I’m still waiting for a refund from Hotels.com

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By Christopher Elliott

When Mike Foley cancels his resort reservation, Hotels.com promises him a refund. But more than a year later, he is still waiting for a refund.


I booked five nights at the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, through Hotels.com. I had major shoulder surgery around Christmas and was told by my doctor that I couldn’t fly.

The hotel’s cancellation policy stated that cancellations need to be made at least one week before arrival. I logged into my Hotels.com account more than two weeks before my scheduled arrival, but it said that my itinerary does not exist. If it had “existed,” then I could have canceled and received a refund.

I called Hotels.com to resolve this over the phone. I was put on hold for more than an hour. When I got through, a representative couldn’t find my itinerary in the system either. Eventually, Hotels.com did find it, and I was assured there would be no problem getting my refund.

But the refund never came. I followed up with Hotels.com for months, and even though someone promised me a resolution, my $1,400 refund never came. It’s been 16 months, and I’ve given up. Hotels.com should not be allowed to run its business like this, trampling over its customers. Is this a lost cause? — Michael Foley, Winthrop, Maine


It’s not a lost cause — far from it. Hotels.com has your money, and you should get it back now.

Why has the company held on to $1,400 of your hard-earned dollars? It looks like a computer glitch of some kind, where your reservation simply disappeared, along with your money. That’s no excuse, of course. But it’s the best explanation I can think of.

A company like Hotels.com should have made your problem its own. That’s what travel agents do for their clients. When you’re dealing with millions of bookings, it’s kind of hard to add a personal touch — or to impose any kind of institutional compassion. I guess what I’m saying is: Hotels.com treated you like an object, not a person.

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I think you might have fared better by starting a paper trail, which is to say, sending an email to Hotels.com and then escalating this up the chain of command. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a problem with Hotels.com. They don’t seem to handle calls well, and even if it did, there’s no record of the promise it made to you. (Related: Charged $281 for three nights I never used.)

A quick look at Majestic’s cancellation policy shows that you were entitled to a refund. You just hadn’t asked the right person yet; instead, you were dealing with call-center employees who couldn’t or wouldn’t help. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.) I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Hotels.com executive contacts on my consumer-advocacy website. (Hotels.com is owned by Expedia.)

My advocacy team and I contacted the company, and it promptly issued a $1,400 refund. Better late than never!

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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.

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