i am perturbed at the moment about something afoot at expedia.com. earlier today, i received a message saying that they were giving me a $50 credit on my account after a displeasing stay at a hotel in louisville, ky, this past february (the days inn central, to be exact). it turns out, the $50 is actually hush money because they also removed my review from the site. the first email reads, in part, "Please know that since the review you submitted was handed over to this department, it will not be posted to the site." um... why would it be removed exactly?
let's discuss this hotel, shall we? by "displeasing," i mean that we arrived at what appeared to be a prison, got to our tiny, disgusting room, and actually almost decided to eat the $75 or whatever we had spent just so we could stay at a hotel where we felt safe and didn't think our car was going to be robbed. bordering the fenced in parking lot are a highway, a liquor store, a convenience store, and a discount cigarette store. the area was sketchy, and i have stayed in some sketchy places. we tried to walk to a bar on the other side of the freeway, and we actually turned around after two blocks because we were afraid. i was with a 6'2", able-bodied man, by the way.
this was all before i realized the next evening that i also had bedbug bites all over me from the room. in short, if i were a person traveling alone, i would absolutely want to know about the safety concerns, and any sane person would want to know the hotel has bedbugs.
fast forward to today - apparently, expedia has a system for removing negative reviews from their site. when i tried to resubmit my review, it barred me from doing so since i hadn't stayed there in six months. gee, i wonder why it took them so long to get back to me on my negative review?
this is troubling, particularly in the case of a place that has bedbugs and safety concerns. after expressing this to expedia in a follow-up email, i received a "response" that basically says, "sorry you feel this way, if you need anything else let us know. glad you're a customer!" right... the $50 doesn't cover the cost of my very scary, bedbug-ridden room, and you're not even going to let me post an honest review for my trouble?!
long story short, expedia apparently buys people off instead of dealing with health and safety concerns of their featured hotels. following is my initial email back to expedia.com and the response i just received from expedia's "customer service" about my concerns. remember, the review highlighted SAFETY ISSUES and BEDBUG PROBLEMS; this wasn't a "my room smelled moldy" kind of problem.
Message sent to expedia.com, 12/9/10:
While I appreciate receiving a $50 credit to use in the future based on a bad hotel experience I had earlier this year, I am concerned that my review was removed from the site (Customer Case ID: E-******). People considering staying at the Days Inn Central/University in Louisville, KY, should absolutely know that we received bedbug bites while staying there, the rooms were awful, and we were afraid for our safety and our property. If I had been traveling alone, I would have turned around and left it was so bad, and I have stayed in some questionable places - as it was, even traveling with another person, we almost left because we were scared to stay there.
I have no idea why my review would be removed from the website. Again, if I were a single woman traveling alone, I would certainly want to know about safety concerns, and anyone would want to know about the bedbugs. I would appreciate it if you would put my review back online; I appreciate the $50 credit, but I don't know why that would require you to remove my review.
Expedia's non-response response:
Thank you for contacting Expedia about your hotel reservation.
We appreciate your thoughtful comments and we are sorry we disappointed you on this matter. We are also happy to know that you count on Expedia.com for your travel plans. We rely on customers like you to provide us with the information we need to continue improving our services. To this end, we will share your comments with the appropriate department. We hope you will visit us again, at www.Expedia.com.
If this does not answer your question or solve your problem, feel free to reply to this message or call us at 1-800-EXPEDIA (1-800-397-3342) and reference case ID: M-******.
Thank you for choosing Expedia.
Expedia Customer Service Team
i'm guessing i won't hear anything more back. so let's recap, shall we?
moral of the story #1: never stay at days inn central in louisville, ky, unless you like bedbugs and fear.
moral of the story #2: stop using expedia or at the very least double-check user reviews of your planned hotels with an independent source, such as yelp.com. if you see one negative review on expedia, who knows how many more were deleted?
ETA: this is probably fairly common - i mean, corporations in general are focused on making money, not the safety of their customers. however, i've always had the perception that i could at least use user reviews as some sort of baseline. apparently, not so much. seriously, it was so bad that we snapped photos out front before we sped away as quickly as possible the next morning. i probably would have looked even more pissed here had the bedbug bites started showing up that morning: