta.com. I love this site - you put in the flight you want and it tracks it for you and e-mails you if it goes down. I saved over $400 (on two tickets) on our last trip this way. Only rub is it doesn't work on all airlines.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
You ever try to call a company like Orbitz
Exactly. That's the problem with the new cheaper but less-personal and outsourced economy. This is what the conversation would probably sound like:

[After long hold periods while listening to repeated advertisements which make it impossible for you to do anything else while waiting.]
[Bad connection]

Orbitz: Thank you for calling Orbitz.com -- you're one-stop source for travel. How may I help you?

You: I went to purchase a ticket on your site, and it's advertised at $1,642. When I select it for purchase, the site gives me this message: "We're sorry. Due to changes in airline availability, the fare for your selected trip is no longer available. We have adjusted the fares for all affected flights. The fare for your selected trip is now $1938 total.

I've been getting the same result for the last 30 days. The advertised price of the ticket has remained the same, yet there are no tickets available at that price.

Orbitz: I'm sorry sir, occasionally airline prices change, and are no longer available.

You: But I've been getting the same result for the last 30 days.

Orbitz: We're sorry, but the prices can change very quickly.

You: But there is no way to get the advertised price.

Orbitz: Perhaps if you try again, you will get a better fare.

You: I've been doing that for 30 days.

Orbitz: I'm sorry, our system checks prices frequently, but they may change at any time.

etc.
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:20 AM   #12
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Just out of morbid curiosity and gee-wiz info: Same exact flight is now initially advertised at $1,633, but when I select that flight to purchase, this is what I get: "We're sorry. Due to changes in airline availability, the fare for your selected trip is no longer available. We have adjusted the fares for all affected flights. The fare for your selected trip is now $2264 total. See below. (Message 1048 )"

So, 11 days ago they misrespresented the price by 18%, today it's 38%.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlanc View Post
Just out of morbid curiosity and gee-wiz info: Same exact flight is now initially advertised at $1,633, but when I select that flight to purchase, this is what I get: "We're sorry. Due to changes in airline availability, the fare for your selected trip is no longer available. We have adjusted the fares for all affected flights. The fare for your selected trip is now $2264 total. See below. (Message 1048 )"

So, 11 days ago they misrespresented the price by 18%, today it's 38%.

There is really no reason to use any of the cheap tickets orbitz or priceline sites. All the airlines basically have the exact same fares. use kayak see the fares and then go to the airline web sites and book the lowest fare at the time you want to fly. I have found consistent BS on Orbitz and cheap tickets for months now. Just like you said the fares remain the same for weeks but when you click on it the fare is always 30% more.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:29 PM   #14
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We use Orbitz and Travelocity only for hotels and rental cars; but usually do the booking directly with the actual company. Sometimes it takes a little coaxing to get them to honor the Ob/Tv price, but it's worked so far. Also, the cancellation policies are usually better for direct booking, sometimes MUCH better. By dealing directly with a hotel on Kauai in February, we got an ocean FRONT room for the same price as the Tv Ocean VIEW room.
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Old 05-26-2008, 05:05 PM   #15
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Thisissogreat/Gearhead...I agree on the Kayak comment, and that's how I was directed to Orbitz in the first place. Kayak advertises the same rate. I've never known the airlines to honor prices that are advertised on "discount" sites because those seats are usually limited. Additionally, most of the discounters sell seats on multiple airlines, therefore resulting in cheaper costs than going with one single company. Personally, I've done the research both ways. Let's say Orbitz is advertising a route using two different airlines and the cost is X...my experience shows that if I price those routes independantly through the airline companies directly, the end cost is usually X + Y$$ and a cheaper deal to go through Orbitz (or name your discounter).
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Old 05-26-2008, 05:36 PM   #16
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That's probably true, I don't buy airline tickets and have no experience there.
OTOH, many airlines have what they describe as "internet only" fares that are available through the airline's individual website. I wonder if the Ob/Tv prices are lower?
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:32 PM   #17
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I go right through the airlines. Simply because I have to have a specific leave and arrive date. Usually they are priced near what those so called discount places are.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:27 PM   #18
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I have become convinced that some sites, like Orbitz, install a cookie in your browser that will track your initial price quote and then each and every time you visit to check prices it goes up from that first quote. Call me paranoid, but I make it a habit to run Clean up to delete all cookies and temporary internet files then try again.
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Thumbs up Perseverance Rewarded.....
Old 06-15-2008, 01:45 PM   #19
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Thumbs up Perseverance Rewarded.....

There is sometimes only 2 or 3 seats offered for a very short time at the lowest prices. It is definitely a come on but not illegal. Ever been shopping for something advertised at a low, low price in the paper then been bait and switched by the saleman because they were now out of stock on the advertised item? Same thing.

I was having the same trouble as LeBlanc, advertised price changing after you try to purchase. I read somewhere to just keep trying so I did. I swapped around from Travelocity, to Expedia to Orbitz , to the airline websites always putting in the dates I wanted with a 1 day plus or minus option. The advertised price would be $171 to $287 but the final price varied from $550 to $850 for two tickets to Las Vegas. Yikes I never paid that much before even on short notice.

I had notification from my Travelocity Fare Watcher that a $171 fare was still available so I kept trying. I got disgusted after about an hour on Wednesday night so I quit. Got up Thursday morning and tried again and on the third try got 2 round trip SAT to LAS for $411 on AA. I jumped on it, fully expecting to get booted or price increased before I got done but it went through!
That's two tickets for $153 each and the rest in taxes and fees. So the cheap advertised fares are there just hard to grab, gotta be quick.

Good luck and happy hunting,
Vegas bound,
2fer
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Same thing happened to me!
Old 06-25-2008, 10:54 AM   #20
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Same thing happened to me!

We're going on a Med. cruise in August and of course can't use any of the frequent flyer miles I have with American or United...no seats available. So was really searching for a good fare everywhere. On Orbitz found what seemed to be the lowest. So, booked the cruise, then minutes later went to book the flights and got same message as you did....'fare no longer available', and the one available was $2000 more! Almost had a heart attack! That would have been a deal breaker, except that I had already paid for the cruise (should have done it other way round I learned!). Anyway, spent next 1/2 hour or so trying frantically trying to see if fare would go down, then just went to airline site and got the flights I originally wanted to book on Orbitz at the airline site for approx. $200 total more than Orbitz had advertised. I was relieved, but p---ed at Orbitz...and won't ever bother with them again, except to give info on what airlines fly to a particular destination. Won't buy from them......I do believe its misleading advertising!
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