Expedia Denies Refund Even Though Hotel Was Closed

This summer, Abe went on a trip through Europe this summer with his wife and kids. One night, he made a hotel reservation using the Expedia iPhone app. But when he arrived at the place, it was already past check-in time and no one was around. When he called Expedia for a refund, they said no, because the check-in time was disclosed on their website, even though that information was not available through the iPhone app at all.

Abe writes:

My wife and I decided to take the kids to their first European vacation this summer. The trip was mostly a fun trip, but at times it got adventurous. One such adventure occurred in the town of Carcassone France. Before getting to the town I downloaded Expedia’s mobile application for the IPhone to help me book hotels before I get to a city. I didn’t have a computer with me on the road trip so all I had was my IPhone.

I went ahead did a hotel search for the town of Carcassone France and, voila, there was a hotel available on Expedia. Excited that my newly downloaded app has proven to be beneficial right away I booked the hotel and paid for it.

We are still a few hours away from the hotel, and the kids were getting tired in the car, very much looking forward to a warm and cozy bed. With the help of the IPhone and google maps we found the hotel. As we all excitedly come out of the car to go inside the hotel, we noticed that the door was locked and no one was at the font desk. There was a phone number at the door which we tried calling, but again no one answered. Walked around the hotel to see if there were any other doors. Nothing.

At this point the kids were getting really tried and started to cry and whine. So now in the middle of the night, in this remote French town we are looking for another hotel, thankfully we finally found another hotel.

Upon my return I called Expedia and told them of my experience to which first they said they will take 72 hours to investigate and will call me. Instead of the call I did receive an email saying that “there is no credit due” at this time. I had no idea what that mean. So I called them. After talking to a few customer reps they told me that the hotel that I had booked had an 8PM checkin time, after which they would be closed. I was all, like how would I know that. They responded by saying it’s on the website. I countered by saying that I made the reservation using Expedia’s IPhone app which does not mention anything about closing the hotel doors at 8. I was not able to convince. I just kept getting the “I apologize sir, but we can’t give you a refund” answer until I hung up.

Merde! Guess the lesson is that you can’t trust iPhone apps completely to make travel arrangements. If you make a hotel reservation using an iPhone app, you might also want to call ahead and make sure everything goes through okay and find out if there’s any special rules or procedures.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.