Accommodation and booking websites

Booked and paid for accommodation through VRBO/Expedia, owner cancelled 6 days later then relisted property for 3 times the price on AirBnB. We lost $100 in credit card fees and exchange rates, owner would only offer us a credit in compensation. We are based in NZ not Australia so unsure if this is considered a breach under Australian consumer law but we don’t feel this is fair and reasonable and particularly difficult for overseas visitors to make right. It looks like from our investigation so far that this is a pattern of behaviour. She believes she has a right to chase seasonal prices and we don’t disagree with ‘surge pricing’ but believe you should honour a booking already paid in full.


Welcome to the community @KiwiAussietraveller

Have you raised the issue with Expedia directly?
Each accomodation provider has a nominated management team within the group, and Expedia has a list of contact numbers into the business including Australia. Unfortunately no NZ number that I could find on the NZ web site. Perhaps the Aussie team can provide or assist more directly. You may have recourse under NZ consumer law if your booking and payment was made through Expedia in NZ

It will also be useful to the discussion to indicate which state the accommodation was booked in. In respect of what Australian consumer law provides each it is typically enforced at state or territory level.

EG for Victoria the following re accommodation booking cancellation offers some guidance, but may vary elsewhere. Booking cancellations | Business Victoria

Checking what was in the terms and conditions provided through VRBO/Expedia and by the accommodation prior to your booking confirmation is important. At least from the Victorian example it indicates as a customer recovering other indirect costs is possible. One on line doc I accessed (legal relevance unknown) supposedly related to Expedia’s advice to hosts is they can cancel a booking without reason and re-list at a higher rate. Expedia suggested hosts do so at their own risk.


Hi @KiwiAussietraveller, welcome to the community.

While it is unlikely to be a breach of the Australian Consumer Law, it is poor form by the accommodation provider.

Booking platforms allow hosts to cancel bookings. This can be done for a number of reasons such as an emergency closure of the accommodation, from accidental double booking (esp. if the provider doesn’t use a channel manager to manage bookings over a range of booking platforms) etc.

If a provider ‘forgot’ to adjust their prices for a particular time, then this is something outside the control of the booking party and a reasonable accommodation provider would honour the booking at the booked rate. It is poor form if they cancelled a booking because they forgot to set a new rate for the time in question, so that they could then set a new rate.

I would be lodging a complaint with Expedia and also show the evidence you have that they cancelled so that they could significantly inflate the room rate. Also indicate your out of pocket expenses as well. Expedia might take action as it is also their reputation which can be impacted by a accommodation provider advertising on their platform, and doing the wrong thing by the booking guest.

The best way to contact them is through their customer service portal - chat function:


Hi guys, to answer a couple of questions and to provide update. It was an Adelaide Booking. I have contacted Expedia as suggested above, they directed me to HomeAway call center (bad call line so guessing it is an internet line based in Philippines but lady had an American accent) she confirmed that they would investigate. She did make a suggestion that in future I contact the owner first and this may head any problems off at the pass however while she was on the line I accessed the website and there was no function to contact the owner only to book, when I queried this she said that she had nothing to do with the Expedia website but on the STAYZ website this was an option. This prompted the conversation to try to understand that links between Expedia/VRBO/STAYZ/Homeaway (and probably many more) and how most properties list across multiple websites that all have slightly different functionality and T & C’s which makes it incredibly difficult to get a positive result initially and in terms of problem solving any issues. Makes it easy for all parties to ‘pass the buck’. They have said they will investigate and update me but I won’t hold my breath. She also indicated they don’t control the exchange rate (which I understand) but still not sure why it is ME that has to be out of pocket through no fault of my own. Unlike to to get any further with this but I have learnt a few things along the way!


Hi @KiwiAussietraveller, thanks for the information on your contact with Expedia/Stayz.

If you hear back from them, it would be great if you let us know what transpired.

If they had reversed the credit card transaction rather than provided a separate refund, you may not have been out of pocket. If they call you, let them know that this should be the case and what should have happened.


Two useful general observations about Expedia.

Firstly Expedia manage each property through a single management team independent of the brands Expedia owns. Each brand is purely a marketing tool. Hence whether one books a particular accommodation provider in Adelaide based on a listing on Wotif, VRBO, STAYZ etc, there is only one member of Expedia and one team leader responsible for managing all relationships with that provider.

A second point relevant to confirmation of acceptance of a booking suggests Expedia take responsibility for the confirmation to the customer. There may be weasel words in the fine print and T&C’s that vary the intent. To the average consumer it seems a very clear message. If Expedia takes the responsibility to confirm a booking, would a reasonable person expect Expedia to take responsibility for a provider cancelling, especially without due cause?

Worth a Choice Shonky nomination if this one example is typical of how Expedia responds or allows providers to abuse customers booking through Expedia.

The content above is sourced from information Expedia provides to prospective and existing providers. All FAQs to list your property on Expedia Group Partner Central


Another lesson learnt, I wasn’t given a choice in regards to the refund, the first I knew of it was an email saying owner had cancelled due to personal reasons and the refund had already been processed. I will feed this back to them if I ever get a response to the investigation.


All very interesting points, when the rep that I spoke to suggested that I contact the owner of the property next time before booking and I pointed out that that was not an option provided when I booked with Expedia she did a quick shuffle and palmed it off saying that it was an ‘Expedia issue’ and she was with HomeAway/Stayz/VRBO, when I questioned why I had been put through to her with my complaint for an Expedia issue she then said that they managed only certain sections. Seems like a great way to claim ‘get out of jail free’ for them. Round and round the garden… I thought it was interesting that it says 'Collectively, our sites cover virtually all aspects etc, this explains how no matter how much I try to avoid these websites and go direct, I am unable to!
In regards to your second point, I agree ‘any reasonable person’ would expect if you book through a certain site that they take responsibility for it, not palm it off on subsidiaries and confusing company structures.