couldn’t get my passport in time — can I get a refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

Crista Cloutier pays $227 for an expedited passport. Then the government loses her paperwork, and the company goes dark. Can she get a refund?


I paid for expedited service to apply for a U.S. passport. I could have done it alone, but the company made a compelling pitch. says it delivers your passport “safe, fast and secure” and offers support by email, phone and chat. 

In fact, they offered none of those. The government lost my paperwork, and I had to drive three hours in a storm to get a last-minute passport the day before departing for Europe. has never answered the phone nor responded to an email throughout this awful experience. I finally got a guy on chat, but he promised someone would call me right back and guess what? They never did. I would like a refund of my $227 processing fee. — Crista Cloutier, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Answer should have done what it promised — it should have rushed your passport. Instead, the government lost your application, and you never heard from the company when you tried to fix the problem.

Express passport services can be helpful when you’re trying to get a passport quickly. They can cut the red tape of having to make an appointment and drive to the nearest acceptance facility. But they are also expensive and, as you found out, things can go wrong. (Here’s our smart traveler’s guide to passports, visas, and IDs.)

It looks as if the government lost your paperwork. That’s not the fault of But the company could control how it handled your situation.

My advocacy team and I reached out to the senior director of strategic partnerships at’s parent company, Expedite Travel. 

The company checked its phone records and didn’t see any inbound calls from your number. It says it reached out and sent a dispute form, but it never received a response from you. (Related: From passport cards to Global Entry, which trusted-traveler program is right for you?)

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“But I want to impress this point that a large part of her grievance is with the Department of State. Unfortunately, there is little we can do in the circumstance of the government losing documents,” he told me. “Fortunately, it’s quite rare, but obviously, when it happens, it’s terrible.”

The company also said it was concerned that you couldn’t reach it after the government lost your documents. 

“We take that pretty seriously,” the director added. 

I’ve been doing this long enough to know that company’s call records don’t always agree with a customer’s call records. You shared your chat transcripts and a timeline. It looks like you had to request a dispute form three times before you received it, and ultimately, didn’t receive the form you sent. That sounds like a technical issue on the company’s side. apologized for your problems and refunded the $227 processing fee.

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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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