We help readers get refunds from Expedia: Roseman
Booking your own flights and hotels can be tricky. I often hear from readers who want help getting a refund after an unexpected problem threatens their travel plans.
Nora Maharaj said her grandson had booked two rooms at the Comfort Hotel in Toronto for Aug. 15 to celebrate his birthday. He did it through Expedia, one of the world’s largest online travel agencies.
Unfortunately, the email confirmation showed the date as Aug. 30. She called Expedia, which contacted the hotel. No success in reversing the reservation.
“I am concerned my grandson has lost $ 269.40 on a wasted booking,” Maharaj told me. “This money was deducted from his bank account immediately by the Comfort Hotel.”
I have good contacts at Expedia Canada. And I’ve written columns in the past about how the company resolves complaints sent by Star readers.
Expedia reached out to the hotel to advocate for the customer, said Jennifer Collegaro, director of marketing.
When customers book hotel rooms through Expedia, the contractual obligation is between them and the hotel. This means they are bound by the rules imposed by the hotel.
Maharaj’s grandson had made a non-refundable booking. But in the end, the hotel decided to provide a full refund.
Incorrect email address
Sunita Kosaraju booked a flight on American Airlines for $ 366 (U.S.) with Expedia.com.
“I didn’t receive a confirmation,” she said. “Thinking the transaction did not go through, I booked a second flight for the same dates. Two weeks later, I found the company had charged me twice.”
Kosaraju had made a mistake when putting in her email address. That’s why she didn’t receive the confirmation, Collegaro said.
“Because this was a customer error, Expedia.com was unable to issue a refund. However, they did provide her with a credit on her account for the total amount requested of $ 366 (U.S.). Moreover, they waived the $ 200 change penalty fee (as imposed by the airline) when customers use the credit on their accounts.”
Krishan Jayatunge had decided to surprise his wife on her 40th birthday by flying her best friend from Italy to Toronto for a few weeks. The ticket with Alitalia cost $ 706.
“Sadly, my wife’s friend didn’t know her father was growing a tumour that would have to be operated on just before the flight. She could not make it and I cancelled,” he told me. “I asked Expedia about a refund and was told it wouldn’t be a problem if I provided a doctor’s letter to the airline.”
He sent the cancellation email to Alitalia on March 9. The airline didn’t reply. He finally called on April 28, using a number supplied by Expedia, only to be told it was the travel agent’s responsibility to process the refund.
After I forwarded his email to Expedia in early May, it took another six weeks to resolve the case.
“Alitalia is responsible for providing the refund,” Collegaro said. “Expedia has advocated for Mr. Jayatunge on several occasions since the spring. The supplier has been unable to review his case. It is backed up with other cases at this time.
“Recognizing this has taken quite a while to resolve, Expedia has decided to refund the customer themselves and apologize for the delay.”
Jayatunge received his credit card refund on July 2. He was impressed at the number of progress reports Expedia had sent me while trying to reach a resolution.
“Our business revolves around our customers having happy, enjoyable experiences. When things aren’t to our customers’ satisfaction, we encourage them to contact us so that we can do everything we reasonably can to ensure a positive outcome,” Callegaro said.
“Our customer service team is available 24/7 to provide assistance and, when we can, we advocate on our customers’ behalf with our suppliers.”
Carefully review the details of an online booking, including your personal information, before giving your credit card number.
Check the confirmation email as soon as it arrives. Contact the travel agency, hotel or airline if you find any errors. You may have a short window, as little as 24 hours, to make changes.
Finally, if you don’t receive a confirmation email, call the company right away to find out the status of your booking and your credit card payment.
Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org , 416-945,8687 or ellenroseman.com
TORONTO STAR | BUSINESS