Expedia promised to refund my airline ticket. Why hasn’t it?

expedia promised to refund

After Hari Sharma’s colleague gets injured on a trip to Papua New Guinea, he asks for a refund on his airline ticket. Expedia promised to refund his ticket but then says he has to deal directly with the airline. Is the money lost?

Question

I recently flew to Papua New Guinea with a colleague. We booked the tickets through EVA Air and Expedia. While we were there, my colleague fell and busted her kneecap at our hotel. She had to be hospitalized and medically evacuated to Brisbane.

I contacted EVA Air and canceled her flight. When I asked EVA Air for a refund for the return tickets, an airline representative told me to contact Expedia. Expedia promised to refund my ticket but told me it would take 60 days for a refund.

After 60 days with no refund, I contacted Expedia again. A representative said EVA Air was “not cooperating” and that I needed to contact the airline directly for my refund. My EVA Air ticket is fully refundable. Expedia promised to refund my airline ticket. Can you help me get our money back? — Hari Sharma, Burnaby, Canada

Answer

I’m sorry to hear about your colleague’s injury. When something like that happens, you expect everyone down the line, from the hotel management to the online travel agency, to show empathy and to help you. Instead, your airline and travel agency just played a game of pass the buck. How irritating.

Busting your knee doesn’t sound that serious, but when you say your colleague had to be medically evacuated — well, that is serious. I always recommend a reliable travel insurance policy before you set off on an adventure. Travel insurance would have fully covered you in the event of a medical evacuation and covered the extra expenses associated with your return trip.

Fortunately, you booked a fully refundable airline ticket through Expedia. That means you can get all of your money back, minus some administrative fees. This should have been a slam-dunk for Expedia. I’m not sure why you would have to wait six months — six months! — for a refund.

Expedia took your money in two seconds via your credit card. Is it unreasonable to expect it to return it in a day or two? No, it is not. When Expedia promises to refund your money, it should do so promptly.

How to contact Expedia

I list the executive contacts for Expedia and executive contacts for EVA Air on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. You could have sent a brief, polite appeal to one of them.

You know, I get the feeling that no matter what kind of ticket an airline sells you, it will do whatever it can to keep your money. Now more than ever. Your experience only reinforces that belief.

I think you handled your case very well. You kept an excellent paper trail and you were always polite. Nice work! It should have been enough. But sadly, it wasn’t. I had to contact Expedia on your behalf. The online agency got in touch with EVA Air again, and this time it sent you a full refund, as promised.

Posted in The Travel Troubleshooter

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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