21 April 2010

this is rich, pt.2

Some of you will remember my post "This is Rich." from Dec 09.
The DMV had changed the name of my city from South San Francisco to Linderville. It was time for my license to be renewed, but to go through the proper channels, i.e., via the mail, would take so long that my license would expire before I received it. So, after an exasperating yet ultimately entertaining phone call with a clerk who patiently explained that I had three options (1. renew by mail with the address change and let the license expire in the process, 2. renew by internet and have the wrong city name, or 3. go to a DMV office -the only appt available was 4:30pm on Xmas eve, my birthday and not the best time to be in downtown San Francisco!) She didn't seem to share in the irony that none of the options were viable.
So, I decided to just renew by internet to keep the license from expiring...and it did indeed come back listing Linderville, CA as my city.
Just for amusement, I checked to see where Linderville, CA is...and there is no such place.
OK, the zip code is correct so no matter.

On to today's fiasco. I am currently on hold with Expedia. On 9 Mar 2010 I booked a ticket for my trip to Barcelona 28 Apr where I am performing and teaching a Tribal:Pura event for Mandragora Tribal. Over the course of the last month Expedia has contacted me several times about "changes to the itinerary." Each time there was a glitch in communication btwn Expedia and Iberia Airlines. Each time it was worked out. Last week however, I was told that my Iberia flight had been canceled because they had not received funds.
Huh, funny that I have a copy of my credit card statement showing full payment to Iberia on 9 Mar. And, the American Airlines flight from SFO to NY is still intact. Huh.
As my sponsor, Maria, and I struggled to find another flight to Spain, I received another "urgent message' from Expedia telling me that the SF-NY flight had been canceled as well. No reason given. Just gone. Poof!
One has to assume that the plume of volcanic ash emanating from Iceland had something to do with it (and I do feel for the people left stranded, I assume my flights were shanghaied for the common good.) But apparently, the flights available through Expedia, and one would assume the other on-line travel agencies, are not in fact confirmed when the suck the funds out of your account. I think they are virtual assignments that pend on junk flights that the airlines cannot fill at the last minute. They just keep rerouting, canceling and re-booking them until you either do or don't get on the plane.
In other words, they can take them back without reason. Poof!
OK, just got off the phone with the chirpy clerk at Expedia. They have issued a full refund (to be processed over the next two billing cycles...)
Maria and are still looking for a flight to get me there next Thu for the event Fri-Sun.
Wish me luck. Don't buy from Expedia.


Foodycat said...

That's not even enough time for you to start swimming! I've flown with Iberia before and they were very good. If you ever get on the plane. Good luck!

Herbatka said...

Hmm - all airports in Spain were open the whole time during this volcano mayhem and all transatlantic flights were received there - the problem was with France, Italy, the UK, Germany, northern countries and Poland of course (still don't know what's up with my flight...). Right now the situation is better, as the ash cloud went far north and the volcano seems to calm down abit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you to come safe and ot time to Barcelona - I'll be there even if I had to go by car across Europe ;-)))

Jasmine said...

Don't even talk to me about Expedia. I was in Morocco for two months and, upon wanting to fly back, bought a ticket from them. They proceeded to charge my debit card *twice* for the ticket, putting me in the negative at my bank, then refused to issue a statement to my bank asking them to release those funds because, as Expedia's low-level customer service reps put it, there was no record of my debit card payment. Um, 'scuse me? You just put a hold on those funds. Of course you have a record of it somewhere. Expedia then referred me to the airline, who referred me back to Expedia. Two weeks later, after many frustrated and even tearful phone calls over Skype in Moroccan internet cafes, the entire thing was sorted and I vowed never to buy from them again. The stupidity of the people I spoke with still irks me to this day.

Carolena Nericcio said...

Just got notice that Expedia has refunded the amount of the canceled flight. Whew, back away from the on-line travel agents!