Travel
    Next Score View the next score

    TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER

    I canceled my Expedia hotel room — so where’s my refund?

    Q. On a recent visit to Porto, Portugal, I had an upper respiratory infection and canceled a planned stay in Segovia, Spain. Fortunately, I was within the 48-hour cancellation window, so when I contacted the Hotel Infanta Isabel, I was sure I would get my money back from Expedia.

    Now the hotel is claiming that it didn’t receive my e-mail and has refused to refund my stay. Expedia says it’s unable to help me. Apparently, Expedia believes the hotel over me.

    I would like Expedia or the hotel to refund $174, the charge for two nights that I didn’t use. Can you help me?

    Advertisement

    CAROL MCLAUGHLIN,

    San Francisco

    Get The Weekender in your inbox:
    The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
    Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

    A. Expedia should refund your hotel stay. I’m looking at an e-mail from you to the Hotel Infanta Isabel that asked for a refund, sent within the 48-hour cancellation window. It appears the hotel claimed it never heard from you, even though you had evidence to the contrary — evidence that you shared with Expedia.

    I’m not surprised that an online travel agency like Expedia would believe the hotel. After all, it’s getting far more money from the hotel than it is from you. But I am a little troubled that it continued to believe the Hotel Infanta Isabel even after you showed it your e-mail.

    Good thing you e-mailed the hotel rather than calling. Can you imagine what would happen if Expedia or the Hotel Infanta Isabel only had your word? That’s why I recommend always putting a request like this or any grievance in writing. It starts a paper trail, which is critical to getting a case resolved. You can forward your e-mail correspondence to an online agency, a supervisor — or a consumer advocate.

    If you ever need to cancel a hotel room again, make sure you get a response from the hotel or online travel agency. Most important, get a cancellation number. That’s the evidence of your cancellation. If you don’t have a cancellation number, you don’t have a cancellation.

    Advertisement

    I think if you’d presented your e-mail to one of the Expedia executive contacts listed on my consumer-advocacy site, it might have changed its tune. A brief, polite e-mail might have done the trick.

    I contacted Expedia on your behalf. It reviewed the correspondence between you and the Hotel Infanta Isabel. Expedia has issued you a full refund.

    Christopher Elliott can be reached at chris@elliott.org.