Expedia customer service sucks, here’s how we hacked it

in Editorial, hacks by Ian | 34 comments

Usually we book with Orbitz, but for a few flights on the upcoming India trip we used Expedia. Some had to be canceled and rescheduled, luckily only a $20 change fee so no biggie right? Nope, Expedia was a fresh hell.

3 calls. On hold 15-45 minutes. They hung up twice. We’ve got the Skype recordings to prove it!

But wait! A number that accepts collect calls? The inner-internet troll felt vengeful. We called collect with the worst rated, most expensive, prisoner’s collect call service we could Google. They’ll pay this time! We called 1800-expensive-collect¬† from Skype, and then entered the number for Expedia.

Expedia must detect collect calls because an operator answered immediately. They took our details, and then waited on hold for us! Two hours later we got a call back with a confirmation number. Sweet!

Make them pay and to get better service. We’d still be on hold if it weren’t for this ‘hack’.

Image by Qdou, CC BY-SA.

This entry was posted in Editorial, hacks and tagged , , .


  1. f4eru says:

    What is “1800-expensive-collect” ?? how does it work ?

    • AMS says:

      Collect calls are phone calls that charge the recipient for the cost of the call. Usually they’re stupid expensive.

    • Chuckt says:

      I guess you call collect and either they have to agree to the charges after they put you on hold or they have to accept the charges before they can ask to put you on hold.

      Or there is a third option or trick I don’t know about like dialing their 1800 number internationally.

      • Ian says:

        I left a bit out because the story seemed meandering. First we called the 1-800 free number and waited on hold for 45 minutes. Then I called the ‘local’ normal number intended for international calls – I called on Skype so 800 or local is the same price. The local number, which hung up twice after 15 minutes, has an automated recording that says “This number accepts all collect calls” :)

  2. Patrick says:

    Men! You’ve got to have that idea … Thanks for the trick. Will use it the next time I’m put on hold for more than 30mn and hung over.

  3. Glaisin says:

    “The customer is king/queen…” given lip-service by many, actually demonstrated by few.
    Well played!

  4. Roopak says:

    Ian, whats on your india list ?

  5. cholling says:

    I’m surprised this worked. I called Expedia collect from an international pay phone in the Zurich airport, and only got a message saying “the number you have dialed cannot accept collect calls”.

    On this same trip I tried logging on to the American version of their website from the Vienna airport, only to find that expedia.com gets automatically redirected to expedia.at when you’re in Austria. This is true even if you click on the little American flag icon at the bottom of the page, which of course links to expedia.com rather than expedia.us or whatever the non-redirect version of the American site is.

  6. Everton says:

    I will not EVER USE EXPEDIA again ever in my life. They are great when you do not need their assistance, but any company would be. When you need their Customer Service, they are absolutely Horrible!
    After spending 2hrs 40 min with them on the phone, they were not able to help me in any aspect at all. Their “price guarantee” is full of small print. I have a rewards account with them, but because I used two different emails (both are identical except one is @hotmail and the other is @gmail) they could not merge my rewards.
    In short, they have a horrible customer service! I will never use them again and would highly recommend that you DO NOT use their service.

  7. Sheila McLean says:

    Over a month ago I made a booking for a hotel in Warsaw for June 14 to June 17. The next day We had to make some changes in our itinerary, and I have been trying ever since to cancel that booking. When I had to make an adjustment with Booking.com, the whole thing took five minutes! Interesting!
    Here I am on May 13, still with a hotel booked in Warsaw. No-one is ever able to help me make this change, and I am so frustrated. It eats up hours of my time, when I should be working at my computer – on Real work.

  8. Steven Ferri says:

    Booked a hotel via Expedia.com (or so I thought) about 2 weeks ago and now needed to cancel the hotel due to elderly parent’s health issue. Referred to my email confirmation which noted ‘Tingo.com’ as the booking provider (hmmmm. That didn’t ring a bell but there in black and white was the hotel info). So I called to cancel (no problem since I checked the travel insurance/refund box when booking)- NOPE, I was informed that Tingo doesn’t offer travel insurance. S I call the hotel directly and they say that the booking company is Expedia (okay, that sounds right) so I call Expedia. The customer service rep there says that my confirmation number is for one of their ‘affiliates’ Hotels.com and transfers me over to them! 2 agents later ( the last being the manager on duty) and I’m told that I’m not giving them the correct phone number, email or address information to verify and allow them to continue to help me! What the bleep! Are you kidding me? I’m providing my correct info and they are not budging! Crazy, crazy! I will never again use this company as they don’t have a clue what customer service means. Now I’m going to attempt disputing via my Amex. Lets see if they provide the correct info when we claim this as a fraudulent charge then as it seems someone else has used my card if not me!

    • Mike M says:

      This is the worst customer service I have had in many years, from any company. I booked a flight from NY to Paris and needed to cancel the flight I booked on Expedia due to a work conflict. I was happy when Expedia said they would provide a voucher I could use on future flights. Now I am flying from NY to Houston, I figured I better try to use up the credit of over $2,000. I learn the difference between coach and first class is only a few hunderd dollars with first class under $1,100. When I go to book the flight, after checking the prices on Expedia and over 4 hours of bs from Expedia customer non-service, they say the price is from another system and that the new cost for the ticket is $2,500. WTF…so I could go to your site and buy the exact same ticket for under $1,100 but it costs $2,500 because I want to use my voucher. This is really lame and I will never use Expedia again.

  9. Jyoti parikh says:

    I have hotel booking with conf#xkh707W71
    Itinery #158776169047,paid 386.71.charged on my AE card June ,19th2013
    Today I called hotel mela ,NYC. Time square to confirm my reservation ,they do not have any booking under my name?????

    What am I suppose to do?
    Jyoti parikh

  10. Mohamad osseili says:

    also me some one called them and give them my info. and they changed my account to his account name ,,, how stupid

  11. ClamshellBob says:

    I receive email promotions that I wanted to stop, but Expedia doesn’t allow you to opt out of their email promotions online. This should be illegal by itself. So I tried to close my account, which they also don’t allow you to do online. You have to call. When you call you wait. A woman says she can’t help you close your account, she needs to put her supervisor on. You wait. On comes the supervisor. She also, cannot help you close your account. She has to put her manager on. You wait. And wait. Remember, this is just to close an account, nothing else. After 15 minutes, a 3rd comes on and after some mindless chit chat, finally, you are honored by being allowed to not be harassed by irrelevant email promotions or wait almost an hour to transact the simplest of tasks. Thanks, Expedia for not missing a final opportunity to waste my time.

  12. Shannon says:

    We have booked a range of flights with Expedia! Out if this flights in South and Central America the airline has completely cancelled the flight and expedia has not notified us of this change nor made any attempt to resolve this for us. We have called several times and without any kind of resolution. Spent hours on the phone. Spent money and still no resolution! Do not book flights through Expedia!!!

  13. Lynne says:

    Please do not use Expedia unless you are in love with hanging on the phone. I had hoped never to deal with them again after needing about 40 minutes to book a simple hotel room (endless mistakes and repetitions to the point that I finally yelled at them). But no, I have offended the travel gods and need to change the reservation. Heaven help me, I have been on the phone with them for ANOTHER hour and still no resolution. I have no idea how these idiots stay in business. If I had simply called the hotel, this would have been resolved in 15 minutes. They actually suggested that I download their app! (I know they are just doing their jobs). Not hardly. I’m going to have to give up today and try again tomorrow.

  14. Robin Nix says:

    I wish I had read these comments before booking with Expedia for the first and absolute last time. Booked Westin NY online with Expedia. The reservation date showed as the date I booked the reservation. I did try to change and thought I did but when we arrived at the hotel they did not have our reservations. The clerk said all was well and they would work it out with Expedia. Four months later received a charge on the AMEX for three nights. We have now paid for 6 nights and actually only stayed 3 nights. We have disputed, called, emailed, and spoken with both Expedia and Westin. Our refund denied. One truthful statement from Westin, “You should have made your reservations through us not Expedia!” We will not be making reservations with either company in the future. Just WOW!!

  15. Kate Reznikov says:

    This is my last time of using this expedia. The worst service I have ever came accross. If you have a chance run as far as possible.

  16. hola says:

    except for Expedia’s beat the other prices, their service is horrible! Saving Money seems like a priority to most of us, and they can only give it to us by hiring workers to answer their phones in the Philipines, El Salvador and so on. I could hardly understand them, important phone calls were not documented and no one ever called me back is my complaint, but what will I do about paying the real price of a company who utilizes employees only in America?

  17. Rich says:

    I used to be a fan of Expedia, but no more. Every interaction with them has gotten worse & worse. They seem to have no real interest in their customers anymore. Shame when a good company goes bad. Why bother advertising when you’re gonna treat your customers like crap.

  18. Keith Sales says:

    Asked Expedia for a specific dated itinerary from Manchester UK to Minneapolis USA return, with the return flights in the afternoon. They provided one at a ‘Special Fare’. I phoned to book and they wanted very much more, couple of hundred ¬£’s or so more. I argued but they wouldn’t budge so I hung up and booked it online – No problem with that! I got the ‘Special fare’.

    The first return Domestic flight gave me a connection period of just 48 minutes, to change terminals at Atlanta where the Domestic terminal is apparently 1 mile from the International terminal and I didn’t think that enough for a 77 year old fella, plus the need to go through TSA again so I wrote to the carrier, Air France, who said it was definitely not enough time and I should contact Expedia to change the Dometic flight.

    I emailed Expedia who replied that they wanted to see the Air France reply and even then there would be an unspecified charge. I forwarded the Air France email, saying that I expected not to pay a charge and they replied to ‘phone Support. I did and they said they would change the flight but there would be an unspecified charge. I argued this and said if I had to pay I would pay under protest and then do a chargeback on the Credit card as it was their fault as my agent. More argument and then they capitulated and did it FREE!

    So, the recommendation is to pay by credit card, it cost no more, and then if there are problems threaten a chargeback! I think that was the only reason they gave in. I won’t be using them again ever.

  19. delilah martinez says:

    Yes, expedia does suck, poor customer service and the wait time is ridiculous.I was on the phone from 1pm to 8pm.going back and forth with airline and expedia.i spoked to supervisors and managers and they say different things..

  20. Della Ebersole says:

    My husband booked a hotel through Expedia for Aug 25, 2014. After paying, Expedia sent the confirmation for Spe7, 2014. We called immediately to correct their mistake. Long story short, they will not refund our money for their mistake. We still had to book the room for the 25th. Expedia says talk to the hotel the hotel (Holiday Inn Express) says talk to Expedia. No Refund. $250 for Holiday Inn Express.
    Their customer service is the worst. DON”T USE EXPEDIA.

  21. Ekaterina Reznikov says:

    For many years I dealt with Expedia. I travel abroad about 4 times a year. Just because I didn’t know any better, I used them as my travel agent. I didn’t like their service. But the most important thing is they lie and get away with it. Every time I book with them, they say just a little bit more and you would have enough credits, miles or what ever they promise. However, when the statements with my credits comes, it is always equal to zero. From now on, I’ll rather deal with someone who doesn’t lie and who I can rely on.

  22. Cathy says:

    Absolutely the worst customer service for any company I have ever dealt with. They put you on hold for 45mins (average), hang up on you, don’t keep commitments to call back and don’t own up to their own mistakes! Very frustrating!! I will NEVER use Expedia again. Be Warned! I have been on hold TRYING to escalate a problem for over 24 hours now, on and off. Wish I had gone with Sunwing. Never have had a problem with them.

    • Joe says:

      My first time calling customer service to change flight, took me an hour…the guy put me on hold 5-6 times he kept repeat the same information over and over again..all i need to tell him was flight date and time

      The worst experience ever.. very annoying.. this would be my first and last using expedia

  23. Bhim says:

    What they say and do opposite? I spoke 5 times since morning and spent more than 3 hours. Phone was transferred to supervisor 3 times. Supervisor disconnects phone after 20 minutes as she shays she is looking into your case.
    Customer service: 1-800-397-3342

    Name of Supervisor- MAIR

  24. M says:

    I agree expedia has the worst customer service.

    I think they should shut the company down!

  25. A says:

    Folks, I spent 6 hours with Expedia yesterday. They know its their agents mistake that the agenda didn’t cancel the itinerary on their side and told me that it is cancelled.
    Its a huge amount ~2500. Please suggest the best way to reach them or get my money back.

    Also, does any body have expedia corporate services number ? Because after 4 hours of escalations a girl “ALLY’ from that department listened to me and said she would email me within 1 hour. And now its been 12 hours and I have got nothing.

    Please help. This is a fraud case.

  26. Keith Sales says:

    Hi A – re your problem.

    Try emailing travel@support.expedia.co.uk

    And threaten them with a chargeback to your card account if you used a credit or debit card – AND BE PREPARED TO DO THAT!

    Keith Sales

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