Expedia can’t find my airline’s phone number — can you help with a refund?

Maybe I should change the name of this feature to “Help Me Get a Refund, Chris!”

Here’s Eileen Rees’ problem with Expedia. She’s trying to get a refund for a flight to Patagonia — a refund to which she is entitled.

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Expedia says it can’t reach the airline.

Should I step in and act as a broker between the two?

This is the time of the week when I ask if I should take the case. And I would love to help Rees, but as is so often the case, I’m not sure if the needle is in the red yet.

Here’s how the trouble started: Expedia sent Rees a form letter a few weeks ago saying the flight it had booked to Patagonia had been changed. It was departing a day later.

“I told them we couldn’t fly a day later, as we are going on a tour with a group and have to be certain places on certain days,” she explains. “We have called them at least seven times, spoken with seven different people, so-called supervisors — and no resolution.”

If an airline cancels a flight, it must refund the ticket immediately. No questions about it. So what’s the trouble?

“Expedia keeps telling us they can’t get in touch with the airline we booked our reservation with, called Sky Airline, and that until they do, we can’t get a refund,” she says.

That excuse doesn’t fly with her.

We booked on Expedia, and they represented that this airline had the flight we needed on the day we needed. We paid for it, and now we don’t have a flight the day we need a flight.

Can you help us get a refund? We are out over $600 otherwise. We had to book another flight on LAN to be sure we had a flight on the right day for our tour.

Here’s the thing: Expedia and Sky Airline can’t just pocket the money for a canceled flight. This shouldn’t even be a negotiation. If Sky doesn’t cough up the money, Rees should dispute the charge on her credit card. Expedia may not have a phone number for Sky, but I guarantee you Visa and MasterCard do.

Incidentally, I’m highly skeptical that Expedia doesn’t know how to contact Sky. It somehow managed to complete Rees’ booking and to take her money. So how hard can it be to get the airline on the phone and ask for her money back? Aren’t there automated systems in place that can do that without having to call or email someone?

This is one of those cases where I’d like to jump in, but experience tells me that a little patience can take Rees a long way. She may want to give these Expedia corporate contacts a little nudge by email, but otherwise, my best advice is to sit tight and let the process work.

Then again, maybe I’m being naive. Maybe I should step in now and fix this.

Should I take Eileen Rees' case?

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