Hotel and Expedia keeps money for my entire stay when I check out early.

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Jan 2, 2018
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#1
Quick Summary:
I booked a hotel in Rome on Expedia for six nights. After two sleepless nights (in different rooms) due to significant room issues (no temperature control, noisy, dirty, broken bed and shower) I decided I needed to check out and change hotels. Expedia and the Hotel denied me a refund for the rest of my stay, and do not respond rationally to me about the issue. The policy on the website states "
Cancellations or changes made after 6:00pm (W. Europe Daylight Time) on Dec 12, 2017 or no-shows are subject to a property fee equal to 50% of the total amount paid for the reservation.
". There is no mention of anything about no refunds for early checkouts or 100% penalty charges in certain scenarios.

More:
The first night I was stuck in a room that was extremely hot, and the heat could not be shut off nor did the AC work. I had to open the doors and windows which subjected me to loud noise and no sleep. Nobody could fix my problem until the next day, as there was no staff capable of changing rooms or trying to fix anything at night. The next day they convinced me to change rooms, this room seemed at least the right temperature. The second night, my shower was flooding and the bed collapsed twice due to loose boards. Again I had to handle the issue myself as it was the middle of the night.

The situation was a mess because there was no on-site management to be able to handle any issues and no useful desk staff at night, and I was always told to talk to my travel agent (expedia). Expedia would call the Hotel and get a similar response: no management on site, our offline team will get back to you in 24hrs. It was supposedly a four star hotel, but felt more like a budget Motel/apartment with the staff.
I may have created a confusing situation to my disservice, as shortly before check-in I was trying to see if I could cancel or shorten my stay anyways without penalty through Expedia customer service, to which I got a refusal from the Hotel. It seems Expedia and the Hotel committed to this earlier answer when I had further issues with the hotel. From Expedia:
"We would like to inform you that we already contacted the hotel and we were advised that they are not going to refund any amount. They will still charge you for the total amount of the reservation as the penalty."
Expedia is not honoring their own printed policy with the hotel, at worst I would say 50% is one additional night for 3 out of 6 nights. Since my stay was so unsatisfactory, I would have at least expected a refund of nights not stayed.



I haven't attempted any further escalation or dispute yet, and wanted suggestions. How should I proceed to dispute this?
Should I attempt a credit card dispute (chase sapphire Visa), if so what is my best argument/approach? (amount and category of dispute)
Should I first try to escalate with Expedia through the contacts on this website?
 
Likes: Blessings

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
What printed picybate you referring to? The cancellation penalty you cite is before you check in. Not after you have stayed there 2 nights.

The hotel has to waive the charges for you before you leave if there are issues - otherwise you are responsible for the entire time you booked. You contracted with them to stay there for x number of nights and they expect you to abide by that. And you are probably right - you tried to cut the stsy short before you even arrived so they might be looking at this as your way of trying to get out of the stay.

We have company contacts on top of our page. Write to the Expedia customer service email address. You must go through Rxpedia since you booked through them.

Give them a week to reply. If they don't respond or refuse to help, write to the first executive shown. Tell him/her that Customer Service wasn't able to help or didn't reply. Give the executive a week to reply. If necessary, repeat weekly going up the chain of Executives one at a time. If you get all the Executives with no help, come back here and let us know and we'll
Tell you the next step. Make sure you keep all the emails as you'll need to forward them to the writers if they need to get involved.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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#3
What printed picybate you referring to? The cancellation penalty you cite is before you check in. Not after you have stayed there 2 nights.
Thanks for your reply!
This 50% thing is the only policy they had on file, and they read it back to me when mentioning the policy. But it seems you are right, Expedia deferred to the Hotel which seemed to decide to dismiss the very real issues I experienced. The Hotel seemed to argue that because I accepted a 2nd room, that I could no longer leave. I did take photos of the issues in both rooms.

I will reach out to Expedia through the mentioned means. Any key things to emphasize or avoid conflating in my correspondence?

It seems a credit card dispute is not suggested at this time? I might argue that I did not receive goods and services for any of the nights booked there. I was thinking this might simply increase tensions with Expedia, and present a weaker case without having exhausted other means.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,661
11,247
113
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
Use our contacts first to try to appeal to Expedia Executives. Write one at a time starting at the bottom of the list.

You should have contacted Expedia as your agent at the time and asked them to move you. Did you do that before leaving? You need to allow the agency that fix the issue for you before leaving.


If you had done that let the executives know in your letters.

But you can’t just check our of a prepaid reservation and assume you would get a refund.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jan 2, 2018
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#5
You should have contacted Expedia as your agent at the time and asked them to move you. Did you do that before leaving? You need to allow the agency that fix the issue for you before leaving.


If you had done that let the executives know in your letters.

But you can’t just check our of a prepaid reservation and assume you would get a refund.
Hello,
I had contacted Expedia indicating I want to leave before checkout out before hand, yes. I will be sure to mention this.
I was in correspondence with them repeatedly both nights, and the morning I wanted to checkout. Unfortunately, they would always return with something to the affect that they can't reach anybody to make the decision at the hotel, please give the offline team 24 hours. Each time they took longer than 24 hours, and the morning that I needed to check out- I could not wait another 24+hrs to get another response while waiting in this Hotel. I told this to Expedia, and told them in certain terms I would be checking out. After a short time on hold, Expedia's response was I would not get a refund, because the hotel is saying I accepted the 2nd room as satisfactory. Emails that I received days later from Expedia reaffirmed that the Hotel will not allow a refund.

Some Hotels on Expedia clearly stated no refunds, but not this Hotel - it only declared the penalty I mentioned earlier.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#7
What a mess. Booking through an OBA is always a bad move and this is one of the reasons.You are now caught between a very sub-standard hotel and an online booking agency with little expertise in solving problems.

I think your issue right this minute is to determine the policy of 'early checkout' and refunds for unused days. A refund policy governing cancellations and no-shows before checkin can be completely different than one one covering 'forced checkout' due to inadequate lodgings. I have paid my dues in Roma, probably one of the noisiest cities on the planet, and they are casual about temps and ventilation in hotel rooms as well .. just like the rest of Europe.

But once you obtain the relevant refund policy to your situation, you should have something to go after. It is too early to file with Chase, that needs to be done after you have pursued every avenue to fix the situation yourself and are not getting cooperation or attention from the merchant.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,661
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#8
What was the name of the hotel?

When I went to book on Expedia, there were terms and conditions shown before you input your credit card.

On the particular hotel I chose- it clearly states no refunds for early check out:

  • The room/unit type and rate selected are non-refundable. Should you change or cancel this reservation for any reason, your payment will not be refunded.
  • No refunds will be issued for late check-in or early check-out.
What does your confirmation say? Or what is the name of the hotel so we can check the terms ourselves?

If this was stated then to may have no recourse. And if that’s also the case- a charge back would likely be unsuccessful.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jan 2, 2018
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#9
What was the name of the hotel? .... What does your confirmation say?
Royal Palace Luxury Hotel-Piazza Di Spagna


There is none of this no-cancellation language on my confirmation, or what appears to be the current language for the Hotel today. I specifically avoided properties that stated no-refunds as a precaution.

Rules and restrictions
Cancellations and changes
We understand that sometimes plans fall through. We do not charge a cancel or change fee. When the property charges such fees in accordance with its own policies, the cost will be passed on to you. Royal Palace Luxury Hotel-Piazza Di Spagna charges the following cancellation and change fees.
Cancellations or changes made after 6:00pm (W. Europe Daylight Time) on Dec 12, 2017 or no-shows are subject to a property fee equal to 50% of the total amount paid for the reservation.


I reiterate, Expedia is allowing this Hotel to make up any policy it desires without disclosing it first. The Hotel is not charging in accordance to the 50% change agreement it had with Expedia.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#10
See my screen prints below. You fall under early check out and it does most certainly state no refunds for early check outs.

Expedia cannot control a hotels policy but their system had terms and conditions on the checkout page that you have to click on and say you read in order to check out. See the screens below.
 
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Jan 2, 2018
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#13
View attachment 1608 When you click on them - it clearly started no refunds for early checkout.

You would lose a credit card dispute because it was stated.
I believe these terms were changed after my stay, these don't reflect the terms that were available to me on purchase nor the terms presented to me by Expedia customer service when I repeatedly asked for where this policy is stated.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
I believe these terms were changed after my stay, these don't reflect the terms that were available to me on purchase nor the terms presented to me by Expedia customer service when I repeatedly asked for where this policy is stated.
What is problematic is how to prove that. Neil is just trying to show how a credit card dispute would likely rule in the hotel's favor. What further complicates the issue is that Expedia never said that there would be a refund or no charge. As for strategy, I would write to Expedia rather than do a credit card dispute.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,661
11,247
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
I believe these terms were changed after my stay, these don't reflect the terms that were available to me on purchase nor the terms presented to me by Expedia customer service when I repeatedly asked for where this policy is stated.
They wouldn't change the terms and for you to prove that, you would need screen prints showing what the policy was when you booked. If you believe they changed the terms, you will need to take it up with the executives at Expedia. We have their addresses in our Company Contacts.

Did you ask them what the cancellation policy is when you called Expedia or the early check out policy? You repeatedly refer to the cancellation policy but you did not cancel - you departed early. They correctly gave you the cancellation policy but not the early check out policy.

"I may have created a confusing situation to my disservice, as shortly before check-in I was trying to see if I could cancel or shorten my stay anyways without penalty through Expedia"

You also stated you tried to change the terms to leave early after you booked. It sounds like you didn't click and check all the terms when you booked. Many people don't bother to click on them, they simply assume everything is fine and book. And I absolutely do believe that you may have aroused the suspicions of both the hotel and Expedia by trying to change the reservation even before you arrived. It seems suspicious to me as well.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#16
They wouldn't change the terms and for you to prove that, you would need screen prints showing what the policy was when you booked. If you believe they changed the terms, you will need to take it up with the executives at Expedia. We have their addresses in our Company Contacts.

Did you ask them what the cancellation policy is when you called Expedia or the early check out policy? You repeatedly refer to the cancellation policy but you did not check out - you departed early. They correctly gave you the cancellation policy but not the early check out policy.

"I may have created a confusing situation to my disservice, as shortly before check-in I was trying to see if I could cancel or shorten my stay anyways without penalty through Expedia"

You also stated you tried to change the terms to leave early after you booked. It sounds like you didn't click and check all the terms when you booked. Many people don't bother to click on them, they simply assume everything is fine and book. And I absolutely do believe that you may have aroused the suspicions of both the hotel and Expedia by trying to change the reservation even before you arrived. It seems suspicious to me as well.
I think Neil has summarized the case perfectly. To successfully challenge this you will need to convince Expedia that you, in turn, were "convinced" that the room conditions would not ever change to acceptable and reasonable levels and that your prior attempts to leave early are unrelated to your exit.

It's an uphill battle, but you have only time to lose by contacting the executives. If you do, I would focus only on the condition of the room(s).
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#17
Yes Neil has summed it up perfectly and it is problematic that there was an attempt to cancel or shorten the stay before checking in:

I may have created a confusing situation to my disservice, as shortly before check-in I was trying to see if I could cancel or shorten my stay anyways without penalty through Expedia customer service, to which I got a refusal from the Hotel. It seems Expedia and the Hotel committed to this earlier answer when I had further issues with the hotel.

I do not doubt that there were issues at the hotel; but the fact that there was attempt to cancel even before check in may lead Expedia execs to think that the traveler was searching for a reason to check out early.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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#18
Did you ask them what the cancellation policy is when you called Expedia or the early check out policy? You repeatedly refer to the cancellation policy but you did not cancel - you departed early. They correctly gave you the cancellation policy but not the early check out policy.
Hi Neil,
Sorry if I am confusing. I refer to it because that is the only answer I received repeatedly from Expedia. I asked about early checkout policy, and after a short delay Expedia support was unable to find anything. At the time they said the only policy agreement they have regarding this is the aforementioned 50% cancellation fee policy.

As an update! I emailed Scott Weismiller listed in the contacts. I received a prompt reply from the Expedia Executive Resolutions Team, I am now in contact with the tier3 support. Here is there response, I do worry if it will be the same story as before- I will need to re-stress my points:
"
I contacted the hotel and spoke to a representative who advised me that the reservation is non-refundable after check-in. I requested an exception be made due to your email stating there was no air conditioning in the room; I was informed that the guests were provided another room. Due to the request being denied I sent an email to the manager requesting a refund for the unused nights. I'm currently waiting on a response from the hotel manager and will provide an update once a response is received."


Regarding my dwindling hopes of recourse, I have difficulty understanding why purchases of goods are different than services regarding consumer protection. If I purchase an item and it is defective, Credit Card companies often have generous protections for this regardless of the policies of the store. If I purchase a Hotel room, it seems that the vendor should have some obligation to deliver a functional Hotel room.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,661
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www.promalvacations.com
#19
There is some hope then that perhaps they can talk the owner into helping.

We were able to clearly find the early check out penalty once you gave us the name of the hotel as evidenced by the screen prints we gave you. I have no idea why Expedia couldn’t find it
and it was on the check out page where you had to agree to in order to check out. It specifically says no refunds for early check out. Why they couldn’t find it is beyond me, Maybe they should hire some of us from here because apparently we can figure out their website better then they can.

The terms were there and you agreed to them when you checked out. When the terms are listed as they are- that’s your consumer protection.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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#20
As an update, Expedia informs me that the general manager of the hotel denied the request for refund. I've been offered a measly $100 credit for Expedia. This is just a rinse and repeat of the earlier initial customer service interaction but an upgrade from the $25 credit offer. As I lost nearly $500 to this hotel swindle, this is upsetting.
Why is it up to the Hotel to approve a refund, when they are the ones swindling me?