CBS4 Problem Solvers help couple struggling to rebook trip using Expedia credits

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INDIANAPOLIS — A couple trying to rebook a family trip to Scotland due to the pandemic reached out to the CBS4 Problem Solvers for help after multiple attempts to use credits ended in frustration.

Dan and Kerry Patterson planned the trip, which was supposed to take place last October, for a couple of years. When COVID-19 restrictions did not ease up in the United Kingdom, they canceled flights through Expedia and received credits, good until 2022.

The couple tried to rebook the trip for this coming October, but when Kerry Patterson called Expedia to book over the phone, she said prices far exceeded the amount of her credit.

“‘It’s going to be $1,450 per person,’ when I could see the flights online for $700 at the time,” Patterson said.

Dan Patterson took to Twitter to express his outrage and an Expedia representative reached out, saying, “We’d like to help with this.” In private messages, the representative said they could get the family a refund, but days later the company reversed course, saying, “We found that the reservation is not eligible for a refund.”

Kerry Patterson’s complaint to the Better Business Bureau didn’t help, either. In response, an Expedia representative noted that “the customer is responsible for any increase in fare” and pointed to the company’s Terms of Use.

“The response that I got back was essentially the same canned response that we had gotten over and over again,” Kerry Patterson said.

“We still want to take the trip,” Dan Patterson said. “I’m not trying to get something extra out of anybody. I want what I gave them.”

Scott Barnhart, Director of Consumer Protection at the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, suggested that you seek out Terms of Use before you book any travel online, particularly now that companies may have changed their policies due to COVID-19.

“From a consumer standpoint, knowing exactly what they’re getting into is really important and understanding that fine print,” Barnhart said.

Expedia’s terms, found at the bottom of their website, do not spell out policies for using credits, but they do include blanket language saying the company has no liability and will not refund in the event of a delay or cancellation.

The CBS4 Problem Solvers team reached out to Expedia for help with the Pattersons’ case. A media representative looked into the issue and said that the company would honor its original statements via Twitter and provide a refund to the family.

In an email, the representative acknowledged that agents could have done a better job explaining how to use the credits.

“I think this flight credit topic is quite relevant to travelers right now given there are so many people with credits due to COVID disrupting travel plans,” the representative said in part. “We know we have more work to do with training our agents to be able to message the details of flight credits to customers and we are actively working on improving this experience.”

The representative noted that credit terms and conditions vary depending on the airline. In the Patterson’s case, the credits can only be redeemed for the same fare and ticket types purchased, which could be why prices quoted over the phone did not match those found online.

Expedia pointed to a company podcast episode explaining travel credits, which you can listen to at the link here.

The Patterson’s hoped to rebook their trip later this year and said they simply wanted to take the same trip at a similar cost.

“I’m not asking for anything extra. If the price of the flight had gone up okay, it is what it is, but what I want to do is be able to use my credits that I already paid for that no one has been on an airplane with,” Dan Patterson said.

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