Paul Rolly: Utahn's best laid vacation plans go awry
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If you plan to "roll out the barrel" in Bavaria, make sure you don't get bent over one first.

That is the warning from Todd Ouzts of Draper after his carefully planned trip in December to Germany, for him and his father to celebrate their birthdays, turned into a nightmare.

"My dad has cancer," he said, "so it was important for every connection to be efficient."

But when Expedia.com informed him that their first "confirmed" flight had been rescheduled, creating an "unacceptable" eight-hour layover in Denver, he needed to reschedule the itinerary.

"I was directed to call their support center (in India, naturally) where I would waste most of the next two days on hold," said Ouzts. "When I discovered that our original afternoon flight was actually replaced by two new afternoon flights on the same airline, I expected Expedia to simply move us to one of those flights. But they refused, because those seats were now $803 extra. Can you say, 'bait-und-svitch?' "

Expedia, he said, ultimately refused to cancel their itinerary, claiming the tickets were "non-refundable."

So Ouzts filed a dispute with Visa and served Expedia.com with a small-claims lawsuit in Draper, where on Tuesday he was awarded a judgment from Justice Court Judge Daniel Bertch for breach of contract.

The lawsuit was filed in February. Expedia attempted to avoid the court proceeding in late April by refunding the $2,700 for the airline tickets and offering $296 to cover the flight insurance he had purchased and the court costs.

But Ouzts said the company wanted a non-disclosure agreement, so he went to court anyway, even after he had received the refund for the airline tickets and got the judgment for the other expenses.

I called and emailed Marie Hernandez, the Expedia customer service agent who emailed the offer to Ouzts in late April, but did not get a response.

The right thing to do • I have criticized Utah Transit Authority officials, bus drivers and TRAX employees for certain lapses in the past, so here is a deserving shoutout to the bus driver going northbound on State Street Wednesday at 8:20 a.m.

I was following the bus at about 2900 South and noticed a gentleman running for his life on the sidewalk as he was trying to get to the next bus stop.

He wasn't going to make it. He was nearly a block away from the stop as the bus was passing him, but the driver stopped the bus, immediately opening his doors. It was an unscheduled stop between the designated points, and I know drivers don't like to do that.

It was a small thing the driver did, but it was nice to see and it brightened my morning.

prolly@sltrib.com