ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orange County woman claims a popular online booking service failed to give her a refund after COVID-19 forced the airline to cancel her flights.
Action 9′s Todd Ulrich got results and explains what consumers need to know about buying airline tickets during the pandemic.
Keshia Dublin’s dream trip to Japan was canceled due to COVID-19. There’s nothing Dublin could’ve done to change that, but a missing thousand-dollar airline refund, that’s something Dublin can’t accept.
“It’s almost been a year, and they keep telling me that it’s coming,” Dublin said.
She used Expedia, the online travel booking service, to buy All Nippon Airways tickets for a June vacation. The flights were canceled months earlier because of the pandemic, and Dublin says Expedia promised a refund in July.
She claims she was told it could take 8 weeks and says Expedia blamed the airline. “Expedia is telling me the airline has my money, and the airline says Expedia has my money.”
Ten months later, Dublin contacted Action 9.
Expedia is rated A plus at the Better Business Bureau, but the bureau issued an alert about the number of complaints they had received involving COVID-19 refunds.
One Expedia customer filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in Washington State, claiming Expedia refused to refund customers for flights canceled because of COVID-19.
According to Dublin, her friends traveling with her didn’t use Expedia and had better results getting their refunds.
“They did their tickets directly through the airline and got their money back within a month,” Dublin said.
Action 9 contacted Expedia. At first the company said it issued Dublin’s refund last July, but screen shots of Dublin’s discussion with Expedia customer service just last month suggest it’s still missing. An Expedia employee wrote, “I can see here it was reissued,” and “wait for a couple of days.”
After Ulrich contacted Expedia a second time, the company said that it corrected Dublin’s credit card information and processed a full refund this week.
Experts like Susan Grant with the Consumer Federation of America tell consumers if their flights were canceled due to COVID-19, they’re due a refund, but going forward, if travelers need to cancel over pandemic concerns, the only protection is travel insurance that allows them to cancel for any reason.
“It’s really important that you read the policy carefully so you see what’s covered and what’s not,” Grant said.
Dublin said she hopes Expedia will now deliver. “I just want the money back.”
If your airline or booking service only offered vouchers instead of refunds for COVID-19 canceled flights, you can complain to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The agency warned airlines last year that passengers should get refunds.
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