Expedia Doesn’t Really Care That The 25-Acre Hawaiian Vacation Rental You Booked Is Now Closed

When the travelers arrived, this pool was filthy and black, and the grass had grown so high as to block the ocean view.

When the travelers arrived, this pool was filthy and black, and the grass had grown so high as to block the ocean view.

You go online to book a vacation through Expedia.com and there it is — your dream Hawaiian house, located on 25 secluded acres with an ocean view. So you book the 6-day package through the site and jet off with a couple of your friends for fun in the sun. But when you get there, your Pacific island fantasy is shattered.

A trio of travelers from California tell CBS Sacramento’s Kurtis Ming that this is exactly what happened to them when they spent two days trying to locate their vacation rental, only to realize that the place had been shuttered.

When they landed in Hawaii, the group followed instructions and tried calling the rental property for directions. No answer. And so they called Expedia.

“‘We can’t do anything until you find the place.’ That’s what they told us,” one of the travelers recalls to Ming.

After a day of fruitless searching, the group went into their own pockets to get a hotel room.

They spent several hours the next day trying to find the place before ultimately stumbling upon it.

Locals say this waterfall shown on Expedia has actually been filled in for quite some time.

Locals say this waterfall shown on Expedia has actually been filled in for quite some time.

“It was just a dump, it was a dump!” says one of the disappointed vacationers. The group claims that the pool was filthy, the grass and weeds were overgrown, and that waterfall that was in the photos on Expedia? Locals told the trio that it had been filled in for quite some time.

All of this is beside the point, as the house itself was locked. Not because the owner wasn’t around, but because the place had been closed down.

And so it was that they paid for another night at a hotel out of their own pocket.

Expedia eventually booked the group into a two-star hotel for the rest of the six-day trip, but at that point the travelers say the whole trip had been spoiled.

“If we could have come home the second night, we would have come home,” says one of the vacationers. “Because it just set the tempo for the rest of the time.”

For its part, Expedia says it went above and beyond its normal policy, refunding the group for the two nights they went out-of-pocket for a hotel room, and tossing in a $25 relocation compensation and $100 in Expedia travel vouchers (though the travelers say they have absolutely no intention of using Expedia again, so thanks for $100 of nothing).

Expedia claims that it had no idea the property was closed and that it was still operating at the time the vacation was booked.

“The request to close this hotel did not reach Expedia’s relocation team until the day after the guests arrived,” reads a statement to CBS Sacramento. Not saying Expedia is lying, but how many times have you heard someone use the “paperwork came the day AFTER” excuse?

The company maintains that the 2-star hotel it placed the trio in for the duration of the trip is comparable to what they would have experienced at the now-closed property, even though they had rented a house on several acres of land with its own pool and now they were sleeping three to a room in a hotel.

A travel attorney tells Ming that this is more than just a matter of a rental property shutting down before travelers arrived.

“The pictures were so grossly misrepresented that Expedia had an obligation to know that this place was basically shut down for a while and it was dilapidated and they shouldn’t have been renting it,” explains the lawyer.

Regular Consumerist readers might be reminded of a similar story from almost exactly one year ago, in which a couple of newlyweds were unable to locate or make contact with a rental property they had booked through Hotels.com. They spent an inordinate amount of time making international calls to Hotels.com in an attempt to track down the place, but the site initially refused to refund the charges for those calls. Ultimately, after their story appeared on Consumerist, they were able to get a full refund for the room and the calls.