A Canadian man says Expedia charged him $6,200 for a $200 hotel room after tacking on thousands of dollars worth of unexplained “taxes and fees,” CBC News reports. And it took days for him to get anywhere with Expedia, only getting a refund after sharing his plight with the news.
Experienced travelers know that finding a hotel room on short notice can be extremely difficult and comparatively expensive. So when Canadian Justin Smerchanski found a room at a Willmar, Minnesota, Holiday Inn for $207.95 Canadian (about $155 U.S.), he figured he’d found a deal. He made the purchase and printed his receipt, and then got the shock of his life: he’d been charged $6,180.54 Canadian ($4,588 U.S.).
For reasons he still isn’t clear on, Expedia had charged him the original $207.95 for the room, plus an inexplicable $3,143.93 in “taxes and fees,” plus an additional $2,828.66 in “property fees.”
To be clear, Minnesota does not charge a 1,511 percent sales tax on hotel rooms, and Holiday Inn does not charge a 1,359 percent “property fee” on its room rentals. That means the problem appears to be on Expedia’s end.
But when Smerchanski tried to contact the travel aggregator for an explanation, he got nowhere. He told CBC News he spent probably eight hours on the phone with different Expedia agents over the course of several days, and each time he got no closer to a solution.
Justin Smerchanski's bill from Expedia for a $200 hotel room included $3,100 in "taxes and fees" and a $2,800 "property fee." https://t.co/g6X8sNrZt6— CBC Marketplace (@cbcmarketplace) May 17, 2019
Each time he called, Smerchanski says, he spoke to a different agent and was given a different case number. When he would ask to speak to a manager, he would be put on hold for long stretches of time. Smerchanski believes that Expedia was simply trying to stall him.
“No one can give me a clear answer. I basically just kept getting the same runaround… It’s just one hold after another and one manager after another who can’t help you with anything… I’m starting to get the indication that they aren’t going to be clearing it up.”
Eventually, he contacted his credit card provider, which began the process of trying to get a refund.
As it turns out, though, once the media got involved, Smerchanski got his refund surprisingly quickly. CBC News tried twice in two days to contact Expedia on Smerchanski’s behalf, also getting nowhere. But after they published their story, Sherchanski got his refund immediately, as well as a statement from Expedia.
“Our team has reviewed this case, and we have gone ahead and processed a refund for this customer in full…. In this particular instance, we do feel we could have resolved this issue in a quicker manner,” the statement read.
At least two other customers say that they had similar issues booking a room at that particular Holiday Inn through Expedia.