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“While the hotel declined to give a refund due to its own non-refundable policy, Expedia has gone ahead and refunded Ms. Zhen the cost of the reservation,” he said.
Paid for in Malaysian currency, the booking had cost the equivalent of $ 525.26 in Canadian dollars. Zhen said her family was “grateful beyond words” for assistance sent from across the world.
Here are a few other Expedia complaints resolved in recent months.
Credit voucher hard to use
Torey Winn received a six-month credit voucher worth $ 2,400 after a flight was cancelled. But a condition attached to the voucher was causing problems.
“One leg of the flight has to be booked on Copa Airlines, because the original flight we booked and cancelled was on Copa,” she said.
“We found such a flight, but Expedia is telling us we can’t book it. None of these ‘excuses’ is listed on our vouchers or any correspondence given to us.”
Winn complained about the time involved in dealing with Expedia. On one call, she spent more than three hours talking to an agent and being placed on hold.
After I forwarded her email, Expedia issued a full refund to the customer.
“I hadn’t even asked for a refund at that point,” she said. “I’m so relieved this is all behind us now.”
Quoted price increased at checkout
Last July, Tim Lenartowych was trying to book a flight to Las Vegas in November. But he found the Expedia website “perplexing.”
After putting in details on what he wanted, he would get a list of available flights. After choosing what he wanted, he would put in his credit card information and be told that the price had increased, often by 50 per cent.
“This happened to us on at least three occasions. I’m attaching a screen shot for your reference,” he said.
“I hope you can address this with Expedia. It is misleading and terribly frustrating as a consumer.”
Mary Zajac, PR specialist for Expedia Canada, thanked me for sharing the issue.
“We looked into it from our end and unfortunately, in this circumstance, the cause was a site error. This rarely occurs. However, it happens sometimes and we apologize for the error,” she said.
“Should the traveler wish to book their trip again, we are happy to put them directly in touch with someone who can assist.”
Cruise cancellation leads to penalty
Ron Burkill and his wife booked a Norwegian Cruise Lines trip for next April through Expedia CruiseShipsCenter in Belleville.
When the cruise line cancelled the trip last September, they received refunds on their airfare bookings, but not their accommodation.
The cruise was to leave Miami and arrive in Southampton, England, where the couple planned to spend five nights in an apartment booked through HomeAway (a company owned by Expedia).
“I’ve been told that my deposit on the apartment is non-refundable,” Burkill said.
John Mast, marketing vice-president for Expedia CruiseShipsCenter in Vancouver, asked Burkill to send a receipt for the deposit, paid to Discovery Holiday Homes. Within a week, he arranged to send a cheque for $ 278.
“Thank you for getting John Mast involved,” Burkill said. “Norwegian Cruise Lines was adamant that only airline fees would be reimbursed. I think this is unfair, since the cancellation was not our fault.”
Burkill had bought trip cancellation insurance, which covered illness, weather and mechanical problems. But since the company had decided to redirect the ship to a different port to connect to a charter flight, his travel insurance didn’t apply.
My advice: Things can go wrong when you book online. As these stories show, Expedia can provide help, even on nonrefundable bookings, as long as you can reach the right corporate sources to get action.
Ellen Roseman’s column runs Tuesday in Smart Money. You can reach her at email@example.com.