Expedia Closes Ticket Change Fee Loophole Around Customer’s Throat

All our best correspondents have alliterative names. Consumerist Grant G. decided to use Expedia to book a couple of round-trip flights from Denver to San Francisco. But when his plans changed and he needed to fly back a day later, he was told there would be a $200 extra charge to change the booking.

Everyone knows that the charges you accrue when you change a booking are simply another barely justifiable jolly rogering from the airline industry. They’re easily waived; they never are. But Grant thought he had found a loophole when the Expedia CSR told him he could simply cancel the tickets and then buy new ones for the correct dates, avoiding the cancellation charge.

Of course, the second he called back, Expedia tried to charge him the $200 anyway on a pair of new tickets that should have, for all intents and purposes, been unaffiliated with the last pair. More over, when he quoted the last CSR, he was told he’d been “misinformed.”

Gavin’s email is after the jump:

I know times are tough for the airline industry at the moment but the service I received, or lack thereof, from Expedia was appalling.

I have been looking forward to a summer trip with the wife for quite some time now. I thought I would look at the “discount” websites of Expedia, Kayak, Travelzoo etc.

They all seemed to have about the same price, Expedia had an edge over the rest saving me an extra $40, money is money right. So I book the tickets, $660 all included return flight from San Francisco to Denver. I send the flight details to friends in Denver and they call me back to let me know that I’ll need to fly home a day later…long story but it needed to be done.

I call Expedia to change the date the same day I booked the tickets. “No problem sir, I can change that with a fee of $100 per ticket.”

Have you fallen of your fucking rocker was my first thought but I politely responded that it was highway robbery and I would like to cancel the ticket and get a refund. “That will be a $30 charge to cancel per ticket, or you can cancel the flight and get a credit for the airline to get another flight within the year.” She told me there would be no charge to me and I would only have to pay extra if there was a difference in price for the new flight.

All I was thinking was great, I can get the credit, call the airline directly and get the flight through them with hopefully no change in price since I was calling immediately. I cancel, call the airline, “that will be a $100 per ticket charge to change the flight sir.”

I let them know I double checked with Expedia and they informed me the only difference I would have to pay is if there is a change in flight price…there was none!

Right, back to Expedia to complain. “Oh, you were misinformed. You have to pay a $100 per ticket regardless.” Fine, I decide to bend over, let them give it to me, $60 worth and walk away with a slightly bruised ego and my money back, less sixty bucks. It can also take up to thirty days to get my card credited the amount – absurd!

I let them know I will never use them again…they didn’t sound too concerned. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. I found a flight directly through another airline for $560…a $40 saving even with the $60 cancellation fee. I called my bank just to make sure 30 days was a reasonable time to wait for a refund. In doing so, I found they charged me a $10 convenience fee, well thank you so much, I had no idea convenience was so painful. I withdrew the charge and will dispute it since they did not inform me it would be included as part of the cancellation process.

The moral of the story, looking for a good deal may get you to the wrong place for what seems to be the right price. Having to bend for the wrong price isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it still hurts……the ego!

Isn’t it great when people who are paid to be representatives of a company can just wave aside previous assertions when they find fulfilling promised obligations inconvenient?