The travel troubleshooter

Expedia double-charged me — can I get a refund?

 

elliottc@gmail.com

Q: I recently booked one airline ticket through Expedia. At least that’s what I thought. I paid $310 for what I thought was one ticket, but when I was using the site, it felt a bit slow. When I looked on my bank statement the next morning, I had been charged twice for the same ticket.

I’ve called Expedia four times over the past two days, e-mailed two different representatives, and contacted them on Facebook and Twitter. But they claim the extra charge does not appear on their database and that therefore they have no obligation to refund me.

My bank says I should get in touch with the vendor, which I have. The subject heading for both charges is identical.

I am extremely upset having tried every method possible to get back that $310, but to no avail. I’m a postgraduate student and can’t afford to lose this much money – it goes toward schoolbooks, phone bills, housing. I’m panicking and I’m at a loss. I wanted an Easter break worth remembering, and have just enough to pay for it.

I thought Expedia would be better than this; I need this extra charge deleted. I live on a very tight budget and these kinds of things make my life far more difficult than it needs to be. Please help me.

Laura Pang

Sheffield, UK

A: It’s difficult to tell if this was an actual charge or just a phantom double-charge. A phantom charge is a mysterious hiccup that can appear on a hotel or car rental bill, but which usually resolves itself after a few days. I’ve experienced it a time or two.

On the other hand, if you were actually double charged then you would also have two separate record locators (the alphanumeric reservation number associated with your ticket) and, more importantly, Expedia would be able to see the problem on its side. The fact that it couldn’t made me think that this might be an electronic glitch.

The “website running slow” scenario is an old standard from the ‘90s, as far as travel complaints go. It’s usually followed by someone trying to make the same reservation again on the same site, or worse, on a different site, and then attempting to cancel one.

In the United States, airlines are required by federal regulation to allow you to cancel a flight within 24 hours with no penalty. In the UK, some airlines offer a “courtesy” cancellation if you want to change your flights within a day. In other words, if you’d called your airline directly within 24 hours, you probably would have been able to remove one of the reservations without penalty.

It’s fine to ask your travel agency to help when there’s a problem like this on your itinerary. But Expedia was right; you should have phoned your airline to get this fixed. I also list Expedia’s emails on my site: http://elliott.org/contacts/expedia/.

I contacted Expedia on your behalf and it processed a refund.

Read more Travel Troubleshooter stories from the Miami Herald

  • The travel troubleshooter

    I was charged an extra $134 for my car because I was an hour late

    Q: I have a complaint about my recent car rental experience at Indianapolis International Airport. I’ve called Hertz and Hotwire, the online travel agency I booked this through, and didn’t get answers that make sense.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    I didn’t damage my rental car, so why do I have to pay?

    Q: I rented a car from Enterprise for a month while my car was being fixed due to an accident. It was the only rental available that day, and an Enterprise employee told me there was an open claim with some damages, which were pointed out to me. I was told I would be contacted in a few days to switch out the car for one without any damage, but that never happened.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    What happened to the repair records for my damaged rental car?

    Q: I recently rented a car from Europcar in Brussels. I declined the collision damage waiver (CDW) provided by Europcar in favor of the CDW on my Capital One World MasterCard.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category