Expedia promised me a refund. Where is it?

Joel Barshak books a boutique hotel in Guadeloupe through Expedia. He immediately cancels the reservation and receives confirmation that he is entitled to a refund. But he doesn’t get it. Can our advocates help him?

Question: I used Expedia to reserve a hotel room in a small boutique hotel in Guadeloupe. I had to use my credit card for the first night’s deposit. I made the booking about 6 months before traveling. The reservation could be canceled, with a full refund, up until 30 days before the arrival date.

When I received my email confirmation right after making my reservation, I realized that I booked the wrong dates. So I canceled and made an identical reservation for the correct week and used the same credit card again. I received an email confirmation of the cancellation and refund.

Both charges posted to my credit card, so I waited until the next statement to see if the credit had been given. A month later, still no credit. I called Expedia and was given a case number. Eventually, I received a pretty stupid response from Expedia saying that they “advocated” my case with the hotel, but that the hotel’s policy, doesn’t allow for cancellation.

I called Expedia again and spoke with a supervisor who apologized multiple times, and promised to have it resolved within 72 hours. I was given a new case number and told that they couldn’t locate the first case number. That was a week ago and Expedia never called me back. I know that I can dispute the charge with my credit card company, but I feel that the public may be well served to have Expedia’s shortfalls reported. I should not have to care about what the hotel says because my contract and dealings are with Expedia, and I followed Expedia’s policy.

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I would like to have the credit issued to my card for the first reservation. Can you help? — Joel Barshak, Boston

Answer: When you booked through Expedia, you became its customer. When you abided by Expedia’s cancellation policy and canceled your first reservation well within the time permitted to do so, Expedia should have issued the refund. Initially, Expedia refused to issue the refund because the reservation was made through HomeAway.

Setting aside that Expedia owns HomeAway, Expedia owed you a refund, not HomeAway. Your case illustrates difficulties that can arise when dealing with a third party booking agent, such as Expedia. Expedia is an online travel agency (OTA) and a third party booking agent because you don’t deal directly with the property you’re booking. Our website contains FAQ about third party booking sites. It may be helpful to review the FAQ before using an OTA in the future.

You could have tried escalating your complaint to company executives. We list executive contact information for Expedia on our website. You also could have posted your question to our help forums. Our forums are staffed by travel industry experts and they may have had some helpful suggestions for you.

Our advocate, Michelle Couch-Friedman, contacted Expedia on your behalf.

It turns out that the property that you had booked is managed by HomeAway. Our executive contact at Expedia connected Couch-Friedman to the correct person at HomeAway and he quickly resolved your problem.

Diane Perera

Diane and her family love to travel, and they do so as much as they can. Having experienced the downside of travel, and having learned so much from Elliott.org, led Diane to become an advocate and to help fight the good fight. Read more of Diane's articles here.

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