Booked a trip with Expedia, including air travel, hotel stay, and a roundtrip shuttle between the airport and hotel. When the trip was booked, Expedia showed plane seating charts with available seats, which we selected, and a private van for no more than three passengers was booked ($202) for transportation to and from the airport.
Upon checking in to our 14 hour international flight two days before departure, the airline showed no seats available for any of our flights, but also showed that we had no seats assigned. The only seats that could be given to us were $89 extra per seat. Afraid of being bumped to another flight or losing our flight all together, we paid for the seats, and sent Expedia an email requesting assistance or a credit (anything really) as a result of the misleading and conflicting information that you get about seating and check in when you book with them. Their system generated a message that said we would receive a response within 48 hours, we did not receive a response until 5 days later. Their response was clearly a copy/pasted generic form letter stating that they value customer feedback so they can continue to give great service. The email also said to reply or call if the response did not satisfy the issue.
I was out of the country, so calling was not an option. I reiterated that their site gave conflicting and misleading information about seating and check in policies- one part of their site says check in 72 hours in advance for international flights, emails to my personal email account with itinerary details said no more than 24 hours in advance. One part of the site lets you choose available seats, telling you that seats are reserved when you book for most airlines, so you pay and get to pick from the chart, other parts of the site tell you to contact the airline directly for seating.
Then the other lack of service occurred. We had paid for a private, roundtrip shuttle between the airport and our hotel to avoid dealing with taxis or public transportation with all of our luggage in a foreign country. The shuttle to the hotel when we arrived was fine, except the Veolia driver didn't have our hotel address, which I fortunately was able to give him (strange, since the last time I used this service there were no issues). Upon dropping us off at the hotel, he said that he would update the hotel address for our return trip, and to make sure that we would call and confirm our return shuttle the night before our departure. When the front desk assisted us with calling to confirm the night before our departure, they gave us a pick up time that was 2 1/2 hours before our flight departure (voucher you get from Expedia says 3 hours, but no big deal), and the desk clerk confirmed our hotel location with the shuttle.
On the morning of our departure, we checked out at the front desk of the hotel, and stood around crowding the small lobby for quite some time, when I finally asked if they could call the shuttle for us to make sure there was no problem. The shuttle company said there had been a problem with the address, but that someone would be there shortly. This was less than two hours before our flight back to the US was supposed to take off. When our shuttle arrived, we got jammed into a small bus with several other people about 1 1/2 hours before our flight was supposed to take off. Even with our airline delaying the flight 15 extra minutes due to bag check lines, we had to be escorted, running through the terminal, by an airport staff member who was using her walkie talkie to tell them NOT to shut the doors, because we were en route.
So, at this point I had paid $178 extra for seats so the airline wouldn't bump us from our flight out of the country, and the $202.36 "private shuttle" that was supposed to ensure we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare made us just barely arrive to the flight gate before the plane started to leave.
When I was back in the country (three days after the last email), I received another generic email stating the same information- thank you for your feedback, seating is not guaranteed, send an email reply or call for more assistance. This time I responded with the updated information about my trip, requesting that since the shuttle ride I paid for was neither private, nor punctual, that there should be some sort of accommodation made for an unsatisfactory service. After waiting for three days, I attempted to call BOTH phone numbers provided in the emails that Expedia sent to me. For both numbers that I called, I got the same automated system, entered all of my information, and waited on hold to speak to a person. After calling the 800 number they provided and waiting for almost 40 minutes on hold, the line disconnected. I decided to call their other number, with a 404 area code, to risk using my cell phone minutes. Same automated system, same hold music, and waiting for over 20 minutes before being disconnected.
I decided that I would try again the next morning, but before then, I received another generic email response from Expedia that evening. Even though I asked them to address my issues with the shuttle because they kept giving me the same copy/pasted text about airline seating, I received no response to my shuttle complaint. I promptly responded to the email, stating that I had not been able to get ahold of anyone by phone, and that at this point, I would be dealing with my financial institution to dispute the charges and get my money back for the services that I did not receive/was overcharged for.
Two days later now, I received yet ANOTHER generic form email in response to my message stating that I couldn't get through after over an hour between both provided numbers. None of the emails that I have received have actually addressed my specific situation, nor have they addressed me as an individual. Every communication that I have received has been the same opening statement copied over and over again stating that they will use my feedback to make experiences better. Then the second part of each email is simply "we are sorry you weren't 100% happy..." etc. followed by a closing statement saying that I can call or respond to the email if I have additional questions or issues that need to be addressed.
So I guess my more than $12000 in travel in the last two years booked through their site is meaningless to them, and I will be utilizing the services of a competitor or book directly through the vendors to ensure that I know what my money is paying for, who to contact with issues, and what to expect. I hope other travelers who have had similar issues do the same.