Why You Can’t Trust You’re Getting the Best Deal Online – WSJ

Why You Can’t Trust You’re Getting the Best Deal Online – WSJ.

Macintosh Users! Beware of Orbitz!!
(But if you use an iPhone, you might get a deal)

This article is about a study that concludes pricing is definitely different on web sites for a variety of reasons. Such as people on iOS devices getting lower prices, non-members getting higher prices, and so on. The article states that in 2012 Orbitz (online travel, no link provided deliberately) stopped “discriminating” (by giving Macintosh users higher prices for hotels) after experimenting with this for about a month, and there was no current evidence of this practice.

Wrong.

And then—oh help me please, I should have known better— I read the Comments, naively thinking there might be some value there. I forgot this was the Murdochian Wall Street Journal, with presumably throngs of Murdochian readers writing their mostly off-topic comments. Such as (and pardon me, I’m not going to directly quote all of these, because I will not read them again!):

  1. Everybody prices things differently for different customers. Who said the Internet was supposed to be “fair”?
  2. If it’s not illegal, how can it be wrong?
  3. Thomas Jefferson never guaranteed anyone the lowest price.
  4. You must be a “Socialist” because your opinion is clearly not the same as mine. (I love it when conservative whack-jobs drop the “S-Bomb”. Guys, I’m okay with socialism.)
  5. And then obviously racial references to Obama, Nike Jordan’s, and stupid denials that these are not racial comments. Puh-lease.

What do ANY of those comments have to do with the article? Pretty much, none, zero, nothing.

So, Yes, Virginia, when Orbitz, the travel web site, debuted in 2000, there was talk that it was going to offer the best prices because it was created by five of the six major airlines, and had special “favored nation” access to the lowest ticket rates. (Supposedly.) That was the impression. You were getting the lowest prices—or at least a pretty good shot at the lowest prices.

And that’s why it annoys me when I try to get a ticket on a flight that my colleague in the next cube over is booking on his DELL Windows PC, and on my Macintosh the same flight at the same price is impossible to find!! It’s just not there!! All my options are more expensive. And I’m logged in as an Orbitz MEMBER. I should get the best prices right? I logged out, I tried to get the flight on my Macintosh as a non-member. No dice.

Finally  I walked next door, opened a session on his DELL Windows PC, as a non-member of Orbitz, and…flight and price available. To me that means that Orbitz STILL (this happened in 2014) discriminates in some price-oriented way against Macintosh users, whether members or not. Because we have more money? Because we are willing to spend more money on a better computer? Because we are too creative and artistic to realize we are being gouged?

Too bad. I used to like Orbitz. Nowadays I might try Orbitz, but I always check another travel site, or the site of the airline itself. And if you want the best price, or the most flexibility in selecting a flight, I suggest you do the same.

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