A reservation to a branch that doesn’t exist

Update 06-07-17 A compensation plus vouchers

Expedia wired the amount of $128.65 into my Amex and provided me in addition, a $200 voucher. Thanks.

 


On the 05/24/2017 I booked a car via Expedia after I found a great deal outside Manhattan, in Long Island City.

We walked and then took a taxi and finally got to the address indicated in the reservation email, even though we couldn’t see any Hertz sign.

The price I received for a midsize car for 1 day was $62.58. Such price is worth travelling to Long Island City…

Due at pick-up: $62.58
Base Price: $52.00
Taxes and Fees: $10.58

Upon arriving we found out that this Hertz car rental location doesn’t exists! There was an Avis branch there at the same address and the guys there laughed at as saying “customers are sent to this Hertz branch all the time but it has been closed for months…“.

How come Expedia keeps sending customer to a branch that doesn’t exists? Well, our experienced didn’t end here…

I called Expedia customer service and explained that there is no such Hertz branch and that we have to postpone our little trip to the Hamptons for tomorrow. The first response I received was unbelievable: the rep. said: “this is not our fault. Its Hertz’s fault not updating us”… Well, from a customer’s point of view, I don’t care. I booked a car via Expedia and expect you to do your homework. I asked to speak to a supervisor.  She tried to help and offered me a compensation of $200 which I argued as I estimated the proper compensation for a day loss, expenses, difference in rates had I booked the same car at a different branch / company to be $350. She didn’t say no, but said she needs to get approval from her boss. Just to make it clear, she offered the compensation in vouchers, explaining that since Expedia only refer to the merchant (a car rental company, in this case) and the payment is made directly to them, so assuming I will rent a car tomorrow and pay around 250% of the original quoted price, the only way to be reimbursed, is via these vouchers.  I later learned that this was in fact far from the truth, since the Expedia vouchers are ONLY for hotels. Nevertheless, the boss approval never arrived. I was on the line for almost an hour in total.

  • I spoke to a representative at 1:49 PM for 10 minutes.
  • Then at 2:21 PM for 27 minutes.
  • Then at 2:50 PM for 8 minutes.

Each time I was put on hold for a long time. Whenever I asked that they will call me back I was put on hold again and again.

A very problematic Call Center system

She didn’t get back to me and when I called again, and had to wait on the line for 50 minutes (!), I found out that Expedia has an oldish and problematic call center system that doesn’t log the details of previous calls. To be precise, I didn’t want to go over the long story again and again so I asked them: “Can you check your log and see whom did I speak to?”, the rep. said “no”, so I asked: “can you see what is the problem I had with Expedia today?”, and the rep said “not much, just that you couldn’t get the car you reserved”. Well, that’s an understatement!

So I had no choice but to tell the story to another supervisor AGAIN!

My next calls where:

  • 6:02 PM  – 8 minutes
  • 7:09 PM  – 50 minutes!!!

Most of that time was on hold!!! at that point I was told that I will be connected to the manager – So I was on hold in order to talk to the manager once he finishes a call to another client, instead of him calling me!!

“The manager can’t call you directly…”

I asked that the manager will call me back but the person who spoke to me (Daniel) said it’s impossible (another fault in Expedia call center system). Daniel said I have to be on the line before he connects me to the manager, and if the manager is busy I will have to be on hold for as long as it takes!! Then at 8:46 PM I spoke with the manager, Mr. Rodney McCulel, who was VERY rude and impatient! He offered me less than the supervisor lady offered! First he said that the vouchers she offered me can be only used for hotels. Second, he refused to compensate me for the loss of time and bad experience and asked for my Taxi receipts and nothing further. He then said he can reimburse me for the difference in the new rental, but no consideration for what I had to go through today. He was extremely rude. I have no choice but to go to court and ask for the compensation I deserve, which will reflect everything I had to go through today, time lost and everything else which is not measured only by money.

I ended the call and immediately filed a complaint with the BBB. I think a business should always be able to compensate customers and when they do, such compensation should not be limited to a certain form of consumption (i.e. hotels) but to anything including giving back cash. I also think compensation should reflect not just to direct expenses (taxi, etc.) but to the bad experience itself, which is why I am asking for $350. I think it is important that call center systems will have the ability to log more details about each call, so the next representative will have all the details. I think the manager should have the means to call a customer back. After all, this is 2017.

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