Expedia Threatens to Discontinue Account For Redeeming Voucher

Ryan spent over two hours on hold trying to redeem Expedia’s “Best Price Guarantee” after finding a lower price for his itinerary on Travelocity. Expedia offered a flight to Denver and a hotel nearby for $580. Travelocity offered the same package for $458. Ryan had an account with Expedia and wanted them to match Travelocity’s price.

The CSR informed me about the “Best Price Guarantee” where if after booking with Expedia I found a lower price on the exact same itinerary within 24 hours they would refund the difference and give me a $50 travel voucher for future travel. I asked if this could be done at that time with her and she said that I first had to book my Expedia package online and call back to complete the “simple refund process.”

Ryan booked the package, called back, and spoke with CSR Lenny. Ryan explained that he wanted Expedia to match Travelocity’s price, and gave the details of his itinerary. Lenny put Ryan on hold. For 48 minutes. When Lenny came back, he said “I am sorry I am not familiar with your Wild Wild West and cannot locate this hotel.”

Since when is Denver the “Wild West?”

We hate on Travelocity’s gnome as Ryan learns that in the Wild West, “simple refund” is just another one of ‘em darn oxymorons, after the jump…


Ryan walked Lenny step-by-step through Travelocity to point out the identical deal. Lenny stalled and had Ryan hold for another twenty minutes. When he came back, Ryan’s flight was no longer listed on Travelocity.

Keeping Ryan on hold for almost an hour was likely intentional. Expedia, those clever gnome-hating foxes, probably just waited until Travelocity’s fluctuating offers fluctuated Ryan out of his flight. Ryan, also clever as a gnome-hating fox, had taken screenshots of Travelocity’s deal. He asked to speak with a supervisor. His insolence earned him another 32 minutes on hold.

When the supervisor arrived, she only offered vouchers worth less than the price guarantee. Ryan protested and was again put on hold. “When she returned my voucher was now $100 and she informed me that my “account with Expedia will be discontinued upon redemption!”

Ryan told them where to stick the offer. He threatened never to do business with them again. Much to our surprise, after keeping him on hold for over two hours and screwing him every which way, that was the threat that got Expedia to back down. They cancelled his itinerary and refunded his money. Two hours later, he found and booked the original deal on Travelocity.

We are not surprised this happened. The terms and conditions render Expedia’s “guarantee” worthless.

  • Expedia will not accept screenshots or other purported evidence of a lower price.

  • Expedia reserves the right in its sole discretion to modify or discontinue the Best Price Guarantee or to restrict its availability to any person, at any time, for any or no reason, and without prior notice or liability to you.

We don’t need any more ‘purported evidence.’ We did not think it was possible, but we hate shenanigans like this more than we hate Travelocity’s gnome.

Ryan’s full email, below.

Hi Consumerist,

I usually just enjoy reading, but after my experience with scamming CSRs at Expedia yesterday I thought I would pass my story along so others can choose their travel sites with caution.

I was planning a weekend trip to Fort Collins Colorado and needed to fly in to Denver and stay in Fort Collins. I found identical packages on both Expedia.com and Travelocity.com (exact same flights and same room). Expedia’s price was $580.60 while Travelocity came in at $458.60. I already had an account with Expedia so I called to inquire if they matched prices. The CSR informed me about the “Best Price Guarantee” where if after booking with Expedia I found a lower price on the exact same itinerary within 24 hours they would refund the difference and give me a $50 travel voucher for future travel. I asked if this could be done at that time with her and she said that I first had to book my Expedia package online and call back to complete the “simple refund process.” I booked my package, called back and was connected with CSR “Lenny” who told me that he would help me “invoke” the Best Price Guarantee. I was put on hold for about 5 minutes while he “prepared for the transaction.” He returned, told me that he was now on the Travelocity website and would now find my exact itinerary and be back to conclude the transaction. This time I was placed on hold for 22 minutes, during which I was able to pull up my exact itinerary on Travelocity, at the lower price, two separate times. Lenny comes back to tell me that unfortunately he would not be able to offer the Best Price Guarantee because he could not find the same hotel I booked with Expedia on Travelocity, he could only locate the exact flights. I explained that the hotel was in a different city and he would have to do and advanced search. The search must have been pretty damn advanced as I was on hold for another 26 minutes. The first words out of his mouth were “I am sorry I am not familiar with your Wild Wild West and cannot locate this hotel.”! I was pretty upset at this point but needing to get my money back prevailed. I explained how to book the package step by step with him and again found all the proper flights and room on my end. Lenny claimed that the Travelocity site had an error and put me on hold again, another 21 minutes! He returned and said that he was now able to find everything except the same outbound flight, which meant he could not offer me the Best Price Guarantee. I went through the same steps on Travelocity, now for the fifth time, and found out that indeed the flight I had booked with Expedia was not longer available.

I asked to talk to a supervisor, which led to a hold time of 32 minutes. After the first hint of scam from Lenny, I printed the lower priced identical itinerary and captured screen shots from Travelocity. When the supervisor Joanna finally came on the line I explained that I could fax, e-mail, or snail mail the proof of a lower price to her. She then put me on hold to talk to her manager, 13 minutes later all she could offer me was a $70 travel voucher, just more than half the amount of cash refund I should be receiving. I explained to Joanna that I followed all the steps properly and asked what I should have done differently. On hold again for 8 minutes, when she returned my voucher was now $100 and she informed me that my “account with Expedia will be discontinued upon redemption!” This made me furious and I explained that I would not be making any more travel plans with Expedia after this experience making the voucher useless to me. I asked to speak to her supervisor, was put on hold for another 4 minutes, and offered a complete refund and cancellation without fees which I gladly accepted. The great part is that two hours later when my seat was available on the plane again, I booked the exact same itinerary on Travelocity for $448.60, $10 less than it had been before!

Are Expedia’s CSRs trained to lie to customers? I know for a fact that any one with basic internet skills would be able to navigate Travelocity with ease. I believe they are trained to draw the call out as long as they can in the hopes that something changes thus negating the ability to invoke the Best Price Guarantee. From the time I picked up the phone to the time the flight ended up filling up was almost 2 hours, not including my half hour wait to talk to Lenny’s supervisor Joanna. If nothing else, his “wild wild west” comment told me that he was not concerned with helping me solve my problem or saving me money which really pissed me off. I will never do business with the scammers at Expedia.com again and would advise others to think twice when shopping for travel.

Thanks!

— CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Chris says:

    Douchebaggery.

  2. ideagirl says:

    “I’m sorry, I am not familiar with your internet and will not be able to help you.”

  3. kimsama says:

    Hahaha, this reminds me of the Maddox Orbitz story. I’ve always used Travelocity with no problems in the past…looks like I’ll be avoiding Expedia in addition to Orbitz, now.

  4. clbarrientos says:

    Travel agents behind a computer/mobi screen. Some things never change.

  5. healthdog says:

    I always figured this was the case with all of the online travel sites. When every.single.company. says that they have the best prices, all the time, everywhere, even to outer space on two minutes’ notice, you have to figure that they’re lying weasels. I assume that price matching is another term for “(unredeemable) rebate”.

    “Sorry, Sir, your guarantee paperwork appears to have been lost. That darn Post Office! You didn’t really send the originals of everything as we demanded, did you? Gosh…sucks to be you.” hangs up, humming happily

  6. The Bigger Unit says:

    I didn’t read the entire post…but good god man! Just start an account at Travelocity!! 10-15 minutes joining beats 2 hours on the horn with those goons at Expedia, and then doing all the rigamorole to get your “refund” or rebate or whatever it is they offer. I’ve joined the four major travel sites. It’s just easier to get it done with, and then compare!

  7. Stewrt says:


    If you go to Travelocity, search an airfare and dont book immediatly, you’ll notice something when you go back to search the same flight. It’s gone. To fix this. Clear your cookies and all those great deals once again return to your search results.

    I travel some and am always just looking for the best deal, so I bounce around to a few sites to get quotes, then go back to the cheapest to book. Cant remeber how I figured this out but have used it several times and told friends about it and they say it works too. Kinda scary they know what I’m looking for and at before I book anything.

  8. doe3001 says:

    Welcome to the
    VICTIMS OF EXPEDIA’ club
    . EXPEDIA tried to scam me 1254,95 U$D.

  9. MuhammadSchwarz says:

    Would be great if Gawker launched a Consumerist focused on governments (Citizenist?). Or at least laws. Or taxes.

  10. Musician78 says:

    The roaming gnome rules.

  11. mewyn dyner says:

    I once tried to book a hotel through Expedia before, perticularly a Walt Disney World hotel. I saw that they had a better rate than on the WDW website, so I decided to book trough them. Turns out, even though they had the hotel listed under the hotels section, you couldn’t book that hotel without a package deal. Seemed kind of dishonest to me. I never used them again, and in fact, I use actual travel agents more often than not these days.

    Now, I will say it isn’t hard to get screwed with any of the online “travel agent” websites. Most everything is non-refundable and you are mostly dealing with a computer which can’t answer questions or understand your needs. That’s one of the biggest reasons I like having a human to talk to when making travel arrangements.

    Oh, and yes, the Romaing Gnome is actually one of the few corporate mascots that I like.

  12. amb1545 says:

    Kayak.com is my preference for booking travel/accomodations online.

    Travelocity scares me with their “guarantee.” The one where they say “we guarantee everything will be right or we’ll work with our partners to make it right.” Have consumers gotten so weak that we don’t even expect a company to fix their fuck up?

  13. silverlining says:

    Umm, sounds like their guarantee is nothing more than an advertising ploy. And worse than crappy customer service, this seems like a flat out deceptive marketing practice. Expedia should be forced to remove the guarantee claims from its advertising, unless it makes changes to its guarantee policy making it usable.

    Where is Expedia based? Would one file a complaint with that state’s AG, or the state of the customer with whom the incident occurred?

  14. Papa K says:

    Travelocities’s gurantee is no better. They offered to leave me stranded in NYC because my flight (which they say wasn’t canceled) was canceled. I spent several HOURS on hold with them, and they ended with “You need to call back tomorrow.”

    Expedia sucks? That’s great. Travelocity sucks just as bad. Go smartertravel.com, or use yahoo travel, I’ve heard good things about them (from my friend who flies to Ohhhklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Texas, and my friend who flies to England).

  15. dantsea says:

    I use the big three sites to get an idea of what’s available, then I book directly at the websites for the airlines and hotels. Most of the time the pricing is the same and occasionally I run into specials that never make it to the big sites (example: A nice hotel in San Francisco last winter was offering 1 night free for every 1 night booked. I stayed 6 nights, only paid for three. That deal was nowhere to be found except on the hotel’s site.)

    It also has the benefit of taking away the finger-pointing/blame-shifting that hotels and airlines like to do when something goes wrong. I booked with them, they have to fix the problem and sometimes it’s amazing what they’ll do when they can’t tell you to go bother someone else.

  16. mad_oak says:

    @ The Nature Boy

    Exactly!!! This guy Ryan spent 2 hours of his life on hold trying to get Expedia to give him a deal he could readily have from Travelocity. Duh! Thats like my dad taking a half day off work to have another repairman come out to verify he was charged $20 for a part they didn’t replace on his stove. He PAID the equivelant of 4 hours pay to get his $20.

  17. doe3001 says:

    The best price guarantee is just a marketing tool or even worse, a trick to scam people (if they don’t honor what they advertise it is fraud). What about all the other customer that are not honored? EXPEDIA uses a lot of tricks to do that. Putting custoner on hold for hours until the traveler simply decline is one trick. I’m expert in EXPEDIA’s tactics to deceive people
    EXPEDIA tried to scam me once (read my case too)…..but failed.

  18. blackmage439 says:

    I’ve taken one plane trip in the past ten years. I looked on literally every travel website possible. They all had more expensive fares than going straight through United. It seems unless you manage to score an impressive deal, or actually save money by booking flight, hotel, and rental together, don’t bother with these 3rd parties. Just go straight for the companies offering the travel/room. You’ll probably save yourself a great deal of trouble.