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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Expedia.scam

I usually try to make my complaint letters funny, but I was rather angry about this one:

To whom it may concern: I am writing to express my deep dissatisfaction with my recent travel purchase using Expedia.com. I have used Expedia for many purchases over the last several years, and have always been very happy with your service.

Yesterday, I purchased two round trip tickets from LAX to Rome (itinerary number 120620811764). I received confirmation that my tickets had been booked (Alitalia confirmation code: JPUZJA), as well as a follow up email confirmation. Nine hours later, I received an email stating that: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to process your request for an airline ticket." When I called your company to see what the problem was, I was told that the price had gone up, and the two tickets that I had booked for $972.60(business class) would now be $2371.40 (economy class). When I agreed to pay the $972.60 we entered into a contract...I understood that I could not make any changes to the contract (ie: canceling my flight) without paying a penalty; I assumed that your company understood it had agreed to the same thing. The Expedia promise(http://www.expedia.com/daily/highlights/Expedia-Promise/default.asp) seems to indicate that your company understands this very well. I thought I was shopping, booking, and clicking with confidence. I would like to draw your attention to this line from your website: "We'll take responsibility, at no additional cost to you, if we make a mistake booking your travel." I have already booked the rest of my trip around this airfare purchase. I am certain that there is still plenty of room on the planes we had booked. I would greatly appreciate your booking these tickets at the originally agreed (and booked price).

Excerpt from the (long, boring) response from Bonnie Sharkey (assistant to Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO and President of Expedia, Inc):

This itinerary you intended on reserving was not allowed to be ticketed due to several problems in the booking path on your purchase. Reviews of the recorded path taken during purchase and creation of the itinerary reflect numerous errors occurring regarding both flight availability and pricing. The created flight record and itinerary were later rejected by our quality control teams and cancelled due to the noted error responses from the air carriers and our website. Some of the response you witnessed on your booking included: Select to check price, then showed a price of $4786.20
One of your flights is no longer available at this price
Please go back and select a different trip or try building your own trip flight by flight. You may also want to try changing your travel dates or times.
We're Sorry; We Had a Problem with Your Selected Flights
We're currently having difficulty confirming the price for your itinerary. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please try again later. If you need immediate assistance, please call us at 1-800-EXPEDIA (1-800-397-3342) or 1-404-728-8787.

A reply from the office of the CEO/President is rather impressive. Ms. Sharkey, I saw none of these error messages when booking these tickets. Is this a form letter you sent me?

On the bright side, Expedia's agent for service of process is in Irvine. I will get you yet, Expedia.

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