is trip.com legit?

Is trip.com legit? Why you should never use them in 2022 (or ever)

If you’re searching for flights through popular flight search sites such as Skyscanner, you’ll have probably come across trip.com.  Flights listed on their site are often significantly cheaper, sometimes even 50% cheaper than those listed in other places. The temptation to grab these tantalisingly cheap deals is understandable, but, if Internet searches are anything to go by, many budget travellers are asking themselves whether trip.com is legit, trustworthy, reliable or safe to book with. Having recently had an absolutely terrible experience with this company, I’m here to answer your questions with some hard truths, and hopefully save you a lot of hassle, money and heartache.

TLDR: Never book anything with trip.com. They are absolutely the worst travel company I’ve ever dealt with. 

Here’s a little bit about what happened to me. If you’re asking yourself is trip.com legit or safe and just looking for straight answers to your questions, feel free to skip my horror story and just read the rest, though I assure you that you will be thinking twice about booking with them once you hear what happened to me (and others!).

My trip.com nightmare

I booked a return flight on trip.com, as I was due to go to an important family event in California. The day before my flight was due to leave the UK, I received an email from trip.com saying my flight was cancelled by the airline. When trying to rebook travel through their website, I was told there were no available flights, although there were plenty of flights still going (including on their own site). UK / EU law states that if your flight is cancelled by the airline you have a right of being rerouted to your destination by any means necessary, or alternatively receive a refund. As I was supposed to go to a specific event, I wished to be rerouted.

I then found out that trip.com, even though they have a UK phone number, are actually a Chinese company. Dealing with their Chinese call centre was terrible – agents with poor English repeatedly giving me contradictory information about whether or not I was being booked on a flight, then insisting there were no flights available. They didn’t care at all that I  was going to an important event. When I asked to speak to a manager, they always said one wasn’t available, and if I insisted and refused to get off the phone, they’d get another agent, which I’m pretty sure was only pretending to be the manager, seeing as they had no additional authority or knowledge (but hey, at least they didn’t just change their voice and pretend to be the manager, like what happened to this lady when she tried to speak to one!). I was told I was being put on another flight, then when I woke up at 4am to go to the airport, had an email saying the airline rejected the request.

After spending several days trying to sort this out, I was eventually told there were no flights and forced to take a refund or lose my money. This refund would apparently come in “up to 14 working days” because of the airline. To cut a long (and horrible) story short, I missed out on the event I’d been looking forward to for many months, because they would not put me on another flight. I was left with no ticket and a vague promise of a refund that may or may not come.

Having left them one star reviews everywhere I could (here and here, for example)  they offered to “expedite” my refund request so that it takes up to 7 working days (how? I thought the airline made that impossible? Hmm) and offered me $50 in site credit as compensation, which is absolutely insulting considering they ruined my trip with their incredibly poor customer service. They keep insisting it’s not their responsibility to reroute me if the flight is cancelled and seem to think I should be grateful that I am even getting a refund.

As of today, I am not even sure the refund is really coming, as I only have their word that it’s on its way.

As far as I am concerned, booking through them does not negate my legal rights, which, since the flight was due to leave from a UK airport, mean I have the right to be rerouted by any means necessary to get to my destination in time. Having booked through them, I couldn’t go directly through the airline, so it’s up to them to ensure my legal rights are upheld. I believe they broke the law by refusing to reroute me when I repeatedly and clearly stated that was what I wanted.

But regardless of whether they broke the law when they refused to reroute me or were unable to do so because of constraints placed on them by the airline (which is what they are claiming), the bottom line is that I booked through them and was therefore denied my legal rights. Reading the many many bad reviews they have on sites like Trustpilot , Sitejabber, and others, it seems like I am far from alone. At least I wasn’t stranded abroad because of their screw up like this person, or had my flight changed to another country without my consent like this one! Still, my summer plans have been absolutely ruined because of their awful customer service.

I should also note that Trip.com have also repeatedly ignored a subject access request from me. This is a legal requirement in the UK that states they have to provide me with the personal information they have on me if I request it. This includes recordings of any calls made to the customer service centre, including the one where I repeatedly said I did not want to cancel my flight and wanted to be rerouted.  

(UPDATE: 8 days, several calls and dozens of emails later, I was finally provided with the details on how to get my information out of them as per my subject access request. This happened after I emailed Skyscanner’s CEO, which got this handled by Skyscanner’s customer service manager. After emailing their data compliance people I was told I’d get an answer within one working day. It’s now been almost two weeks and I’ve heard nothing back. Meanwhile I was being offered more compensation, but still not what I asked for, which is the equivalent of a flight to my original destination. Now trip.com have basically disappeared and stopped answering my emails, even though I’ve asked for an official response if the insufficient offer of compensation they’d made is their final offer.)

After my terrible experience and the resulting research I did, I am now able to answer some of the most common questions about trip.com, including things like “Is trip.com legit?”, “Is trip.com safe to book with?” and all those other questions that show people are not quick to trust this company. So…

Is trip.com legit?

The answer to this depends on what you mean by “legit”. trip.com is a real company, though in practice they may as well be a scam. The experience myself and many others have had with them often ends up being out of pocket, with no flights, wasting whole days trying to get anywhere with their agents, having to spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars or pounds to get to your destination, being stranded or having to give up on your holiday.

Is trip.com legit for flights?

Absolutely not. If your flight gets delayed, cancelled or is otherwise affected by the sort of issues that are now happening all the time you may well lose your money and not have a ticket. Trip.com may refuse to refund you the money or hold onto it for months or even years.

Is trip.com legit for hotels?

I’ve never booked a hotel through them (and never will), but reading people’s reviews, it seems they are just as bad for hotels as they are for flights. They often forget to notify the hotel of reservations, leaving people stranded and their site doesn’t update when hotels are closed down or are full, meaning people can turn up in the middle of the night with nowhere to stay. If you book with trip.com you are gambling away your money and potentially also your safety.

Is trip.com trustworthy?

In my opinion: absolutely not. Trip.com is based in China. Nothing inherently bad about that, but they do seem to have very poor customer service standards and don’t always understand or uphold the law in the countries they serve.

Paying trip.com and getting a confirmation from them doesn’t mean you will fly. Sometimes they fail to pass your payment to the airline, meaning you don’t actually have a ticket. Check out this review for one of many examples.

If anything goes wrong with your booking (which is likely in this climate of delays, cancellations, strikes and other travel disasters), you will not be looked after by trip.com. They plaster their website full of “guarantees” and talk about “peace of mind”, but these are just for show.

For example, the first time I tried to book a flight through them, they sold me a “price freeze” for £9 to lock the price of the flight for 12 hours. After just two hours I got an email saying there were “no more flights at that price”. So what did I just pay for? Thankfully I got a refund for the fake price freeze, but in hindsight that should have been a red flag not to believe anything they say. Here’s another person this happened to, making me think this is not a freak incident!

Others have been less fortunate. Take this guy, for example, who paid for a refund guarantee, only to discover he’s wasted his money when he actually needed the refund. This is just one of many bad reviews people in similar situations have left trip.com

Trip.com agents are trained to get you off the phone no matter what. I was repeatedly told things were going to happen and I would get an email about it, but then either an email never came, or I got one saying the exact opposite.

Is trip.com safe?

It is absolutely not safe to book with trip.com. They are not members of any trade associations (at least in western countries like UK, USA, CA and EU countries), they are not ATOL protected. If anything goes wrong, you have nothing to protect you from the consequences. And things do go wrong all the time. Their agents make a lot of mistakes and won’t rectify them, or at least not in time for you to catch your flight. They hold onto your refund from the airline for weeks or even months if you are issued one. They make changes to flights without telling you and won’t refund the money if you can no longer travel as a result. And worst of all, sometimes they tell you they’ve issued your tickets, but don’t confirm with the airline, so you never get to travel at all!

Who are trip.com?

Trip.com, formerly Ctrip, are a big Chinese travel company. Trip.com group now own a lot of travel websites, including budgetair, cheaptickets and others, some of these are owned through a company called Travix, which trip.com also owns. Most importantly, they also own Skyscanner, which in my opinion is one of the reasons why it’s no longer a trustworthy site. Skyscanner pushes trip.com and their properties all the time, giving them prominent placement and creating a false sense of security for visitors. I only booked with trip.com because I found them on Skyscanner and thought they were a trustworthy company. Don’t make the same mistake I (and many others) did. Avoid booking with trip.com.

How can you contact trip.com?

If you’re trying to contact trip.com then perhaps you are already having a problem with them, in which case, I’m sorry. If you google “trip.com contact number” followed by your country, you should be able to find their contact number. However, in my experience, going through to an agent on the phone is no better than using their online chat. In fact, the online chat might give their agent the opportunity to cut and paste stuff into their translation software so they might understand you better. In my experience, there is no advantage to trying to use your voice to elicit any kind of response from them. Save yourself the hassle and use the chat service. You’ll get nowhere, but at least you can say you tried before getting to the next stage I will detail below.

How can you get through to a real person on trip.com’s annoying chat feature?

Trip.com’s chat (you can access it through their customer support page) is designed to get rid of you rather than help you. As such, it will keep throwing crappy, useless answers at you rather than giving you the option to speak to an agent. To get to an agent, pick the relevant topic from their list, which should give you a bunch of questions and answers. Pick a random question to get the answer. If there’s no option to “consult an agent” at the end of that, click the “give feedback” at the bottom left. Make sure you click the “terrible” option to let trip.com know what you think of their crappy chatbot. As part of their automatic apology for their failure to provide a decent service, they’ll provide you with the option to speak to an agent. Click that and you will (eventually) be connected to someone in their Chinese call centre. Don’t expect any actual help, though!

How can you get through to a manager on trip.com?

To get someone actually dealing with you as a person, you’ll need to think outside of the box. Once you’ve tried dealing with their incompetent agents and gotten nowhere (and only then, sadly, because you have to give them a chance to do their job, even though they will ultimately fail), you can start making some noise on social media. The easiest way to get their attention is to give them a one star review on sites like Trustpilot or Sitejabber.  If you’ve downloaded their crappy app, you can also give them a one star review in the Apple or Android store, though the character limit is annoying and it’s harder for them to get in touch with you on there (still fun, though). Now sit back and watch the fake caring reply appear in all its poor Google Translated glory. Do not be fooled. Trip.com doesn’t care. But if you’ve provided your booking reference, you will hopefully get an email from (supposedly) a “customer success manager” you can deal with. Make sure you give them details of your booking or they won’t be able to contact you.

If you have a Twitter account, you can also tweet trip.com on there with your complaint. They will ask you to message them your details for them to contact you.

Personally, I prefer Trustpilot and Sitejabber, because they will let you edit your review as many times as you want. I edited my review repeatedly to keep up with the developing situation and to refute their various lies.

Sadly, none of this helped me fly to my destination in time or receive adequate compensation, but it seems to have worked for some people looking for refunds, as some reviewers have changed their one star reviews to reflect the fact that trip.com have provided a refund / compensation. Maybe it will work for you.

In my experience, these are the things they respond to. For myself, I googled “trip.com reviews” and have been going through and adding mine everywhere, including on reddit threads. It might not make a difference to what happens in my case, but it sure as hell might save others from going through the same shit I did.

What other things can you try if you’re getting nowhere with trip.com?

If you’re not getting anywhere with them, you might also want to leave some bad reviews for Skyscanner (that is, if you found the trip.com flight through them). Their customer service agents are marginally better, plus the company itself is based in the UK. They will contact trip.com for you to ask them to look into issues, though there’s no guarantee anything will come out of it.

Many people seem to have had good results with doing a chargeback through the credit card. If you booked the flight on your credit card and trip.com won’t give you a refund you’re entitled to, you can ask your bank or credit company to do a chargeback in many cases.

Other people seem to have had some luck contacting airlines directly when trip.com wouldn’t help them, but your mileage may vary with this one. The airline may well refuse to deal with you, because you have booked through a third party.

Conclusion

Trip.com are an awful company and no one should book with them ever. They should really go out of business for being this bad, and if there was justice in this world, they would. My advice to you is to always book directly with the airline if you can afford it. If you can’t afford it (which nowadays with crazy flight prices may well be the case), book with a company that’s based in your own country and is a member of reputable local trade associations you can turn to if anything goes wrong and the company misbehaves.

Have you had a bad experience with trip.com?

Feel free to comment below and tell your story. If you want to link to your reviews elsewhere, you are more than welcome to do that as well.

You are also more than welcome to let me know if you were considering booking with them and have changed your mind as a result of reading this post.

If you’ve had the misfortune of dealing with trip.com, you have my sympathies. I hope this page helps in some way for you to get the refund and compensation you deserve from these outright scammers.

6 thoughts to “Is trip.com legit? Why you should never use them in 2022 (or ever)”

  1. I was just about to book a flight to Spain through them but then I saw your initial post about how terrible they were. Thanks for saving me!

  2. I was about to pay them for my flight but my payment failed since they were not accepting my card for some reason. As you mentioned in your article, the customer person was useless as usual. Thankfully, when I opened twitter and searched for TRIP, i came accross this article. All I could do is thank you for writing this piece. I’m getting rid of this application straightaway. Will pay extra bucks but will get the tickets booked for elsewhere. Thanks again.

  3. Looks like I just dodged a bullet. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’ve not travelled in a while and it can be so hard to figure out who are reliable travel companies and who are not. I won’t be using Trip.com and I’m sorry you had such an atrocious experience with them.

  4. I have a similar experience. I had to purchase 4 different flights to Barcelona, all cancelled at the last min in the same week. The last booking I made i didn’t get a cancel notification but when i got to check in they said i was not listed and never was issued a ticket. I was at the airport for hours, the flight departed and I got an email saying to book the same flight for the next day but it was sold out. I did get the refund and they told me since there were no longer any non stop flights JFK to BCN and the price went up significantly that it would be fine to book any flight with another airline. I made sure to call 5 different agents to make sure that this was ok, ALWAYS GET AN EMAIL. They assured me that they had spoken to their manager and that there were notes on my account saying i was good to buy this expensive flight. The next day I was happy and positive I was getting on my flight so I called back to make sure that everything was ready only for them to tell me that they can no longer pay me the difference of my flight and that I am not eligible to cancel. This flight was 1,613.80 economy flight leaving from the same airport JFK, the only difference was that it had a stop in Frankfurt. Her solution was to buy ANOTHER flight from LGA…..a diff airport, I would have been tricked again due to it departing from another location. I have been trying to get this taken care of since June and all the agents keep telling me is that they will issue a ticket with their dispute team but I am stuck with a charge for a flight I was told to buy and never used after I realized I had been scammed. I had to buy a whole new flight the next day for $900 to get to Spain and Chase has not done anything to help me even though this is a fraudulent site. I have called back recently and the agents keep telling me to drop my disputes with the bank and they will refund me but when i tell them i want it typed out in an email they say that it is not possible. I have recordings of these misleading agents but banks cannot legaly use them. I thought it was a safe site because it is linked to sky scanner and PayPal but they know what they are doing and get away with it. Do NOT book on this site I am still dealing with this 4 months later and it will ruin your trip.

  5. I was about to book a hotel on there, which is $200 cheaper than anything else I could find on any other platform. But, I am always wary of booking anything through new or unknown websites to me, so I did some research and found tons of bad reviews and no good reviews. This wasn’t the first bad review of them I found, but yours and everyone else’s reviews do help. They saved me from potentially losing over $800, so keep it up, please!

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