Expedia refund issues - has anyone else had problems?

I recently used Expedia for the first time to book accommodation. They came second in the 2019 Choice review of booking sites, so I assumed they’d be reasonable.

In summary, I booked accommodation overseas through Expedia, but the host cancelled on us. They sent us to a nearby hostel, which we tried, but it was not suitable, and certainly not up to the standard we had paid for. We found our own alternative accommodation, and asked for a refund for the remaining nights of our booking.

I’ve spent months calling and emailing Expedia, each time it seems like I’m either dealing with a bot, or with a staff that have been trained to say things like:

“We are sorry for the inconvenience you had experience during your stay. As much as we wanted to fulfill your request, please note that Expedia is subject to the rules and restrictions of our vendors and we do not have the authority to change or override their policies.”

I asked many times to speak with someone more senior, but keep getting replies from various members of the ‘Expedia Customer Support Team’.

Frustrated, I called Consumer Affairs Victoria who agreed that I did not get what I paid for and should be refunded. They said that Expedia is in breach of consumer law sections 29 and 56. I wrote the formal letter as they advised, but got only another inane, formulaic response.

Apparently the next step is to apply to VCAT. As I don’t live near Melbourne, this would involve long travel and time off work to attend a hearing. I’ve already spent many, many hours emailing and documenting this process so I’m hesitant to go down this path.

I’ve approached my bank to see if they can cancel the payment, but they said it’s likely to be a long wait and gave no guarantees.

Has anyone got any other ideas? I’ve since read many similar complaints about Expedia not refunding. Is this something Choice can investigate further?



I assume the booking is what is called ‘Expedia collect’, where payment was made to Expedia prior to your arrival at the accommodation.

Have you tried contacting the original accommodation provider to get them to assist you in receiving a refund? I assume they were the one who sent you to a nearby hostel under their agreement with Expedia as they didn’t have accommodation for you.

If this is the case, generally accommodation providers can have success in initiating refunds from their end. It might he worth contacting them especially if they are aware of your refund request (viz. you contacted them on arrival advising the accommodation was not what you booked and was unsatisfactory).

If Expedia found alternative accommodation for you, the original accommodation provider is unlikely to be able to help all that much. If the accommodation was cancelled by the accommodation provider you originally booked and what was offered was unsatisfactory and not fit for purpose, you should be entitled to a refund.

It would be interesting to know why the alternative accommodation was unsatisfactory and not fit for purpose. The challenge you might face is if you agreed to stay at the alternative accommodation and later decided that you wanted something different for some reason, it could be seen as you being the cancelling the booking. Expedia might try and use this as grounds for not providing a refund as they would argue that their/provider cancellation policy would then apply. This is why having clear grounds that the accommodation was unsatisfactory and not fit for purpose is important.

And the last question, did you contact Expedia outlining why the alternative accommodation was unsatisfactory and not fit for purpose before leaving and rebooking elsewhere. If you did, what did Expedia say and did they agree to do a pro-rata refund?

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Thanks for your reply pbh. Good questions. I tried to keep my post as brief as possible as it’s been pretty tedious, but here’s the answers:

Yes, we paid Expedia in advance for the accommodation.

Re contacting the accommodation provider: I wasn’t given a direct contact with the accommodation when we booked. I did receive a WhatsApp message from someone who contacted me ‘on behalf of’ the accommodation provider just two days before we were due to arrive. The message was in Spanish, so I relied on Google translate. As I also received am email from Expedia at about the same time, with basically the same content, I have been dealing with them, thinking it would be more straightforward negotiating in English. Given it’s now been months, and that Expedia have repeatedly said that they have contacted the accommodation provider, I don’t hold a lot of hope that I could persuade them to refund me.

The alternative accommodation was a smaller room, it was dark and the bed was really hard. It was hot and humid, but the air conditioner was so loud we couldn’t sleep. It was a long way from the ‘exclusive quadruple room’ we had booked. Neither of us slept at all that night.

And yes, I’ve contacted Expedia many times over the last two months and explained all of this. Here’s another example of the sort of replies I have been getting:
"Unfortunately, after speaking with (long number, presumably the accommodation provider), they’re holding to the original policy for your booking and declined the request.

We know this is disappointing. We always advocate for flexibility for our travelers, but properties often have strict rules and restrictions around their bookings – we’re sorry that we can’t help more in this situation."

We did agree to stay at the alternative accommodation, assuming it would be of a similar standing. We only had two days notice of the change and, as we were on the road, finding our own accommodation at short notice would have been challenging. We arrived late in the day in a city where we have no connections, so we really didn’t feel we had any other option than to at least give it a try.

So yes, I’m not very hopeful about a refund now, but do feel annoyed at the money lost. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.


I suspect that Expedia and the accommodation provider will be relying on ‘so we really didn’t feel we had any other option than to at least give it a try’ as it indicates that you accepted the change to the accommodation ‘as we were on the road, finding our own accommodation at short notice would have been challenging’ (unfortunately this assumption wasn’t correct - see below).

As indicated above, Expedia/accommodation provider will argue that you accepted the accommodation, stayed their for x night(s) and then cancelled the booking. They will then point to the accommodation’s cancellation policy in such events.

In hindsight, it may have been better to say that you need to look at the accommodation to determine the alternative is acceptable, as it is different to what you had booked and also that you lack information on its suitability. While you may not be aware you could have done this, alternative accommodation is required to be of an acceptable standard, similar to or better than that originally booked (see below).

If this approach was taken and on your arrival you found that the ‘alternative accommodation was a smaller room, it was dark and the bed was really hard. It was hot and humid, but the air conditioner was so loud’ before formally accepting it as an alternative, then you would be in a better place to request a refund. The provisions of ‘fit for purpose’ and also ‘deceptive’ advertising under the Australian Consumer Law would come into play. You could also use Expedia’s service provider agreement requirements as well to for back up…

In relation to relocations, Expedia/accommodation provider would be responsible for finding alternative accommodation for you. The service provider agreement (an example with standard relocation provisions) is very clear that this is the case.

In the case where a relocation is required because an accommodation provide is unable to honour a booking (such as in your case), the accommodation provider is required to immediately:

(i) notify Expedia of such inability,
(ii) relocate the affected guest to a comparable property with an equivalent or higher Expedia star class rating,
(iii) pre-pay or make other arrangements to cover the room charges at such property for the nights in question and all transportation and associated relocation costs to such property, and
(iv) waive any additional fees or other additional payments that would otherwise be payable to You by Expedia or the guest as a result of the Booking.

Expedia reserves the right to perform items (ii) and/or (iii) above directly, in which case You agree to reimburse Expedia for all expenses (including any Taxes) incurred by Expedia in securing such alternative arrangements, including applicable room charges at the alternative property and associated guest relocation costs.

It is possible that the alternative accommodation did not meet (ii) which means you may have had the right to refuse accepting the alternative on arrival. In such case, an alternative which met (ii) would need to be provided by Expedia/accommodation provider. Hopefully Expedia outlined this to you when making contact about the cancellation as it is a help ‘service’ they provide.

I can’t comment on likely success at VCAT, but hopefully the above information may assist you making a decision on whether you plan to take it further. Such information is likely to come out in a VCAT hearing should Expedia be represented.

An aspect of the experience that should not be lost is that there are legalities, there are hurdles with same, and there are businesses and website ‘agents’ refusing to do the right thing, often on technicalities including when their customer might be between the rock and hard place, or on the street.

My takeaway is to avoid Expedia and as many booking sites as possible so accommodation is between the customer and provider, no 3rd party in the middle. It can still go badly but at lest one knows who they are dealing with and can thus act accordingly.


Agree fully.

Dealing with the accommodation provider one is also likely to get better room rates and service. An accommodation provider want’s to protect their reputation and ensure that their guest’s are happy. Booking platforms are principally driven by making commissions through advertising.

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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.


I moved your post into this one about Expedia. You are not alone in your level of ‘satisfaction and support’ from them. @phb’s post has lots of good information, especially that Expedia should have arranged alternative accommodation. By doing that yourself you inadvertently removed one of your ‘protections’ while assuring you were properly accommodated by taking what you felt was urgent action.

The conclusion remains - booking services can be problematic if anything goes badly so it is always best to book direct with an accommodation provider.

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phb’s post says the accommodation provider has to arrange the relocation (ii) however the accommodation provider clearly didn’t do that. We used Expedia’s relocation service (hence the expensive phone call) but they decided to put us into the hotel that we had already booked (but not checked into) so it clearly met the requirements as above.

Booking directly is not always practical when you are booking in a foreign country.

And where the accommodation provider doesn’t do it, Expedia will:

Expedia reserves the right to perform items (ii) and/or (iii) above directly, in which case You agree to reimburse Expedia for all expenses (including any Taxes) incurred by Expedia in securing such alternative arrangements, including applicable room

While it is unfortunate in your case, it is likely Expedia will state that the rebooking elsewhere was instigated by you, outside that of the original accommodation provider and/or Expedia. You are lucky that they refunded the original booking prepayment, especially if the cancellation policy didn’t allow last minute cancellations (which in effect what happened).

We have travelled to a number of other countries, both English speaking and other languages, and haven’t had any issues booking accommodation.

It does take more time and effort, as each accommodation provider needs to be contacted individually… rather than clicking on a provider in a list on an aggregated booking platform. We find the benefits of booking direct outway the additional effort.

Some haven’t/can’t communicate in English - which is where translation websites can be used. When using translation websites, it is important sentences are short and only with one subject/piece if information.

Some accommodation providers don’t respond to contacts, which means you need to have a number of options in the same locality.

Most nowadays have their own websites and online booking system as a last resort. Harder to get discounts once booked through an accommodation website, but we have found it is still possible either with followup communications or asking politely on check-in.

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Just to clarify, Expedia’s relocation team explicitly said they were rebooking us into the accommodation that we had already reserved, and that they would refund the whole cost of that booking.

That indicates that there would have been two bookings made in the ‘replacement’ accommodation, the booking you made and that of Expedia. One would then have to have been cancelled and subject of the cancellation policy of the accommodation.

It is unlikely Expedia would have knowingly made a second/another booking for you if they had known you had already made a reservation. A second booking wouldn’t have been made as they would not have wanted to been exposed to or cause you to potentially have cancellation fees. Noting cancellation policies and fees are set by the accommodation provider, not Expedia.

Did you cancel your booking and check-in under a new Expedia booking? Or did your check-in under the booking you made?

If you didn’t cancel your booking (and subject to a cancellation policy), Expedia didn’t made another reservation and it would have been your booking which was fulfilled. Hence, Expedia could argue:

The booking platforms are very rigid in relation to their T&Cs as they are principally interested in maximising their own interests (noting this is the subject of a current government inquiry). I suspect this is why they don’t wish to refund any other out of pocket expenses you may have.

You can try and taking your case to fair trading. I can’t comment on the likelihood of your success. If Expedia attend, they will have records if what bookings were made by whom and their T&Cs. They possibly will argue your out of pocket expenses were incurred outside their standard booking protections, hence they not responsible for these costs.

I recently booked a month in Vietnam (airfares and accommodation) through Expedia, from Brisbane to Da Nang, for around $5500 ($3000 airfares, $2500 hotel). On the cusp of departure, Sydney airport suddenly closed, I couldn’t make any of the flights.

I re-booked flights personally for later in the week, and contacted the hotel. They readily agreed to move the booking forward a few days. Expedia quickly refunded the airfares.

I found the hotel to be completely unsatisfactory on arrival, for a number of reasons. Basically, the room and hotel didn’t come near to matching the on-line description. I left after 2 nights.

Hotel told me to seek a refund through Expedia. Which I did. After exhaustive email communications with Expedia and the hotel, Expedia have advised they can do nothing for me. That they can’t do anything if the hotel won’t play ball. During these correspondences the hotel has made some untrue statements to Expedia.

What can I do? If it was just a couple of hundred dollars, I’d write it off. But it’s around $2000 in unused accommodation. Are Expedia ultimately liable as my agent? Any advice would be greatly appreciated…

(I should mention here that my wife and I have had a lot of experience with booking agents during our occasional employment in retirement as motel relief managers)

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Hi @artpepper, welcome to the community.

I have moved your post to an existing thread about issues with obtaining refunds from Expedia, under similar circumstances. The information contained in the above thread will potentially provide some background to the challenges you face.

In summary, if you left the accommodation and booked elsewhere yourself, it will be taken that you have cancelled the booking with the original accommodation provider. The accommodation providers cancellation policy will be that which is pointed to, to see if you are entitled to a refund. The cancellation policy would have been provided with the terms of the booking and are set by the accommodation provider within the Expedia platform.

Most accommodation providers don’t have cancellation policies which refund portion of accommodation not used within a booking period (many have a non-refund policy of 14 days or such like before check-in).

Notwithstanding this, an accommodation provider can use their discretion to waiver or accept requests that sit outside the cancellation policy if they chose. It appears unfortunately in your case, this is something that they are choosing not to do. There may not be many avenues you can take to try and obtain the refund you are after.

Thanks for the reply.

Here’s the Daisy An Bang hotel cancellation policy, taken directly from their website:

  • Cancellation/amendment up to 5 days prior to the date of arrival, no fee will be charged
  • Cancellation/amendment later or in case of no-show, deposited will be charged. If booking for 01 night only, 100% room rate will be charged.

Seems to me they are entitled to take a ‘deposit’ from the refund…

No, once check-in occurs, the booking has been accepted and honoured by the guest. This means that if you chose to leave, you are in effect terminating the booking agreement after it has been accepted. I have only ever seen once a accommodation provider that addresses early termination of a stay in their cancellation policy. It was under a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee that the provider had in place.

Using a similar example to try and explain, if you break a tenancy agreement for a rental property, most require tenants to pay out the agreement. Some allow subletting or reduce payment if the tenancy can be refilled.

If their cancellation policy is silent on early terminations, then unfortunately it becomes a item of discretion.

The only claim you may have is if the accommodation was not fit for purpose under the Australian Consumer Law.

This can be very difficult to argue and ‘not liking it’ or you found is unsatisfactory/photos weren’t exactly the same, possibly wouldn’t possibly meet the test. It is also hard to argue it is not fit for purpose since you stayed two night before doing something - choosing to move to other/better accommodation elsewhere. If it was not fit for purpose, this is something likely to be identified when first entering the room and action taken immediately as a result. One would not have stayed there.

If for example after 2 nights they started demolishing rooms above the one you stayed in making sleeping or enjoyment of the room impossible and they couldn’t move you to an unaffected room, then not being fit for purpose may be an argument which could be used.

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Reason I left, the accommodation didn’t match the description I paid for.

OK, thanks for your attentions in this matter. Seems to me I have no redress whatsoever for this because I stayed a night or two and moved out at my own behest. So, as they say on one of the TV quiz shows, we’ll have to say goodbye to the $2000…
Thanks again.

Consider an analogy of an airfare/flight booked using a booking platform or agent, not the airline. All changes have to go through the platform or agent.

It might (not necessarily would) have been a different outcome if you had contacted Expedia with your issues and put them in the middle of what you considered a misrepresented property.