CHICAGO (CN) – On Friday, April 18, Orbitz Worldwide began defrauding the public on its Orbitz.com Web site to punish Vanguard Car Rental – owner of Alamo and National Car Rental – because Vanguard refused Orbitz’s demand for an extra $1.5 million, Vanguard claims in Cook County Chancery Court.
Vanguard claims Orbitz has excluded it from the home page on Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com, and makes Alamo and National car rentals viewable only if potential customers click “View all car companies” on the Orbitz home page.
Vanguard claims Orbitz advertises to the public that its service is “comprehensive” and “unbiased,” but it pushed Vanguard’s rentals to the back of the line because of the dispute over money.
Vanguard claims, for instance, that it offers the lowest car rental rates out of Midway Airport in Chicago, but Orbitz knocked it off the home page so Alamo and National cars would be “effectively hidden from consumers who are using Orbitz to find the best deal to meet their rental car needs.”
“Orbitz has taken these steps to punish Vanguard because Vanguard refused to accede to Orbit’s demand to pay $1.5 million to Orbitz, a payment that is nowhere required under the terms of the parties’ current contract. By manipulating its Rental Car Matrix to conceal the choices offered by Vanguard, Orbitz can not only punish Vanguard but also maximize its profits, by directing customers to other rental car companies who pay higher commissions than Alamo,” the complaint states.
Represented by Thompson Coburn, Vanguard demands an injunction and damages for consumer fraud, deceptive trade, unfair competition, and breach of contract.