Expedia-owned Travelocity, Orbitz forces customers into travel credits

Online travel websites that block customers who are legitimately owed refunds from airlines from getting them. It seems to be a widespread problem, at least with one huge online travel company: Expedia Group. Last month, we showed you how Expedia forced customers who are legitimately entitled to refunds from airlines to withdraw credit instead. Since then, we’ve heard from many of you with the same story about Expedia or the other websites they own such as Travelocity and Orbitz. For Matt Syring and his wife, it was a flight to Spain with Iberia, canceled by the airline. “They’re holding onto our money, $1400. Right now it’s ridiculous,” Syring said. For Mario Torres, it was nearly $3,500 in airfare for a spring break trip to Dubai canceled by Emirates. “In the end they offered the credit,” he said. And for Kathy Jagielski, nearly $2,000 in tickets on United for a getaway with her boyfriend and daughter in Arizona. “I’m not canceling the trip because I just don’t feel like it. It’s because the airline canceled it,” she said. . “And now they say I can’t get my money back?” All three would have to be refunded because they were still passengers when the airlines canceled the flights. But they all have something in common: they booked their tickets on Expedia.com or one of Expedia Group’s other travel sites, such as Travelocity. “When I spoke to Travelocity, they said the flight was cancelled,” Jagielski said. “People have to be honest. And if you paid for something, you have to get your money back.” Still, she says Travelocity has repeatedly told her she couldn’t get her money back, despite United canceling her flight. She says she’s citing federal regulations that require passengers like her to be given the option to get their money back. And those regulations also mandate refunds from online travel agents like Travelocity or its parent company Expedia. As soon as NewsCenter 5 contacted United, they authorized the refund, but said it had to come from Travelocity. Matt Syring also cited federal policy, but says Expedia continued to blame his airline: Iberia. “We mentioned the law because we were on the website — so we actually quoted that. They don’t actually recognize it,” he said. “Every time they said, ‘We’re trying to contact them, we can’t get them, we’ll have to contact you to let you know,'” he said. “Expedia’s response was that they were following the airline’s policies,” Mario Torres told us. “I’ve tried many times to contact Expedia.” Every time Torres called, he told him to explain his problem from the beginning, and he says the standard response from Expedia customer service was “no refunds”. He doesn’t sit well with Torres, so he filed a complaint with the US Department of Transportation. Within a week, he received an email from Emirates authorizing his refund, but again referred him to Expedia, where he says he has experienced delays. “Expedia can’t keep the money in their pockets. They need to put that money back in the pockets of consumers in our country,” Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said. “Expedia should be required to reimburse a passenger for a flight that never took place.” Last month we showed Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts our first story about refund issues with Expedia. We reported five refund refusals to the company in May, and in four of them Expedia admitted it was wrong and issued refunds. In the fifth case, they also eventually relented when the airlines — United and Delta — allowed refunds. Senator Markey has been at the forefront of airline refunds and drafted legislation that would broaden who is eligible. Sen Markey says the issue with Expedia is an enforcement issue and called on the DOT to take firm action. “The Ministry of Transport is not doing enough,” he said. “They are almost washing their hands off the responsibility of making sure passengers get the compensation they are entitled to.” back. In Kathy Jagielski’s case, the company claims that her itinerary hadn’t changed enough to qualify for a refund, but United approved it anyway. Expedia has addressed these issues on a case-by-case basis, but it shouldn’t be that hard for customers who owe a refund to get one. We asked Expedia where the responsibility is, and a spokesperson declined to answer that question. If you have a problem with a refund from an airline that you believe you owe, file a complaint with the DOT here: https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

Online travel websites that block customers who are legitimately owed refunds from airlines from getting them.

It seems to be a widespread problem, at least with one huge online travel company: Expedia Group.

Last month, we showed you how Expedia forced customers who legitimately owe airline refunds to take a credit instead. Since then, we’ve heard from many of you with the same story about Expedia or the other websites they own such as Travelocity and Orbitz.

For Matt Syring and his wife, it was a flight to Spain on Iberia, canceled by the airline.

“They’re holding onto our money, $1400. Right now it’s ridiculous,” Syring said.

For Mario Torres, it was nearly $3,500 in airfare for a spring break trip to Dubai canceled by Emirates.

“In the end they offered the credit,” he said.

And for Kathy Jagielski, nearly $2,000 in tickets on United for a getaway with her boyfriend and daughter in Arizona.

“I’m not canceling the trip because I just don’t feel like going. It’s because the airline canceled it,” she said. “And now they say I can’t get my money back?”

All three should receive refunds because they were still passengers when the airlines canceled the flights. But they all have something in common: they booked their tickets on Expedia.com or one of Expedia Group’s other travel sites, such as Travelocity.

“When I spoke to Travelocity, they said the flight was cancelled,” Jagielski said. “People have to be honest. And if you paid for something, you have to get your money back.”

Still, she says Travelocity has repeatedly told her she couldn’t get her money back, despite United canceling her flight. She says she’s citing federal regulations that require passengers like her to be given the option to get their money back. And those regulations also mandate refunds from online travel agents like Travelocity or its parent company Expedia. As soon as NewsCenter 5 contacted United, they authorized the refund, but said it had to come from Travelocity.

Matt Syring also cited federal policy, but says Expedia continued to blame his airline: Iberia.

“We mentioned the law because we were on the… [Transportation Department] website – so we actually quoted that. They don’t actually acknowledge it,” he said. “Every time they said, ‘We’re trying to contact them, we can’t get a hold of them, we need to contact you and let you know,'” he said .

“Expedia’s response was that they were following the airline’s policies,” Mario Torres told us. “I’ve tried many times to contact Expedia.”

Every time Torres called, he told him to explain his problem from the beginning, and he says the standard response from Expedia customer service was “no refunds”.

Torres didn’t like that explanation, so he filed a complaint with the US Department of Transportation. Within a week, he received an email from Emirates authorizing his refund, but again referred him to Expedia, where he says he has experienced delays.

“Expedia can’t keep the money in their pockets. They need to put that money back in the pockets of consumers in our country,” Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said. “Expedia should be required to reimburse a passenger for a flight that never took place.”

We showed Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey our first refund issue with Expedia last month. We reported five refund refusals to the company in May, and in four of them Expedia admitted it was wrong and issued refunds. In the fifth case, they also eventually relented when the airlines — United and Delta — allowed refunds. Senator Markey has been at the forefront of airline refunds and drafted legislation that would broaden who is eligible.

Sen Markey says the issue with Expedia is an enforcement issue and called on the DOT to get tough.

“The Ministry of Transport is not doing enough,” he said. “They are almost washing their hands off the responsibility of making sure passengers get the compensation they are entitled to.”

We contacted Expedia with a dozen cases for this story, and all three consumers we interviewed should be getting their money back. In Kathy Jagielski’s case, the company claims that her itinerary hadn’t changed enough to qualify for a refund, but United approved it anyway.

Expedia has addressed these issues on a case-by-case basis, but it shouldn’t be that hard for customers who owe a refund to get one. We asked Expedia where the responsibility is, and a spokesperson declined to answer that question.

If you have a problem with a refund from an airline that you believe you owe, file a complaint with the DOT here: https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.