Travelocity Stole $2,594.55 Of My Honeymoon Money!

James booked two flights for his honeymoon with Travelocity, but when it became obvious that their visas weren’t going to come in on time, James asked Travelocity if he could reschedule. They assured him that he could, so James followed their instructions and FedExed his tickets back to Travelocity. He then waited for them to call to complete the transaction. They called 2 days after he was originally scheduled to leave and left a message saying that he could now reschedule. When he called them back, Travelocity said that they’d neglected to inform the airline that he was going to be rescheduling, so they’d been marked as “no shows” and were out of luck… and out of $2,584.55.

Travelocity stole $2,594.55 of my honeymoon money.

Travelocity is a giant warehouse for wholesale airline tickets who doesn’t care about its customers and is masquerading as a travel agency. They route calls to customer service call centers in foreign countries with agents with false names like “Simon” who regurgitate scripts with absolutely no quality control or back tracking ability. Details below.

I booked two flights, a honeymoon, through Travelocity on March 18th to Brazil for June 2nd at a total cost of $2,594.55. On May 27 it became clear our visas were not going to come through on time, and I called Travelocity and spoke to “Simon”. Simon assured me if I mailed my paper tickets and was willing to pay whatever cost difference the trip could be rescheduled within 14 days. I quickly Fed-Exed the tickets. On June 4th Travelocity called reporting that the tickets were received and I could now reschedule my trip. I was out of town and returned the call on June 12th. Despite the fact I notified Travelocity that I would not be using my tickets, Travelocity failed to notify the airlines I wasn’t going to be on the flights, and the airline credits were lost.

Travelocity is refusing to reschedule or refund my money, because the airlines are considering us “no shows”. I totally understand the airlines’ perspective, we were not there. However, why did travelocity neglect to inform the airlines of my desire to reschedule or “not show up”? Is that not the function of a travel agent? Do they honestly feel they can just take $2,594.55 of our savings and not provide ANY services to us? After spending 10 hours on the phone with Travelocity, their only answer to me was an email address: customer.relations@travelocity.com. They promised 48 hour response. I’ve sent two. I’ve gotten nothing back.

We live in an age were gigantic monolithic corporations are okay with losing customers because it doesn’t affect the bottom line due to the total size of their customer base. I am not okay with this. $2,594.55 isn’t much to Travelocity, but it’s a lot of money to my new wife and I! I’m asking for a full refund from Travelocity.

We’re going to assume that you paid for these tickets with a credit card, so we’re going to recommend that you get your credit card company involved in this dispute. Call them up and explain that due to an error on Travelocity’s part, you were denied the services you paid for. Tell them that you’d like to do a chargeback for the entire amount.

If this isn’t successful, you may have to file a small claims lawsuit or talk to a lawyer. Good luck.

Comments

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  1. ryan_h says:

    the roaming gnome strikes again!

  2. apotheosis says:

    Never trust garden gnomes.

    I mean look at the pointy little hats, they’re either dunces or klansmen.

  3. NoWin says:

    Travelocity is a “travel agent”?

    That’s news to me. I though they were just a discount re-seller or broker.

    You want a travel agent, go/call to a travel agency.

  4. luz says:

    I hate Travelocity. They also “forgot” to book us a rental car that I’d already paid for, leaving us stranded overnight at SLC. The customer service rep said, “There’s really nothing I can do.” Uh, apparently.

    More than $300 for nothing!

  5. Jubilance22 says:

    That letter isn’t the greatest.

    And why did it take 8 days to call Travelocity back? I understand being out of town and all, but most people are able to retrieve their voicemail messages from another phone, assuming that they called your landline.

  6. patodonnell39 says:

    I agree they’re not a travel agent, but neglecting to inform the airline is Travelocity’s fault. They should refund the entire amount, imo.

  7. Woofer00 says:

    @Jubilance22: Believe it or not, sometimes people CHOOSE to stay away from voicemail and e-mail. I know, it’s shocking, why would you EVER want to take a break from work.

  8. snoop-blog says:

    I’m sorry but for something as important as a honeymoon (unless it’s your 3rd one), get a real travel agent. My travel agent knows me by name, and knows how to get things done. Not to mention, every time, every single time, she’s been far cheaper than all the travel sites, because I do check every travel site to make sure I’m not getting ripped off.

  9. MissPeacock says:

    @Jubilance22: He had 14 days to reschedule and he did. Go take your trolling elsewhere.

  10. snoop-blog says:

    @snoop-blog: well not really to make sure I don’t get ripped off so much, just to make sure I’m getting the best deal. And I always do.

  11. MissTicklebritches says:

    @MissPeacock: Amen!

  12. @NoWin: But Travelocity acts like a travel agent because it books the services with airlines, hotels, cruise lines, etc. If they are going to assume responsibility for booking travel, they should also be responsible for canceling it.

  13. dong0r says:

    I’m so tired of this blame the victim mentality on consumerist. The guy was ready for his honeymoon and had a lot on his mind. Travelocity screwed up.

  14. SkokieGuy says:

    And there is no shame in paying for than the cheapest possible price for something – in exchange for a quality merchant and / or guarantee, service, etc.

    There’s an old saying that you don’t shop for the cheapest parachute.

    Reasonable, yes – fair, yes, but generally someone is cheapest for a reason.

  15. SkokieGuy says:

    BTW – my post is totally not blaming the victim, just commenting on other posts.

    Travelocity informed the customer of various rules and policies (you have 14 days, send the tickets back, etc.). If the customer was expected to contact the airlines, Travelocity had a duty to inform the customer that this was another requirement to be eligble to rebook.

    OP may want to think about class action attorney. In that case, it takes longer to get the money, but the ‘lead’ in a class action gets the most bucks.

    Also read the fine print of terms and conditions. I wouldn’t be suprised if you waive all your rights and have pre agreed to binding arbitrations, hereafter known as BSDM (Bind / Screw / Dispose / Market to get more suckers)

  16. failurate says:

    I remember back when they were saying travel agents were going to become extinct.

  17. snoop-blog says:

    I’m not blaming the op. I can’t help him with his current problem, but what I can do is give him a little advice about next time get a travel agent because in all of my experiences they have always been cheaper.

    As opposed to the misconception that travel agents are more expensive. Which a lot of people think they are, but it’s no different than anything else. There are travel agencies that cater to the rich, and some cater to all. You just have to find one that you like and works for you. I go through the travel network, which is actually located inside my local wal-mart. I always do business with the same girl, Lisa, so that way I feel like she would go an extra mile for me, which she has. When I had to file a claim for a trip I couldn’t take, the insurance tried to deny it. Lisa called them up and took care of everything for me, and I was %100 reimbursed.

  18. snoop-blog says:

    @SkokieGuy: I love the old sayings. I’m going to use that one this week now.

  19. ironchef says:

    small claims court should be able to handle this.

  20. notworkin says:

    ok, i’m going to pile on the vicitm here (bad reader, bad)

    you had the tickets.

    you were willing to pay the change fee.

    why didn’t you call the airline and change your tickets?

    no need to get travelocity involved once you have the tickets/reservation number. you are the airline’s customer. they will gladly take your $150 per ticket change fee.

  21. Leah says:

    also not blaming the OP, but I heartily recommend travel insurance for instances like this. Every time I buy an expensive ticket (greater than $600), I get the insurance. If you miss a flight, even if it is your fault, they will still rebook you. I’ve never needed it yet, but it sure might come in handy someday.

  22. VikingP77 says:

    @notworkin: Agreed…why didn’t he call the carrier? And also Travelocity doesn’t have the money. They pay the carrier…that is why there are tickets. If you choose to book with a big discount booking agency with no face I don’t know what you expected?

  23. Geekybiker says:

    I remember a couple years ago I booked a trip to the bahamas over christmas with travelocity. There was some initial issues with the airline, but it was rebooked and we flew out there to find that they had canceled not only our original hotel reservation, but the 2nd one we rebooked. Luckily the hotel was able to make room for us, but showing up over christmas with no reservation could have ended very badly.

  24. Myrddraal says:

    The tickets may very well have been non refundable. Most times if you buy refundable tickets you pay a premium. If you picked non-refundable tickets then it is on you. As someone who has used travelocity many times I can say that in all my ticket purchases it has clearly stated that the tickets were non refundable. I have also never had a problem with them booking anything. I have done flights, cars, and hotels through them with never a problem.

  25. TropicalParadise says:

    @snoop-blog: I go through the travel agent at my university and it has ALWAYS been cheaper than expedia. And she knows my name and is generally nice me. So I keep going back.

  26. Leohat says:

    Paper Tickets???? All US air carriers and the vast majority of international ones. (with the exception of little General Aviation airlines) use E-Tickets. In fact, airlines will charge a pretty hefty fee for paper tickets. Some won’t do it at all.

    If I were going to a foreign country that required a visa (or passport), I’d make darn sure I had the thing in my hand BEFORE booking non-refundable tickets.

    I definitely echo the above statement about going through a travel agency. But hey, the tickets were $50 (or what ever) bucks cheaper. Welcome to the walmartization of America.

    Maybe I’m in a bad mood but I can’t seem to generate a whole lot of sympathy.

    {disclaimer: I work for a travel agency)

  27. timmus says:

    Interesting… I was going to go to Travelocity to book a business trip next month. Forget that… I’m tired of supporting shitty companies. I guess I’ll just buy through the airline website and just deal with one such company.

  28. Carrnage says:

    @notworkin:

    He got his tickets through Travelocity. Travelocity explained how to change tickets. He changed tickets according to their instructions. End of story.

    People don’t pay the airlines, they pay Travelocity. How do you think they get their cut.

  29. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    C’mon consumerist!! Do you guys even proof read your entries? Title reads “2594.55″ then at the bottom it reads “2584.55″. I know it sounds trivial, but there are always misspelled words, double entries, etc… As much traffic as i am sure this site gets, wouldn’t it be worth it? Heck, i double read emails when they go to ONE person. I love the site but believe a little more time and care could be taken when entries are made.

  30. AgentTuttle says:

    They didn’t do their job, they were negligent, they owe you a full refund.

  31. lulfas says:

    Travelocity isn’t a travel agent. They are a reseller. If you want a travel agent, with the assurances a travel agent brings, you need to actually go to a travel agent. While travel agencies don’t make any money on airline tickets, they do make money on cruises, hotel stays, etc. and this service doesn’t cost you a thing. It’s worth it for the extra security.

  32. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Were the tickets sent with overnight shipping to travelocity? It seems odd that it would take them a full week to confirm receipt of the tickets if they were overnighted. If they were not overnighted, I would definitely blame the OP. If they were, why did you not call them Thursday or Friday to confirm everything? Just sitting back and waiting for them to call was a huge mistake. Your only recourse is to hope your credit card will help you out. But if travelocity called you 2 days after the flight to confirm they got the tickets, I suspect they will weasel there way out of this by claiming you sent the tickets too late. Hopefully you did send them overnight and have a receipt to prove it.

  33. Jevia says:

    I’d try the credit card charge-back first. If that doesn’t work, try emailing Chris Elliot (Travel Troubleshooter). He usually has very good success getting results.

  34. Audiyoda says:

    @NoWin: Well by the looks of their site they consider themselves travel agents. They offer full vacation packages, destination and activity guides – don’t they even call, SMS or e-mail you if any part of your trip is delayed of changed? Sounds like what a travel agent does. But…it seems they don’t have two brain cells to rub together so consumer be warned.

  35. selianth says:

    @Jubilance22: Why did it take them 8 days to call Travelocity back? Since the original trip was supposed to be for their honeymoon, I suspect they were taking an alternate trip after the wedding. I don’t know many people that would bother to pick up their messages on their honeymoon.

  36. CrazyNyceDave says:

    @apotheosis:

    “I mean look at the pointy little hats, they’re either dunces or klansmen”

    Or that thing from Silent Hill.

  37. 3drage says:

    This is the kind of stuff that makes consumers distrustful of all online purchases.

  38. picardia says:

    No, Travelocity is not a travel agent — and I do use travel agents for almost all of my important trips — but they are not a vending machine, either. The company does promise a certain level of service, and in this case, they let this guy down. The OP could have contacted the airlines, but contacting the people he bought the tickets from was also a perfectly logical course of action. He followed the instructions Travelocity gave him; under those circumstances, I think most of us would believe that the situation was appropriately taken care of. Travelocity’s failure to either contact the airlines or instruct the OP to do so is pretty egregious.

    These days, I mostly use Expedia and Travelocity to look up low fares. I then call the travel agents to book those fares. I would use Expedia and Travelocity more if they didn’t suck like this; as it is, thanks for providing me with a free service so I can spend my cash elsewhere, bozos.

  39. Fly Girl says:

    First: Travelocity = 100% at fault. Escalate the case, hopefully you’ll get somewhere. If not, dispute the charges on your credit card (you’ve got a solid case) and just buy new tickets. (From a travel agent!)

    In the future, be careful with visas… Especially tricky ones like the Brazilian and the Russian visas. Many trips have been ruined because travelers underestimate the time (and money) it takes to get a visa.

    Travel insurance would have covered the cost of this change/delay, even paying for the fees to reissue the tickets… Just another reason to invest in a good travel insurance policy.

    Second: Don’t trust your important trips (or any trips!) to a faceless online corporation!!! When something goes wrong, you’ll be screwed– no one will accept responsibility for your booking and no one will advocate for you. Quite honestly, the online conglomerates are NOT any cheaper than booking with a good travel agent.

    For your next trip, find an EXPERIENCED, well-traveled, reputable agent that’s affiliated with a bigger agency– something like TravelCuts/The Adventure Travel Company or STA Travel. Don’t use a home-based travel agent (ew!) or a mom and pop shop– you won’t get the best deals because they don’t have the buying power that larger agencies have, and your purchases won’t be as safe.

    (And go to an appropriate agency– don’t call an adventure travel agent looking for hot deals on a four night Carnival Cruise ’cause that’s not going to be their bag o’ chips. Don’t go to a cruise-heavy agency to book your complex round-the-world because they won’t know what the hell they’re doing. You’re paying for their knowledge– make sure they’ve got it.)

    Get a quote from the agent– and then shop around. 99.9% of the time, you won’t be able to beat their price online. And you’re getting something that money can’t buy– a HUMAN. Someone to call when the shit hits the fan, someone to explain the fare rules to you in plain English, someone who has traveled extensively and can provide you with more than just a plane ticket– with real life knowledge.

    (SIDE NOTE: Travel agents, most of them at least, won’t be able to beat online prices for domestic tickets…. Even as a travel agent, I book most of my domestic travel online only… But shop around and then buy directly from the airline, not from a wholesaler. Stay away from Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and the like. Use Kayak to shop for low fares.)

    Finally: For the people who said “Why didn’t he go right to the airline?!”– you’re a little mistaken. For the most part, airlines will NOT change/reissue tickets that are purchased through an outside source– travel agents, consolidators, etc… Especially if they are paper tickets. The OP did the right thing in going through the booking/ticketing agency, which in this case was (unfortunately) Travelocity.

  40. snakeskin33 says:

    It seems to me that if the OP followed what Travelocity told him, then Travelocity owes him damages in the amount of what he paid.

    However: Unless I misunderstand the story, the headline that Travelocity “stole” the money is absolutely false and should never have been attached to this story. Travelocity doesn’t have the money; the airline has the money. It’s true that Travelocity lost him his opportunity to get the money back from the airline, but I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that Travelocity has the money, and I think the headline, for that reason, is misleading.

    The problem isn’t that Travelocity stole the money; the problem is that a third party has the money because Travelocity failed to preserve the OP’s ability to reclaim the money from the third party. That’s still bad, and I’d say they still owe him the money, but that’s because of money they cost him, not money they TOOK from him. “Stole” is a strong word; it should be saved for situations in which the “stealing” party at least took what you’re claiming is stolen.