Expedia just lost me as a customer.

And it really hurts me to walk away. Unlike most customers, who’d probably
have walked away long ago, I have an emotional attachment.

I worked on Expedia. When it first went live, I was the guy who installed
the “final bits” in the MSN datacenter where it was housed at the time. My
account is one of the first on Expedia. Somewhere within the bowels of Expedia,
it’s quite possible that some of my code remains.

And yet, no matter how hard I try, Expedia refuses to take my money.

Here’s the story. Last week I finally decided to book a trip my wife, a
friend and I would be taking to Austin in September. Very simple, three adults,
Seattle to Austin, and a car at the destination. I laid out my itinerary, and
went to purchase it. Several screens later, Expedia finally responded with “We
are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

And for the record, it’s a Visa, and very valid. I used it today for other
things, and no, we’re nowhere near my credit limit.

Fine, I try again. I reenter the credit card information, since it’s on
file. Make sure the expiration date is current, and so on.

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

OK, fine. I’ll use my American Express card. In fact I even have another
trip already booked and paid for on Expedia using it, so that should work, right?
Wrong.

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

Same story, I double check all the information, reenter the number and
expiration date.

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

OK, ok… I get software. I even understand credit card processing can be a
pain in the behind at times. I’ll let it sit a couple of days so any transient
problems can work themselves out. If it’s a widespread issue, you know they’ll
be all over it.

Today I go to try again. You can guess where I’m headed:

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

Fine. We’ll call customer service. To their credit, it was relatively easy
to get to a real person, with whom we repeated the process and the results.

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

OK, we’ll try the other (Amex) card again. This time she put me on hold when
it failed, presumably to get help from someone.

She came back, and indicated that perhaps one of the flights in my itinerary
wasn’t available any more, so she wanted to rebuild it from scratch. Why an
unavailable flight would manifest as a denied credit card is beyond me, but
what the hey. Like I said, I’m patient, and wanted to cut my beloved Expedia
some slack. Sure enough the return trip was no longer available, so she booked
a different flight. Cool. No. You know where this is headed…

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

Back on hold I went.

After a couple of minutes she came back on and indicated that the airline
(American Airlines) “was in the database” and that could be causing the
trouble. Again, why a database issue like the would manifest as a denied credit
card is beyond me, but I carried on. Her suggestion: wait 15 minutes and try
again. So I did.

Actually I waited longer. Three or four hours.

“We are unable to authorize this credit card. Please use a different credit
card.”

Two different credit cards, that I know are good, work elsewhere, and use
different back-end processes.

Apparently Expedia doesn’t like me any more, and doesn’t want my
business.

Sigh. I feel so … rejected. And as silly as it sounds, sad. Expedia was
one of my “kids” :-).

Maybe that roaming gnome will have me.

(Postscript: yep. The gnome likes me. First time, without a hitch. A double pain for me, since
Travelocity was “the competition” when we were building out Expedia. Sigh.)