An Expedia cancellation is free, except for you

A free Expedia cancellation?

Susan Veazey took Expedia at its word when she booked her hotel room in New Orleans recently.

The online agency promoted a free cancellation, so Veazey figured she could make multiple reservations and then cancel the one she didn’t want.

She figured wrong — and now she’s stuck with several rooms she can’t use.

This case is a teachable moment for those of us who take a company’s offer at face value. It turns out there is no such thing as face value when dealing with a slick corporation. Veazey’s failure, and mine, are proof.

A free Expedia cancellation?

Let’s go straight to the playback.

Last month, I booked 3 hotels in the French Quarter using Expedia. All of the hotels were marked as having free Expedia cancellation, and I wanted to consult with my husband as to which hotel he thought looked best.

We have never been to NOLA. I held onto the reservations for a couple of days. We booked for the week after Christmas — several months away.

So far, so good

So far, so good. Except that booking hotel rooms in this way is a little unorthodox, especially when you’re dealing with an online travel agency. But let’s continue.

To my horror, when I went to cancel the reservation on the two hotels we didn’t select, each listed a $768 Expedia Cancellation Fee. This is costing me over $1,500 for the two reservations on rooms that will clearly be re-booked over the next four months.

I did not panic, initially, because my assumption was I would find someone reasonable at Expedia to address this problem. Boy, was I wrong!

Twice, I spent well over an hour on hold and speaking with a customer service rep who clearly read from a script, and when I asked for a supervisor, I was left on hold for an extremely long period of time.

I did speak with one woman who said she was a supervisor, and she would do something, but nothing ever happened.

A nonrefundable Expedia reservation

Using our company contacts for Expedia, Veazey switched to email, but the response was the same.

“Expedia just kept telling me the last two nights on the reservations were non-refundable and that was hotel policy,” she says. “I would tell them that the Expedia cancellation policy on the website did not indicate they were non-refundable; in fact, they said just the opposite.”

This seemed like a slam-dunk. The site offered “free” cancellations, but Expedia wasn’t honoring its word. So I checked with the company.

Expedia responds

Here’s how it responded to her:

According to our research, you were advised during each booking, “free cancellation before December 23.”

Further research indicates that upon completing the booking of the first itinerary, Place d’Armes Hotel, you were advised to click the link to access the Rules and Regulations for the reservation. Above the “Complete This Booking” button was the phrase, “By selecting to complete this booking I acknowledge that I have read and accept the Rules & Restrictions and Privacy Policy.” Regrettably, the link to the Rules and Regulations was not clicked, and the terms of the reservation were never displayed before credit card details were submitted and the purchase completed.

A review of the second booking indicates the same phrase and link were displayed, but again, the purchase was completed without a review of the required Rules and Regulations. Our research indicates that had the link been selected as required, the following important reservation details would have been displayed:

Reservations are non-refundable on the following dates: December 29, 2015, December 30, 2015. Cancellations or changes made after 2:00 PM local hotel time, Wednesday, December 23, 2015 are subject to a hotel fee equal to 1 night(s) plus taxes and fees. Cancellations or changes made after check-in are subject to a hotel fee equal to 100% of the total amount paid for the reservation.

Please note, these terms appeared on each of the pre-purchase itineraries and were carried over to the confirmed itineraries currently located in your account.

Some restriction apply to your “free” Expedia cancellation

I see. So Expedia advertised “free” cancellations, but as they say, some restrictions apply. Gotcha.

Here’s where the true-blues and the rules-are-rules readers will have a polite disagreement. The true blue advocates like me will say if you advertise free changes, you should actually give them.

The rules-are-rules crowd will say: If you’d bothered to read the fine print, you wouldn’t have made these stupid reservations.

I think everyone knows which side I’m on.

I’m disappointed that Expedia can get away with this. But I’m fighting for a travel industry where this kind of thing won’t happen. If you’re with me, please join our group of advocates now. If you’re not, I’m sure I’ll hear from you in the comments.


Should Expedia have allowed Susan Veazey to cancel her reservation?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.