EMAIL sent on: December 11, 2007
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60661
Dear Mr. Barnhart,
RE: ORBITZ.COM Practice
Please review the situation that occurred today and, hopefully, you will agree on the importance of correcting a problem that could financially be affecting millions of your clients.
While reviewing our credit card charges noticed a monthly recurring charge from a company listed as TLG*GREATFN 800-290-8603 CT. Called the 800 number listed and was told this company is a discount membership company sanctioned by Orbitz.com marketing department, per Cheryl of Great Fun customer service department.
Cheryl relayed the charge occurs when:
1) customers finish their purchase orbitz.com and automatically a
2) large sized 15% rebate on next purchase coupon appears on your computer screen and
3) Customer clicks on coupon and Orbitz tie-in with Great Fun transfers your credit card information to this company who immediately bills your credit card monthly for a small charge that most people probably overlook. We did, my husband thought this was my charge and I thought it was his, after all, who worries about a $10.99 charge? After months and months the charge is no longer small.
The problem with the above is you are not allowed to cancel once you click on the coupon. If, after reading the fine print you choose not to join you are not allowed to cancel. You can try not clicking on the submit button or using your web browser back arrow to get out of the area. They do not work and you will not hear from the company again.
Requested to speak with a supervisor after learning the above information. A person by the name of Lee Wallace from Great Fun came on the line. I asked him what is $10.99 a month purchasing? He stated that it is a discount membership program. I replied, What type of discounts are you referring to? He stated discount pricing on dining, events, attractions, etc. I asked him how does the customer know about it. His response was to disconnect the call.
Next, called Orbitz (1-800-656-4546) and spoke with Kristi, ext. 68402 regarding the above program. She stated that customer only needs to enter their email address on the 15% rebate coupon to be charged. An Orbitz customer will enter their email address thinking they are getting 15% rebate on their next Orbitz purchase.
After hearing this, I requested to speak to a person of authority to question the ethical nature of this practice. A Sophia from the Escalation Dept came on the line. She knew all about the 15% rebate coupon and stated it was our fault since the fine prin states you must cancel before two months in order to avoid monthly charges. I explained to her that my husband did click on the coupon and that once he realized it was a come-on, he did not click submit but instead used the browser back button as the only way he thought would not result in authorizing a charge. Sophia also stated and I'm quoting her exact words, If we had ignored the 15% rebate coupon that Orbitz displays, you would not be charged a monthly charge. If you click on the coupon you have automatically agreed to the monthly charge.
At this point I requested the physical address of Orbitz and the name of a person in a position of authority to write concerning this matter. She put me on hold for 40 minutes and then came back on the line and stated she had no name to give me. Told her that was not acceptable and to give me the name of the president of Orbitz, knowing that was one name she should know. She did and disconnected the call.
Mr. Barnhart, people who are using your web site are being taken in by what I believe is a bait and switch come-on that was approved by Orbitz marketing department. I sincerely hope you care about the integrity of the company and will step in or assign people to research and develop a solution to the fraudulent practice going on at the web site.