I booked a hotel through Orbitz.com for my husband and I at the Grand Riviera Princess Hotel. Less than a week before we were due to travel, I realized that the reservation reminder stated that my reservation was for just one person. I found this odd, and alarming, since I had been very careful to book a hotel at a good rate for two people- this seemed like some kind of technical glitch or scam. Immediately I contacted customer service on Orbitz chat feature and explained my situation. I was told that I could add my husband to the reservation for a rate of $95.00 per night. I specifically asked the agent if I needed to do that now, or if I could simply add my husband at check in. The agent allegedly checked with the hotel, and I was told in writing from my Orbitz agent in the chat that I could add him upon arrival to my reservation.
I arrived at the hotel at 5:30PM on a Friday night, on January 13th. When I asked to add my husband I was told by hotel staff that the rate was $230.00 per night, per guest to add him to my reservation. Imagine my horror, when the room was less than that per night originally on Orbitz. After attempting to work with the hotel, they insisted that I contact Orbitz directly. I immediately contacted Orbitz customer service. I told him I would like to add my husband, so that we could check in to the hotel with two guests. The agent, "Mossimo" told me again that the rate to add a guest was just $95.07 per night to determine this Mossimo allegedly called the hotel reservations office, confirmed this rate, and that we would be able to add him. When I confirmed that I would like to move forward Mossimo claimed that the reservation office was no longer answering. I got off the phone, and went to speak with my hotel, who explained that the reservations office may have already closed, despite their operating hours being 9:00-6:00pm. The hotel suggested that I speak with Orbitz again.
I contacted customer service again, and was given Mossimo again as my agent. He advised that I should work with the hotel to allow my husband to stay this evening, and call back first thing in the morning to add my additional guest when they could try contacting the reservations office again. I had some concerns about this, as I would have already checked in and stayed a night in the hotel. Mossimo told me not to worry, that all of this was being noted in my account, and that there should be no trouble. When I verified my concerns again, Mossimo simply ended the chat and disconnected me before I was finished. The hotel ended up authorizing my credit card for the full $230.00 per night rate, but told me I could come back in the morning once Orbitz had been able to reach reservations.
First thing in the morning, I called Orbitz on the phone to discuss the issue. When I was finally connected I explained my situation to the new female agent. She put me on hold in order to contact reservations at the hotel. When she finally returned, she told me that she was able to speak with someone there, and that the rate to add my husband would be $95.07. When I verified and confirmed that I would like to add him she put me on hold twice, to send a fax with the reservation addition. I asked again if she could with all certainty confirm that he could be added at the $95.07 rate, to which she said yes and that she would check that the fax was sent. Again, I was put on hold, and then was told the reservation was complete. When I asked how to pay, as I attempted to give Orbitz payment information, she would not take details and instead told me that the front desk could process my payment. She repeated that the reservation fax had been completed, and that I was all set. I felt that the issue had finally been resolved, and was gracious for her help.
I immediately went to the front desk to add my husband and pay for him as advised by Orbitz. When I arrived at the front desk, the hotel staff told me that no fax had been received, nor did reservations have any record of the Orbitz reservation and fax that was apparently just completed while I was on the phone. Again, the hotel told me to cal Orbitz back. Having just gotten off the phone with Orbitz, I was very disappointed and upset to have to call back again. I called back, explained once again my situation. This time the Orbitz agent told me that since I had already checked in, there was nothing I could do. Orbitz claimed they called the hotel twice, but the hotel only got one call regarding this issue. I explained all the erroneous information that was provided to me, and explained that I had three times been very clearly told that I could add my husband at the rate of $95.00 per night. The orbitz agent could do nothing, put me on hold for an extensive period of time, before coming back with the reply of- you should try calling us back again. Ridiculous! I had contacted Orbitz four times in the past 24 hours, and was being told to call back again!!!!
When I explained this, I was told my best bet was to book an entirely new reservation for my husband, in a different room at the hotel. That is illogical in that we wanted to stay together, in the same room, not have two hotel reservations.
Because of the chain of events taking place with so many calls to Orbitz, I asked to speak with the hotel manager to help resolve the issue. He too called Orbitz, and was told that this information was never provided to me, despite the fact that I had in writing chat conversations from three different occasions, stating this would be possible. Orbitz made me out to be a liar, and said that I was presenting false information to the hotel. This is horrifying in that I had written chats, and numerous voice conversations in which I was provided apparently false information. Because of the fact that Orbitz depicted me as a liar on the phone to the hotel manager, they were very difficult to work with and make special arrangements with.
The reservation error should have never occurred- I am an event planner and book travel as my living. I make hundreds of reservations for travel each month, for myself, staff and many celebrities. I find it very surprising that I would have made this kind of error. In my research is seems that this kind of glitch is common on Orbitz and cheap tickets. I have never experienced such poor customer service and been given false information so many times regarding my reservation. Because of the incompetence and false information provided by Orbitz I was charged an additional $710.00 to add my husband. This caused financial hardship on my husband and I, and ruined our short vacation. We were there on business for our wildlife conservation non-profit, and did not have the budget for the exorbitant charges. I would have happily added him to the reservation when I noticed the error-BUT Orbitz was very clear in telling me that I could add him at check in.
According to Orbitz, the additional charges should have only be $380.28, not the $710.00 I was charged. Additionally, I spent several hours with the hotel working on a good faith rate for my husband and I because Orbitz could remedy this situation. If we were forced to pay the rack rate as the hotel indicated we should, we would have been charged $920.00 in additional charges!
I have told my international co-workers, associates, friends, family, travel agents, and others NEVER to use Orbitz or Cheap Tickets again. The several hundred flights and hotels that I book each month will NEVER be booked on Orbitz again. I intend to spend many more hours spreading the word about the terrible disservice and extremely bad customer support and assistance I experienced with Orbitz, and will never advocate for using your travel services again. False claims, false assistance and lack of correct information will cost Orbitz hundreds of thousands of dollars in future sales.