Answer: If Expedia sent you vouchers that were valid for a year, you should have been able to use them, no questions asked.
I’ve never quite understood why airlines or online travel agencies issue vouchers that expire. It makes sense from a company’s point of view — after all, you don’t want a lot of outstanding IOUs floating around out there — but why do customers put up with it? I mean, do we allow our money to expire?
There was no excuse for keeping you on “hold” and then hanging up on you, either. Unfortunately, that’s not unusual when you’re dealing with a huge online travel agency. During peak times, calls get dropped and good customers have to listen to many minutes of recorded messages that don’t pertain to them, before they do.
You were right to start an email chain, for a number of reasons. First, you had a real voucher from Expedia — undeniable proof that you had credit. Second, email is a far more efficient and trackable way of dealing with a grievance. When you didn’t get anywhere, you forwarded the entire chain to me, which showed your efforts to get this case resolved.
In reviewing the correspondence, I can see Expedia didn’t give your problem the attention it deserved. First it sent you a form letter saying it was too busy, and asking you to call (which you had already done) and then it sent you another terse reply, saying the vouchers hadn’t been issues by Delta.
But how could it say that when you had sent them the vouchers?
I publish the names of some higher-ups at Delta and Expedia on my customer service site, which might have been your next option. But I decided to contact Expedia on your behalf, instead.
Expedia agreed to research your claim. It found that when you initially called to postpone your flights in February, a representative canceled the tickets, instead. Expedia later reviewed the fare rules and realized that only ticket changes were allowed, and that cancellations resulted in lost value. In other words, the Expedia representative misunderstood the ticket terms.
Expedia refunded your tickets and allowed you to rebook your flights, as agreed.
(Photo: Ivan St amato/Flickr)