LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — West Hills teacher and coach Cara Viramontes couldn’t believe what she saw when she opened a recent email from travel site Expedia.com.

“I thought it was a joke,” she recalled. “No way this could have happened.”

When Viramontes logged in to check her itinerary on Expedia’s website last week, she found an expletive — in bold — followed by an exclamation mark. Yes, an Expedia employee appeared to have left her a message: “F— You!”

What’s more, she saw that her and her family’s New Year’s travel reservation had been cancelled without their consent.

“Everyone I show, they laugh and think it’s a joke,” she said. “No one can believe a company as credible as Expedia would ever do something like this.”

It all began when Viramontes complained that she had been charged for travel insurance for her 8 month old son, even though the infant doesn’t need an airline ticket and will sit on her lap. After the call, she responded to an online survey, sent to her by Expedia.

“I was honest,” she said. “I said, ‘You know what, the lady wasn’t helpful. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she wouldn’t let me speak to a supervisor.'”

Two days later, the high school teacher and coach says she got the email telling her that her trip had been cancelled. And that’s when she saw the foul language.

She quickly called customer service. She says she was told that she was to blame for the canceled reservation. She then sent the supervisor a screenshot of the “F—  You” at the top of her itinerary.

“It’s clear as day what was written and I haven’t received a response,” she said. “Nothing.”

Viramontes said on Tuesday that Expedia had yet to offer to compensate her for the $600 she paid for her plane tickets. She said a supervisor told her she would have to pay a $200 fee to book another flight.

Expedia later responded to a request for comment from CBS2 on Tuesday afternoon.

“We take this matter very seriously and have opened up an investigation analyzing every click and action made by our customer service agents,” the company said.

Expedia also said it will rebook Viramontes flights, refund her money and provide her with a $500 voucher.

Comments (170)
  1. TD Smooth says:

    Wow, Expedia has not even come out to say the agent has been fired. Which means it’s entirely possible if you use their service, you’ll get that same person with a chip on their shoulder harassing YOU! Buyer be warned!

  2. Julie Huff says:

    Wow. I have had mixed service with Expedia. Some good/some bad. They are inconsistent. I stopped using them a few years ago.

  3. Patricia Laws says:

    My parents purchased a travel package from Expedia, which required them to call Expedia’s customer service to complete the booking. But the rep misspelled their last name on their plane tickets, and Expedia initially refused to correct the mistake. My retiree parents had to spend months of pleading and $1,600 (on top of what they already paid for the hotel and plane tickets) just so they could go on my dad’s 65th birthday trip to Italy.
    Expedia is hands down the worst travel company; their customer service is callous, incompetent, and infuriating. This article doesn’t surprise me at all.

  4. reed winchester says:

    How did she find a live person to talk to? I have used Expedia a lot, in fact since they were founded. Getting hold of a live person to talk to is, at least in my experience, a miracle.

  5. When you are losing good paying jobs and these positions are the only ones available, at a very low pay rate, then this is type of Customer Service Reps. you get. Why do you think that a lot of Customer Service jobs have moved overseas?

  6. Jabber Joe says:

    This sounds exactly like when a kid comes home from school:
    Kid: “This big kid punched me for no reason”
    Parent: “what did you do before you got punched?”
    Kid: “Nothing”
    Parent: “Really, nothing at all?
    Kid: “Well, I did call them some bad names and stuff”
    Parent: “and stuff?”
    Kid: “…..and I threw the kids lunch on floor and stepped on it”

  7. Joe says:

    I don’t know why people deal with these large, faceless companies when they can use a local travel agent. You get the same good deals and also have some personal accountability. We’ve been using our agent for years. Local is better.

  8. It had to be the Russians. – Hillary Clinton

  9. All large firms have bad apples – the REALLY bad thing is that it’s so hard to get up the layers (outsourced service drones) until you get to ACTUAL employees who can do something. The companies these days insulate themselves too much from reality.

  10. mark says:

    im never using Expedia again. I hope this is on facebook. I have been saying for years that good customer service is out the door and pretty much non-existent, but this is way out there.

  11. WallyG says:

    That gal and her wife? Ok..just watching her tells me she doesn’t have a personality but an attitude! I think she came across as less than polite..let’s hear the recorded conversation.

    1. Chris says:

      I agree. This seems biased.

  12. Dennis says:

    Normally I side with consumers in all these disputes, but this is half the story. I find it VERY unlikely her telephone conversation with the agent was pleasant. I find it VERY unlikely that there is not a whole lot more to this story than we are being told.

    We see these repeatedly from airline travelers who make up stories about how this stewardess is racist or that attendant was mean. Then witnesses / video comes out showing something completely different.

  13. Pelosi Galore says:

    Apparently, Cara is the husband!

  14. Wharfplank says:

    I stopped using agents 5 years ago, I buy direct from Airline. No problems, ever.

  15. Hmm. Something seems off-kilter here. Expedia employees doubtless have numerous complaints on a daily business as part of their jobs. This behavior by them seems pretty over-the-top for what the woman describes and the lack of reaction by management odd. Methinks part of the story is being left out…

    1. timefortrump says:

      I had something similar to this happen to me with Comcast years ago. I was having access problems to my online account or something like that – can’t remember – but after dealing with a VERY difficult CS person wfho appeared to have a Hispanic accent, my account password got changed to something like F__CK_Y_U – the rep changed the password in retaliation. I was only able to see it because I was still in my online account and could see the password in clear text in my online account. Had I not seen that, he would have denied me access to my account because he changed the password. What concerned me is – what other information did this jerk have access to in my account? My SSN? It’s very disturbing that so much CS has been outsourced to foreigners in other countries and along with it our most private information

  16. Germ says:

    I worked for US Airways for 6 years and let me tell you, it’s a difficult industry, both for passengers and the employees. A lot of it has to do with the way the airlines operate. I pretty much have boycotted the airline industry as far as flying because of the way some of these airlines operate, especially the $150 change fee, which I think is completely ridiculous to charge just to change a ticket. And, some passengers aren’t saints either.

    From my experience, avoid the agencies. There were many situations where I had to deny passengers certain accommodations as dictated by the ailrine because they used a cheap agency, had to direct them back to the agency, which always created an employee vs passenger scenario.

  17. timefortrump says:

    I guarantee that the CS rep was either in Mexico or India – this is what you get when you OUTSOURCE to the lowest bidder. I am a homeowner who uses VRBO/HomeAway and they have now partnered with Expedia so this troubles me that our guests might be having this kind of negative experience with Expedia.

  18. Peter Mohan says:

    In America, isn’t it canceled and not cancelled?

    1. GROWAPAIR says:

      Yeah, cause that is what’s important for you ASSHATS.

  19. Brad M says:

    Probably bad survey number 25 for that employee. Was out the door anyway, scorch the earth?

  20. Dave Newman says:

    Expedia consider that you are a Time Traveler at times. I had a confirmed and fully paid flight from Toronto to Taipei via Shanghai in Business class using Air Canada and then Air China. Whilst out of the USA well before the trip, Expedia accepted a “schedule change” for me that had me leaving on my Air China flight 7 hours before my plane from Toronto was due to land in Shanghai. It took three days, and a total of 7 hours to get that one sorted out. All CS agents were in Manila

  21. donald says:

    “Her wife and son…” that poor, poor little boy.

    1. Leslie says:

      You made my day. Hahahahahahaha

  22. BlueDesert says:

    What an idiot woman. She refuses to buy insurance for her 8 month son.Because he will be sitting in her lap. And if something happens to the uninsured brat-then what ? She’ll go ballistic and blame Expedia and everyone but her self. .Screaming babies on planes ruin many trips for other passengers on the same flight. At 8 months old this kid won’t remember any of the trip anyway and should stay home with his grandparents..Airlines should keep all children under the age of 10 off aircraft.I fly 50-60 times a year on business and I can;t think of one flight that was not ruined by clueless parent who won’t shut there little dariings up.

    1. Chris says:

      She is AN idiot.

  23. Smitty says:

    “Expletivia.com”

    1. James T. Blackwell says:

      Touche’.

  24. Nona says:

    Expedia did nearly the same thing to us. Refused to refund our money. Furthermore, when we asked for a receipt of our canceled trip to submit to our travel insurance, they refused. No reason. Just a giant f-u. Everyone we talked to in customer service were rude, angry, and acted like we were wasting their time. They basically stole almost 1000 dollars and couldn’t be bothered to even give us a receipt. Never again. Worst company ever.

  25. Vargas says:

    Dear Useful Idiots,
    Welcome to Marxism.

  26. Jeff in Calgary says:

    A company can’t control every single action of every single employee. But they can fix the problem. The fact that it took questions from CBS to get them to do anything is abhorrent.

  27. Notice nothing happened until a news agency called Expedia. They weren’t going to do Jack until they realized the public would find out what happened.

  28. “a company as credible as Expedia”

    Since when?

  29. Here’s my theory based on past experience with certain segments of society. Could this just be another social justice warrior faking an incident? She calls the company and cancels the reservation, then alters the email header in a program to claim discrimination show she can get attention and/ or free tickets or for some imagined “cause”. Sound far fetched? Not as much as you would think, happens all the time. Just a theory, though.

  30. Bend Over for More says:

    I found out several year ago that it’s a rip off company. I don’t use any third party to book flights, hotels or vehicles. Go straight to the source and bypass these booking companies. You’ll save money and be better served.

  31. Derek says:

    Owning a business……Ive wanted to do the same thing MANY times…She looks like B_tch and I’m sure she was being very abusive to get he money back……..

  32. Eric says:

    I had a very similar experience. Expedia and their supervisors were very rude and not client/customer focused. This story is very sad however I am not surprised considering my experience of poor service. My experience started when I got the confirmation and only 1/2 of my flights showed up. When I clicked “buy” i was expecting that I was buying all of the flights I needed. Wasn’t the case when I got the confirmation.

  33. Coy Coleman says:

    Looks like a Hillary voter is getting the can. Good! Back to Burger King for you!

  34. Never use Expedia. My family was left without tickets in Paris 3 years ago when Expedia didn’t complete the booking- even though the itinerary said they did and were charged for it- and wouldn’t lift a finger to help. Had to purchase tickets out of their own pocket to finish the trip and only when an attorney sent Expedia a letter did they refund the money.

  35. Dave says:

    Hey, I got one of those e-mails also, where is my voucher?

  36. Dad: United Airlines did worse to my daughter. says:

    United Airlines did the same thing to my teenage daughter after I went off on them for knowingly leaving her without a place to stay after they cancelled her flight in Chicago. It was after 11pm and they had known since 4:30pm, per the Hilton, that the hotel they were writing vouchers for was FULL. Sick and sad people to do that to someone, let alone a kid by herself in the murder capital of the US: Welcome to Chicago! YES, without telling us, they cancelled her flight the next morning and her return flight home to Ohio for after her time volunteering at a reservation in South Dakota. We got lucky because i just happened to check her reservation on line to make sure of the time of her morning flight and found the rest of her trip was cancelled. And, NO, I did not use any foul language when i told them off, nor when i called back to force them to reinstate her trip. We don’t fly through Chicago or go to IL for anything ever now.

  37. mos8541 says:

    SO WHAT?!

  38. sailordude says:

    Sounds like they really get on their staff to sell the extended warranty.

  39. Simon says:

    If you can, book direct with hotels rather then 3rd party sites like expedia. They have zero care for the customer and charge massive commissions to hotel, 20% of the room rate. Book Direct and always be treated better.

  40. I’m guessing this “agent” had the approximate maturity level of a twelve year old. As John Wayne once said, “Life is tough. It’s tougher when you’re stupid.” This “agent” was truly stupid.

    1. Koko says:

      Judging a stranger is even more stupid.

  41. Mr. Gadsen says:

    This is a hoax. I just logged into my account on Expedia and used the edit trip name function and then clicked the e-mail itinerary function. Big shocker, the subject of the e-mail is exactly what I wrote and it is sent from expedia.com. Can I have a $500 voucher now?
    SMH, the lengths people go for attention. This apparent victim likely had a flight cancelled and was looking for some compensation.

  42. seescaper says:

    I think they accidently sent one of John Podesta’s emails

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