How to get Expedia help when things go wrong:...
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Mar 08, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

How to get Expedia help when things go wrong: Roseman

Expedia is a large online travel agency, which helps you book travel arrangements with airlines, hotels and car rentals


Expedia is a large online travel agency, which helps you book travel arrangements with airlines, hotels and car rental companies.

But if something goes wrong, who provides a refund? Do you deal directly with the travel provider? Or can you expect the travel agency to step in and help?

The answer: It all depends.

In two cases I handled, Expedia gave money back to customers who had difficulty dealing with travel providers. But in a third case, Expedia refused to cancel a non-refundable hotel booking, even though the customer realized she had made a mistake within a few minutes.

Case one: Cortney Cassidy booked a $998 flight to Brazil, which left Dec. 24 on TAM Airlines. On Jan. 6, two weeks before her return flight, she learned her mother had died suddenly at age 52.

“After hours of phone calls with both TAM Airlines and Expedia and getting nowhere, I booked an entirely new flight with United Airlines to arrive home as quickly as possible,” she said.

“Many agents recommended I do this and contact Expedia and TAM upon my return to ask for a refund, given the circumstances.”

Cassidy’s refund never came through. She asked me for help, saying she was frustrated at being kept on hold or disconnected when she tried to call both companies.

Resolution: Expedia said Cassidy was not entitled to a refund since her one-way United Airlines flight to Toronto cost more than the remaining value on her TAM ticket.

Expedia also said United had changed its policy on giving refunds for family emergencies. Customers should buy insurance to cover costs arising from a sudden change in travel plans.

But considering Cassidy’s extenuating circumstances, “Expedia has since decided to refund the customer the requested value of $1,500 as an extended gesture of goodwill,” said Adam Francis, brand marketing director at Expedia Canada.

Case two: Chuck and Mary Lou Simmons booked a one-week car rental in New Zealand. Their Expedia reservation said: “All prices quoted in Canadian dollars.”

However, the invoice from the car rental outlet – which they received after they returned to Canada – said the charges were in U.S. dollars.

“It seems many Canadians get confused,” a car rental agent told them in an email. “You got a nice car at a very cheap rate. I have checked the charges and they are correct.”

Expedia gave a different reply. It told the couple that the car rental outlet had charged them in New Zealand dollars, which once converted to Canadian dollars, would be roughly the same.

Resolution: Expedia agreed to a $23.07 refund (in Canadian dollars), covering the gap between the amount charged to their credit card and the amount quoted at the time of booking. It also gave a $50 credit for future travel.

Case three: Joan Fowler booked a four-night reservation with the Argyll Guest House in Glasgow, Scotland, for late May.

“Seven minutes after receiving my confirmation, I replied as quickly as possible to let Expedia know I made an error. We will not be in Scotland at that time,” she said.

Unfortunately, she replied to an email that did not allow a reply and Expedia did not get her message.

She did reach the hotel, which said her nonrefundable booking could be cancelled only if Expedia agreed to do so.

Resolution: The hotel charged in full for the reservation once it was completed, Expedia said. The general manager said he had spoken to the customer and told her the booking was nonrefundable.

Expedia also said it had no record of an email sent by Fowler, asking to change the reservation right after making it.

As a third-party agency for travel providers, Expedia has to abide by and enforce its partners’ terms and conditions. It regretted not being able to do more for the customer in this case.

My advice: Always buy travel insurance when booking well in advance. You never know what health crises may arise before you leave or after you depart on your long-awaited trip.

When dropping off a rental car, ask for a receipt showing the charges and the currency. In this case, the car rental outlet changed the invoice to show charges in a different currency.

Finally, ask questions when booking travel arrangements. Can you get a refund if you spot an error? Can you change your mind without a change fee in the first 24 to 48 hours?

Once you give your credit card, you may be stuck with your booking. So, get the details right and don’t wait for the email confirmation.

Toronto Star

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