Sheila Mackay is trying to get a refund from Expedia after canceling a hotel reservation. But so far, she has only received half of her money. What’s going on?
Q: I booked two nights at the Ashtree House Hotel in Paisley, Scotland through Expedia. I paid Expedia for the first night and the hotel directly for the second night.
I had to cancel my reservation. Expedia refunded the first night, but the hotel will not respond to my refund requests. I emailed several times and phoned the hotel twice.
Expedia says they can’t help me and recommends that I leave a bad review for the hotel. Can you help me get my $103 back? —Sheila Mackay, Victoria, Canada
A: Leave a bad review? Seriously? I don’t know how this will get your $103 back, but I guess you’ll feel a little better about losing the money. But no, there must be a better way.
I have reviewed your itinerary and there is no indication that your stay was non-refundable.
Rather, it states that cancellations or changes made after 11:59 p.m. two days prior to arrival or no-shows are subject to a property fee equal to 100% of the total amount paid for the reservation. In other words, you still have to pay the hotel. But you canceled your hotel stay two months before your arrival, well before the two-day deadline.
To complicate matters, the hotel will not respond to your requests. He simply charged your card and then held your money, according to your records. You were right to contact the hotel, but I think you may have put more pressure on Expedia. After all, the online agency made your reservation and took a commission from the hotel. He bears some responsibility for this mess.
I list the names, numbers, and email addresses of Expedia’s customer service managers on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.
When I contacted Expedia, they first claimed that they had already refunded your hotel stay. He asked you to check your records, indicating that you may have missed the refund due to the conversion rate from dollars to pounds. You checked your credit card and, as expected, only found a refund for the first night.
Then Expedia tried to contact the Ashtree House Hotel. But the hotel did not respond to Expedia. (On second thought, leaving a review might not be such a bad idea. But just to warn others – like I said, it won’t get your money back.)
In reviewing your case, I have only one piece of advice. Calling the hotel to request a refund is of little use. However, regular, persistent email can work. And it is important to put pressure on both the hotel and your travel agency, in this case Expedia. If that’s not enough, you can always file a credit card dispute. Your bank should be able to reverse the charge and if the hotel does not respond to their requests for an explanation, the refund will be withheld.
But you have good news. Since Expedia couldn’t get a response from the hotel, they decided to give you the remaining $103. You have received a full refund for your hotel stay in Scotland.
Christopher Elliott is the Advocacy Manager for Elliott Advocacy. Email him at [email protected] or get help with any consumer issues by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help