Refund for room we couldn't reach due to Winter Storm!

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Dec 18, 2017
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#1
Hello. I have an issue with Orbitz regarding a non-refundable hotel room booked same day during snow storm chaos at Heathrow on Dec. 10, 2017. Flights were cancelled after sitting on plane for almost 5 hours Booked hotel via Orbitz after getting off plane. Mass chaos in airport. Then attempted to get cab. Was outside for long time but line never ended and cab line barely moving. Traffic jammed. Elderly mother with knee problem could not stand for hours outside to get a car in the cold. Called Orbitz and said we can't make it but was told we have to get permission from hotel to refund you. Hotel would not answer the phone after multiples calls and even when Orbitz called. I asked about getting the insurance and Orbitz rep said it doesn't apply to this weather situation. Hotel won't refund claiming we were no-shows. I called Orbitz at length and they won't refund. Hotel told me if Orbitz had emailed them that night, they would have refunded due to well-documented weather situation. Hotel won't give refund to Orbitz therefore Orbitz will not refund me. Are you able to assist? This is for an over $500 room.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,179
1,963
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#2
Are you local to Heathrow? If so, your best bet is to write to both the hotel and Orbitz requesting a voucher for future use.

So, a little tough love here: Its not a strong argument to say you could not get to the hotel due to snow and expect a refund for a non-refundable room that you booked the same day knowing about the snow storm. But making a polite request is not out of the question. You never know unless you ask!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,704
12,701
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
You need to go up the chain at Orbitz. On top of our pages we have company contacts. Find the contacts for Orbitz. Since you’ve already dealt with Customer Service, write to the first executive shown. Give him a week to reply. If he doesn’t, move to the next and repeat weekly.

Unfortunately- because you booked through them, you have to deal through them and if the hotel is refusing the refund- they can’t do anything else
 
Likes: Jamila Zafar
Dec 18, 2017
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#4
Are you local to Heathrow? If so, your best bet is to write to both the hotel and Orbitz requesting a voucher for future use.

So, a little tough love here: Its not a strong argument to say you could not get to the hotel due to snow and expect a refund for a non-refundable room that you booked the same day knowing about the snow storm. But making a polite request is not out of the question. You never know unless you ask!
No. Live in USA. Thanks for your response. I would have never booked a hotel near Heathrow if i had known it was such a hassle to try to leave the airport. This property, Heston Hyde Hotel, is a few miles away. I'll try the below recommendation first before asking for the voucher.
 
Dec 18, 2017
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#5
You need to go up the chain at Orbitz. On top of our pages we have company contacts. Find the contacts for Orbitz. Since you’ve already dealt with Customer Service, write to the first executive shown. Give him a week to reply. If he doesn’t, move to the next and repeat weekly.

Unfortunately- because you booked through them, you have to deal through them and if the hotel is refusing the refund- they can’t
You need to go up the chain at Orbitz. On top of our pages we have company contacts. Find the contacts for Orbitz. Since you’ve already dealt with Customer Service, write to the first executive shown. Give him a week to reply. If he doesn’t, move to the next and repeat weekly.

Unfortunately- because you booked through them, you have to deal through them and if the hotel is refusing the refund- they can’t do anything else
Thank you for your reply Neil. I will write to the first executive. Appreciate it and will keep you updated!
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,635
6,639
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San Francisco
#6
This must have been awful. Orbitz is an online booking agency. They make bookings for you and earn a commission, they don't do much to help solve problems. They will point fingers at the hotel, who will point right back at them. Both will tell you anything you want to hear as long as it makes the other guy look bad.

The cold, hard truth is, you booked a hotel room at the last minute because your flight was cancelled due to snow. You gave credit card information to guarantee your arrival. The same snow made it difficult for you to get to the hotel. You couldn't reach them on the phone - even if you had talked with them, they are under no obligation to not charge you for the room. The hotel held the room for you instead of renting it to another displaced traveller.

Your issue is with Orbitz because they were in charge of your reservation. I'd use our Company Contacts to request a refund, or a credit towards a future stay.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Dec 18, 2017
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#7
Just an update: I sent a letter to and received an email from Orbitz Tier3@customercare.com. The earlier emails they sent me were from Tier2. So FYI, they have these automatic messages going out for emails sent to executives.

Dear

Thank you for contacting Orbitz. We have received the correspondence concerning your hotel reservation.

Your case has been assigned to our team to investigate the issue you have raised. We will be in contact with you once we have completed our investigation.

In the meantime, if you have any additional questions please feel free to reply to this email. Please be sure to reference your case number E-18668926.


Thank you,
Executive Resolutions Team
 
Dec 18, 2017
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#8
I have gotten nowhere with the Orbitz Executives. I've had a few emails back and forth and the main thing they told me was I did not inform them in time. I wrote back again after this message stressing the chaos at a the airport and how I tried to call. I even begged for Orbitz credit. No success. My AMEX card has denied as well.

Here is their latest reply:

I received a reply from the General Manager of the Heston Hyde Hotel in Hounslow, England regarding our refund request which was denied.

The General Manager advised me they will not authorize the refund as they had held the room waiting for X's arrival. They were unable to sell the room and based on the Terms & Conditions that were agreed upon at the time of booking, the reservation was non-refundable.

I further reviewed our call logs, confirming your first call was received by our customer service agents around 4:00pm Pacific Standard Time which was around midnight local hotel time. Per the hotel's details on the Orbitz website, they offer check in until midnight. When you contacted customer support and they called the hotel to advocate on your behalf, it was after the check in time thus the hotel had the reservation marked as a no show.

Orbitz does not charge any cancellation or change fees for our hotels. The terms and conditions listed on your itinerary, as well as our website, are provided to Orbitz by our hotel vendors. As a travel agency, Orbitz is subject to the rules and restrictions of the vendors whose travel products we sell. We act only as an agent for their product and do not have authority to override or change their policies. We hope you understand we must adhere to the policy as dictated by the hotel.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate the time you took to advise us of your concern and look forward to assisting you again in the near future.

Thank you,

Crystal Lewis
Executive Resolutions Team
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,704
12,701
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
If you have gone all the way up the chain to the CEO I don’t know there is anything else we can do.

The hotel actually was out the money for the room since they couldn’t rebook it. Unfortunately, when you book at the last minute you are often already in the penalty phase and are responsible for all penalties.

Wish I had better news for you but I can certainly understand the hotels point in this case- they held the room for you in good faith and were out the money.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jan 6, 2015
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#10
In your original post you stated that:

"Hotel would not answer the phone after multiples calls and even when Orbitz called."​

- and -
"Hotel told me if Orbitz had emailed them that night, they would have refunded due to well-documented weather situation."​

Do you have an email from the hotel stating this? Did Orbitz know they could email the hotel? If they did, then Orbitz is at fault (IMO). You could respond to their last email with this information and see what they say.

Alternatively, you could file a complaint with your state's AG office, but without written proof of the times that Orbitz attempted to call the hotel, success would be a challenge ...
 
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