I'm new in this forum and I hope you can help me with an online booking problem I had with Expedia.com a few days ago. If similar problems have already been discussed, please provide me a link to the threads.
A few days ago I was booking a flight on Expedia.com. After having entered my credit card details I clicked on the button confirm only to see that the Expedia.com site had crashed. The site did not work for several minutes and I did not receive any confirmation e-mail IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS.
Therefore, I assumed that the booking did not go through and I booked another flight half an hour later when the expedia.com site was operating again.
To my surprise, FOUR DAYS LATER, I recieved a confirmation e-mail from expedia.com for the first flight! I called the customer support but they refused to reimburse the cost of the flight although the problem was clearly caused by their website. They offered me to change or cancel the flight for a penalty fee that basically equals the cost of my flight.
Here are my questions:
1. Has anyone encountered similar problems. If yes, how were they successful in getting their money back?
2. Are there any rules on the maximum delay a confirmation e-mail is allowed to have? If yes, how long is it and can I challenge them on this grounds?
If anyone had similar unpleasant experiences, I would be very thankful for any advice.
Welcome to FT, Minny P, and sorry that it's happened to you.
While I don't have any specific recommendations for you in this regard, if you don't get anywhere with Expedia, I would just dispute the charge of the first flight with your CC, noting that the dates of when you first booked the transaction and the date on the confirmation. They should be able to get it straightened out for you satisfactorily.
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Originally Posted by Minny P
The site did not work for several minutes and I did not receive any confirmation e-mail IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS.
Therefore, I assumed that the booking did not go through and I booked another flight half an hour later...
You should have checked "My Itineraries" on Expedia to see if you had a confirmed trip showing up in there before booking a second ticket. Absence or delay of a confirmation email does not mean a trip has not been successfully booked.
There are no rules AFAIK about the length of time it can take to send a confirmation email. Normally I get them within minutes, but I've seen it take as long as 24 hours. But again the email is just a formality.
It is not so clear that "the problem was clearly caused by their website." Glitches in the booking screen sequence can and do occur all the time because of browser hangs, local computer crashes, connectivity drops, and user error. Not saying any of these things necessarily occurred with you, but that would be Expedia's argument. If you hit the buy button, you have to assume the transaction went through.
So while I don't think you have much of a case here I would dispute the first charge and see what happens (worst case, Expedia will regard your action as a rogue / unjustified chargeback and fight you, but they may also be too big to notice). Next time don't buy a second ticket until you are absolutely certain you don't have one already.
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I checked 'My itineraries' before I booked the second flight and there was nothing mentioning the successful booking of the first flight.
I called my credit company and told them about the case. They were optimistic that they could recover the money for me. I sent them the booking confirmation and the invoice (where the discrepancy between the dates can clearly be seen). I'm pretty sure the confirmation e-mail represents not only a formality, but the only reliable evidence for the customer that his flight has been booked. It's the one thing that all online booking services uniformly use.
I also joined a letter stating my case and confirming that 'my trust in the credit card company' depended on this case.
I hope this will eventually work out. Bringing in the credit card company is clearly the way to go. They want their customers to feel safe about using their CCs online. At the same time, Expedia depends on them as a large long-term business partner and will have to take them seriously.