A Washington state family learned how easy it is to find themselves stranded when online travel agent reservations go awry, when a resort overbooked them through Expedia.
Holly Parsons told ABC News in Seattle that she booked a three-night, $874-stay in a condominium at the WorldMark Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend, OR, four months in advance. A few weeks before the getaway, Parsons said she received an email saying that her reservation was cancelled due to overbooking. She was offered no refund at that time.
Expedia told the ABC News affiliate that since the cancellation was “caused by external factors beyond the direct control of Expedia," a policy listed in the company’s terms and conditions, Expedia had “no liability and will make no refund.”
Parsons told ABC that she spent about 6 ½ hours over three days on the phone with Expedia customer service before they offered her $500 in Expedia vouchers and three nights in a Holiday Inn Express near her destination, a lacrosse tournament where one of her sons was competing.
She called her Expedia customer service experience “awful,” “dealing with multiple, multiple people and repeating myself,” and considered the vouchers and offer to do business with Expedia again “a ripoff.”
"I wasn't receiving cash in return. I'm receiving vouchers to do business with an entity that I'm not sure that I ever would want to do — or ever would recommend to do — business with ever again," Parsons said.
Expedia told the ABC News affiliate that "We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration Holly Parsons experienced and can confirm our team contacted her to successfully resolve this case. At Expedia, we strive to provide the highest level of customer service, and any time there is an issue with an Expedia booking, we recommend that our customers contact our excellent customer service team."
In an ABC News Good Morning America segment about the story, ABC News pointed out that Expedia and the lodging industry are only obligated by “practice” to rebook overbooked clients, and that there are no laws protecting consumers from these situations.