Booking for the cheapest possible flight can be satisfying – until you discovered that you’ve been charged more than double the amount you were expecting.
A few months ago, I saw a good price for my trip to the US on Expedia Singapore through Skyscanner, a popular website that compares flights, hotels, car hire provider and travel agency.
After I booked my ticket, I later found out that there was a difference in conversion and I have been overcharged. The original price posted on Skyscanner before I booked was US$1045 but what was billed to me by Expedia was SG$3,455.40, that is US$2,557.65 when converted to USD. The USD $1512 discrepancy is quite huge!
Being Persistent in Calls and Emails
I immediately called Expedia’s customer service department to report the discrepancy. I was told that there was a billing error and I would be receiving a call in 3 to 4 hours.
After not receiving any news from Expedia about my issue, I called again the following day. The agent made me wait as he is coordinating with the airline. After that, he advised that I need to cancel my booking and rebook again. I would be charged for the cancellation fee. I told him I don’t want to cancel. I just want to be billed right. I also gave them screenshots of other sites offering the same flight that showed the original price (US$10450).
Daily calls and emails can be frustrating when you receive standard response like “We will be investigating on this issue and give you an update as soon as possible.” but I try to keep it as professional as possible and avoid giving harsh words. I let them know how important it is for me to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
After each call, I send out email with notes on:
- Name of the Agent who answered the call
- Date and time of call
- What have been discussed during the call
- And persistently ask for their feedbacks and actions
It is important to keep track of the conversation in case the issue will need further escalation.
Social Media Posting
After a week of no definite action from Expedia, I’ve launched into a full complaint mode. I’ve posted my issue on several of Expedia’s social media sites and I was lucky that after a few hours, I receive a call from Expedia’s Social Media Escalation Team saying that they are reviewing the case and would like to resolve it as soon as possible.
Cancel the Ticket and File for Bank Dispute
The overcharge is way out of my budget and I can’t afford to pay the full amount. After days of chasing Expedia, I decided to take the drastic measure to cancel my ticket with Expedia, and file for bank dispute to stop the payment.
By submitting the dispute form and other supporting documents, I authorized the bank to hold and investigate the validity of the transaction. The bank may revert or cancel the transaction once they found out that my complaints are reasonable and valid.
Citibank charged P250 to my credit card for every sales slip retrieval made in the course of the investigation.
I have asked Skyscanner to help me investigate and they gave me report from their system logs. Below, you can see the parameters that I have exited from Skyscanner to Expedia SG. The prices that I have selected are in US dollars. You will find 3 exits with price US$1,045.53 and have the same departure and return dates for Cebu-LAX.
It was also later found out that I was incorrectly booked in business class, thus the overcharge.
After two weeks of struggle, I finally got a confirmation that Expedia will refund the ticket. What a relief!!!!
- Always review all details before booking. This problem should have been avoided if I had taken the time to review and convert the price from SGD to USD.
- Be persistent but polite! If you don’t get what you want, call them again. Give them a sense of urgency without being a jerk. That way they can understand your problem better and help you resolve it.
- Be grateful. Thank them for answering your emails and taking your calls. They may not be able to solve it right away, but at least they are there to listen and help.