Careful of Expedia, they don't care
BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON -- I booked a trip to Brazil for myself and my wife 3 months prior to departure. 6 days prior to departure, I received a phone call from Expedia saying that the airline had made a schedule change, and Expedia couldn't do anything about it but cancel my flight with a full refund and try to help me rebook.
Working with them, I cancelled my existing flight and arranged a new flight (costing $600 more) that more or less met our needs. Luckily we had the flexibility to stay an extra day in Brazil, although this was not ideal.
I was upset about this turn of events, but Expedia passed the buck and said if I wanted to call (US AIRLINE HERE) directly with a complaint, they may do something about the additional fare.
When I did call the airline, they said that the schedule change had been sent to Expedia 1 and a half months earlier, and therefore the fault lay with Expedia. They also said that they get lots of angry calls from Expedia customers, and overall they feel like if you want good customer service from the airline, you should book with the Airline. (After this experience, I tend to agree).
So I called Expedia back and asked about this schedule change. Did they really sit on it for 1 and half months before calling my only to cancel my flight? It turns out yes, and they weren't culpable because they sent me a *single* e-mail at the time of the schedule change which asked me to call them, and therefore it was my fault that the schedule change didn't occur.
I could go into detail into why this email got overlooked at the time (I did call Expedia about a schedule change in the time frame and thought there was a single schedule change where there were two), but I don't think it this is important. More important, in my opinion, are the following points:
1. Expedia made no effort to contact me after the original single e-mail, over the course of 1.5 months, about this issue. I think this is unacceptable and irresponsible for a company that claims to be in the business of arranging travel.
2. Expedia sent me on a wild goose chase to contact the Airline, when they could have informed me right away that this schedule change came in a month and a half earlier and nothing was done about it.
3. When dealing with customer service, I was hung up on once. I was told they would call me back after looking into it once (they never did). It took me repeated attempts to finally reached someone who told me that they understood what had happened, and no they didn't take any responsibility and could do nothing for me.
Did I have zero culpability in this situation? No. This tempers my anger with Expedia a bit. At the same time, I feel that their policy in this regard is very odd and irresponsible. It seems to be a policy that holds the customer in very low regard. I doubt that I am the first or last customer to have a last minute surprise.