Scam booking? Expedia refuse to refund replacement accommodation as promised.
A bit of a long story, but we were lucky enough to travel to Europe recently. For our first stop in Munich we booked an apartment in an apartment-hotel for 4 nights though Expedia. About 2 weeks out we were double checking the details of our booking and started getting worried as bad reviews had appeared for that apartment calling it a scam. As an example, one reviewer had turned up to find the place closed/not at the location, others had turned up to be told they didn’t have a booking.
We had already tried to contact the apartment company via the Expedia email system with some questions (eg could we check in early or drop our luggage off), but had we received no reply. Further attempts to contact them failed, with their email bouncing and no answer on the phone.
I contacted expedia via their chat, and they assured us all would be well, that Expedia would look after us through their relocations team if we didn’t receive the information from the accommodation provider at least 24 hours before the booking time. At this point all we had was the street address that Expedia had provided.
We were in transit in Singapore at that time, but checked and were unsurprised to have had no contact from the accommodation. Chatting with Expedia again, they went back on their previous promise and now required that we attempt to check in before they would do anything.
Fearing that we wouldn’t have anywhere to stay at all we quickly booked (through Expedia) alternative accommodation - a hotel room - that allowed free cancellation up to the afternoon of check in. There weren’t many alternatives with 24 hours’ notice, and this hotel room booked at the last-minute cost nearly twice as much for just a basic hotel room, compared to the apartment with a kitchen/lounge etc that we booked many months in advance while it was cheap.
On arriving the next day in Munich we dragged our luggage to the address provided by Expedia to find what appeared to be a residential apartment building. There was a sign on the wall but with a different name to that on the booking. The doors were locked and there was nobody around - certainly not a reception desk! Telephoning the number provided by Expedia resulted in an answering machine message in German. Expedia had assured us that the business had a front desk service that was staffed during the day, but this was clearly not the case.
We went to the hotel we had also booked and explained the situation, they were lovely and happy to look after our luggage for the day even though they knew we might not end up staying there.
Contacting Expedia via chat they offered to refund the apartment, as well as pay the full price for the hotel room we had booked. To finalise things, they said I’d have to accept a phone call from their relocations team - even though while roaming this would cost me $1 per minute.
On answering the phone, it became apparent that the new person didn’t know much of what had happened and I had to quickly explain it all again. They then put me on hold… After a few minutes, since they had called me in the first place, I hung up so they could call again when they were ready…
After several phone calls and about $40 in roaming charges, they had refunded the apartment booking, and sent me an email asking me to send them receipt for the hotel and they would process a full refund for that too.
This all sorted, we got on with our holiday, although with just a hotel room rather than apartment we had to buy coffee, breakfast and other meals rather than making it ourselves.
We sent off the receipt as asked, and about a month and a half later, back in Australia, still no response. So, I chatted with and then called Expedia, and they have changed their mind - now they won’t refund the cost of the hotel, not even the difference in cost over the apartment. They did agree to refund my roaming charges though…
Since they have only covered the phone charges, I’m still out of pocket the difference in the accommodation costs, plus we lost a lot of convenience having a hotel room instead of an apartment and half a day of our holiday going from location to location and talking to Expedia.