Here is the letter I wrote to Expedia and their PR person. Have yet to receive a response (6 days and counting...):
Dear Erik Blachford,
I am writing in regards to my pre-package vacation/honeymoon (confirmation number XXXXXXXX), which was canceled on May 29, 2011. The reason for the cancelation was due to my fiancée having a medical emergency.
After shopping around, Ian and I decided to go through Expedia to book our honeymoon, and we had looked forward to traveling to Costa Rica. A friend recommended Expedia, after using it herself, and it seemed to have great rates and good service. Unfortunately, in late April Ian fell ill. We were advised by a doctor to postpone our trip. Since we were not sure when Ian could travel again, we decided on May 29th, 2011 that we needed to cancel our honeymoon. At the time, I spoke with a woman on the phone (I believe her name was Dianne). She advised that she would process the cancellation of our trip. She then explained that it could take up to four weeks to receive the refund. She also informed us that there would be a $500.00 penalty, which we were able to claim through the Travel Insurance.
I called in around June 12, 2011 to see if there was any additional action needed to be taken, but was assured by the person on the phone, that everything was processed and “taken care of”.
I was a bit anxious to receive the money back, considering it was collecting interest on our credit card, and we were (and still are) in the midst of planning and paying for a July 16, 2011 wedding ourselves. I called again to check up on the process of this case today, Friday June 24, 2011. This time, the gentleman with whom I spoke, did a little investigating and found out that there was an error; a miscommunication between Expedia and Air Canada (the air service provider), and that the refund had not been processed. He also informed me that it could take an additional 2-4 weeks from June 24, 2011 for the money to be returned to us, which at this point would now be up to 7 weeks of interest paid on a trip that we cannot even take, and had canceled on our end on May 29, 2011.
At this point in time, the stress was overwhelming, and I could no longer process my thoughts clearly. I ended my phone call with the Expedia employee, and decided to call my sister. She took over and called back to explain the situation again. Eventually she spoke with Jodie at the pre-package department, who not only could clearly explain the situation but also provide some exceptional customer service.
I understand that there was some miscommunication between Air Canada and their policy to not release a refund until the commission that they paid to Expedia, is paid back. I also now know that procedures may be changed because of my case, as Expedia now knows that Air Canada will not process a refund until Expedia pays back the commission they received from Air Canada, as explained by Jodie. She also explained that I could potentially have the refund sitting on my card well before the additional 2-4 weeks as originally quoted.
I just want to express that I find it unacceptable to have a customer, who did everything correctly, wait and pay interest on a service that we are unable to use. Had I not called today, I would still be waiting as no one followed up on the delay in the processing of my refund.
The refund we are still waiting on is worth over $3000.00, which when planning a wedding is a considerable amount of money. We were hoping to do a ‘staycation’/honeymoon in Canada sometime in August, and were planning on booking through Expedia again, once Ian knew his medical schedule. Unfortunately until we receive this refund we are not able to book anything.
The customer service that we have received has been mediocre at best, until Jodie. At one point, at approximately 1 PM today (June 24), I called to ask for the president’s or Ombudsman’s name & contact information, only to be put on hold while the gentleman who answered the phone looked up this information. After waiting 7 minutes, which I timed, I was disconnected by someone on Expedia’s end, without receiving any contact information. I also tried to email and ask for the contact information for the CEO or Ombudsman, but the reply I got back was “ Dear Megan Triebe,
Thank you for contacting Expedia.ca
Unfortunately, we are not allowed to provide you with such information. If you have any concerns regarding an itinerary, please send us an Email through "[email protected] Expedia.ca"
Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Our Customer Support Representatives are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “
The only reason I have some of this information now is because of Google.
After this experience, let me assure you that you have not only lost my business for good but I will be letting people know of the difficulties that we faced, in a period in our life that has not been easy. When planning a wedding, the honeymoon is supposed to be the easy part – something to look forward to. Unfortunately, this has not been true for myself or for Ian. The trip was not canceled because of something Expedia did, but in a time when we were facing enough stress as it was, Expedia just added to it.
I look forward to eventually receiving my refund.