Kengo Tashiro books two flights using Expedia which he cancels within 24 hours. He should be entitled to a refund, but several months later he still doesn’t have one. Why?
Question: My flight reservation on Expedia was canceled under the 24-hour full refund policy, and a representative promised that refund will be made within eight weeks.
However, more than three months have passed and this refund has not been delivered as promised. Can you help me? — Kengo Tashiro, Philadelphia, Penn.
Answer: I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get the prompt refund to which you’re entitled.
The language is clear in the explanation of consumer rights on the U. S. Department of Transportation’s website.
Airlines must either allow you the passenger to hold a reservation without payment, or cancel a booking without penalty for 24 hours after the reservation is made if they make the reservation one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date.
The language is equally clear about how quickly the airlines must make that refund.
For purchases made with a credit card, airlines must forward a credit to the your credit card company within seven business days after receiving a complete refund application when a refund is due. For purchases made with cash or checks, airlines must provide a refund within 20 business days.
There are two factors that may have complicated the refund process in your case. You purchased your tickets through Expedia, adding a third party to the process, and you used a debit card.
When making travel reservations for airlines, rental cars or hotels, we highly discourage using debit cards. This is especially true when making these reservations through third party platforms. The system travel companies use for holds and refunds causes many issues when dealing directly with your bank account.
Also, when using credit cards your available bank funds are not tied up while awaiting resolution on issues such as this, and you are provided additional protections under federal law. On top of all that, many credit cards provide travel benefits, such as trip interruption or rental car insurance.
Expedia told you it would take up to eight weeks for your refund to appear in your account. I don’t understand why a refund should take that long, and apparently even that timeline had been exceeded when you wrote to us.
You might have tried making your case up the corporate ladder using the contacts at our advocacy website.
Our advocates contacted Expedia on your behalf, and we’re pleased to hear that their customer service team has reached out to you to confirm the refund is in process and apologize for the inconvenience this experience has caused you. I don’t understand the foot-dragging, but it looks like you will finally receive your refund.