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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Expedia Service - Horrible - Don't Use Them

The title really says it all, but here was my experience ...

I booked tickets for several one-way hops through different cities in a long week of travel on several airlines through Expedia. I needed to make a change to one of the legs and there's no way to do that online, so I called Expedia customer service. For a dual fee - both Expedia and the airline charge a fee for changing the ticket they changed the leg. What I didn't realize is that the customer disservice representative also change the other flights in my itinerary. She read the flight times over the phone very quickly to me (at the time I was wondering why she was bothering to mention the other flights) and I stopped her on the one that had changed and asked her what it was - and yes, she got that one right. The rest she changed from evening flights to early morning flights.

Unfortunately, I didn't catch that she had made that change until I was looking at what time my flight left in the morning of my second day - whoops - I missed the flight already. So I call Expedia. I'm on hold forever and then the rep tells me that, yes, they can see what happened, but that there's nothing they can do about it. I should talk to the airline. I asked repeatedly to talk to the supervisor or someone who would have authority to do something about this (note: the whole time I'm at a client site with them waiting for me to resolve this). The rep absolutely refused to put the supervisor on the phone. Literally refused. They kept refusing and saying there's nothing we can do until I was actually pretty mad and expressing that to the rep.

I finally asked, "So what you are telling me right now is 'screw you mr. customer' and 'you cannot speak to anyone else'." And he said, "Sorry for the situation."

Yikes! I'm still somewhat shocked.

Delta (the airline involved) did handle the situation at a cost of $150 per leg of the journey in order to yank the reservations back from Expedia.

By the way - total time - 90 minutes - 60 minutes with Expedia being put on hold while the rep talked to people. And 30 minutes with Delta waiting for them to answer and then to make changes. My client was understanding about the situation - but that made things uncomfortable to say the least.

From now on, it's go direct with the airline for me. And make sure I tell everyone that Expedia should absolutely, under no circumstances be paid anything. Go ahead and look up travel arrangements, but book direct.

I'm also struggling a bit to figure out what I can and should do here.

By the way - I'm not alone. I did a quick search for Expedia Service and found lots of examples - actually - I didn't see anything that indicates a good experience:

Expedia: Customer Service Shortcomings - Associated Content
Expedia Bad Customer Service


Anonymous said...

That's a shame. I've used expedia for hotel bookings in the past, but recently noticed most airlines promise the lowest fairs at their respective websites. I've never had any problems with either one - expedia or airline - which would require me to deal with customer service.

I did find this article, though. Seems the issue isn't expedia, but the online booking industry in general.

CNN 2008 Travel

Paul Angileri said...

Interesting. I've never used sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. I always go direct to the airline, because I like being able to see other flight options at the same time I'm shopping for my first "ideal" choice.

Quite a hassle they gave you. Just the fact that changing one leg changed the others would be enough for me to run away from that particular service. And the added cost? Forget it.

Anonymous said...

Travel troubles are never good, but not a good way to end what was a good day with us in Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear of your experience.

I've been an ID/facilitator at call centers in the past. One part of the training always included that if the customer wants to speak to a supervisor, the rep had to forward the call, or give a contact name and number. At our call centers, the rep had to respect the customer.

My guess is the rep who made the change for you "messed up", and she didn't want her supervisor to find out.

All calls are recorded, and oftentimes monitored. If you really want to do something, find out who's the director of the call center. Give him/her the date and time you called.

The notes on your call record should be in the internal system.

You could report your experience to the FTC and/or the FCC.

Or, perhaps contact the CIAC (Call Center Industry Advisory Council):

V Yonkers said...

I don't do any transactions over the internet, but I do look for information. I usually go to expedia for the information, then call the various places and tell them what expedia was going to give us and negotiate from there.

Tony Karrer said...

Jenise - that's an interesting thought. Is it worth it to complain to those 3rd parties?

V Yonkers said...

My sister made a complaint to the New York State attorney general which resulted in expedia contacting her to resolve the issue (similar issue where they charged her for the same flight twice). She did get her money back and the fee was waived for the wrong flight (which is why I don't do transactions over the internet, but use it for information).

Robin said...

I completely agree with you Tony. I've had bad experiences with both Expedia and Travelocity and will not use them. It is much better to go direct! Don't expect any satisfaction from Expedia either. Their customer service department is not service oriented in the least.

Anonymous said...

i empathize with you.

My wife misspelled my last name when purchasing a ticket for me. Attempting to change it after pressing "submit" was impossible. Expedia sent me to AmericanAirlines who then charged me $150 for the change - stating that they should really be charging $300 because it was an international flight. They also threw in that if I had booked directly through them rather than an "agent," there would have been no charge. Expedia was useless, and I also have a bad taste with AA.

Needless to say, no-one had an issue with charging my credit card with the correct name.

Anonymous said...

Ive used expedia for a trip to vegas about 2 years ago no problems, BUT I am doing another trip and they changed my flights due to cancellation, ok no prob, wrong I called and changed the flights to a similar one no charge for it BUT they havent changed theinfo on my itinerary even after calling to confirm my new flight changes so its a little nerve wrekcing seeing the old flight info every time and I think i am going to get screwed but every time I call they have it changed?

Anonymous said...

Hi. You have created an interesting and informative blog. I have heard and read about Expedia a lot. It is a great travel experience. You can easily plan your vacation sitting at home or at the office. You can never be sure 100% that everything will go right. I browsed this great site and found the customers’ feedbacks on the company. Interested?

Anonymous said...

Expedia's online payment system is also below standard. In April booked a vacation package and paid a deposit with the balance due in October. The person helping us was helpful and professional. Today, while attempting to make a partial payment on the balance, their system automatically entered the entire balance as the payment without giving the user an option. After hours on the phone with rude and unprofessional customer support personnel (who could barely speak English let alone understand it), I gave up and transferred money into my account to cover it. Like most people who have experienced sub-standard customer service with Expedia, it's not about the money - it's the principal of it now. However, to them it's all about the money and only the money. I am not exagerating when I tell you that one of the responses I received to my request to cancel the transaction was "Money is ours now". I'm pretty sure the customer support call center has been outsourced to another country. When I asked where they were located they literally would not even reply...silence. Even the travel agent number is now staffed with personnel who use English as a second language. My office is right down the street from the corporate headquarters and my plan is to make a personal appearance. I'll be sure to fill you in on the experience.
~Kathy in Seattle

Anonymous said...

60 minutes? For Expedia, that's very quick.
I booked flights with them in March, 2007, but my Visa was delayed and I had to reschedule the flights. I was on hold over 45 minutes to get to the first person. After explaining I needed to reschedule, she said I had to go to a specialist or some such...This time it was over 3 hours on hold.
I asked the guy when I finally got him why the wait times were so bad and he said it was just a lot of flights being changed by the airlines and really high call volumes, etc, etc - and they were working to catch up.

So eight months later, I book another trip and go with Expedia again (I'm willing to forgive one screw-up) - I can't remember why, but the trip had to be reschedled - this time it took several calls to get get through. One call was four hours and I gave up. The next was another four or five and I gave up. The last time when I finally got through was waiting from 6:30 in the evening right up until 3 in the morning, on hold.

I told the person then something like "look, I know it's not your fault, but when I went with you last time, I had to wait an inexcusable amount of time and was assured that things would be improving. Now, eight months later, you've gone from bad to far far worse. Your call center is only toll-free in North America, can you imagine the bill making an international call to you for six hours if someone needs to get ahold of you?"
He didn't have an answer, just apologies.
Apologies aren't cutting it, not for eight months of poison service.

My business is with travelocity now, I've only used them once, but when I called in, I got through in less than two minutes.


Never, ever, ever, ever using expedia again.


Debbi said...

Don't use Expedia!!! I went online to book a trip to Paris and went through the whole booking process, gave them my American Express number, and then waited. For about 20 minutes, I had no confirmation number. Then it said it could not be completed, to call Expedia. I called and got two people in the Phillipines; the first guy could not help and he re-booked the whole trip but even though they took my money they couldn't give me a confirmation number. Then he got the supervisor. After one hour and 15 minutes, they still could not explain except to say it was a glitch in their system and to call back, even though I was being charged. I called this morning, got another supervisor, who now says the whole thing has been booked TWICE and he has to get someone else to cancel it. Never, never, never again will I use Expedia.

Anonymous said...

I will also never use Expedia ever again. I needed to purchase a flight from Austin to Seattle to go to my sister's funeral this weekend. Tuesday night, I was searching for flights and found one for $340.00. I think that's a pretty good rate considering I'm buying a last minute ticket. So I click on the "book flight" link. I start filling in my credit card info and click on the button to finish the booking process and up pops a window saying that the price has changed to $550! Yes, I do understand that Expedia does not control the price of the flights and the airlines can change the prices at any time without warning. BUT all the other sites out there, to include the airlines themselves, give you a 5 minute window to complete your booking before they make you start over. IE, the price is locked in order to give you enough time to complete the booking process. Never have I heard of a price change mid-booking. That's a misrepresentation of fare and its false advertising. I went ahead and booked the flight anyways, simply because of the circumstances surrounding my need to go to Seattle in the first place, but I called expedia afterwards to complain. I get some guy who obviously does not live in the Western Hemisphere and can barely understand him. He tells me to email customer service and they'll either refund me the difference or send me a coupon. So I do. And they could not care less. They responded with a bunch of BS about how they value their customers but they can not do anything for me. Basically, they told me "too bad, suck it up buttercup". After 10-15 emails with them telling them that I'm sure they can at least send me a coupon, they agree and offer me the grand total of $25 dollars! Wow, they really put themselves out there considering that their false advertisement cost me over $200! I will never use them again to book a flight (or anything else) and I highly suggest that anyone reading this does not either. You won't always run into issues, but when you do, good luck getting it resolved unless you're ok with paying an arm and a leg.

djconklin said...

They aren't very good at issuing refunds eirther!

Despite repeated attempts with dropped calls, emails that go answered they would not issue a refund (even when they told me how much it would be!) and instead they closed the account! And again, despite repeated warnings that I would sue to get my refund, they ignored it. So, yesterday I filed suit and today mailed a copy of the complaint to the King's County Sheriff for them to serve on Expedia.