Why I will never use Expedia again

Don't use ExpediaI’ve been a big fan of online purchasing for a long time. Year after year, the process just keeps getting better and, perhaps more importantly, easier. Some things make a lot of sense to buy online – computer products, software, non-tailored clothing – you can almost always find much better deals and a much wider variety if you do your shopping online. Other things such as travel, food, and other try-before-you-buy type items require a much more complex process to successfully offer online, but with all the technology improvements over the last few years even these complex items can be obtained over the internet.

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t purchase my plane tickets online — you might not either. Many moons ago, Travelocity had a pretty good corner on the online travel market. If anyone remembers their DreamMaps, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Select your departure city and then just browse the globe speckled with prices and find some amazing deal to some exotic destination. I don’t know why they ever took it down.

Skipping ahead, Orbitz and Kayak have really never let me down. Priceline has given me some great deals on a few hotel rooms, but I’ve never successfully gotten a good airfare deal through them. Bing Travel (Farecast) and Cheap Tickets get an honorable mention, but the online travel giants of years past have failed to keep up. Travelocity never has the best price anymore  so I rarely even check their site. Last (and possibly least), the one with my favorite jingle of all – Expedia “dot cooooooooom” – has become my foe…

My wife and I are leaving for our honeymoon to Central America…

I booked a room for one night at the Maya Colonial Hotel less than 24 hours in advance – no option to purchase trip protection insurance, so, obviously, I didn’t (but I would’ve if I could have)…

We miss our first flight which means that we will miss our connecting once-a-day flight to Honduras and, you guessed it, miss our hotel reservation. So I call Expedia looking forward to a pleasant experience that makes booking with online travel giants the way to go…

On hold for 45 minutes… carrying my phone around the airport on speakerphone waiting for someone to pickup… no answer… it’s time to board the plane so I have to hang up.

I call Expedia again after we land… on hold for 30 minutes… a guy picks up so I explain the situation. He is a nice customer service guy so he listens and explains that he will try to reach the hotel… puts me on hold, tries to call hotel… 15 minutes go by… I get disconnected… have to call back and wait on hold again for 25 minutes… again, carrying my phone around waiting for hold music to end and a person to pickup…

Finally get through. This time, I give the guy my number right away so he can call me back if we get disconnected. Explain the situation again, he puts me on hold… I wait 15 minutes… he can’t get a hold of the hotel. (To those of you that want to bash me for being disappointed with Expedia, please know that at this point I was only upset with the hotel.)

So this guy, also a nice customer service guy (like the first one was), explains that he understands the situation and since we can’t reach the hotel he will submit a cancellation request to them right away. He then also puts me at ease and assures me that everything should be fine and to contact Expedia if I find that the hotel still charges me and they will take care of it. Great.

My wife and I go and have a great and adventurous honeymoon…

10 days later… returned from the honeymoon, checking my bank statement and notice that I got charged for the hotel room. So, as the nice customer service guy said to do, I call Expedia… wait on hold for a while (no surprise)… talk to a lady and explain the situation… She looks up the itinerary number, reads the notes, calls the hotel. When she gets back on the line, she tells me that they never received any cancellation request, so that’s why they charged me. I wasn’t even in their country, much less at their hotel, but since the reservation was not cancelled, they charged me. At this point, it’s upsetting, but I assume this is when Expedia will apologize and take responsibility to get me credited back for the mistake. Expedia lady doesn’t offer an apology that apparently they didn’t handle it correctly, she apologizes that I have to pay for a room that I never stayed in – almost like a “Sorry, better luck next time.” I try to stay calm and explain that I don’t think that is right. She tells me I can speak to the manager of the hotel if I call back the next day at 10 am (which would be Monday and I would be at work) – I tell her that won’t be possible and that I need Expedia to take care of this for me… she puts me on hold and gets her supervisor.

The supervisor was nothing more than an “I’m sorry, but we won’t help you” man. I made sure that he understood the circumstances. He said because I tried to cancel within 24 hours of the reservation time that I would still be charged. I asked him if he knew when I made the reservation. He looked it up… made the reservation less that 24 hours in advance. So I asked him if there were any exceptions to that rule considering that I never would’ve had the chance to cancel more than 24 hours in advance AND I canceled within 6 hours of making the reservation in the first place. He didn’t seem to have an answer but merely responded with, “Well, you clicked that you agreed to the Terms and Conditions, so there’s nothing I can do to help you.”

I clarified, “So you are ok with the fact that Expedia helped me lose $100 on a hotel room that I never stayed in?”

His response after a long pause, “Uh… I guess you are entitled to your own opinion.”

Later he says, “I’m sorry sir there’s nothing we can do for you, you checked the box agreeing to the terms and conditions.”

I re-stated, “There’s nothing you will do. There is plenty you can do, but you won’t. I’d really like for you to help me out, but you do not want to.”

Before we got off the phone, I made sure that he (and whoever reviews the call later) knew that, “I will never use Expedia again.”

In the end, I’m glad it was only $100. I don’t have any reason to believe they would have done any more to help me out if it had been $1000 or even more.

Sidenote: I have had last minute itinerary changes and canceled flights before when using Orbitz. When I called them to get assistance they were always very helpful and understanding. They seem to truly understand the chaos that traveling can be and they’ve positioned themselves to be a help in those times… not add to the misery. Thanks Orbitz.

Word to all service-offering companies: Don’t use your terms and conditions to legally screw your customers out of their money.

Others that have been screwed by Expedia:

http://www.marketingshift.com/2005/12/expedia-dot-scam.cfm – I really hope Team Expedia comments on my blog.

http://worstcustomerservice.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/bad-customer-service-expedia/

http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=70204

33 responses to “Why I will never use Expedia again”

  1. I’m not sure why you are mad, you missed the flight and they are correct to say that you agreed to their terms and conditions, every other travel website out there has ‘horror’ stories like this where the person is at fault and they expect their travel website to fix their problems. Sure they could of been more understanding but the fact is that you agreed to their terms, there is a reason as to why their prices are low.

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  2. Anonymous

    This is your fault. Expedia is the third party, it’s the hotel you have a problem with. Expedia tried to help you but couldn’t and you blame them? Ridiculous.

  3. This guy is an idiot – it’s not Expedia’s fault that they missed their flight. It’s also not Expedia’s fault that the hotel didn’t answer the phone – they tried to call but weren’t given much time to do it. It’s the hotel who he has an issue with. And yes, you read the terms and conditions, so it is NOT Expedia’s fault. Argh, it’s ignorant people like this that make me angry.

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  4. Simon P

    I had a similar problem with expedia. They even gave me a ticket number confirming the request. at the end it was all lies and made up excuses. I will never use expedia again.

  5. > In the end, I’m glad it was only $100. This guy must be really poor to get this upset.

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  6. This is ridiculous. You booked a hotel when it told you that cancellations had to be done 24 hours in advance. Then you tried to cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice. And now you’re blaming them for not altering the very fabric of time itself in order to grant you your apparently God-given right to cancel. You knew the rules, and you’re mad because it turns out they even apply to almighty You.

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  7. Jon W

    That really stinks. I’ve seen this time and time again with third party travel sites.

    From the other end, I can’t stand dealing with Expedia/Hotels.com (same company). Their AR process is a pain. From my experience as a hotel manager, I would generally try to avoid most third party travel web sites in general. I had a guy a couple of weeks ago that booked through Travelocity. He called us well in advance to cancel his week long stay, but we had to direct him to Travelocity/Priceline (same company) because he will never get a refund if we cancel the room directly. Well in the end, Travelocity/Priceline never contacted us, so I only imagine they shot him down. So we ended up retaining the +$500 deposit we had collected from Travelocity for his stay.

    I’ll tell you though; Expedia really doesn’t exercise any might when dealing with hotels. When I get a call from Expedia regarding a situation like yours, Expedia asks me “This person won’t be able to stay/didn’t stay, will you release the charges?” If I say no for whatever reason, Expedia says “Ok.” That’s pretty much all the effort they put forth aside from confirming the answer. Then they tell the customer they are out of luck and they fall back on their T&C so they don’t lose anything. Fact is that Expedia (specifically) will generally mirror the hotels cancellation policy as part of their contract with the hotel. Priceline and other bidding sites don’t allow cancellation at all, period. Looking at the Maya Colonial Hotel in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, they don’t allow same day cancellations (even for same day bookings), so even if they had received the cancellation request, they could have still declined it. So Expedia was obligated to pay for the room once they booked it on your behalf, and if they are obligated to pay then there is no way they will care what your circumstances are. Since they only collect 10% commission, they would lose 10 fold of their share if they refunded you. However, this doesn’t excuse their complete lack of tact, their lack of customer service or their understaffing that causes you to wait 30 – 45 minutes at a time.
    So, my take on it is that if you book through the hotel directly, then you can cancel through the hotel directly and try to appeal to someone’s decency. As I said, Expedia will never care about your situation if they still have to pay for your reservation, but a hotel manager might care. So cut out the middle man and you better your chances. Expedia is nice because they act as an aggregator of information. Aside from that, I don’t like them.

  8. I love that people are getting so worked up about this 🙂 Here’s some facts to keep you going: * 1. I am poor, yes. Glad we’ve established that. I should probably tell Obama that I’m poor so that he will take care of things for me. * 2. We did miss the flight and it was our fault and, in the end, it does all come back on me, not gonna deny it. * 3. Some of the reviews I posted were older, but if you read on down on the longer one, you’ll see that there are posts from only weeks ago too * 4. Anyone care to tell me the last time you actually read any Terms and Conditions for using a website? (I’ve got "liar" already typed and ready to hit enter) * 5. BOTTOM LINE – My bad, my fault, I’m to blame, I got what I deserved for not planning ahead and reading the conditions and making my flight… however, yes, there’s a ‘however’… Expedia is a service. And being a company that’s sole offering is a service, it is important to do all you can to help your customers if you want to retain their business. In my opinion, Expedia could have done much more and been much more efficient in the way they handled my problem. And for that… **I will never use Expedia again** 🙂 I have heard from a lot of people to go through hotels directly. I will probably start doing that from now one. Thanks!

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  9. Makes more sense now, yes.

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  10. Thanks.

    This comment was originally posted on Reddit

  11. Alicia Lambert

    Completely agree! Will not use Expedia again. I am experiencing a similar issue as I type this. I googled similar issues to see if this is a regular problem. I was also told that Expedia was unable to reach the hotel. However, the hotel manager states that they never called him and he is willing to cancel the reservation, but is unable to do so without a faxed cancellation notice from Expedia. The customer service from Expedia is awful and I will not use them again!

  12. The fool

    You should try working for that stupid company… I imagine that is the thing that would be a lot worse, having that experience I can promise you I would never use their site or their service. Ever. Never.

  13. James

    My horror story with Expedia was more about confirming insurance, having to cancel a trip and then trying to use the airfare credits. Really stinks when it’s something like your honeymoon.

    If you have time you can take a look at my longish story at http://james.wanless.info/2011/02/expedia-provides-customer-experience-from-hell/

  14. Lisa

    Expedia is KNOWN for shitty customer service. I booked there once and tried to call them… took 52 minutes (and that’s considered good) the funny this was i called at 2am… thinking they wouldnt be busy. Perhaps they only have 1 person service rep. Pretty lame right? I won’t book there either.

    Of course. It’s expedia what do u expect.

  15. LIS

    Dont worry, most ppl who make a mistake booking expedia will NEVER use it the second time. I agree Orbitz is better, and when u call.. u can get someone there within 5 mins.

  16. Singapore

    I have been putting on hold for at least 3 hours. The phone is not answered. I had missed my flight this morning and not one would even answer my call expedia.com. This is the last time I would be using this.

  17. littleapple

    The service at Expedia is really poor. Missed my flights and now no one would even bother to pick up my call after holding onto the phone for the past 4 hours

  18. larry

    If you enjoy the music of coldplay, u2, seal, george strait, etc., you will love expedia … because you will have plenty of opportunity to listen to those artists while on-hold since expedia simply does not answer their phones if you need to change a reservation.

    The music is on loop so depending how determined you are to change your reservation, you could hear coldplay up to 12 times (twice per hour) as I have.

    Enjoy!

  19. larry

    the comments system at this site reminds me of dealing with expedia … fricking non-responsive

  20. John

    sorry man.. terms are terms… we all want to hate the man.. but really you screwed up.. you missed your flight.. I have used hotel sites that are the same.. you must cancel 24 hrs… not 12 hours or 6 hours … 24. If your going to play the game you have to read the rules.

  21. Cosimo

    I do not get the point… You booked something (as you said) less than 24 hrs before the date of stay. Did you read that you would have be able to cancel only before 24hrs from the date of check-in? In that case, you should have known that the reservation you made was already out of policy, in case you did not read.. you already got the answer! Basically you are saying that Expedia screwed you because you lost a flight…

    For the future:

    1)Read what you are booking before to put your credit card
    2)Make a travel insurance (If I WOULD have the possibility to have an insurance I COULD have done it, you said so, right?) so you will never have this problem.
    3)If you call a call center always ask for the name of the person helped you and ask for a confirmation email stating the same things said on the conversation
    4)Do not write Blogs as an expert if you no nothing about the topic you are talking about
    5)Before to say that working people screwed you think twice
    6)If you want to travel, before to leave learn to read instead of blaming others for your own mistakes.

    PS I work for a competitor of Expedia, and I do not really like them as well for thei internal organization and for their way of handling the money of the customers, but I am not writing nonsense about them.

  22. Dmitry

    My Moms itinerary shows one price and expedia charged her an extra 450$.
    Spent 3 hours on the phone to be told, sorry this is a website glitch we’ll open an internal ticket and are not able to help anymore than that. Uhm thanks I guess…

  23. nick

    it was expedia computer system that F’ed up and expedia did not fix it

    so you employees of expedia that pretend to be tourists can GO TO HELL

  24. Jack Mayer

    “I was late and it’s entirely my fault but I’m going to blame Expedia and never use them again. However, if I wasn’t late, Expedia would’ve been awesome.”

    Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Cringe-worthy self-righteousness.

  25. J. R.

    I had a similar circumstance after dealing with Expedia on behalf of a young relative who had bought a plane ticket and missed the flight.

    I would never recommend Expedia. The Customer Service Rep was pushing me to cancel, knowing full well that once the ticket was canceled we’d have to buy another one. We would have had to pay $500 for a new ticket!!! I asked POINT BLANK what the airlines would do if we called them direct and she lied, putting me on hold and pretending that she’d called them.

    I sensed the BS in her voice. When she asked if I would like to cancel and rebook again, I said no and immediately hung up and called the airlines directly.

    Guess what? United changed it for free. This author is spot on. Don’t EVER use Expedia

  26. J. R.

    Let me add that in my opinion the Expedia rep was trying to take advantage of the situation with the cancel/rebook thing. They would have gotten commission on two tickets instead of one. The sleaze quality reminded me of a sales rep who just had to get that old ticket canceled before I got off the phone.

    The worst thing is that are a lot of people out there who haven’t traveled before and don’t know how accommodating airlines can be. Fortunately, I’ve dealt with stuff like this before.

  27. Tom Cruise

    Ok, my name isn’t Tom Cruise but I wanted to get the word out and my name just doesn’t carry enough weight. Sorry Mr. Cruise.

    **** DO NOT BOOK THROUGH EXPEDIA ****
    I will never, every again use Expedia. I know, despite the enormous financial hit I took, I will never win against a company as big as Expedia if I chose to fight. Having told my story to the airlines we were traveling on, the feedback I got from them regarding the numerous “horror” stories they have heard about expedia only further reinforces my decision to NEVER again use Expedia. I will do everything I can to let the world know to do the same and to book through a travel agent or directly with the airline.

    My experience with Expedia was not only bad, it was unbelievable in the literal sense of the word.

    DO NOT TRUST THEM! The cancellation insurance is a scam! There’s a bunch of hidden costs that add up to hundreds of dollars and months of waiting and groveling. The process is humiliating.

    I wish Siri worked more like a friend and warned me when downloading their stupid app. What a huge and costly mistake that was.

  28. Tom smith

    I booked a room through expedia, found had to change my travel arrangements and then tried to get a refund from expedia, they refuse to give me back my money.

    So make sure the company you deal with refunds money if your plans happen to change, lesson, don’t use expedia they will not refund your money.

  29. randall

    Expedia cheated me out of 500 dollars on a trip for the holidays with no recourse.

    Do not use them.

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