Small claim court vs Orbitz/ Expedia

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Jun 24, 2019
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Two questions:

Who actually charged you for your tickets? That is, what corporate name is on your credit card statement?

Will the airline send you the refund directly?
 
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APG IET charged the ticket. The airline told me that they can't send the money directly to me. That is APG senior manager response:

<<In our experience, and we believe this to be the industry standard, refunds are handled by the agency which sold the ticket and are in control of the PNR. As I said, Expedia returned the refund money after refusing to distribute it back to the clients stating they had recently made a series of staff cuts and were unable to distribute the funds. The agent, Expedia acts as the merchant for the airline and is responsible for all transactions, chargebacks and disputes which it undertakes on behalf of the carrier.

We are in discussions with Expedia which continue nearly a year later.>>
 
Jun 29, 2020
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For Expedia, Inc., if that is the entity with whom OP dealt, the registered agent in New York is
NATIONAL REGISTERED AGENTS, INC.
28 LIBERTY ST.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10005

Orbitz is a subsidiary of Expedia. I'm guessing, and I could be wrong, but I think the correct name of the business is Orbitz Worldwide, LLC. I do not see that Orbitz Worldwide is registered in New York. I do see Orbitz Travel Insurance, a separate legal entity, registered in New York, using National Registered Agents.

The entry for Orbitz leading to Mr. Ghosh is a puzzlement, as that Orbitz, LLC, is a New York corporation (as opposed to a foreign, i.e., out-of-state, corporation, and the address is a medical office building.

Once again, if OP would share information as to the dispute, we might be able to determine, or at least guess at, the precise name of the business with which OP dealt.
Thank you. Does it say somewhere that this address belongs to Expedia, Inc? I was not able to find it on the website.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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If I understand correctly, the flights were not to or from the United States, and thus a complaint to the DOT will not help.

One thing is likely, though not certain, that if you sue Expedia you will get their attention. And a virtue of small claims court is that the usual rules of evidence do not apply, so you may be able to offer the e-mail you received from APG. You run the risk, of course, that Expedia shows up and testifies that it has never received any refund or offer of refund from APG.

If you are satisfied you have gone through the Expedia contacts here without success, you can ask that Chris take up your case.

You can also file the small claims action. If it was me, and I lived in New York, I would sue Expedia in New York and see what happens. The suit might get their attention, or perhaps you will settle the day of the small claims hearing.
 
Dec 23, 2018
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In a different situation, I sued a national company in small claims due to an incident at a local outlet (owned, not franchise) after my demand letter received no response. They immediately settled after receiving the summons and complaint.
 
Jun 29, 2020
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The flights were from NY to Uzbekistan.
I submitted a complaint to DOT in June, 2020 and in October, 20, 2020 they refused to proceed with my complaint because Orbitz sent them the following:

>>Our records indicate that on December 10, 2019, Mrs. * self-booked a flight reservation for one traveler, under itinerary 750***. Travel was
aboard Uzbekistan Airways, departing on April 30, 2020, from New York, NY, United States to Tashkent,
Uzbekistan, returning on May 12, 2020. We understand that you are seeking a refund for the cancelled
flight.
Upon receiving this complaint, we can confirm that a refund in the amount of $* and $* were
processed by APG Airlines and credited to the original form of payment used for this booking.>>

But it never happened!! It was a lie!
At this moment both Orbitz and APG are in a agreement that I do not have the money but do not know how to proceed with the refund.
 

Neil Maley

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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Thank you everyone who posted here. Here is my situation:

I bought a ticket on Orbitz in December, 19 for travel in May, 2020 on APG airlines. Due to Covid, there were no flights and the ticket was cancelled. It was a refundable ticket with a small penalty. The refund was initiated in April, 2020 and I was told that I will get a full refund pretty soon. After a year of calls and correspondence with Expedia/Orbitz I am still waiting for the refund. Also, it seems next to impossible to reach anyone at Orbitz/Expedia except overseas agents who promise each time to connect me to the corporate care reps but failed each time. Also, Orbitz agents usually claim that they can’t reach APG airlines and, therefore, can’t do anything. After a while I decided to reach APG airlines myself and actually was able to connect with their President and CEO (by Linkedin!) and some other higher level officials from APG. Basically, they told me that: All refunds from APR to AUG have been processed manually due to the closure of the automatic refunds in GDS.Expedia group has refused to send bank details to receive the refunds in order to refund the passengers.Then we issued 6 ACMs to Expedia to refund all tickets, ACMs have all been rejected>>

I tried to reach Expedia contacts (Peter Kern and Liz Gorton) without any success. Unlike APG airlines, it seems that to find anyone responsible is quite impossible. That is the reason I am looking for the option of a small claim court.
Where were the tickets to and from? Who canceled the ticket? The airline or you? If the airline canceled and the flight was from or to a US airport, you are due a refund under DOT rules IF you purchased directly from the airline. SInce you used Orbitz, that doesn't apply even though most are honoring the DOT rules. But the travel agency can't refund you if the airline doesn't refund them and that is the issue many of them are having. Especially with small airlines who simply do not have money to provide refunds.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,670
28,413
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The flights were from NY to Uzbekistan.
I submitted a complaint to DOT in June, 2020 and in October, 20, 2020 they refused to proceed with my complaint because Orbitz sent them the following:

>>Our records indicate that on December 10, 2019, Mrs. * self-booked a flight reservation for one traveler, under itinerary 750***. Travel was
aboard Uzbekistan Airways, departing on April 30, 2020, from New York, NY, United States to Tashkent,
Uzbekistan, returning on May 12, 2020. We understand that you are seeking a refund for the cancelled
flight.
Upon receiving this complaint, we can confirm that a refund in the amount of $* and $* were
processed by APG Airlines and credited to the original form of payment used for this booking.>>

But it never happened!! It was a lie!
At this moment both Orbitz and APG are in a agreement that I do not have the money but do not know how to proceed with the refund.
Have you contacted your bank to find out where the money went?
 
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Have you contacted your bank to find out where the money went?
Nothing in the bank or credit card. Airline cancelled the tickets. There is no question whether I should get the refund or not. Both Orbitz/Expedia and APG airlines are in an agreement that I should get the full refund. The problem is - how? According to APG: All refunds from APR to AUG have been processed manually due to the closure of the automatic refunds in GDS. Expedia group has refused to send bank details to receive the refunds in order to refund the passengers.Then we issued 6 ACMs to Expedia to refund all tickets, ACMs have all been rejected.
 
Jan 6, 2021
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Houston, TX
The flights were from NY to Uzbekistan.
I submitted a complaint to DOT in June, 2020 and in October, 20, 2020 they refused to proceed with my complaint because Orbitz sent them the following:

>>Our records indicate that on December 10, 2019, Mrs. * self-booked a flight reservation for one traveler, under itinerary 750***. Travel was
aboard Uzbekistan Airways, departing on April 30, 2020, from New York, NY, United States to Tashkent,
Uzbekistan, returning on May 12, 2020. We understand that you are seeking a refund for the cancelled
flight.
Upon receiving this complaint, we can confirm that a refund in the amount of $* and $* were
processed by APG Airlines and credited to the original form of payment used for this booking.>>

But it never happened!! It was a lie!
At this moment both Orbitz and APG are in a agreement that I do not have the money but do not know how to proceed with the refund.
This email is admissible under the hearsay rules as an exception because it is a government record, including their response. As a result, you would be able to ask them for proof of the "credit[ ] to the original form of payment used for this booking." I would imagine that upon receipt of the subpoena requesting this particular document, they would be more inclined to settle since they aren't going to find it.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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I can only speak to the practice in California, where hearsay which might be excluded in other court proceedings is allowed in a small claims action.

From the manual for small claims judges, available on numerous court web sites in California, including http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/protem/courses/sm_claims/

"The usual rules of evidence do not apply at a small claims hearing because of its informal nature. See Sanderson v Niemann (1941) 17 C2d 563, 574. For example, hearsay evidence is admissible; unrepresented parties cannot be expected to know or understand the complicated rules of hearsay. Houghtaling v Superior Court (1993) 17 CA4th 1128, 1135–1137."

My experience in New York small claims court is limited to a few auto accident cases many years ago. In each instance I was permitted to offer unsworn and un-cross-examined estimates of damage from repair shops, the sort of evidence which would be hearsay in a regular court. As I have had no experience in the last 48 years, someone with more recent knowledge or experience can weigh in. In addition, in those cases, attorneys were permitted in New York small claims cases, which is not the practice in California.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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The flights were from NY to Uzbekistan.
I submitted a complaint to DOT in June, 2020 and in October, 20, 2020 they refused to proceed with my complaint because Orbitz sent them the following:

>>Our records indicate that on December 10, 2019, Mrs. * self-booked a flight reservation for one traveler, under itinerary 750***. Travel was
aboard Uzbekistan Airways, departing on April 30, 2020, from New York, NY, United States to Tashkent,
Uzbekistan, returning on May 12, 2020. We understand that you are seeking a refund for the cancelled
flight.
Upon receiving this complaint, we can confirm that a refund in the amount of $* and $* were
processed by APG Airlines and credited to the original form of payment used for this booking.>>

But it never happened!! It was a lie!
At this moment both Orbitz and APG are in a agreement that I do not have the money but do not know how to proceed with the refund.
Perhaps you should try another complaint to DOT. I would not call their statement a "lie," I would simply say that you have not received the promised refund.
 
Jan 6, 2021
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Houston, TX
I can only speak to the practice in California
Whose court system, as you are well aware, is unique from every other state in the country. New York's is fairly unique, but far more traditional than that of California.
In each instance I was permitted to offer unsworn and un-cross-examined estimates of damage from repair shops, the sort of evidence which would be hearsay in a regular court.
If you are referring to a written estimate, such documents are not hearsay under Rule 803(6). Maybe they were 48 years ago...I'm not sure of the age of the rule.
 
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This is the rather underhanded add-on to an arbitration clause, and it is not at all uncommon. Who decides if the claim qualifies for litigation in small claims court? The holder of the privilege, of course--the drafter of the contract.
I read that language to say that "you or we can still file in small claims, if the claim we're making is one that small claims will accept." In other words, the amount in question must be low enough, the type of claim must be something that small claims will hear, etc.
 
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Yes. Most of the time, each side pays half of the fee. However, I have seen many arbitration clauses that include a "loser pays all" provision. These fees vary by region and the experience of the arbitrator, but you're looking at anywhere between $1000-$2000 per day.
Sometimes, the entity requiring arbitration agrees in the terms of the contract to cover the arbitration costs. This popped up with Uber in California, which required drivers to go to arbitration to resolve disputes, but with the arbitration costs borne by Uber. Uber's right to require arbitration was upheld, at which point the group suing them said "fine, we'll all file for arbitration," which could have meant 60,000 individual arbitrations, at $10k a pop. So, Uber settled.
 
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