Let me preface this by saying up until last month, I had been an Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) customer for the past three years.  They had won me over with what I felt to be a better on-site experience than the other major players in the space and consistently lower rates.  In the past, I had typically dealt with travel changes directly with the vendor so had not ever had to deal with Expedia directly.

I ended up booking a hotel for three nights at the Fairmont in San Jose for a total of $790.14 after taxes and fees.  More than a day before the reservation, I realized I wasn’t going to need the first night and so I called the Fairmont to try and shorten my reservation to two nights.

Since I had booked the reservation through Expedia, I was asked to follow-up directly with Expedia so I called Expedia and my first experience with customer support was being put on hold for about fifteen minutes.

Strike one.

I was finally transferred over to a customer service representative whose grasp of English was shockingly low, even for an offshore call center rep.  Let me add that I really have no issues with off-shoring customer support nor do I have any issues with English being spoken with an accent (being the son of two immigrants myself).  I do have an issue however when I have to repeat my story three times to the support rep I am speaking with.  This issue is further exacerbated when the support rep keeps ending every sentence with the word “dude.”

Strike two.

The support rep starts asking me a number of questions about my reservation and at one point asks me about my social security number.  I ask him why in the world he would need to know that, to which he responds, “to look up your record.”  I respond that I am not going to tell him my social security number and he says, “okay,” and then puts me on hold.  After a few moments, I’m taken off hold and all I can hear is my support rep singing a song to himself (in what sounds like Hindi) while typing away at his computer.

“Excuse me, ” I say.  “Are you looking up my record?”  The support rep responds, “Hang on, dude,” and then puts me on hold again.

Strike three.

This time, I am hold for about seven or eight minutes before my rep comes back on, at which time he lets me know that he has A. canceled the first reservation, B. re-booked me for two nights, and C. charged me a cancellation fee.  When I express surprise at being charged a cancellation fee, he simply responds that this is Expedia’s policy.  At this point I lose my temper and demand to speak with a manager.  I am put back on hold and after five minutes I hang up the phone.

Strike four.

I follow-up with a manager at the Fairmont and she is very helpful and apologizes on behalf of Expedia.  She puts in a reservation cancellation order and counsels me to use their e-mail support system, which I do.  I write-in and explain my case on September 19 and get an automated response – the first of three such automated responses I get between 9/19 and 9/23 before Expedia finally goes silent.

Strike five.

Today is October 6 and I still have yet to hear back from Expedia on the entire situation.  I see from my AmEx receipt that they have in fact charged me $790.14 for the first reservation and $606.35 for the second reservation although they have refunded me $560.87 but there has been absolutely no explanation for the last transaction.

Strike six.

At this point in time, I’ve already taken my business over to Travelocity.com and have filed a complaint with the BBB and plan to dispute the charges with American Express.  I’m simply shocked that Expedia would care so little about their customers, especially those that book at least one trip per month with the system.

If you have had a similar experience with Expedia, I strongly urge you to file a complaint against them with the BBB by going to: https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx