Answer: I wouldn’t be so quick to blame Expedia. Airlines are known to drag their feet when it comes to refunds, and my initial reading of your problem suggests American might have something to do with the delay, too.
This is a common problem. You buy your tickets through an agency, and the agency takes your money. But if you want a refund — or something else, like a name change — then the agency defers to the airline.
If you paid the agency, why can’t the agency just give you a refund?
I’ve been covering the travel industry for years, and I still haven’t heard a reasonable answer to that question. I’m told that it’s technology or policy or even tradition that keeps your money from flowing back in your direction promptly. Either way, it seems the only beneficiaries are the companies that get to keep your money for two to three billing cycles. It shouldn’t be that way.
Expedia should have been able to refund your entire purchase and then retrieve the money from the airline. Instead, it made you wait. And when you made inquiries, it told you the check was in the mail, and when you followed up, refused to answer.
For what it’s worth, I think your refund would have come — eventually. But you’ve been more than patient. You can find the names of Expedia’s executives on my new customer service wiki, On Your Side and appeal your case to someone higher up the food chain.
I asked Expedia about your refund. It contacted you and admitted losing the information for your flights and refund. You received a full refund for your trip.
(Photo: l co nti/Flickr Creative Commons)