SYKESVILLE, MARYLAND -- Cautonary tale about travel consolidator and aggregator web sites. Short version: never use. I'm the last person on the planet to have learned this lesson. Here goes. Zero stars would be the choice in my online review of Expedia. I do not believe the following is an Expedia-specific problem or issue, but more probably equally applies to many if not all travel bookings resellers. Many are owned by Expedia, wouldn't you know.
Expedia accepted a hotel booking for travel to a college town on Parents Weekend, and also a home football weekend. The room was listed as available to book, so I did so. I also prepaid, a half year in advance, not to take a chance on any misunderstanding or snafu given the business of the weekend in question, locally. At the time of booking, I had plenty of hotel choices (I booked at a major chain), room choices, and choices in terms of how I booked. Expedia had been my go-to for many such trips and I had not previously felt poorly served.
I had months, and then weeks, before the weekend in question. I had read accounts in the Parents' Facebook group for the school in question, of how certain local hotels had overbooked their rooms. I was neither concerned nor deterred because the Expedia web site (and phone app) showed my booking as confirmed and paid. That is, until I received an email from Expedia a mere five days before my trip, telling me that the hotel had cancelled my reservation and offering no proximal or reasonable booking option.
Customer Service was unable to help. Apparently there is fine print in the contract between Expedia and the hotel chain (and probably all hotel chains?), that allows the hotel(s) to rent rooms to its own clients for a more premium price, regardless of whether or not Expedia (and I believe, any site like it) has made a so-called "confirmed" commitment to one of its clients. In other words, it appears that when you "book" through Expedia or any of them, implicit in what the customer thinks is a contract is an "...unless the hotel can otherwise sell the same room to someone else for more..." I have been the victim of the latter.
Now unlike some of the online Expedia horror stories, I am getting my prepayment refunded in full. Of course, I still was left without a reservation (I now have one 25 miles distant). Expedia (and all web sites of that ilk) have lost me as a customer forever, and I have made it my mantra to use my dubious free time on social media to warn as many people as possible of this deceptive practice, so as to cost them as much business as possible. It's a sworn Civic duty. So here I am. Caveat emptor. Use them as a research tool only. Then book direct.
Tried to cancel a reservation both by phone and online. Got billed anyway. First Expedia denied we ever cancelled. Then after calling hotel, they claim reservation was non-refundable. Then they offer a 'coupon' for a future booking! Expedia mission statement: "The customer is always wrong." They are less than useless!
WISCONSIN -- On 3/15 I was on Tripadvisor.com looking at the market pavilion hotel. It's stated that it was 73% off and $92 a night through Expedia. I called Expedia to verify if that price was correct. At that time I was informed of the best price guarantee.
The representative offered to place the reservation and help me fill out the best price guarantee form so I could receive the $92 a night rate. I was a little hesitant since he quoted the reservation as being around $2660 and the new advertised price would be for $460 for five nights. He told me that he 100% guaranteed the rate as long as I did a print screen and filled out the form. I filled out the form while I was on the phone with him and was told that I would hear back within 48 hours to get the new price.
After 48 hours I never heard back. After a 3 hour phone call and being put on hold numerous times (one time over an hour) I was told that I would be transferred to someone in corporate. She said that my print screen was correct and I followed all of the requirements to receive the price guarantee. She said I would get $92 a night rate. I was told that I would not be refunded the amount until after the stay. The first representative who I booked the reservation with never did explain that.
I asked to be emailed in writing that the offer would be honored. She said she would honor the offer and the only thing I have left to do was to stay at the hotel and call once this stay is complete to receive the refund. Dorrie did send me an email but it was pretty vague. When I called back to try to talk to her to ask her to send another email that listed the prices, I was told I could not be transferred. The person also asked me to explain the situation all over again even though I was told there would be notes in my account and was given a case #.
The representative put me on hold and when she came back she kept acting like she could not hear me and hung up. I called back and had to explain again. I was told I have to wait 48 more hours to get an email with the prices listed.
On 3/19 I received an email saying that my claim for price guarantee was denied. I was shocked considering a few days prior I was told that I met the requirements to receive the price. When I called Expedia I had to explain everything again and was put on hold.
After waiting quite a while the line disconnected. I called back, spoke to supervisor Orland and went through the same thing again and was told that I be transferred to a manager. I waited over an hour on hold. The representative came back and said they have the manager and are transferring me over and then they hung up on me. Nobody bothered to call back.
On the morning of 3/20 I called Expedia again and asked to be transferred to a manager. Of course every time I had to explain the whole situation over and over again. I was transferred to supervisor Jun who then transferred me to manager Star. During this phone call I waited over 2 1/2 hours total. Star inform me that they cannot honor the price and when I asked her why I was told by Dorie ** in writing that they could she said "I don't know why you were told that." She said the only thing she could do was cancel my reservation.
I asked to be transferred to her manager and she refused. She also would not give me any compensation for almost 8 hours of being on the phone with Expedia the last week. My credit card has already been charged and now I have to wait 14 days for the credit. I never experienced such bad customer service. Nobody there is held accountable for what they say and just put you on hold for very long periods of time and hang up on you.
REDMOND, OREGON -- Through Expedia I booked a hotel halfway around the world. When I arrived, the hotel was much different than published on the Expedia site, and I had to check out after one night due to safety concerns. The hotel insisted on charging for the ten nights booked rather than the one I stayed. I made an international call to Expedia immediately to report the issue and request their help. After not hearing anything by phone or email for a week, I called back. The agent kept saying I had just called that morning. I had to resurrect my records to let her know I had called a week ago and gave her the exact time and date.
After a few days later, an email came with the following text: "Thank you for contacting Expedia about obtaining a refund for your reservation at Salerno Motel Apartments. We have advocated your case with the hotel representative, however, Salerno Motel Apartments has denied your request for a refund. We apologize for the inconvenience." I submitted a 20 page report of the issues to Expedia by email with details and photos. No response has come from Expedia. It's been close to 14 days. This was not an *inconvenience* as noted in the Expedia email. It was a financial setback.
I see other postings about Expedia that indicate financial losses and feel for the reviewers. Expedia's characterization of this as an inconvenience and their lack of response in attempting to pursue the issue further leads me to stop using the website for bookings. The information on the website cannot be trusted; the Expedia staff did not demonstrate actions that show customer financial impacts are a priority.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Got to Ft Lauderdale, FL and found Expedia did not make my hotel reservation even though I had the fully paid receipt and printed reservation in my hand. The manager of the hotel spoke with Expedia for us at 1 PM on Saturday and told them the reservation was not listed and the hotel was fully booked. Expedia told us to go on to another hotel 15 minutes away, and they would pay the difference in price for us to make up for the trouble they caused us (a delay of 3.5 hours).
The next hotel said Expedia made the reservation but said nothing of paying the bill. The next day, Expedia denied to us that they ever said such a thing and that we had been "no shows" at the first hotel. The manager of the first hotel told us Expedia had "pushed through" a reservation at 5:58 PM on Saturday to cover themselves. How underhanded can one company be? We are going to court and notified Visa to credit our paid charges back to us. They are currently holding the charges and investigating Expedia.
UTAH -- Here's the letter that I wrote to Expedia after a very bad customer service incident:
As a customer with an unsatisfactory experience with your customer service support, I would like to take the time to write this letter just to express why I have decided to no longer use Expedia for any future travel needs. I am hoping that you value your customers and appreciate input on where you went wrong. I hope this will help create better experiences for other customers in the future.
In October of this year, 2015, I traveled to Boise where I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. I had a wonderful booking experience and a very pleasant stay. Upon checkout, I approached the front desk clerk and asked to have my bill split so I could have two separate receipts, one for each night and each receipt only showing only one of the nights. Basically, I needed receipts that made it look as if each night was its own stay. I explained that I was traveling for business and was here in town to attend an education conference.
It wasn't in the school's budget to cover all of the expenses so I was paying for one night out of my own pocket and the other night was going to be reimbursed to me by my school. My director did inform me that I would need to bring in the hotel receipt with ONLY charges for the one night on it. In other words, a receipt with charges other than what I needed to be reimbursed for (such as an extra night) could not be processed by the school district HR department.
The employee looked up the reservation and informed that I would need to contact Expedia because she did not have access to any information regarding what my room rate was. She told me that if she could see my room rate, she would be more than happy to help me but she was sure Expedia would be able to take care of it.
On November 2, 2015, I called your Expedia customer service number and spoke with a very polite gentleman who I could tell wanted to be helpful but he just couldn't be. He put me on hold multiple times while he was constantly back and forth with his supervisor. I was informed that “the system” didn't allow him to break the stay into two nights so he was not going to be able to help me.
I explained my predicament to him and asked him if there was any way to allow the hotel to see the room rate so they could be the ones to issue a receipt. He called the hotel and, in the end, told me that wasn't going to be possible. I then asked if there was any way for Expedia to issue a receipt without using “the system”. I wasn't surprised when I was informed that was not possible either.
I expressed my deep dissatisfaction. I honestly do not think that the request I was making was really so big! I informed him that I believed that this is a case where Expedia, as a company, has the obligation to make this right to me, their customer. Especially considering the ONLY reason this request can't be granted is simply due to a limitation with what the computer is able to do. I asked for a refund for the night's stay that I am not going to be able to be reimbursed for through my job which, of course, was not something he could do for me.
I then informed him that this incident was causing Expedia to lose a customer – for life. In the end he was able to offer me a $50 credit towards a future hotel stay. I asked if that could be applied to the previous stay I was calling about and I was told that it could not be used for past stays. I declined the $50 offer. I don't plan on using Expedia again so making him go through the trouble of issuing me a credit seemed a little bit silly.
So, here I am, left to eat a business travel expense that I honestly cannot afford. I am a single mother of three small children trying to make ends meet on a part-time teachers' salary. $130 hotel stay that I wasn't planning on paying for is a big enough deal to cause financial hardship. So much so, that I am actually crying while I am writing this letter. I am not choosing to include this detail to add drama but rather to paint a real picture of who your customers are and the hardships that we face as a result of not being taken seriously by your company.
I am not writing this letter to ask for a refund or even expecting to get my receipt split like I've been asking. I just simply want you to understand why I'm not longer an Expedia customer. I also sincerely hope you take this matter to heart and make whatever changes necessary to allow for more flexibility within your computer system to grant reasonable customer requests, such as allowing multiple night stays to be broken up over multiple receipts. I hope it saves future customers the headache that I have had to experience. If you have any questions about the details of what has transpired, I would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you in more detail.
PORTLAND, OREGON -- I have an Expedia travel coupon for a $50 discount. 1st problem - online system wasn't working to process for my booking. I called Expedia to book my room. The man from India (**) ran the information and told me my hotel room would be 59 dollars with the discount and took my credit card information. He then put me on hold to get me a confirmation. 20 min later he said his computer was frozen and to hold. For the next 50 minutes this continued with him checking back periodically. Then he hung up and called back.
He told me next that the coupon system at Expedia wasn't working. Therefore my card was charged for the full reservation amount but Expedia would credit 50 off my card. (This went from 11 P.M. to 12:20 A. M.). He then transferred me to someone who asked to take my reservation. I was in bed by then and was not happy. She then transferred me to a supervisor (**/also India) who explained to me once again they would refund me the $50 if I booked the reservation. I asked how long until the card was refunded - 2 weeks! I told him I would not book then. He told me my card was already charged the full amount and it would be two weeks to credit my card.
I HAD NOT authorized AT ANY TIME this charge. When I told him this was unacceptable he argued and said "obviously you authorized the $109 or we wouldn't have your credit card number." I explained I authorized $59. I cancelled the reservation.
Went on my bank today and find 13 authorizations on my credit card from Expedia! I called to speak to a manager but you must go through the system. So I started with ** (India) who when I tried to explain what had happened she interrupted immediately and said "we have solved this by crediting your card. There is nothing else to do." I asked to speak to a Manager.
I received ** (American) in the corporate office. He explained that they had put a credit toward my card and therefore the issue was resolved. I asked if they do anything for customer satisfaction, take responsibility or at least apologize for the horrible experience I had. No. He said it was the representative who had screwed up, not Expedia. I asked if they stand behind what their representative does - NO. I asked if they do anything to appease or assist customers who have had a horrible experience. - NO. I asked if there was a way to cash out my
Expedia credits as I NEVER WANT TO USE THEM AGAIN. NO.
All in all Expedia charged my card for an amount that was not authorized. Spent over 2 hours on the phone on the first day (And 45 minutes the 2nd in trying to talk to a manager). And now have 13 authorizations on my card with still no hotel. EXPEDIA IS THE WORST AND HAS NO APOLOGIES OR QUALMS ABOUT HOW CUSTOMERS ARE TREATED!
I have booked an hotel in South India via Expedia. When I arrived at the hotel, they did not have any booking at my name. However they had free rooms so I stayed there and had to pay the hotel room directly. They told me they would not take any money from Expedia.
When I cam back home, I discovered that Expedia charged the rooms on my credit card. I called their incompetent and unprofessional customer service to ask for the refund. First call, the person hanged up on me, while transferring me to another person. Second call, the person was totally incompetent. She tried to call the hotel in India while I was on hold. She tried for at least 15 min, coming back to me several time, asking ME the hotel telephone number as the number she had done not work. It appeared at the end it was simply because she did not how to dial an international phone number.
Due to the time difference with India, she told me that she would have to call them back later. I asked her to keep me informed by email. Of course she did not, and later I learnt she just blatantly lied to me as it seems that Expedia employees are not allowed to call abroad when the customer is not on the line. So she could not take care of my problem later as she had told me.
During the third call, the lady was more competent as she managed to reach the hotel, but as it was the night time in India the manager was not there. So she told me I would have to call back another time, and during this call she would call the hotel again to speak to the manager. I explained that was impossible as I am in Europe, she is somewhere in America and the hotel is in India. So it is very difficult to find the proper time to call, and I am not going to wake up at four am just for that.
I asked to speak to her supervisor. After a long wait I spoke with the so-called supervisor who told me he was taking care of my complaint personally. That he will call the hotel directly and let me know... Of course, more than one week after, I still heard nothing from them. I had told them I could prove I paid directly the hotel, but they just seem not interested..
The amount is not a lot, only $136. So it seems that Expedia prefers to lose one long time customer, (I had bought many plane tickets and booked hotel during the last few years), just for $136.... Fair enough. It is now decided I will never use Expedia again. The customer service is a shame and I cannot stand that employees deliberately lie to you, just to get rid of you.
Another point, I am also starting to warn all the persons I know, friends, family colleagues against using Expedia. There are many other websites out there, and I am sure service cannot be as bad as with Expedia. Reputation is hard to build but can be blown very fast........
BELLVUE, WASHINGTON -- The absolute worst experience ever. No rooms were available anywhere within 100 miles of St Augustine FL the night we pulled in. Expedia showed several hotels with vacancies. Not the case at all. No rooms anywhere. We spent the night in a parking lot in our car. Expedia has been completely worthless. They stink. Will never use this service again for any reason.
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- Anytime you book anything with Expedia it is impossible to be refunded or credited money. This could be because you accidentally put in the wrong dates and notify them very soon afterward, weather issues, death in the family, change of plans, etc. Find some other business with some customer care. Expedia is NOT it.