I used the group travel option on Orbitz back in November to book 8 hotel rooms in New Orleans. Orbitz outsources work with groups to grouptravelplanet.com. I will admit that they got me a good deal on the hotel rooms. It was only after everyone had booked that the trouble began.
I won't go into too much detail about their customer service, though it is awful. Keep your expectations down. Though they say that they are available 24/7 on the Orbitz site, in reality, they are only available for limited business hours Monday-Saturday. And they are terrible at returning phone calls.
But this isn't about poor customer service, this is about getting ripped off.
Upon booking the hotel room, I put down a 20% deposit down on the room which they told me that I would be refunded as soon as all the rooms were booked. A month later, when the rooms were booked, they told me that it wouldn't be until after our trip that the deposit would be refunded and that would take 2-4 weeks. 5 weeks after our trip, they said it would take 4-6 weeks. 8 weeks after the trip, "Heather" in the accounting department quit returning my phone calls. I finally had to ask my credit card company to reverse the charges.
The same thing occurred to 2 other people in my group. We had to cancel 2 out of the 8 rooms. To do so, we had to pay a one-night penalty for each room. That is no problem, but 8 weeks after the event Group Travel Planet had still not refunded the difference between the amount that those two people had originally paid and the one-night fee because of the cancellations. They are now being forced to work with their credit card companies get the charges reversed.
My recommendation to those who would like to avoid this hassle in the future would be to avoid both grouptravelplanet.com and the Group Travel area on Orbitz. Whether they are trying to steal my money or they are just plain incompetent cannot be resolved from my interactions. But it has been a miserable experience either way.
New York, NY, New York