Dear General Counsel Nuechterlein,
Over the last decade, tens of thousands of consumers have been misled by representations made by Orbitz and detrimentally affected as a result. This behavior must be stopped. Accordingly, we petition the FTC and you, Mr Nuechterlein, to take action against Orbitz under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. § 45) to prohibit Orbitz from continuing its use of unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
This petition closed about 2 years ago
Orbitz has built a business around deception and chicanery. As their share price has climbed, thousands of consumers have been detrimentally affected by misleading implications and explict lies....
Orbitz has built a business around deception and chicanery. As their share price has climbed, thousands of consumers have been detrimentally affected by misleading implications and explict lies. Terms and conditions are hidden in fine print that no reasonable consumer should be expected to find and comprehend. Moreover, when an issue arises, Orbitz makes it near impossible for the average consumer to contact a customer service representative who can meaningfully assist them. In fact, it appears Orbitz has made a business out of shifting blame to other parties, keeping customers on hold or simply hanging up on them.
Even if we accept these unethical practices as "tough but legal business" and Orbitz can effectively hide behind the archaic mantra of "buyer beware", we urge you Mr Nuechterlein to take action against Orbitz under Section 5 of the FTC Act on the basis of the the misrepsentations they have made in 2 commercials found here and here.
As you know, the FTC's Deception Policy Statement, appended to Cliffdale Associates, Inc., 103F.T.C. 110, 174 (1984) and cited with approval in Kraft, Inc. v. FTC, 970 F.2d 314 (7thCir. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 909 (1993) provides that:
"An advertisement is deceptive if it contains a misrepresentation or omission that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances to their detriment."
These commercials provide that Orbitz' Price Assurance Product offer consumers a "refund" if a lower fare is booked. The second commercial states that because consumers booked a hotel on Orbitz "They are all getting a check for the difference". Both statements are false - Orbitz offers neither a refund (reasonably defined as the return of money) nor checks to consumers who qualify under this product. These consumers only receive credit to be spent on Orbitz, which would clearly not met their expectations of a refund or a check.
The claims in these advertisements are false. They are material to a consumers' decision to use Orbitz's product. Accordingly, they are in breach of Section 5 of the FTC Act.