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

Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 in Editorial, hacks by Ian

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 on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 7:00 pm and is filed under Editorial, hacks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

47 Responses to “Expedia customer service sucks, here’s how we hacked it”

  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 gets automatically redirected to 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 rather than 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, 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 (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 ‘’ 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’ 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.

    • Renee says:

      I feel your pain,
      After six calls to Expedia and four different case numbers and not one promised call back or e-mail being made, we are disgusted. On the phone with MasterCard right now working to get a chargeback. I don’t know if it’s Tap Portugal or Expedia, but we are sick of no customer service. Time to play hardball.

      • A says:

        I did that with my credit card company. They put that credit back on my credit card. But don’t know if they will come back with any questions.

  26. Keith Sales says:

    Hi A – re your problem.

    Try emailing

    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

    • A says:

      did that with my credit card company. They put that credit back on my credit card. But don’t know if they will come back with any questions.

  27. Keith Sales says:

    To Renee – let us know how you got on with Mastercard. As A says, you’ll likely succeed.

    To A – That’s good – I doubt Expedia will kick back. It won’t be the first time they’ve been hit with a chargeback, but let us know.

    To both – just shows that we don’t need to sit back and take it!.

  28. the knowledge says:

    Expedia is so bad, no customer service, keeps you “on hold” forever & says “you need to be on the line” to fix any problem which is B.S. they can drop you a coupon or do a booking for you in a few seconds. Hours later on the phone you will be nowhere with them.

  29. Jason Kaminski says:

    Expedia took my money, then cancelled my flight and did not immediately refund my card, meaning I could not book another flight. I called several international numbers, was cut off twice etc. Finally got an email saying they would deal with it (which they did not) then called saying they would ‘escalate’ the problem – at the time of writing (now) I am still waiting to hear back many hours later. I am on hold for my 10th call. Here are the emails below. Expedia is, in a word, SHIT at customer service. Don’t use them.

    I AM STILL WAITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 at 3:43 PM
    From: “Expedia Transaction Process”
    To: “Jason Kaminski”
    Subject: RE: RE: URGENT! Your Purchase: 1107065518377

    Dear Mr. Kaminski,

    The customer service team will reach out to you as soon as possible with a solution as requested.

    Thanks for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience.


    Fausto Brandao

    Transaction Processing

    Expedia, Inc.

    From: Jason Kaminski []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 10:06 AM
    To: Expedia Transaction Process
    Subject: Re: RE: URGENT! Your Purchase: 1107065518377


    I have still not heard from your customer service team as noted below. Pleasen ask them to call me URGENTLY on xxxxxx

    I need this to be resolved NOW so that I can make another booking as soon as possible.

    This delay is NOT ACCEPTABLE!


    Jason Kaminski

    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 at 1:13 PM
    From: “Expedia Transaction Process”
    To: “Jason Kaminski”
    Subject: RE: URGENT! Your Purchase: 1107065518377

    Dear Mr. Kaminski,

    As per our telephone conversation, all processing issues have been resolved. We’ve escalated this to our highest level of customer service and you shall be contacted soon regarding this concern.

    Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience.


    Fausto Brandao

    Transaction Processing

    Expedia, Inc.

    From: Jason Kaminski []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 7:15 AM
    To: Expedia Transaction Process
    Subject: Re: URGENT! Your Purchase: 1107065518377

    Please contact me on xxxxxxx


    Jason Kaminski

    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 at 11:40 AM
    Subject: URGENT! Your Purchase: 1107065518377

    Dear Customer,

    Your® Purchase: 1107065518377 has been cancelled due to one or more of the following reasons:

    • We were unable to authenticate the credit card.
    • We were unable to authenticate the card holder.
    • The purchase was declined by the credit card company.
    • Account History.

    Please reply to this e-mail if you think there may be a mistake. We are happy to work with you to rectify any discrepancy. Since we have been unable to contact you via the telephone numbers listed in your account, please reply to this e-mail with the telephone number we can reach you at and the best time to call. An Expedia® Transaction Processing Representative will contact you at the time you specify.

    Please do not call Expedia Customer Service for assistance with this matter. They will instruct you to e-mail


    Scott McKenna
    Transaction Processing
    Expedia, Inc.

  30. Jason Kaminski says:

    Hello – guess what? More calls, more wait-times of 30-40 minutes, more bush-offs, more promises that ‘customer service will call me back’ (they never do) and still a pending charge on my credit card for a flight that Expedia cancelled so no access to the credit that is being held by Expedia for a non-existent booking. I hope I get my ‘pending’ charge reversed eventually – tho I am told this can take more than a week, during which time I can’t use that credit. The service is just a new low in human-less service centres populated by recordings, machines, online help (that is useless) and unempowered call centre workers. Just imagine if I were a traveller stranded somewhere with no other access to funds! Luckily not the case for me. I managed to rebook the same flights for $130 less on Orbitz. So – bye bye forever Expedia. You really suck.

  31. Jason Kaminski says:

    O – and as I write – still on hold to the call centre with the clock ticking at just over an hour!!!!

  32. Warren says:

    How is it done?

  33. PETER CAVANNA says:

    Someone tried to use my credit card to book reservations. I found out thru my credit card company what happened. I called Expedia, they took all my info including my e-mail and ph. number. I was told they would send me an e-mail about what happened and that somone would call me within three hours. It was all alot of BS, there was no e-mail or phone call. They did nothing but lie to me. I asked what country the lady was from and she told me the PHILIPPIANS. I would never do business with this company.

  34. Gerald says:

    And the biggest part of this entire conspiracy is all these other online hotel sites are subcontracted out by Expedia. Sometimes you get what you pay for right…It’s all about thw money with these companies. They are all dishonest and if they can get you they will!!! You must always stand up to these people. Think about all the people who just give up and book rooms themselves once they get bent over and Ram rodded with no grease. They tried to get me but I would hang up and call back over and over till they actually paid the hotel I booked through them. Yeah confirmation sent to my E-mail but once I got there the hotel said there is no room under this info sir. What??? Thats just wrong and believe me these people know what is going on. The hotels do too.

  35. Carol Robbins says:

    I was looking to book a hotel room in Savannah. Had previously stayed at the Country Inn and Suites there and was very pleased. I went on Trip Advisor looking for deals and Expedia had one for $92.00 for Country Inn and Suites in Savannah. I went ahead and booked it quickly as it stated there were only a few more rooms available. After I booked, I went on the hotel website and quickly realized that this particular CI&S was 9 miles from Savannah! I immediately called Expedia and tried to explain to the person who I could hardly understand, what had happened and that I wanted to change to the CI&S that was near downtown. 15 minutes later, after using my name over and over again, it still was not changed. They make it sound like they are doing you a huge favor, when it is their fault for advertising a deal on a hotel that was on the outskirts of Savannah, not really in the city at all. Bottom line, if had to stay on the phone with that woman for 1 more minute, I was ready to eat the cost of the hotel stay and book it myself somewhere else. NEVER in a million years will I deal with this bunch again. Personally, I think American companies that outsource their call centers need to be tried for treason!

  36. M Yeung says:

    Like most people, I have a middle name that I go by instead of my first name. My profile has my correct travel profile (among others including family members and coworkers). For some reason when I booked my multi-leg trip with multiple airlines, it used my user profile which has my middle name as my first name, and no personal information associated with travel (DOB, address, frequent flyer profile, etc.). I fully understand that it is my fault that I did not catch this right before hitting “purchase” as I am used to seeing my middle name. Past the 24 hour post-booking full refund window (which I now have no confidence that they would have even honored in this case), I noticed this error. So I called customer service to have this corrected. “No problem, let me check the airline policy, you may have to pay a $50”. OK fine. They come back and said that I had to call the airline carrier, and that they’re the ones that can change it. I call the airline carrier, and they tell me “No problem, we can do this with no fee…….oh but wait, since this reservation involves another airline, if we change this, it will corrupt your reservation so we can’t, you need Expedia to do this”. The second airline carrier basically stated the same thing when I called them.

    2nd call to Expedia; different agent but explained the situation, “Ok, let me speak to my supervisor and call you back”, I gave them my number but they never returned my call.

    3rd call to Expedia; yet a different agent who insisted on the same recommendation as the first agent, that I had to call the airline carriers to make the change. I asked if I could simply cancel the reservation and rebook using the credit but with the correct names. They said that the airline carriers would not allow it, even though I explained that the airlines individually agreed to the name change. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was put on hold for more than 30 minutes and simply could not continue waiting that night as it was late.

    4th call to Expedia the next day; same response. So I had the idea to call the airline agent and have a 3-way conference call with an Expedia agent. Understandably, after 40+ minutes of Expedia wait music, the airline agent had to leave.

    5th call to Expedia, I decided to try the reverse at a later time, I requested that the Expedia agent attempt a 3-way call with the airline carrier. After 20 minutes of airline carrier wait music this time, the Expedia agent told me that he had been talking to the airline “on the side” and a conference call was “not necessary” and that he can go ahead and cancel and rebook under my correct name. Great! He was in the middle of rebooking and the call dropped. But I remembered his name. Eric!

    6th call to Expedia, I explained that “Eric” was in the middle of rebooking my flights because [long explanation blahblahblah]… “Ok, let me put you on hold and speak to my supervisor”. Call drops. Mind you, I had to endure average wait times of 20+ minutes at the start of each of these calls.

    7th call with Expedia, this time a call back from that previous agent. “We couldn’t find this Eric agent, but I see in your record what the problem is and sorry, you have to call TSA to make the change, as much as I want to help you, there’s nothing we can do”. TSA?!! At this point I was F#($ing losing it. Again, I asked if I could cancel and transfer the credit, and they said that the credit is directly associated with the specific name on the ticket and is not transferrable, so basically, I could never use it, unless I officially swap my first and middle names, or find someone with my middle name as their first name and my same last name and have them pay me to give him my credit. Ridiculous, but my mind went that far.

    I decided to contact the first airline carrier and to have them change the name forfeiting the flights with the second carrier (since they were cheaper, I had planned to rebook and pay that fare again). They ultimately would not, citing again corruptions to my reservation that they would not be willing to be liable for. They told me “you could risk it and just try to board the day of travel”. Unfortunately, my official travel documents do not list my middle name.

    In the end after 6+ hours on the phone, completely defeated, I rebooked the flights at full cost forfeiting the entire Expedia reservation and value. Can’t win them all. I am simply flabbergasted that a multibillion dollar company like Expedia has created a massive wall of a system completely devoid of providing simple, logical, and reasonable communications and services to resolve what in my opinon is such a minor customer request but with significant consequences. As a result, I will NEVER use Expedia services again and am making an effort to prevent this experience from happening to other consumers by sharing mine. Thank you for reading.

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