The Covid-19 pandemic totally upended the way the travel industry functioned. Moreover, it triggered a slew of cancellations for many frequent travelers. After bearing the brunt of customers’ frustration and anger initially, almost all major US carriers ended up waiving change fees on most standard tickets. However, if you booked through an OTA, your situation may still be different. An Expedia customer has sued the company with a class action lawsuit for refusing his refund.
Expedia Lawsuit: Refunds v/s Vouchers
This USA Today report highlights some of the key details of the lawsuit.
Daniel Mahoney filed a lawsuit against Expedia after he claims the travel booking services violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act by refusing to refund the price of his airline ticket.
“Despite its role as middleman or broker in its customers’ purchase of air travel on these airlines, Expedia did not intervene or take steps to ensure that its customers were given the right to receive a refund on pandemic cancelled flights,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit describes the details of Mahoney’s travel plans. Mahoney purchased a $905 round trip ticket on Expedia in December. He was supposed to fly from San Francisco to Milan on TAP Air Portugal in July 2020. In May, Expedia informed him that the airline had cancelled his ticket.
Expedia refused his refund, informing him that he would only get an AA voucher for that value, valid until December 31st, 2020. Mahoney tried to get a resolution by escalating the issue, but there was no solution in sight. That prompted Mahoney to file the lawsuit.
The class action lawsuit claims Expedia violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act by using “unfair or deceptive practices in trade or commerce.” Mahoney and the class members are seeking monetary damages and treble damages.
The Pundit’s Mantra
On one hand, one really feels for the travel industry and its employees as they wade through the stormy waters of this crisis. On the other hand, cash is king in times of crisis. Vouchers provide little support to customers who are in desperate need of cash.
Have you recently contacted Expedia for a refund? If yes, what was your experience like? Also, have major US carriers done a better job at refunds compared to OTAs like Expedia? Tell us in the comments section.
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