Thursday, October 18, 2007

Expedia.ca drops the ball on customer service

I've run into a problem with Expedia.ca, a company I've used before without any issues.

And if you're planning on booking a trip with these guys, you might want to think twice about that. At least wait until you read the rest of this post.

Yesterday, I received a notice from them about an itinerary change to the tickets I've booked for my daughter's trip from Tampa to Victoria in December.

The email was marked urgent and said:
Dear Expedia.ca Customer,

We have received notice from US Airways that they have:
* Updated the arrival time for 1 of your flights
* Updated the departure time for 1 of your flights.


It is important that we speak to you as soon as possible to review changes from the carrier so that we can discuss alternatives. Please contact us at 1-888-EXPEDIA (1-888-397-3342) or from outside North America at +1-613-780-1386 .
That seems pretty clear. So I picked up the phone and spent the next two hours on hold, waiting for a representative. No luck.

While I was waiting, I checked their website and saw this note:

Customer service improvements underway

We're currently receiving a large volume of telephone and e-mail inquiries. As a result, your call wait time or e-mail response time will be longer than usual. We're working hard to improve service capacity as soon as possible; in the meantime, we appreciate your understanding - and your patience.
Oh, Oh. Sounds ominous.

This morning, I called in early. But it made no difference. I left the line open with the music playing...and waited. A couple of hours later, I took the dogs out for a walk. When I returned, I was still on hold. Now, it's a few hours later and still nothing. I've also emailed their support group, without any reply.

Apparently, I'm not the only one having troubles with this company.

I found a website called MyExpediaExperience.com that was put up by a guy in Ontario. It's a litany of frustration.

And over at the Canadian Forums on TripAdvisor.com, there's more stories from angry and frustrated Expedia.ca customers, who are all having the same issues with not being able to get through to anyone at the company.

The problems seem to date from September and are still continuing. Several people say they've complained to the better business bureau and various consumer organizations, but there's no reports of what's come of that.

What's missing in all of this is any response from Expedia. They haven't said anything in any of these forums, nor is there any explanation on their website, beyond the notice above. They obviously are suffering from some serious issues, but without any explanations, their reputation is taking a pounding.

And with the busy holiday season coming up, they're going to be run right out of business if they don't pull their act together.

UPDATE -- Shortly after I wrote the note above, I found a way to get around the line-up and it worked. I saw a posting that recommended NOT pushing any buttons on your phone after you connect to the 1-888 number. Just wait...and sure enough, I was connected within about 10 minutes.

Good news, right? Wrong.

I spoke to a nice young woman who checked the file and said it looked like there were some minor changes to the schedule, but nothing to worry about. (I had already figured that out by checking the flight info with United Airways myself.)

After taking all my information and confirming the changes, she came back on the line and told me that she couldn't actually make the changes -- that needs to be done by the "Change" department. Was I willing to wait on hold while she transferred my call?

"Will I have to wait for hours again just to get through?" I wondered.

"I don't know," she replied.

"You do realize that I've been trying to get through for two days? I don't really want to do that again, you understand. Will I be placed in the main queue or transferred internally?"

"Oh, it will be internal. And I'm sorry about the wait. We are experiencing a heavy call volume and we're trying to rectify the problem."

Well, at least she was sticking to the key messages, even if she couldn't do anything.

Give me a break. She was very apologetic, but unable to offer any alternative. So I went back on hold yet again.

That's where I am right now. On hold again...I'll update this post if I ever do get this resolved...

UPDATE 2: I still haven't got through to anyone. I tried for awhile again this morning but I had to leave for Vancouver. Looks like this ticket may remain unconfirmed...for awhile anyway. Hopefully, someone will respond to email at some point.

UPDATE 3A while after the previous update, I did get an email from someone at Expedia. They asked me to provide them with a phone number, so someone could call me back. I sent them the number, but I never did hear back from them. Strange way of doing business.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Typical from EXPEDIA in general. EXPEDIA.com tried to scam me once (1254.95 U$D).
Read my case (that proves Expedia is a scammer) and hundreds more at : http://www.expedianews.com

Anonymous said...

ouch!
Darryl

Dave said...

Those stories on the expedianews.com site are sobering, that's for sure. I'm certainly starting to question the wisdom of using any third-party to book tickets. I think I'll stick to doing it directly from here on.

Eric Eggertson said...

Someone in the hotel biz told me that you can almost always match or beat the expedia / travelocity price if you call a hotel directly and ask for their best rate, or ask what discoutn they can offer you.

Anonymous said...

Yea well I got the scoop for ya! Truth be told I work for expedia.ca... Rather I lie for expedia.ca
Lie the first
"Im sory we are experencing higher then normal call volume"
B.S. The call volume we get is prity much the same per day. The simple fact is there are only maybe ten people there who can actualy make any changes to flights. Yea you heard me, and our customer base is what.... Canada!
Lie number 2 and my personal favorite!
"Im sory but I need to transfer you to our flight's department to make any changes"
B.S. The flights department uses the same computers and programs I use. Diference being only proven agents who dont make stupid ass mistakes are not alowed to even try to help you.
Third and Bigest LIE
Im sory but I dont know what the wait time's are.
B.S. All the wait times for the building are on 32inch screens all over the ofice, and just incase your curious... 5 hours wait most of the time, and a good day is 2.
All I can do tho is what I say I can do. Seriously. They will fire me telling the truth and I have a family.
Oh yea and one last thing. Dont expect to get anywhere any faster by blowing your stack. It's hopeless to even try, and the best result you can get is a long wait on hold for a "supervisor" who will likely hand me a line of bullshit to pass on to you. No discount no help NO CUSTOMER SERVICE!

Patty said...

SPOOKY. I can not believe that I just went through exactly the items listed on this post, and it is now 2009, TWO years later. I'm very tempted to simply cancel my ticket and buy a new one, except that that would mean more money for Expedia, ugh.