Travel Solutions: Expedia promised a refund last October, but where is it? | Travel

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Q: I booked a KLM flight through Expedia last year. KLM canceled the flight due to COVID in October.

Expedia told me to wait 12 weeks for a refund. When no refund arrived, I contacted Expedia. Expedia claims that KLM reimbursed me, even though I paid Expedia. KLM claims to have reimbursed Expedia, which should then have reimbursed me.

After a few back and forths, Expedia told me to contact my bank. I contacted Chase, my credit card company, to dispute the charge, but it was too late.

Expedia has stopped responding to my refund requests. I have proof of all communications. I would like Expedia to reimburse me for the cost of the flight. I’m out of options since Expedia, KLM and Chase said they couldn’t do anything. Can you help me get my $427 back? ─ Eric Aird, Zürich, Switzerland

A: You should have received a prompt refund. Department of Transportation regulations govern your ticket if you used Expedia in the United States. The rules require the airline to issue a refund within seven business days if you paid by credit card and within 20 days if you paid by cash or check. Europe has similar rules.

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I have reviewed the paper trail between you and the various parties ─ Expedia, Chase and KLM. What a tangled web. You’re right, they blame each other.

So who is ultimately responsible for your reimbursement? Your online travel agency, Expedia. He took your money and agreed to act as your agent for the purchase of the flight. After KLM canceled your flight, Expedia should have made sure you had a super-fast refund. He shouldn’t have passed you off as KLM.

And what about your credit card? A Chase representative told you that too much time had passed between your purchase and your refund request. It’s absurd. Credit card companies can help their customers if they want to, but they choose to cut off all requests after 60 days. They claim the Fair Credit Billing Act, the law that protects credit card customers, will not allow them to dispute claims that are more than two months old. But the law does not prevent banks from dealing with older disputes.

A short polite email to Expedia might have done the trick for you. I would have forwarded all your correspondence with a polite cover letter to one of the Expedia executive contacts I list on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia-customer-service-contacts/. If that didn’t work, you could have contacted KLM. I also publish their executive contacts. at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/klm-airlines/.

I contacted Expedia on your behalf. “My agents have confirmed that the refund has now been processed and the customer has been notified,” an Expedia representative told me. “It appears the delay was due to agent error, so we apologized to the customer and added a $100 voucher to the traveler’s Expedia account for the inconvenience.”

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. You can read more travel tips on his blog, elliott.orgor email him at [email protected]


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