Expedia Untrustworthy: my frustrating encounter at a Holiday Inn Express in Gridley, California

My stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Gridley (Oroville Lake) wasn’t particularly terrible. However, during the checkout process, something incredibly bothersome occurred: they adamantly refused to provide a printed receipt (folio). The counter agent simply refused, conveniently attributing it to management’s decision.

It’s possible that this nonsensical decision stemmed from misguided management. I don’t hold the agent responsible for following instructions. Nonetheless, two aspects make this situation particularly irksome:

Firstly, I understand why financial departments require receipts: scammers exist. Secondly, they lied about sending me an email receipt.

Anyone can make a reservation, receive the email confirmation, print it out, present it to the finance department for reimbursement, and then cancel the reservation. Financial departments are aware of this, which is why they rightfully demand proof of actual hotel stays. The receipt (folio) contains the final charges and the checkout date.

The Holiday Inn Express in Gridley, California, flat out refused to provide me with the receipt/folio: all because someone wanted to save a penny on a piece of paper.

This would have been less troublesome if they had actually sent me the email receipt as promised. However, they failed to do so. I highly doubt that the agent knew for sure—she was probably instructed to inform customers that they would receive an email.

To clarify, the email receipt did not end up in my junk mail folder. I’ve been an email administrator for twenty years. I ought to be able to figure that out, no?

This ordeal frustrated me to the point that I decided to leave a negative review on Expedia. That’s when I discovered that Expedia allows property owners to censor the reviews they display. Each time I submitted a review, I received a rejection message claiming it was unacceptable. I tried toning it down and making it friendlier, but it still didn’t meet their standards. Only after significantly revising it did they finally accept it.

The most valuable lesson I learned from this experience is that Expedia’s review system is untrustworthy. I have no intention of ever using their service again.

Delta Airlines did the right thing

I just received an email that Delta is processing my refund. Good on them.

I had never minded Delta a company; at least up until they had told me they were issuing a credit, and AIG didn’t need to pay out because the credit was as good as the original trip. Every time I went to the BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, I had flown Delta (SLC is a hub for them). It was always a nice flight, and the people seemed efficient and friendly. I’ve met some really nice passengers on flights to and from Salt Lake City.

After cancelling the flight and getting the email that I would need to file against my flight cancellation insurance policy, and then AIG saying the credit from Delta nullified the insurance; I was pretty unhappy. Although really, I was more unhappy with the insurance company AIG than I was with Delta.

Now, Delta has done the right thing. I like Delta again. 🙂

And now AIG is off the hook. I would kind of like to see Delta redeem the cancellation insurance policy that AIG got paid for; but since I paid for it, I doubt that the insurance is transferable to Delta.

Booking.com and Red Roof Inn Dearborn Michigan did the right thing

I screwed up. I had put in my cancellation on my airline flight during my lunch break months ago, but was running late. I couldn’t find the email for the hotel. Turns out it was because it was with Booking.com instead of my legacy booking site. And then life got distracting, and I forgot that I needed to deal with this.

The morning that I was supposed to check in, I got a reminder email. D’oh!

I called them up, and explained that I needed to cancel, and yes it was my fault. I fully understand that they deserve their cancellation fee. The Booking.com agent also asked that I telephone Red Roof Inn, Dearborn, and let them know I wouldn’t make it. I did.

They refunded me in full. That was very gracious of them. I am thankful. Although I doubt that I will ever have a need to go to Detroit for the rest of my life, if I were to go, I absolutely would book again with Booking.com and the Red Roof Inn, Dearborn.

The other thing the whole thing reminds me of, is that Search in Mozilla Thunderbird is really poor. I’m spoiled, of course, because in my work life, the email system I run has an excellent indexer + search. Rather than be a failure and cause these people the headache of having to refund (and waiving the cancellation fee), I would rather have found the right email and gotten the cancellation done in a timely manner.