I canceled my reservation for a full refund — so why did Sleep-Inn charge me $400?

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By Christopher Elliott

When Robert Williams cancels his reservation at a Sleep Inn through Travelocity, he receives a verification — but no refund. What gives?

Question

I have been charged the full two-day deposit for a room at Sleep Inn & Suites Green Bay Airport that I canceled through Travelocity and for which I received a cancellation confirmation.

The email from Travelocity explicitly stated, “You have cancelled with full refund of deposit by hotel.” However, it appears that Travelocity never informed Sleep Inn of the cancellation. I have not received my full refund for the canceled reservation.

Travelocity has summarily dismissed my refund request for the reservation cancellation. “We have advocated your case with Sleep Inn & Suites Green Bay Airport and due to their policy in relation to your reason for refunding the first night penalty charged to your cancelled reservation; they have denied your request since the room type you booked is prepaid and is non-refundable.”

The booking was advertised as cancellable “any time” prior to one day before our arrival. I canceled five days before our arrival and have the cancellation confirmation email as proof.

Travelocity customer service has not responded to my two requests for additional review, nor has there been any response to a polite email I sent to Scott Weismiller at Expedia requesting the same

I would like the full $404 deposit refunded to my credit card. Can you help? — Robert Williams, Fairview Park, Ohio

Answer

Travelocity should have coughed up that refund for the cancellation, no matter what Sleep Inn told it. After all, you made your reservation through Travelocity, an online travel agency. It represented the terms to you at the time of your booking and you abided by those terms. Now Travelocity needs to do the same thing.

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This is about as open-and-shut of a case as I’ve ever seen. And the funny thing is, you gave Travelocity’s executives every chance to respond. They appeared to ignore you.

I reviewed your paper trail — the correspondence between you and Travelocity — and I have to say, I was impressed! You tried to keep everything in writing. Travelocity responded with form letters, which suggested they weren’t even reading what you sent them.

That’s a shame, and you probably know what I’m going to say next, don’t you? A human travel agent is unlikely to treat you the same way. Even if a travel advisor gave you the wrong information, that person would have errors and omissions insurance that would quickly cover your losses.

But no question about it — you deserve every penny of that $404. Now.

We get a fair number of Travelocity cases on this site. For example, here’s a case where the company billed a customer an extra $4,000 for an airline ticket and then kept his money.

My advocacy team jumped in to help you. Advocate Dwayne Coward contacted Travelocity on your behalf and it quickly refunded your money to you. Turns out there was a “glitch” with the system that led to this mess — a problem that, we’re assured, has been fixed.

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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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