Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Why I Will Never Book Travel through Expedia Ever Again, and Why You Should Very Seriously Consider Doing the Same :)
During our move down to Phoenix we planned to stay a night in Page, Arizona. We searched Expedia for dog-friendly hotels and booked a room in advance at the Best Western ArizonaInn. When we arrived after a long day of driving, however, we were informed by the front desk that dogs, in fact, were not allowed at that hotel. Jon then spoke with an Expedia customer service agent who was properly chagrinned at the mistake on their website and did her best to find us an alternative. This process took over an hour, since hardly any hotels in Page accept pets and of the ones that did, none had any availability on such short notice. Finally a room was located, we were promised a $50 Expedia voucher for our trouble, and the call was transferred to Days Inn whereupon we quickly learned that fifty bucks would not cover the difference between the two hotels.
I turned to Twitter and explained what had happened followed by, "Not good enough, Expedia, not good enough." Within an hour I had a response from an Expedia representative, and we began communicating via direct message to get to the bottom of the issue.
Expedia: "Thanks for responding, we've sent your case to our service team and they'll be in touch with you once they've finished review."
Two days later a rep called Jon to ask some clarifying questions. The conclusion to that conversation was that they would send our information along to the people who handle that sort of thing. That last sentence is important; go read it again.
Eight days later, we hadn't heard back. So I sent a direct message to Expedia that said, "It's been over a week and I haven't heard back on anything yet. Did I get forgotten? :("
To which they replied, wait for it, "My team says they were able to reach you by phone on 9/22. Was there something they were following up on for you?"
I had been patient until then, but now I was irritated. There had been NO resolution in the phone call between Jon and the customer service representative. It was suddenly clear that they were just shuffling the case around, no one wanting to address it, and somewhere along the way we'd been forgotten.
I replied, "They called us to ask some clarifying questions, but there was no conclusion. They said they would 'pass along the information to the people who handle these cases'".
Expedia's response: "Thanks for letting us know. I'll re-escalate this for you and our team will be in touch tomorrow morning."
That was on October 1st. On October 4th, I wrote, "Hi. No one called me the next morning."
To which they replied, "We tried calling Sunday morning and left a voicemail".
Now, I'm not saying they're liars, but neither Jon nor I had any missed calls or voicemails from Expedia until later that day when an agent named Kristine called while I was interviewing for a job and left me a message saying something to the effect of, WAIT FOR IT, "I already spoke with your husband on September 22. You should talk to him."
I DID TALK TO HIM!!!!! HE IS MY HUSBAND!!! AND THERE WAS NO RESOLUTION TO THAT PHONE CALL!!!!!!!! YOU SAID YOU WERE PASSING THE CASE OFF TO SOMEONE ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS NOT A CONCLUSION!!!!!!!!!!!!
And to further fan the flames of my anger, the number she left for me to call was a voicemail-only line. Meaning I could call and leave a message, and then she could take up to 24 hours to respond (which she certainly did. Each time).
So a full day after I left a message on her machine, she called again. This time I was in the shower. She laughed in her message that we were playing "phone tag" and reminded me to call and leave her another message. Of course we're playing phone tag, I HAVE to leave messages every time I call. I have no other choice. I cannot call and speak to a human, only a machine. That is the way your system is designed.
And the most aggravating of all. It was as though it had never occurred to her that perhaps she had caught me at a bad time and that she could try again a little while later. No. If I missed her call, I had to call back, leave another voicemail, and wait the full 24 hours again. I'm sure the reason for the voicemail-only line is because that department is just so busy, and to that I say NO WONDER. Your system is so ineffective and your people so unaccountable that it takes weeks for each issue to be resolved. Of course the cases pile up.
Then, after her first two attempts (when I was in a job interview and the shower, respectively), she quit calling me back altogether. Today I left my third message in a row with no response.
So like I said, this story has no conclusion. It's now been 26 days since they screwed up our hotel reservations, and they've simply quit communicating with me. Well, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE MESSING WITH HERE. I have many tens of people who read my blog and follow me on Twitter! Including my mother (not sure about my dad) and siblings! That is some serious relevancy! We will not stand for this!
*****EDITED TO ADD*****
Today, Kristine called me back, apologized, and said she'd work with her manager to figure out how to compensate us for the trouble. I told her I'm not looking for week's free stay in Maui, I just think that at the very least they should cover the entire difference between the two hotels. Obviously I'll update if/when I ever hear back.
*****EDITED TO ADD****
A few days later, Kristine called back and told me there was nothing more she could do for me. Expedia = *fart noise*