Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Expedia (Expletive Deleted) Ripoff Artists

we booked a flight for 500 quid on a mainstream US airline
on Expedia for an aunt called (lets say)
Marie Gleeson

we then notice her given name on the passport is (lets say)
Anna-Maria Gleeson
(though everyone knows her as Marie)
and ask Expedia if they'll change the ticket.
Answer: "No: you have to cancel, no refund, and buy a new one."

We ask the US airline - someone says - that should be ok, but then later someone else says
"no its too much of a change". This is an electronic ticket.
We have not been asked for a passport number at this point,
so its not to do with security as the ticket was paid for by a third party with a completely different name their credit card.

This is simply an arbitrary Expedia "policy".
I'd happily pay some (even outrageous) admin fee for re-doing the booking, but I cannot believe this BS from both Expedia and the Airline -
in fact we are emailing (and writing to, how old fashioned)
Watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading and the Ombudsman,
as its clearly bad business practice

(yes, their web page says they won't change names, but what is a "name" ?
it is clear the main purpose is to stop arbitrage and transfer of ticket,
when its obvious we are not doing that.
It is also clear that one could risk showing up with a ticket in the name
M Smith but be called MA Smith on the passport -
why would the airline care so lloing as only 1 smith showed up?
(note I have travelled on a passport with Jonothan Smith on it,
but with tickets saying Jon Smith for donkeys years without problems -
I assume J Arthur Rank had no problem booking as J Arthur Rank,
but showing up with a passport that said John Arthur Rank...)

Frankly, we are pointing them at the watchdog programme
(and have complained to the credit card company about this)
c.f they already had a programme item about this just last week
watchdog on airline ticket name change
and its clear that it is shoddy practice, even if "legal",
which I doubt in UK fair trading law.

Note
1. we tried to change the name _same day_
(there were still other tickets at the same price -
this is a ticket for july being booked in april.
so we just booked another ticket at that price in the right name to prove our good intent
(and to make sure aunt could travel!)

2. this is an e-ticket only and they do not have passport number,
so the name is an arbitrary thing at this point
(i.e. only later when someone shows up with the
booking reference at the airport would the actual ID matter. so "post 9/11" arguments are
nonsense, esp. given its a relatively common name.

3. the person paying is a 3rd party, so the name is arbitrary, however, why would we do all the above if we were trying to get a ticket at one price and then sell it on to someone else?

i.e. from this you can infer :
i) we are not trying to transfer the ticket
(just make the name accurate w.r.t passport)
ii) there's no security check going on so its nothing to do with that
(since they only have a name, and a relatively common one at that.
iii) these are the only reasons I can think of
(other than that perhaps their software is rubbish that a name change between now and 3 months from now would not be possible, for Expedia, or the US airline)

580 quid - if it was me I'd just turn up and blag it,
but its our 70 year old aunt, and i do not think it is fair, reasonable, and from now on I will
not use Expedia and will recommend none of my friends ever use Expedia, and will make sure that such stories about Expedia are well known. I have for example just told 100 people at
a conference we have today in Cambridge this story. They all could not believe it either. (well they could believe it but thought it extremely bad behaviour by aforesaid company). These 100 people were estemeed academics from all over Europe and the US who travel a lot. hint hint.

So long, Expedia, and thanks for all the phish.

8 comments:

John said...

Welcome to the VICTIMS OF EXPEDIA’ CLUB (read my case too)

pleasedconsumer said...

hi,

Check out this website. They have some really interesting Expedia Consumer Reviews, reports and complaints:
Expedia complaints

or check out other great reviews of other famous companies:

Company Reports

Regards,

clog said...

Followup: US Airways have given us a refund - good on US Air - no word from Expedia at al, but I am impressed by the airline - they wrote a nice letter and did the refund directly to the right credit card quite promptly. Next time, we'll book with them directly:)

art miller said...

IN April my daughter and her 3 friends booked flights and hotel through Expedia for a short break in Amsterdam. When they got to the hotel there was no reservation made by Expedia -- and no rooms available. The 3 girls had to walk the streets of Amsterdam late at night with their heavy cases looking for accommodation. They eventually found rooms -- costing them £500 more than were originally booked through Expedia. I have been trying for four months to get Expedia to pay them the money owing -- with NO success. Expedia refuse calls, turn away letters and are employing delaying tactics in the hope I will go away. I won`t...
Who can I turn to? Any help would be much appreciated. I`m in UK.

Feri said...

I made a mistake with the name when booking flight with BA to Miami for my husband through Expedia website. As soon as I received the confirmation I informed expedia about this error less than 24 hour of booking). Now expedia says that the airline can not correct this error with spelling and that we will loose the ticket worth £700.00 . Expedia blames the airline about this, but when I contacted BA it seems that changes are possible if you book directly through BA website. Unfortunately because I need to liase with Expedia and Expedia needs to act on my behalf with BA things get complicated. It seems Expedia are adamant to make changes on the ticket when I have been told by BA that this can be made.It seems that this error is very frecuent and that many customers going through the same problem thought Expedia does not inform about this policy on their website.

Wonder if anyone can be able to give me advice about this case.

Feri said...

I made a mistake with the name when booking flight with BA to Miami for my husband through Expedia website. As soon as I received the confirmation I informed expedia about this error less than 24 hour of booking). Now expedia says that the airline can not correct this error with spelling and that we will loose the ticket worth £700.00 . Expedia blames the airline about this, but when I contacted BA it seems that changes are possible if you book directly through BA website. Unfortunately because I need to liase with Expedia and Expedia needs to act on my behalf with BA things get complicated. It seems Expedia are adamant to make changes on the ticket when I have been told by BA that this can be made.It seems that this error is very frecuent and that many customers going through the same problem thought Expedia does not inform about this policy on their website.

Wonder if anyone can be able to give me advice about this case.

Dennis Maroney said...

EXPEDIA RIP OFF


Folks I don't normally go off on a subject like this, but my experience with Expedia is a slap in the face. They must view their customers like cattle, just dumb enough to fall for anything. When you book a hotel with Expedia, beware. While any hotel will allow you to cancel your reservation, with varied time clauses from 48 to 72 hours, not Expedia. They charged me $25, 99 for a cancelation that I made, six weeks prior to staying at the hotel. When I questioned them on this, this was Expedia's explanation.


"Expedia negotiates special arrangements with our partner hotels to guarantee the lowest prices available. In order to continue offering these great rates, we need to charge a $25 change/cancellation fee. But that fee allows us to bring you the best possible hotel rates in your future travel."

Germaine

Expedia.com Customer Service Team


Well, I thought I would see what kind of savings that the expert negation team at Expedia had achieved to justify this claim. This is what I found. I compared a booking for December 18th, with the Marriott in Budapest. Going directly through the Marriot web site, my rate was $165.39, or 130.00 Euros. Through Expedia

Expedia itinerary number: 125807849353

Hotel confirmation number: 86626669

Reserved for:

Hotel: 2 adults Deluxe Room 12/18: $164.81 per night

Hmm, now I really feel validated, and assured that the expert negotiation team of Expedia has actually saved me .58 cents! Folks, please get the word out, under no circumstances use Expedia for hotel bookings. We have been a very active customer of Expedia for the past three years. They do not give any customer appreciation points and will jump at the change to gouge you for any nickel or dime they can get away with.


Expedia's response to my .58 cents savings was:

"Unfortunately, we are unable to process your request for a refund on the cancellation fee. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you and would like to assure you that every reservation is important to us".

Meredith

Expedia.com Customer Service Team


Hmm, what is important to Expedia is squeezing every cent from your wallet!

Ian Shimkoviak said...

These guys are nothing but criminals. Expedia has the poorest customer service policy I have ever encountered. We had a trip planed with through them and had to cancel due to an emergency surgery and did not receive a refund or any comparable offering. Instead, we were ripped off $150 per passenger which ended up being nearly half the cost of the ticket leaving us with a useless "credit" to use on future flights for up to a year—gee, thanks. So basically, not only did I suffer a surgery in my family and was not able to go on a vacation, but I was also ripped off by Expedia for nearly half the amount of my ticket for something that was out of my control, and all of this for not using any airlines or causing any financial burden to any institutions.

How can a company like this get away with this? How can the CEO sleep at night? What kind of service is that? How can someone ever feel comfortable using such a service again? I tried to book a flight and since I only have a fraction of my money and a year to use the "credit" I have no choice but to pay a higher fee to travel at a time I do not want to travel. So in essence, I got ripped off already for the so-called cancellation fee and now they expect me to pay more money to them... Criminals.

And, to top it off, I bought insurance on the flight through Expedia. They never mentioned it. It was as if it did not happen. The insurance was meant to cover things like cancellations as I have 2 little children and did not want to be in a pickle if something went wrong or I could not make the flight.

Do yourself a favor and don't use these guys. They are criminals of the worst kind. Like someone selling you a fake rolex while his buddy robs your pockets...