Beware of eDreams Scams: Nightmares from a 3rd-Party Travel Provider

[A quick point of clarity in case anyone comes to this site by searching for words like ‘Aeromexico’ and ‘scam’ or anything of the sort: Aeromexico is an excellent travel provider, and I had a fantastic experience with them booking travel, flying, and in a subequent customer service inquiry. eDreams is the guilty party here, so please read on to find out why.]

As a seasoned traveler, I made a grave mistake online, and it’s one I want to make sure others can learn from, so here’s my story about one of the most shameful and shady businesses I have come across.

When booking a trip to Mexico City for the holidays, I used Kayak to find flights, which I normally do. It tends to work out great. This time was a rare exception.

The best flights that came up were on Aeromexico, booked through eDreams. I booked the flights, paying nearly $2,000 for three tickets, and was excited to be all set for the holidays. My credit cards actually initially didn’t go through, which sometimes happens; I didn’t realize that perhaps they were trying to protect me from something. And I really should have just gone directly to the source, rather than an unknown third party, so that fault is mine. But I also expected anything in Kayak to be reputable. Kayak’s brand shined a halo on the other one.

After I received my booking code, I tried entering it on Aeromexico’s site to confirm details and choose seats. It couldn’t find the reservation. Hours later, still no luck.

I started researching eDreams a bit more and found some info that made them seem legitimate enough, such as a score of 6.9 out of 10 on Trustpilot, with 4,000+ reviews. But then it wasn’t hard to find warnings of scams like this eDreams scam via TripAdvisor and this eDreams scam via Fodors and this eDreams scam warning page on Facebook (the image is via that Facebook group; I requested permission to use it and haven’t heard back, but I’m hoping they won’t mind).

I called within 24 hours to cancel my ticket. I couldn’t initially get a hold of anyone on customer service. As I discovered time and time again, when calling eDreams, if you call to make changes to a reservation or ask for a refund, it will put you on hold indefinitely. They will never pick up the phone. Literally. It goes into some black hole. If you instead choose to make a reservation, they will direct you to customer service.

They said they were processing my refund. I got an email about this, and soon it was supposedly being processed.

But then I noticed the reservation was still active on their site. It would stay that way for weeks, and I had to call multiple times to get them to take it down. I also kept getting travel alerts about my trip.

So the warning signs piled up.

They said it would take three weeks to process the refund, so at this point, I waited, and then went on my trip, and had an incredible time in Mexico. But that’s a story for another day (if you need Mexico City recommendations though, hit me up – I have TONS).

After my trip, and then CES, I checked, and sure enough, there was no refund.

I called on January 12 and spoke to someone who sounded fairly human and competent. She assured me this would be fixed. She said I just needed to send them proof that I didn’t receive a refund, and they would get it fixed. I prepared a snapshot of my bank statement and sent it over that day. I was supposed to receive a response promptly.

On January 14, I wrote asking for a response. I didn’t get one.

On January 18, I wrote again, and received a response the next day, saying this [the only change at all is replacing the numbers with # signs]:

Thanks for contact with eDreams.
Your booking reference number is: ##########
We want to inform you that in case of your ticket  it has been issued directly
with your card ************#### and not with our corporate card it means we can not provide or speed up a refund.
It will be provided by Aeromexico . If you have any questions you will need to contact
with them directly.
Regards  

This was the first reference to their corporate card. It sounded beyond suspicious. I immediately called Aeromexico. I gave them my 6-digit reservation code, and they said it couldn’t possibly exist like that, as their reservation codes are all letters (or all numbers – I forget which they said) and this was a mix of letters and numbers. So they asked for the ticket number, saying it starts with 139. My ticket numbers started with 790. And then there was no record whatsoever of my name on the flight that I referenced. So there were three signs right there that I never had tickets – along with the initial issue that I couldn’t find my reservation on their site. It couldn’t have existed. The Aeromexico representative was extremely helpful and kind, but of course he could do nothing. Again, Aeromexico is a world-class airline, and they helped me get to the bottom of what was going on. I will gladly fly with them again to Mexico or anywhere else they go.

I immediately called my credit card provider, Capital One, telling them I did not want to waste their time until now, but it was clear that I was the victim of fraud. Capital One was outstanding, taking my case seriously, outlining next steps, and immediately processing a refund of charges while they sought payment from the merchant (of course, they could find I’m at fault in some way or other issues can arise as they resolve this, but I have had very positive experiences with them over the years, and I would be surprised if anything changed).

Beyond my warning to you – whoever winds up reading this – I need to share a warning with Kayak: you should seriously consider removing eDreams from your database and just send travelers directly to Aeromexico or any other airline directly instead. While I will use Kayak again, I will no longer trust a travel provider just because they’re in Kayak’s database.

And to you, dear reader, be careful of any unknown travel provider, especially for flights. Hotels are typically easier to cancel, and I’ve been an avid customer of Hotels.com over the years with no issues of note. And of course, there are providers like Orbitz, Expedia, and Priceline with long histories of customer service and satisfaction, so I don’t want to paint all intermediaries with one brush. But be very wary of unknown agents, lest your e-dream turn into an e-nightmare.

Safe travels.