Class Action Relief for Expedia Hotel Bookings
Last month, a “Notice of Proposed Settlement of Class Action” was circulated to many travelers who booked hotel stays through Expedia.com from January 10, 2001 through June 11, 2008, and paid a “Tax Recovery Charge” and “Service Fee”.
The impetus for this notice stems from a lawsuite filed by customers of Expedia who booked hotel stays between these dates, claiming that these fees and charges were bundled in a manner that violated Washington’s consumer protection laws, and further claimed that Expedia had breached its contractual duties.
Expedia has entered into a proposed settlement to resolve these allegations, although it admits no fault. The proposed settlement provides for the distribution of $123.4 million in direct cash payments, or for Expedia Settlement Credit which - if the settlement is approved by the Superior Court of Washington where the lawsuit is filed – may be used for hotel reservations (including packages) on Expedia.com.
The Notice states that if you are a member of the class as described (consumers who booked hotel stays through Expedia.com from January 10, 2001 through June 11, 2008 and paid a “Tax Recovery Charge” and “Service Fee”), your legal rights are affected and you are required to make certain choices regarding options available to you. The long form of the Notice can be viewed at ServiceFeesSettlement.com .
As stated in the notice, if you are a member of the class of consumers described above, you have certain options and if you choose not to exercise one of these options, your legal rights to any recovery related to the allegations made, will be affected. The options as listed in the notice include:
MAKE A CASH ELECTION - This option indicates you wish to participate in the settlement. In order to exercise this option, you will need to complete and electronically submit the form electing this option at the website listed above. The form must be submitted by December 31, 2009 in order to receive a cash payment.
RECEIVE EXPEDIA SETTLEMENT CREDIT - This option also indicats that you would like to participate in the settlement. If chosen, this option allows you to automatically receive Expedia credit approximately 2.17 times the amount you would receive if you chose to exercise the cash election option above. Even if you choose to receive credit instead of cash, the notice states that you are urged to complete and electronically submit the Expedia Settlement Credit Verification Form on the website stated above to ensure you receive all you are entitled to.
OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT - If you are opposed to this settlement, you may object to it or any of its terms, and ask the that the Court not approve the settlement as described in the long form notice. This requires that you or a legal representative appear on your behalf at the Final Approval Hearing on December 1, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. in Washington state court where the class action was filed. In order to object, to the settlement terms, to Plaintiffs' Counsel's request for attorneys' fees and expenses, or to the requested incentive awards for the plaintiffs named in the class action, you must provide written objections to the Court, to Plaintiffs' Counsel, and to Defense Counsel by November 11, 2009.
ASK TO BE EXCLUDED: You may choose not to be a part of this lawsuit and keep your legal rights. This option will not allow you to take advantage of the cash or credit options offered in the settlemet, but it may preserve your rights to pursue your legal rights if you choose to file suit against Expedia separately for the same legal rights asserted in this lawsuit. Opting out of this settlement is a bar to receiving any benefits of the settlement and you will lose any right to object to the settlement, its terms, or the requested counsel fees and costs. To be excluded, you must return a completed form indicating your choice to “opt-out”. It must be postmarked no later than November 11, 2009.
Please visit the Expedia Class Settlement Website at https://www.servicefeessettlement.com for more information.
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