I want a refund from Expedia but it just wants me to leave a bad review for the hotel

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By Christopher Elliott

Sheila Mackay is trying to get a refund from Expedia after canceling a hotel reservation. But so far, she’s only received half her money. What’s going on?

Question

I booked two nights at the Ashtree House Hotel in Paisley, Scotland, through Expedia. I paid Expedia for the first night and the hotel directly for the second night. 

Unfortunately, I had to cancel my reservation. Expedia refunded the first night but the hotel will not respond to my requests for a refund. I’ve emailed several times and phoned the hotel twice. 

Expedia says it can’t help me and recommends that I leave a bad review for the hotel. Can you help me get my $103 back? — Sheila Mackay, Victoria, Canada

Answer

Leave a bad review? Seriously? I don’t know how that’s going to get your $103 back, but I guess you’ll feel a little better about losing the money. But no, there has to be a better way.

I reviewed your itinerary and there’s no indication that your stay was nonrefundable. Rather, it says cancellations or changes made after 11:59 p.m. two days before your arrival or no-shows are subject go a property fee equal to 100 percent of the total amount paid for the reservation. In other words, you would still have to pay the hotel. But you canceled your hotel stay two months before your arrival, well before the two day cutoff.

To complicate matters, the hotel won’t respond to your inquiries. It simply charged your card and then kept your money, according to your records. You were correct to contact the hotel, but I think you might have applied more pressure to Expedia. After all, the online agency made your reservation and took a commission from the hotel. It bears some responsibility for this mess. (Related: My Expedia credit expired before I could use it. Now what?)

We receive many complaints about Expedia. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Expedia customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to providing our employees with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

When I contacted Expedia, it initially claimed it had already refunded your hotel stay. It asked you to check your records, saying that you may have missed the refund because of the dollars-to-pound conversion rate. You checked your credit card and, as you expected, found a refund for only the first night. (Related: Are “unpublished” hotel reservations too hard to cancel?)

Next, Expedia tried to contact the Ashtree House Hotel. But the hotel didn’t respond to Expedia. (On second thought, maybe leaving a review isn’t such a bad idea. But only to warn others — like I said, it won’t get your money back.)

Will Expedia refund this hotel room?

As I review your case, I have only one piece of advice. Calling the hotel to ask about a refund is minimally helpful. However, steady and persistent emailing can work. And it’s important to pressure both the hotel and your travel agent, in this case Expedia. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can always file a credit card dispute. Your bank should be able to reverse the charge and if the hotel doesn’t respond to its requests for an explanation, the refund will stick. (Here’s how to find the best hotel at the most affordable rate.)

But you got some good news. Since Expedia could not get a response from the hotel, it decided to give you the remaining $103. You’ve received a full refund for your hotel stay in Scotland.  

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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