Small claim court vs Orbitz/ Expedia

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Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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I would appeal your DOT complaint. Stress in your complain that you did not cancel this flight at any time, That the airline canceled the flight, and that you have not received your refund.
Add that the airline and Orbitz are playing each other against you. Blaming each party for why you do not have a refund.
Normally when you book a flight through an online broker, you are not covered by DOT protections and would not win your DOT complaint as you did not book direct with the airlines. But as you have said that the name on your credit card was the airline ( put a copy of this in your complaint), I think you would be covered by DOT rules for compensation.
This is good as I do not think you would win a small claims court judgement as Orbitz will just go in and show they have not been paid by the airline, so as your agent they only passed your payment to the airline and they do not have your money.
I think the DOT route has a much better chance of success. If this fails you can look at some kind of arbitration or small claims court. Just be aware of how long you have a right to sue for in your state.
 

Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
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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.
The key term of art in that clause is "may," not "qualify." In other words, you "may" sue us in small claims court, but we may choose to exercise the arbitration clause. On the off chance that we sue you, we may also bring it in small claims court, but you could choose to exercise the arbitration clause.
 
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Alexander Pahany

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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.
Sometimes. This type of case is where the case mentioned earlier, AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, actually applies. As previously mentioned, California's court system is unique, to say the least.
 
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Nov 27, 2019
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The key term of art in that clause is "may," not "qualify." In other words, you "may" sue us in small claims court, but we may choose to exercise the arbitration clause. On the off chance that we sue you, we may also bring it in small claims court, but you could choose to exercise the arbitration clause.

You're saying that "you and we may assert Claims on an individual basis in small claims court if they qualify" should be read as requiring both parties to agree to having the claim heard in small claims?
 
Jun 29, 2020
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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.
How could I ask Chris to take up my case?
 

Neil Maley

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We give you the tools to advocate for yourself. When you have completed the cycle we advise you to perform, if you haven’t received ved assistance, the advocates will look at your case and see if it is one they can assist with.

However- if you are going to file a court case- we can’t help. We don’t offer legal assistance here.

Please read this post:

 
Jun 29, 2020
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We give you the tools to advocate for yourself. When you have completed the cycle we advise you to perform, if you haven’t received ved assistance, the advocates will look at your case and see if it is one they can assist with.

However- if you are going to file a court case- we can’t help. We don’t offer legal assistance here.

Please read this post:

Thank you. I think I have been through the cycle a few times already, trying to reach Expedia reps for a year, contacting APG airlines and DOT.
That's why I was thinking that a small claims court is my last resort. However, I would definitely prefer the assistance from your advocates instead of going to the court. Actually, it the second time I am writing here about this case. Initially I wrote in June, 2020, https://forum.elliott.org/threads/refund-from-orbitz.12778/ and followed your advice at that time.
 
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Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
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You're saying that "you and we may assert Claims on an individual basis in small claims court if they qualify" should be read as requiring both parties to agree to having the claim heard in small claims?
Yes. Hypo: If you’re the customer and you’re suing me in small claims, I have to agree to let you sue me in small claims. I drafted the original contract that has an arbitration clause, so I can invoke it (which I will, because it’s advantageous to me) or I can waive it (which I won’t, because it’s advantageous to you.)

As an aside, I might simply settle if your claim is low enough and the cost of litigation would exceed that amount.
 

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
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Jan 6, 2021
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Houston, TX
Thank you. I think I have been through the cycle a few times already, trying to reach Expedia reps for a year, contacting APG airlines and DOT.
That's why I was thinking that a small claims court is my last resort. However, I would definitely prefer the assistance from your advocates instead of going to the court. Actually, it the second time I am writing here about this case. Initially I wrote in June, 2020, https://forum.elliott.org/threads/refund-from-orbitz.12778/ and followed your advice at that time.
The only thing you have to lose if you sue them is the court fees and your relationship with Expedia and all of its subsidiaries. I don’t imagine you’ll be using their services in the future anyway.

Best case scenario: Your lawsuit gets their attention and they settle ahead of a court appearance.

Other scenarios: You sue them and they ignore you, giving you a default judgment you’ll have to figure out how to collect.

Or, you sue them, they appear in court, you present your case, and you win a judgment. Easier to collect in this instance because if they ignore you, the judge will order their attorney to return and show cause as to why—the attorney can’t ignore the court’s order.

Or, you sue them and lose. You receive nothing and if they ask the judge for attorney fees, you’ll have to argue against that. It’s not a difficult argument to make, but be prepared to make it because it is customary for the opposing side to ask for them.

Last, get help! There are free legal aid clinics everywhere! I volunteered at one for years! You can show up, wait in line, and ask anything you want from attorneys licensed in your jurisdiction. They’ll be happy to help you—most of the questions they get are about evictions and disability! Law schools have clinics where students help you with your case. The courts publish guides on how to navigate the system. Use all of the resources that are available to you.

I wish you the very best of luck in whatever route you take.
 
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Nov 27, 2019
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561
Yes. Hypo: If you’re the customer and you’re suing me in small claims, I have to agree to let you sue me in small claims. I drafted the original contract that has an arbitration clause, so I can invoke it (which I will, because it’s advantageous to me) or I
canan waive it (which I won’t, because it’s advantageous to you.)

As an aside, I might simply settle if your claim is low enough and the cost of litigation would exceed that amount.
Except you drafted the contract and explicitly included a provision stating that, if the dispute is one that can be heard in small claims, you or I may go that route, rather than pursue arbitration.
 
Nov 27, 2019
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561
Sometimes. This type of case is where the case mentioned earlier, AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, actually applies. As previously mentioned, California's court system is unique, to say the least.
Turns out this case is included in "Sometimes." In Expedia's Terms of Use, they state:

"Arbitrations will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under its rules, including the AAA Consumer Rules. Payment of all filing, administration and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAA's rules, except as provided in this section. If your total Claims seek less than $10,000, we will reimburse you for filing fees you pay to the AAA and will pay arbitrator’s fees."
 

Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
487
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Turns out this case is included in "Sometimes." In Expedia's Terms of Use, they state:

"Arbitrations will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under its rules, including the AAA Consumer Rules. Payment of all filing, administration and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAA's rules, except as provided in this section. If your total Claims seek less than $10,000, we will reimburse you for filing fees you pay to the AAA and will pay arbitrator’s fees."
There you have it. The statutory limit for small claims cases rarely exceeds $10,000. They incentivize you to arbitrate, where they will have the advantage.

AT&T did the same thing in their case—made arbitration far easier than litigation—and ended up having the Supremes overturn California law with regard to class actions.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Elena, I haven't read all the responses ... lots of info on legal remedies. But have you contacted Expedia/Orbitz in writing using our Company Contacts? Have you asked them to follow-up and receive your refund? While it's possible that someone at the airline made this excuse up, that's a little far-fetched. If there's a glitch somewhere between the airline and the booking service, somebody can look into this and fix it.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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I want to toss out one more thought. If you are not too far upstate, and you chose to go the small claims court route (which I would only do after trying DOT, the company contacts we list, and Chris), you might want to consider suing both Expedia and APG IET in one case. As best as I can determine, APG IET has an office in Manhattan. I cannot figure out their corporate ownership though, but perhaps our travel agent commentators know the answer. Whether you can sue them both in one case in Manhattan is something I'd ask the folks at the local small claims court: http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/smallclaims/startingcase.shtml

And here's a link to APG IET's web page, if you don't have it. https://www.apgiet.com/usa.html Perhaps that's even a new phone number to pursue.
 
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Alexander Pahany

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Jan 6, 2021
487
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Houston, TX
I want to toss out one more thought. If you are not too far upstate, and you chose to go the small claims court route (which I would only do after trying DOT, the company contacts we list, and Chris), you might want to consider suing both Expedia and APG IET in one case. As best as I can determine, APG IET has an office in Manhattan. I cannot figure out their corporate ownership though, but perhaps our travel agent commentators know the answer. Whether you can sue them both in one case in Manhattan is something I'd ask the folks at the local small claims court: http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/smallclaims/startingcase.shtml

And here's a link to APG IET's web page, if you don't have it. https://www.apgiet.com/usa.html Perhaps that's even a new phone number to pursue.
Entity Information.png
If you sue them both, do so in your local court.
 
Jun 29, 2020
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Elena, I haven't read all the responses ... lots of info on legal remedies. But have you contacted Expedia/Orbitz in writing using our Company Contacts? Have you asked them to follow-up and receive your refund? While it's possible that someone at the airline made this excuse up, that's a little far-fetched. If there's a glitch somewhere between the airline and the booking service, somebody can look into this and fix it.
Yes, I contacted Expedia using Company contacts- no reply from them. For ex, Peter kern was contacted first time last summer, and last week again.
 
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