Sunday, January 28, 2007

CheapTickets (part 1)

as you may know, beth and i are accompanying my parents on a trip to belize this april. in some respects, it could be a trip to paradise: white sandy beaches, crazy jungle monkees, lost mayan ruins, free lodgings (thanks dad!). however, the airfare to this small central american utopia is rather steep...and troublesome.

[UNHAPPY PRODUCT/SERVICE REVIEW / CONSUMER REPORT]
we bought our tickets on cheaptickets.com. they had the cheapest price for our itinerary. however, i now suspect that the cheap in cheaptickets may actually refer to dictionary.com's fourth definition of cheap: "of little account; of small value; shoddy." during the past week, cheaptickets has lost one of our tickets and treated us like rubbish. i am still optimistic that they (i.e., shoddytickets.com) may redeem themselves, but until then, i warn you, stay away from cheaptickets.com!

here is the latest email that we sent to the evil online travel empire:

Hi. I'm writing because I've had a frustrating experience with Cheap Tickets and am very dissatisfied with the conversations I've had on the phone with your customer service department. I'm trying one last time in hopes that I can clearly explain what is going on so that someone can solve the problem I am having with your company.
Several weeks ago I booked 2 tickets during the SAME transaction using CheapTickets. Then, when I received my sealed UPS shipment, there was only 1 ticket in the CheapTickets envelope. I am hoping that you can straighten this out and send me the ticket that you neglected to include in my original mailing. I also want to ensure that I have the original ticket that I purchased; I am traveling with a friend and need to be on all the same flights and seats that I originally reserved.

I have already spoken with CheapTickets customer service over the phone, but I seem to get a different answer each time that I call. I am tired of the exasperating ridiculousness that I have experienced during the past week. Each time I call I spend 10+ minutes on hold and then receive conflicting answers. Also, no one at your company has taken responsibility or apologized, and no one even seems to understand that I did NOT lose the ticket and the ticket was NOT lost in the mail -- it was never sent! I'm sorry for being so explicit about this, but as I said, no one seems to understand; the UPS package was sealed and there was only 1 of the 2 tickets inside. I can only assume that someone at your agency dropped or forgot the ticket when
assembling my mailing.


I have been told that (a) I am to go to the airport ticketing office and fill-out an indemnity form; (b) I am to call Taca airline (one of the airlines that I'm flying on this two-leg trip) and ask them to cancel and reissue a new ticket; and (c) not worry about it, CheapTickets will pay for any and all reissue fees AND send me a new ticket. The duplicity of these responses is both frustrating and confusing. I am especially bothered by the suggestion that I may have to pay for your error; if (a) or (b) is true, it is unclear to me why I am responsible for fixing this problem or paying any new fees/costs when this was clearly a mistake on behalf of someone at your company.

I have dealt with many online ticketing agencies and have never had problems of this magnitude. This is very frustrating, especially considering that I was told that CheapTickets would take care of this. I hope that you can solve this problem. Although I doubt that I have any legal recourse in this matter, I will certainly be quite vocal about my problems with your company if this matter is not resolved favorably. Besides telling friends, family, and other online consumers, I am also prepared to have my company's travel department stop using your services.

Thank you for your attention,
the17pointscale

andrew david. "crash down the customer service falls, support cheaptickets.com" alberta, canada.

2 comments:

Marni MacLeod said...

Ditto on the warning about CheapTickets. Sorry to hear about your trouble. I booked a flight that I had to cancel...having been told I could rebook within the year after paying the change fee. Here's the catch...there is no way to access your credit through their website and when you call them you either sit on hold forever (after being transferred the obligatory 2x)...then when I finally did get a live person I was told I could not access telephone reservation assistance UNLESS I became a CheapTickets Gold member (at this point I want nothing to do with them). Figuring I'd do that and then cancel my membership I gave my information only to be told I couldn't join because I'm Canadian (hmmmm, seems to me the web is international but whatever). Here's the good news and a tip for those of you who have also been hosed by ShoddyTickets.com...phone the airline directly and give them your record locator number they will ding you for the change fee but at least you don't lose everything. I am joining you on getting the word out. I've written them a rather strongly worded email (doubt they'll respond), I've contacted Kayak, I will also be looking into the authorities who regulate online travel and reporting the entire incident because as far as I'm concerned these guys are at best unethical. Thank you for writing about it online because people need to aware. Also...just so you know...Orbitz is a sister company of CheapTickets.
Again sorry to hear about your travel woes but I am glad you decided to do something about it. Perhaps if enough of us send the message they will actually stop ripping us off and do something about it.

andrew said...

hi, marni.

thank you for your comment; i'm sorry that you found my blog under such unfortunate circumstances. anyway, just in case you didn't see my other post (http://the17pointscale.blogspot.com/search/label/cheaptickets), after an eternity on the phone we finally had our tickets replaced. also, at the end of that post, one of my readers provided a link for the better business bureau that is associated with cheaptickets, so you might want to check that out.

better luck with your actual travels!