Fosshotel Vatnajokull / refusal to return the booking money while a natural catastrophe prevented us from staying, at the hotel; also unethical behaviour

1 Hofn, Iceland

We booked our long awaited trip around Iceland's Ring Road back in June 2017 and we booked two rooms in Fosshotel Vatnajokull in Hofn through Expedia for October 3rd and 4th, 2017. Unfortunately, there was a glacier outburst on the Ring Road, Road Number 1, which completely wiped out the road as well as the bridges, so we were completely cut off (we were going from the south and going eastbound on the Ring Road). There were no alternate roads for us to take to get to the hotel.
We were a company of three people, one of whom was my 82 year old mother. As soon as we found out about the flooding, we contacted Expedia to call this hotel (as well as two other hotels in the following cities) and cancel our reservations. They were able to get through to the other two hotels and their managers made an exception and cancelled our non-refundable reservations, since it was a natural catastrophe, and not our own will that prevented us from being their guests. However, nobody picked up the phone from the Fosshotel the whole day (it was a Sunday, October 1). We needed to completely change our plans and find lodgings as soon as posssible, which we did, with much difficulty, on the night of that Sunday. We called Expedia again on the morning Monday, October 2 to have them call the Fosshotel again. Nobody picked up. Finally, later that day, an Expedia representative spoke to the manager of the hotel (I believe her name was Rosa) but with no success. They suggested we called them directly, so we did. The conversation was more than unpleasant. The manager refused to give us a refund of $773.32, although we still called before the actual night when we were supposed to be there. Also, she knew very well that there was absolutely no way for us to get to the hotel, although we were more than willing to be their guest. The manager was rude, and kept repeating only one phrase, "It is our policy that our bookings are non-refundable". She even tried for a long time to refuse giving us the contact information of her superior manager, and when she finally did, she just mumbled his first name. We asked for his full name and she said it quickly, making sure that we had no way of understanding it as foreigners. She would not and spell the name nor the email. When we repeated that we were willing but physically unable to come to her hotel because of a natural catastrophe, and that we were not cancelling because of us, she said that it was not her fault either and that she somehow has to pay her employees!!! This was outrageous! Our reservation cost $773.32, which Fosshotel Vatnajokul in Hofn kept without providing us any service! By the way, two other hotels which we had booked to stay in afterwards both willingly made an exception and returned our money although it was past the free cancellation date.
We hope you can help us get our money back as well as an apology letter from the hotel for their manager's rudeness.

Oct 13, 2017

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