If you booked hotels through Expedia between January 10, 2001 and June 11, 2008, you should have received email notification that you’re eligible for a class-action settlement.
Expedia is accused of hiding its own fees, claiming they were taxes. Although the company has not admitted doing anything wrong, it has agreed to refund about $120 million to consumers.
There are some exceptions. If you booked a package instead of a stand-alone reservation, you aren’t eligible for the settlement. You must have been a U.S. resident at the time you booked. And there’s a one-week period in December 2002 that is excluded.
More details are available from the official settlement site and Joe Brancatelli gave an excellent summary on a National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition today. If you discarded the email, you can try to get your claim verified by submitting an electronic form.
So how much money will you get? The settlement site explains the formula but doesn’t give any dollar estimates here:
… you may choose to receive a cash payment equal to about 30% of the amount of Service Fees you paid for covered reservations. Alternatively, you may receive Expedia Settlement Credit equal to about 65% of the amount of Service Fees you paid for each reservation. (Note: The above percentages are approximate, and may be adjusted upwards or downwards depending upon the total amount of the cash payment elected by Class Members within each Subgroup. It is certain, however, that your available Expedia Settlement Credit will be 2.17 times higher than your available cash payment.)
One blog estimates that cash refunds could be as much as $15 per room per night. I suspect this estimate is based on a hypothetical case, cited in the lawsuit complaint, involving a room rate of $320 a night. This is far more than I am ever willing to pay, so I suspect my own settlement would be considerably less if I were eligible. (I’m not.)
In any event, the more you paid, the more you’ll get back. But the exact amounts will depend on how many claims are filed. It is clear, though, that the refund will be more than twice the cash amount if you accept an Expedia credit instead of a cash payout.